Tharwat Eskander is the generosity and stewardship consultant at territorial headquarters, corps missions resource department. He believes that as Christ-followers, we are called to live generously in all aspects of life and to model God's generosity to others. Major Wendy Mouland is corps officer at Southlands Community Church in Winnipeg.
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Brandon Laird 0:00
Hi, my name is Brandon Laird, and you're listening to a Salvationist podcast. Welcome to the Salvationist COVID-19 response podcast, a series where we talk about how The Salvation Army is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Today, I have the privilege of talking with Tharwat Eskander and Major Wendy Mouland.
Tharwat is the generosity and stewardship consultant at territorial headquarters, corps missions resource department. He believes that as Christ-followers, we are called to live generously in all aspects of life and to model God's generosity to others. Major Wendy Mouland is corps officer at Southlands Community Church in Winnipeg. Welcome to the show, folks.
Tharwat Eskander 0:52
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Major Wendy Mouland 0:54
Thank you for the invite, it is so nice to be here.
Brandon Laird 0:57
It's great that we can meet in this Zoom interface to have this podcast as everyone is continuing to do their jobs in their areas across the country. Can you share how you're carrying out the mission of the Salvation Army in your current role?
Tharwat Eskander 1:10
For me, my work is focused on helping our corps throughout the territory to adopt and embrace the lifestyle of generosity. Knowing that and following the path of generosity, we're actually a great representation of who Jesus is. And we cannot only bless the work of the kingdom of God and see more souls coming to Jesus. But it's also scientifically proven that generous people are all over happier within themselves. The mission of the Salvation Army is, as we all know, that The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs, and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world. So if you think about that, this just speaks out generosity, like I got to be a generous person to share the love of Jesus, I got to be coming with an open heart and allowing others to enter into my life, to be able to meet human needs and to help transform the community that I live in. I know that the founder, William Booth had a moto which is soup, soap and salvation. So, preparing to offer practical aid to the poor, rather than just simply preaching to them, “Hey, you know, you need to get saved.” And this is what generosity is in the essence of it. For me that the story that was told by Jesus, himself about the Good Samaritan, is by far the best story that speaks of generosity. Just because he can see this man walking by someone that that's completely broken, injured, and he doesn't even know if he's alive or dead, but he pours out himself completely, to help that man. He gives from his money, he gives us time, he gives his caring, compassion, and he pours everything that he has to see someone, who is a stranger, not only that, but he also calls him an enemy, and to see his life gets better. I think there is no better story that tells us what generosity means than that. And that connects us directly to what the core value of The Salvation Army is.
Brandon Laird 3:36
Thanks, Tharwat for that. And Wendy, how are you carrying out the mission of the Salvation Army in your current role in Winnipeg.
Major Wendy Mouland 3:42
As the corps officer and pastor of Southlands Community Church in Winnipeg I can honestly say that though the pandemic has presented many challenges for ministry, it has also provided and open doors for new opportunities. I am seeing the people of Winnipeg rise to the challenges of doing things differently, which is not easy when there has become a comfortable set way of doing ministry. I'm part of a tremendous group of people who are actively caring for one another in extraordinary ways. They are caring each other through not just carrying each other through. Whether it's making a phone call to someone in isolation, hosting a drive-thru event, sharing a message from God's word during a live stream service, when that's the most uncomfortable place to be in front of a camera. Or if it's making food and leaving it on a doorstep of someone who needs to know that they are loved and not alone. I believe it goes back to what Tharwat was saying about that story in Luke were the Good Samaritan. This was really different. This was really out of the box. This went against the norm to minister the love of Jesus. And so that's what we're doing in these days. And so, the mission of the Salvation Army is being carried out in a variety of new ways. And for me, that's really exciting.
Brandon Laird 4:57
I like that comment about caring each other through in this season and how everyone's, you know, using the technology the way they can, even though it might be uncomfortable but it's what we have at the moment to be connected in this current season. Our podcast is titled mission in a pandemic, because we're investigating how we continue to serve God in this new, complicated environment. Tharwat can you encourage our listeners to stay generous while they're dealing with the unknown in the current pandemic?
