Memorable experience in Parry Sound
(This letter was sent to Salvation Army Captain Peter van Duinen and a copy was provided to the Beacon Star for publication)
Being a part of Christmas in The Salvation Army with Parry Sound’s Rainbow Country Church provided us with the opportunity to witness a community reaching out in love. Although The Salvation Army is the avenue through which many in the community will reach out, it was evident that without the support of the community Christmas for The Salvation Army in Parry Sound would be very different.
With the help of the local radio station an annual radio-thon is hosted in support of The Salvation Army’s Christmas campaign.
Not only does this radio-thon raise funds for The Salvation Army in Parry Sound, but it also provides an avenue through which the community becomes aware of all the services that The Army offers.
With the help of the newspaper families are adopted and blessed with toy hampers that have been specially compiled based on that family’s anonymous profile.
With the help of the Rotary Club food hampers are provided to families in need. Although The Salvation Army finds the people who will be the recipients of the food hampers, the Rotary Club takes care of the rest; from packing the hampers to delivering the hampers.
A short 30 minutes of packing hampers with the Rotary Club one morning demonstrated how “many hands” really do “make light work.”
Without the support and generosity of the community the shelves of the food bank would be a lot more bare, the toy hampers would have taken a lot longer to pack and organize, and Christmas as it unfolded would have been a completely different picture. It was a rewarding experience to witness how the community came together to truly reach out in love to their neighbours.
In addition to the community reaching out through The Salvation Army, we were also afforded the opportunity to witness The Salvation Army’s street ministry team reach out and give back to the community. Each Friday evening many in the community know they will find The Salvation Army’s motor home parked on the main downtown street; they also know that here they will not only find a hot dog and hot drink but also the friendly faces and love of the ministry team.
Our winter assignment afforded us with a variety of learning opportunities and experiences. Above all else the greatest lesson was the emphasis placed on relationships, networking, and the importance of knowing your community. The Salvation Army does not need to be an island, operating within but separate from its community. Instead what we learned in Parry Sound was the importance of building those bridges within the community so that The Salvation Army can most effectively do the work that God has trusted them to do. It was a privilege to partner with Captains Peter and Lee-Ann van Duinen and the many others in their ministry unit for a short 10 days to learn and experience authentic ministry in Parry Sound. We are confident that we have built many friendships that we will cherish as we move forward in ministry.
David and Laura Hickman