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Majors Bobby and Anne Westmoreland | How Do We Enter New Communities?

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2021 1:06 am

Majors Bobby and Anne Westmoreland | How Do We Enter New Communities?

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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July 11, 2021 1:06 am

The Salvation Army is now at work in over 130 countries around the world. In this episode we are joined by Salvation Army officers Majors Bobby and Anne Westmoreland to discuss some of the ways The SA begins work in a new country or community. They also share some of the invaluable lessons they’ve learned from their experiences as missionaries.


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Hi this is breeding welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life. Welcome back to words of life on Bernie Dake and Cheryl Gillam and you are Lieut. Col. Carol Siler.

I am welcome home. Thank you so were in the third episode of our series on missions and we wanted to discuss how the Salvation Army enters new communities often will come up in some of our future interviews is the danger that in missions. We can sometimes approach new communities with the Savior mentality and end up doing more harm than good. What are your thoughts on the Col. think that's right. I think the danger is that we may subconsciously begin to see ourselves as the answer. The Savior and to those living in difficult situations.

And while it's good to believe and to know that we can make a difference. The danger emerges when we take that feeling too far, and when we think that the service that were doing this is saving them from something instead of just bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to them.

I am, I am astounded of how the Salvation Army gets into countries how we then entrench herself in the community and become not the Savior, but at least God's hands and feet for such a time as that is when you have the passion to tell others about Christ.

It just oozes out of you no matter what you're doing comes from the passion that we have and others have as their fulfilling the work of Christ in their own life was to discuss the question of how the Salvation Army enters new communities and countries. We were joined by nature's body and Anna Westmore will welcome Bobby welcome.

Thank you. Hi Bernie hi Lieut. great day tell us a little bit about where you are and what you're doing will currently we are stationed in the exciting Potomac division, which is one of the newest divisions of the Salvation Army world and it's headquartered in Washington DC and we just so thrilled to be a part of such an exciting move than what God is doing here in this area is wonderful. Really great you guys.

We've known each other for a few years but our listeners are just getting to know you and I don't know I'm I was born here in the United States for me and that you have an accent, but for our listeners around the world. You might sound like you're right at home. Tell us where you are both from it and how you met the big question so 12 to 15 minutes so I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, and so that where me and then different places around the world is changed before I state that you when we met in Bangladesh and that's two years my overseas journey started so I grew up in Mississippi and I was actually serving.

And not just you both have had an opportunity to serve overseas. You've been exposed to the Salvation Army in different parts of the world. Can you tell us kind of about how your heart opens itself to people overseas think it was the first law of the Spirit to go overseas from her home territory should share which was in 1999 and overseas pretty much everywhere.

And so even though I'm home now hearing it still cross-cultural cross-cultural experience. We are from different world. And so it just becomes thing for me with a place where heaven felt like I was home very quickly and I think that doing that very quickly when I landed somewhere in so many places and people are people.

Does matter where in the world. You are my first home overseas was London England I went to the station guide to and I was there during the events of 9/11 and experienced an international family really at the international headquarters were all kind of a group we all came from around the world. It was the most enriching wonderful experience. It totally transformed my view of the Army world of the way that we do mission internationalism of the Salvation Army just capture my heart I knew that God was calling to missions is what brought us together really our story and we knew that both of us somehow someway. Whatever God did with us as a couple that he was calling us individually to be missionaries and so my start was to be a missionary in London England and then from there other places. Every time my heart is to spend ready to embrace something you to understand that different doesn't have a value to it different is just different. That's a shameless plug for any of our listeners that are looking to serve through the vehicle, the Salvation Army, we are all over the world. In fact, we are in 132 countries now with the addition of Bulgaria.

You probably knew that you Bobby and Anna. We had we heard about opening up in Bulgaria.