Tharwat Eskander 5:23
Yeah, absolutely. At times like this, where tomorrow is unpredictable, where a lot of people have fear of the future, it actually shows a lot about our character. And it is the time where we can really go on our knees and say, Lord, enlarge my heart, and make me more generous. I love it because when we talk about generosity and giving, our ultimate figure, or example, is Jesus himself. And when we look at how God deals with us, God doesn't give us in the times of plenty and then withholds from us, in the times of need. His giving is consistent, his love is consistent. There's something about the consistency of God, that can help us know that we can still be able to offer something in times of need. Whether it's the story of when Elijah was told by God to go to this widow, who had nothing and provide him with food, or whether the story where we know that Peter was in need to pay his taxes, and God tells him to do something miraculously, where he can find a way to do it. We can always go to God for more generosity. And when we have fear, he has the answers. He can tell us how we can use this in that time, to bless others, and to still make a difference. And it doesn't have to be money. A lot of people mixes of generosity with just monetary things. I can give someone a smile. I can give someone a word that can give them hope. I can just be present in someone's life, and make sure that they know that I do care, that they can feel I'm really in their lives. This can speak of generosity. And I know that we can't be physically very close to each other. But Wendy said something amazing about people calling each other, encouraging each other, carrying each other through. And in that time, we will never stop giving something when I'm out of all things I can just give of who I am to others, and pray for them. Spend time praying for people that God put on my path. And I am just challenging everyone right now, find something that you're able to give and give it. And you will see how you can make a difference in these times.
Brandon Laird 7:47
Great points. Tharwat and thanks for sharing why it's important to remain generous even during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some practical tips, Wendy for applying some of the things that you've shared.
Major Wendy Mouland 8:00
I would say give of your time, whatever that looks like. With the love of Jesus in safe and transformational ways, give of your time and demonstrate your love for your neighbour. In a global crisis when finances might be tough, or tight, and our resources limited we can give of our time to help, to lead, to reach out, to serve, to meet human needs. Our time is one of the most beautiful gifts we can offer the people we ministered to. And it can be a method God uses to transform the lives of those around us. And I actually have a story that can speak into this. I've often heard the story of a young officer couple who moved to a small town with a large corps. And after settling in a little and while they were preparing to go on holidays, their corps Sergeant Major approached them and asked if they would go see his daughter before they went on vacation. According to the CSM, she was in serious trouble physically, emotionally, spiritually, and he didn't think she'd be here when they returned from vacation. So they promised to go see her. The couple as many of us do, got busy with ministry, and they were preparing for vacation. And as they were pulling out of the driveway to leave for vacation, God's Spirit reminded them of the promise that they've made to go see their local leader's daughter. And so that young couple pulled back into the driveway, the husband stayed with their children and the lady put her uniform on and she left the house. What she walked into that day was horrible. She walked into a dirty, broken home where the mom, the CSN’s daughter was drinking, chain smoking, addicted to drugs. She held a little boy who was about one and there was a little girl about three, and she was dressed in this dirty blue bathing suit and she looked like she'd been in it for days. The husband came home and was extremely embarrassed that the Corps officer had walked into this mess and so he wasn't friendly, or welcoming to the officer. That young officer spent a few moments in that brokenness. And before she left, she looked at the mother high on drugs, and alcohol. And she said, God loves you. And then she left. She left feeling very defeated and wondered why they had been sent to that corps and community. When the officers returned from their vacation that broken mom and dad and their two children attended the Sunday night service. And as they were singing that beautiful song Amazing Grace, that broken couple walked to the mercy seat and made the decision to follow Jesus and to make him Lord of their lives. And they promised that they would serve him the rest of their days. They were instantly changed and transformed by the power of God's Spirit and from that moment on, they were set free from their addictions, and they went on to live a life that was rich and full and free spiritually, I'm not talking material wise, but spiritually, they were rich, and full and free. The little boy and girl grew up knowing Jesus, they became involved in the band, the youth programs, they were enrolled as soldiers in the Salvation Army. Today, the son is married with an amazing wife and two beautiful children, and they all attend the Salvation Army, they all have Jesus. They're all giving of their time and resources to impact their world. And the little girl in the blue bathing suit, grew up to become a Salvation Army officer is sharing her story today, in three words, through the haze of alcohol, my mom heard a Salvation Army officer tell her that she was loved and valued. She heard three words, God loved her three words used by the Spirit of God changed three generations, for my family. And I have no idea where I'd be today if that beautiful officer hadn't given her time to tell my mom, that God loved her. That officer who could never have known the impact she would make, as she stepped into that horrible situation, gave of her time and her love, she sacrificed time from her vacation to step into a broken home, to minister to a broken family, who many had written off as hopeless. And because she gave three generations of a family were changed forever.
Brandon Laird 12:32
Thanks for being vulnerable there, Wendy, and sharing that story about how the simple act of you said sharing those three words translated into people accepting and experiencing God's love. What comes to mind Tharwat, when you hear that story.
