Magazine Features

Ponce Corps Mobilizes

Members of the Salvation Army’s Ponce Corps in Puerto Rico are keeping with the spirit of The Whole World Mobilizing (TWWM) campaign by going outside of the church doors and meeting the needs of and engaging with the local community.

“The call of General André Cox to mobilize has resonated with our desire to reach the most vulnerable members of Ponce,” says Major Teresita Pacheco, corps officer. “Our soldiers, adherents, and volunteers are mobilized and are serving Ponce with God on their side.”

Mobilized to love

Salvationists from the Ponce Corps Men’s Ministry help fix a home.

The Ponce Corps Golden Age program, a social gathering for members of the community who are 60 years old and older, originally focused exclusively on local Salvationists. Now, it is open to all seniors of the community. Every Wednesday, as many as 85 of them participate in devotionals, exercise, and enjoy games such as bingo and dominoes.

“We have seen elderly residents who come in depressed and lonely. Their family might live far from them, or may have forgotten them altogether. After one or two weeks in the Golden Age program, we see a change in their demeanor.”

The women of the Golden Age have answered the call to mobilize. They have knitted hats and other articles of clothing for children at a local hospital who are suffering from cancer. Major Pacheco says that seniors who engage in these activities show their love for the Ponce community. Just as the corps members mobilized and reached the elderly of Ponce, the elderly are now reaching out to other people in need.

Mobilized to heal

The Salvation Army Community Care ministry, along with the Army’s Emergency Disaster Service (EDS) and the Ponce Corps, are helping homeless residents combat Puerto Rico’s Zika virus outbreak. In one morning program, the coalition served breakfast to 200 Ponce residents and distributed kits containing insect repellant and other health supplies. The residents also received information regarding other services offered by The Salvation Army. The fight against Zika has been going on for over a year in Puerto Rico. The Ponce Corps has also worked in conjunction with the Ponce School of Medicine to distribute Zika kits directly to homes.

Mobilized to rebuild

The movement to mobilize has already affected a life in Ponce, says Pacheco. She remembers how a quiet man who came to the corps on Sunday needed a place to live. A family member had willed a home to him, but it had no electricity and was in need of many repairs.

“Members of the Ponce Corps Men’s Ministry went to the home and fixed the landscaping, cleaned the house, and gave it a fresh coat of paint to make it livable and beautiful. They even raised money to help him pay his electric bill,” says Pacheco.

In early May, the grateful man, who had previously sat in silence during services, stood in front of the congregation and shared his testimony. He thanked everyone from the men’s ministry who had helped fix his new home.

“We’re God’s tools. We go out and help people in times of suffering or worry,” says Major Pacheco. “What a privilege it is that He mobilizes each of us to give others hope, and to introduce the love of Jesus into their lives.”

by Hugo Bravo

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