Two weeks ago we received an email, addressed to this website from Captain Gerardo Gochez who has recently been appointed as Regional Commander in the Dominican Republic, part of the Latin America North Territory.
Pictured above are three of the beautiful beaches in the Domincan Republic, left to right they are Punta Cana, Playa Grande and Saona Island. This ideal scene, whilst typical of the lovely country, is not a reflection of life in The Salvation Army in that region.
Captain Gochez writes:
I do request your prayers, we are a small and struggling Army. We rent 5 out of 7 places including DHQ and our tiny citadel corps. We are 6 officers and 3 part time sergeants. My wife and I lead the Region/Division and lead a Corps also due the lack of officers.
Captain Gochez also says:
I am just saying thanks for supporting the Army work here. I must say, however, that more than 99% of our work is supported from overseas, but I am trying to introduce business people to the programs the Army does in this island, such as child sponsorship, primary education, disaster relief, home rebuilding during hurricanes, and normal Corps programming such as League of Mercy and Home League.
Not a coincidence, perhaps, that Captain Gochez wrote to us just before we held our Self Denial Missionary Appeal Sunday (yesterday). For those not familiar with Salvation Army terminology this is an annual occasion when British Salvationists give, from their own resources, funds to help the Army’s work in other, less wealthy, places overseas. Whilst we cannot, as individuals, influence the ways in which the donated funds are used we pray that some will reach our friends on that beautiful island. Join us as we pray for Gerardo and his small force of 6 officers as they seek to extend God’s Kingdom there.
And he only wrote, initially, to say how much he liked our site’s graphics!
As far as our Sunday meetings were concerned, Major Beverley was our leader in the morning taking the second popular alternative to the cross, ‘Christianity without Conversion’, as her theme.
Using John 13:1-17 as her scripture base she supported it with Hebrews 4:13-16 and with songs 302, 518 and 64 from The Salvation Army Song Book together with 520 and 475 from Songs of Fellowship. Included within the framework of the meeting was the Self Denial Altar Service, a time when members of the congregation bring monetary gifts to the Altar for the Missionary Appeal. The Singing Company featured ‘There’s a Way’ and the Songsters contributed ‘God so loved the World’
Major Beverley spoke about how it is impossible to be a Christian without experiencing conversion. She said conversion is a necessary forerunner to taking on all the aspects of being a Christian. It is not possible to have any part of fellowship with Christ unless we are ‘made clean by Christ’. There is no Christianity without the cleansing that Christ washing Peter’s feet depicts. There are many, many people today who find it difficult to admit that they need cleansing by Jesus.
Our evening meeting was led by Majors Robin & Joy McIntosh. Robin is The Salvation Army chaplain at both Gatwick Airport and Kent Police Headquarters in Maidstone. Joy is the Associate Officer at Maidstone Corps.
Psalm 101 and 61 were used as the scripture for the evening and the meeting included songs 179, 60, 199 and 283 from The Salvation Army Song Book with song 226 from Songs of Fellowship. The Band contributed ‘My Master’s Will’ and the Songsters ‘With all my Heart’. Six voluntary testimonies were given and Major Robin’s address was in two parts, first asking the question ‘What is my story?’ and then ‘This is my story’. He said God demands both love and justice in our lives. How do we live our lives? This is important because others see how we live. We must strive to be blameless and to live with integrity. God is our rock on whom we can depend and we should seek Him.
During the afternoon a ‘Safe and Sound’ course was run enabling those who work with children to ensure their capability to deal with the sensitive issues involved. The Salvation Army takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously. This was led by KAOS leader Tracy Wood.
See you all again next week