Tharwat Eskander 12:47
All I can think of is how giving in obedience can transform generations, can transform the lives of others. And that's the whole point of what it means to live generously, is that these officers could have only thought about their holidays coming up, that they're pulling out of the driveway, going into their vacation, putting everything behind them, they just could not resist being obedient to God's voice. And just coming in into that situation that shows me like when Jesus enters the house of Zacchaeus, it's something that's so powerful, but being there carrying the spirit of godliness. And knowing in that situation, they didn't need some money. They didn't need someone to give them some food. What they needed, is that they needed Jesus. And that's what we are here to offer is, through our generosity, we can offer Jesus we can offer Salvation, we can make a difference. I love that story. I've heard it before. And it moved me so much that all I can think about is what if everyone was like that young officer, being obedient in being there, when people are hurting?
Brandon Laird 14:01
How does that make you feel Wendy, when you hear someone like Tharwat, share, the impact of your story of, of how your family was transformed by that use of time and in giving in that aspect?
Major Wendy Mouland 14:14
For me, it's amazing when as I share that story from time to time, I'm grateful beyond words, that God used that officer and she was so obedient. You know, there are a number of things she could have done that day. She obeyed God's Spirit and because of that, my life my parents lives, my nieces and nephew. They've all been teased my brother, you know, we were all changed that moment. When God used those words to break through the addictions that my mom had suffered, and I find it inspiring. I pray that it's inspiring to those of us who are officers, leaders, people who know Jesus Christ. We've all got a responsibility to win the World for Jesus. And we can all tell people they're loved. We can all demonstrate that people are loved and valued by God, no matter who they are, no matter where they're from, no matter what their background, no matter what people say about them, no matter what the enemy says, we are valued and created by God and we have loved, I would pray that we would be a people who would spread that word, that message of love and joy and transformation, and see our world changed.
Brandon Laird 15:31
I hear a sharing today about two of our core values within the organization, the one being hope, we give hope through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and stewardship, we responsibly manage resources entrusted to us. And those resources can look like time, they can look like money, they can look like empowering others to do work in our communities to help meet the needs. Tharwat, going forward is there some ideas that you can share with, with our listeners on how they can be generous during the season during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Tharwat Eskander 16:05
Yes. So this is the main point of this podcast, I believe is, is to allow the Lord to open our hearts before anything else. Sometimes when we pray, we just stand there, you know, opening our hands or when we worship and it talks about surrender. But it also talks about that I'm willing to live with open hands with an open heart, humbly before the Lord during a pandemic or not, we can always find something to give others. And we can always be intentional about giving am I a person that kind of looks for the change as if it hits me that I have to give something to the Lord, or am I someone that has been intentional, am I giving and when I'm intentional in my giving, I can always find things, ways, resources, talents, to give to others. As Romans 12 says that to offer our whole bodies as a sacrifice is what it comes down to, to be a disciple of Jesus. Let's offer our lives down and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts. He will always give us that little still voice of “Let's do this. Let's give something let's do more.” Just like that young officer that heard God say, “you've promised to do this.” He's going to talk to us. In the pandemic, a lot of people allow fear to overcome their love for God. But the Bible says it very clearly that love will cast out all fear.
Brandon Laird 17:42
Okay, we're gonna wrap up this podcast today. And I just really appreciate Wendy and Tharwat today, what they were sharing. Before we go, Wendy, is there any last thought that you might have for our listeners?
Major Wendy Mouland 17:53
Yeah, as I was spending time with God, this week, this quote, resonated with me, and maybe I'll leave it with you today. It just says this. You've been called to impossibilities. And this is what I think about when I think about that home 40 plus years ago, and we still live in that broken world. Today, you have been called to impossibilities. You are armed with nothing but promises from God, the name of Jesus, and whatever degree of faith you will receive and embrace. And that's enough. And I think in this pandemic, we'll find that as we claim the promises of God and claim his power and presence, we'll find that he is more than enough.
Brandon Laird 18:35
Thank you, Wendy and Tharwat for taking time out of your day to give an update and share about generosity. If you would like to help out, go to the salvationarmy.ca website and click on the how you can help tab. These are unusual times, and it's encouraging to hear how the Salvation Army is continuing its mission by sharing the love of Jesus Christ, meeting human needs and being a transformational influence in our neighborhoods.
Thanks for listening to the salvationist mission in a pandemic podcast. For new episodes, be sure to visit salvationist.ca/podcast. For more Army news visit salvationist.ca. And if you would like to get news delivered directly to your email inbox, sign up for weekly newsletter at salvationist.ca/newsletter.