The plans for that early on were excited to know that that is come to fruition. God's blessing on the Army yeah explained to her listeners. How does the Salvation Army go about entering into a new community like that country. So I think it happens in different ways in different places and however that's orchestrated and hope God conscious minds everything but specifically about Bulgaria to know the people that have been involved in opening you know when when the first stone for the working group. In 2006, that was a Congress in Eastern Europe celebrating 15 years and that time the Bulgarian flag was carried in place of the hoping to open until 2000 62,021, 15 years pass and along the way to the officer that that we now like I grew up knowing him and his family but he he he had this in his heart serve just as I people in mind that had an entry into the people that knew some people and things lined up along the way sometimes happens and sometimes it happens at the Tatian people know the good work of the Army. They want to Salvation Army where they are some countries where it happened that way. In all cases, I believe it's a moving of the Holy Spirit has opened the door so when the Salvation Army comes into a country where there with a specific purpose.

We we really are trying to win the world for Jesus that is a proclamation it's been since our beginning but I think one of the topics we talked about her items we discussed on one of the interviews during the series was how people can sometimes go in with the Savior mentality like were going to make them just like us because we know how to do it better. How could you keep. How do we keep ourselves in check.

In that regard. If you if you were talking to a young missionary or someone who's going to be doing some work overseas.

How do you help them change that paradigm. Kristin is a Christian that we have pondered a lot years ago when we were overseas. When we were in the Republic of Georgia we started formulating some principles that we thought were important for us to to come here to being overseas and in one of those had to do with exactly that we go in as guests go when we listen, we have a learning and listening heart and we co-laborers together and when that formational power just kind of happens and we become friends and we learn together. We don't come in thinking that we have all the answers. Because we don't and that's certainly one of the things as well missions. We believe have local answers to clean Ukraine we we realize there were a lot of a lot of course slate of American programs we could bring on and every time that we came upon problem. We were all pulling out of your own tools you know your own arsenal your own experiences but we do really like little local problems. We often would say we believe there's a Ukrainian solution. How can we help you. How can we walk alongside you to find that solution like what you said earlier that it different is is different. It's not better or worse. And there's no real value to different it's just different. Yeah, being flexible. Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break, they shall not break. It's certainly clear and this is true of many missionary journeys. We we go into communities that aren't necessarily Christian.

How do we do that without showing judgment.

You know with grace and compassion. Good question for anywhere we go we see so whether it's right here in our own backyard neighborhoods. I think the Salvation Army has started countries. As a social worker, social relief, and that has been doing to get into the country and then maybe perhaps the rule church side of things come later or maybe go hand-in-hand, but again I think there is no matter where we are.

There is a way to show Christ in the way that we talk with people in the way that we help people yesterday certainly a way to share the gospel and we should share the gospel. We believe that Jesus is the way they are.

I remember doing alongside service in the country where they had been denounced by their own families for choosing to be a Christian for choosing to be a Christian minister and yet they were there and they believe Jesus is the answer, so they found a way to share Christ. Even though that meant that huge sacrifice that we can't even comprehend. I think there certainly a way to share Christ because Christ is love.

So the way that we do that is in love and I believe that that's not judge mental mission principles that we formed a long time ago we went to Lisa Georgia was this that genuine love transcends languages and cultures penetrates the soul breaks down barriers and foster an appreciation of that which is the guiding principle process we served as missionaries. That's good. Yeah Bobby and if you were to encourage the congregation who is about to embark on a new mission initiative in a new community, whether that's like you said, and in our backyard or or overseas. What advice would you give them yeah one of the things that we've all said reminded ourselves is that God is at work. He is always at work. We don't bring God into a community we don't bring God into a situation she's already there. That's who God is. So we don't bring God that's a principal for us.

Our mission is to find where God is at work and be obedient to him and what he what part he wants us to play what is happening. What's going on Bobby and and on behalf of all of the listeners on words of life we thank you for being the Army behind the shield that is the Salvation Army we thank you for your ministry for your surrender to Jesus for your commitment to the communities where you served and just can't thank you enough for joining us. We pray you have a blessed rest of your day to burn. Thank you, Carol. The Salvation Army's mission doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army visit Salvation Army to offer your support and love to hear from you. Email us or call 1-800-229-9965 rightist PO Box 29972, Atlanta, GA 30359 tell us how we can help share prayer request or share your testimony. Would love to use your story here.

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