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Since June 1988, Radio Jamaica has aired Wonderful Words of Life each week.  We in the USA Southern Territory express gratitude to God for the opportunity of this 27-year partnership in broadcast evangelism with the Caribbean Territory.  The program is one of our Salvation Soundcast network of four programs, two in English and two in Spanish.  Wonderful Words of Life and Maravillosas Palabras de Vida are 15-minute weekly programs delivering relevant Christian teaching, inspiring conversation, and great music from Salvation Army artists.  Heartbeat and Latido are 1-minute programs packed with Christian insights on contemporary life issues.  Click here to watch a short video about these programs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tca0uvxPNgk.  More information is available online; just click this link to our website: http://www.southernspiritonline.org/soundcast/.


 

 

CA

 

To you from us with love

Christmas is nearing and after weeks of intensive 'kettling', the Havendale Corps is happy to be able to give food parcels to 300 People. After singing carols and sharing the Bible story together, the Captain and his little team ensures that all the people who have been carefully registered and come with their tickets are given their parcels. There is no pushing or impatience, but an atmosphere of trust and good. Before the Territorial Commander begins handing out the parcels, he encourages everyone to see the parcel as a sign of love and a sign of hope:

"Even though this is not silver or gold but just a small, practical gift of food, we want, by this gift, to say to you: We, The Salvation Army, care for you. ....

We also want you to remember  that a huge part of the population is behind this. Each person who has put money in our kettles this year again, each business company that has donated goods to The Salvation Army or people who have contributed in other ways are thereby saying to you: We also care about you! "

One by one the recipients come to receive their parcel, a handshake, a hug  and some personal words from the Captain

 

For Ms.Cheryl James, the past year has had its ups and downs but  is truly thankful that the Lord has kept her through the year to see another Christmas. She sees Christmas as "a time to remember Christ and try to make up for the bad things by being nice and helpful." She acknowledges that "We are very materialistic and that the Lord gives different things than what we as humans count. The exchange and showing of love is important".   Despite her being homeless and separated by distance from  her daughter, she is looking forward to eating, cooking, going to church with family as she stays with nieces and nephews.  The hope and prayer for 2016 is, by God's help, to get a room.  Ms. Cheryl has come to pick up the parcel from The Salvation Army together with her little nephew.

Ms.Vena Garden is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with her husband and 5 children. They will go to church, they will sing together and read the Bible. They are grateful for all the blessings of God and used to looking for the joys that do not cost money.  Both the husband and the two eldest children are looking for work, but apart from the odd jobs from time to time have no income, so the children understand very well that there will be no Christmas presents. They are grateful for the food parcel from the Salvation Army. With two children going to school and the latest baby, little Mathilde,  still at the breast, there could be enough cause for concern.  But they choose not to worry but hope and trust in God, knowing that so many others are in the same situation.  The biggest wish for Christmas  and the new year is the job that can offer them the possibilities of a better life.

 

Ms.Desreen Thenstead is living together with her 5-year old granddaughter who goes to The Salvation Army basic school.  She acknowledges that she finds it hard to provide for her grandchild and is grateful for any help she can get.  She gives thanks and is appreciative, not only for the food parcel, but also for the support from the school. "Whenever I have problems, I can sit and have a talk with Captain Sandra", she says. 

 

 

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

 

Christmas message from the Territorial Commander:

 

Merry Christmas

 

How I wish that every child on earth would receive  a Christmas present this year, a gift that really would bring joy and make them feel loved.  Unfortunately this wish will not come true. Many children will be sad and disappointed because they did not get anything and others, even though they receive gifts, will doubt whether anybody really cares for them.

 

The Salvation Army in the Caribbean would like each and everybody to know that someone cares, God cares for them, and so do we.  As I am writing thi post, the Christmas kettling is still going on around our islands and divisions, and food hampers, small gifts, parcels are being wrapped and distributed to thousands of people.

 

What is behind a gift?

 

There seem to be many different reasons for people to give gifts:

to show attention: I am thinking of you

to ask for attention: I want you to remember me

obligation: I  have to, it is expected of me, and it would look bad if I didn't.

or even corruption: I want something in return, a favour

 

When people this Christmas  will be receiving a parcel or little gift, what lies behind it, what are we trying to say by this gesture?

·         An expression of gratitude - If we have enough to eat every day, we would like to share

·         Christmas cheer - It is the time for giving

·         Concern and compassion - How we would like to see a world of justice and equality

 

Even though this is not silver or gold but just a small, practical gift of food, we want, by this gift, to say to each receiver: We, The Salvation Army, care for you. We acknowledge that life can be hard and we know that many are struggling financially and in other ways, day in and day out, all year round. We want you to know that you are not alone, you are not forgotten.

 

We also want you to recognize  that a huge part of the population is behind this. Each person who has put money in our kettles this year again, each business company that has donated goods to The Salvation Army or people who have contributed in other ways are thereby saying: We also care. We want to share something of what we have.  Thank you to you all!

 

Just as we wish each parcel to be a small token of love, may it also come with a message of hope. We believe that the love of God that came to earth in Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift ever. It is the deepest desire of our hearts and a great cause for hope.  In Jesus, we receive what the Bible calls 'fullness of life' or 'life in abundance'.

 

Listen what this Salvation Army song says:

                When Christ drew near to dwell with men and bear with man His earthly lot,      

                He brought the knowledge of the Lord to sinful hearts which knew Him not.

                ....When Christ draws near his own today, the fullness of his power to give,

                The Holy Spirit makes Him known and by His life we all may live.

                                                                                                                (Miriam Mary Richards)

 

What is it that we really need in order to have hope for days to come?

We need  to know that we are loved and have eternal value... so much so that God chose to give his only son for us.

We need to know that there is meaning and purpose in our lives.

We need the inner strength to overcome the storms of life and the obstacles on our journey.

We need the joy and peace that do not come from circumstances around us but only from the relationship with our heavenly Father.

 

 

Christmas is coming, but will soon be over and a new year will begin. What will be left when the celebrations are over and all the food is eaten?  The gift of Jesus is the gift that goes on, as the following carol reminds us:

 

                                                The Father gave the Son
                                                The Son gave the Spirit
                                                The Spirit gives us life
                                                So we can give the Gift of love
                                                And the Gift goes on....

                                Don't you love to get a present wrapped up in a Christmas bow
                                God gave each of us a present on that night so long ago
                                It's a Gift that keeps on giving if our spirits can receive
                                It's the secret joy of living if our hearts can just believe

                                                And the Gift goes on...
                                                And  the Gift goes on and on and on...

                                                (Sandi Patty http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0060813)


Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift (2 Corinthians  9:15)

May the true gift of Christmas fill you and guide you all through 2016.

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 View The War Cry here

 

 


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