Georgia News #9
Well, several months have passed since we last took the opportunity to let you know of what is going on in Georgia.
Those months have involved lots of travelling for both of us as, between us, we have visited Moldova, The Netherlands, Slovakia and the UK, all on work related trips. Our different roles have often meant that these have been travelling separately, but we were really pleased to be invited to be the speakers at The Netherlands Officers’ Conference back in February, something which we could do together.
Certainly these days seem to be flying by. I have recently discovered an app on my phone which allows me to put in key dates from the past and dates in the future. For example I can tell that we have now been in Georgia for 769 days. I did try finding out how many days I have been on this planet, but the screen of my phone is not big enough to display this information!
But as I think of how time flies, I am reminded of the saying, ‘It’s not a matter of counting the days, but making the days count.’ Sometimes that is easier said than done, with the ordinariness of our lives seemingly taking up all our time.
But our prayer is that today, for those of us who are in Georgia, and for those who will read this in many other parts of the world, we make the most of every opportunity which the day presents.
Maybe we will even take the advice of the writer to the Hebrews, chapter 3:13, ‘…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’.’
May your day be a day of encouragement as you try to live this day to the full, making the most of all that God blesses you with today.
As we look back on the past few months it has been a very busy time.
Corps and Regional reviews
During these past few months many of us have been busy reviewing the work of our corps and the region. This is an important opportunity for us to discover the ways in which corps and officers have developed over the past year and the plans they have for the coming year.
In seeking to be honest about the state of The Salvation Army in Georgia we have considered how our corps would seek to build their mission. Using General John Gowans’ ideas of ‘Saving souls, growing saints and serving suffering humanity’ has been a good way of helping us to understand our mission.
After completing all the corps reviews, these were followed by a visit to Georgia from four of the Territorial Leaders from Moldova
They spent a number of days here reviewing the work in the region as well as spending time with officers and enjoying some of the sights and sounds of Georgia.
Visit of Australian Film Crew
In common with the other divisions and regions of the Eastern Europe Territory, the work in Georgia is almost totally dependent upon funding from outside the region.
With this in mind we were so pleased to be able to welcome a film crew from Australia who spent a few days with us making a short documentary. This will be shown in The Salvation Army in Australia next year as part of their Self-Denial appeal. This will hopefully be a means of encouraging our sisters and brothers in that part of the world to support our work.
During their time with us, they focused particularly on the work with our young people in Samgori and also visited a number of our After School clubs, chatting to people and filming something of what was happening.
Cadet visit to London
The beginning of March marked a very significant few days in the lives of our Georgian cadets, Vova and Elnura.
After months of planning and praying, especially for the provision of visas, they were able to join the other cadets of their session together with Steve and the staff of the Institute for Officer Training on a visit to William Booth College in London.
During their time in London they were able to share in lectures with other cadets from the UK as well as from Switzerland and Hungary.
In addition to this, trips had been organized to visit some of the sites of particular interest to Salvationists, including the East End of London where William Booth commenced his work in 1865.
They also had opportunity to visit Abney Park cemetery and were able to spend time at the graves of Catherine and William Booth as well as other early pioneers of the movement.
Participation in the UK territory’s Exploring Leadership Day meant that they were able to share worship with over 300 other people in the Assembly Hall of William Booth College.
Their final full day in London included a trip to International Headquarters. Whilst there they were surprised by the General who despite being in the midst of a busy day of meetings, took time to have his photograph taken with the cadets.
Women leader’s retreat
A trip back to Bakuriani was in order for some of the women of the region in March. Under the leadership of Captain Sopo Bakhtadze and with the participation of Colonel Wendy Walters from THQ and Gillian, the women were encouraged to think about what a transformed life might look like.
Fourteen women, representing each of the corps in Georgia were present for these few days of fellowship and teaching. Our prayer now is that this learning is taken back to the corps, so that the women’s work in Georgia can grow and develop.
Youth and children’s weekend
The final weekend in March was an important weekend right across the Salvation Army world. In this year of mobilization, the focus for this weekend was particularly on children and young people.
A number of events were held, both inside and outside our buildings, taking the message of the gospel in different ways to the communities in which our corps are situated.
The weekend culminated with a youth meeting at Tbilisi Central corps where over seventy young people gathered to be encouraged to listen to God’s call on their lives, discerning what that might mean for them just where they are.
Having mentioned earlier that our new translator George was able to spend a few days with us in Bakuriani, we now have to inform you that George has moved on from RHQ.
So, just a few weeks ago we were pleased to have been able to welcome Nino Narozauli back to RHQ. She is now working in the position of translator and receptionist having previously worked at RHQ as Finance Coordinator.
We pray that Nino will be a blessing to us as she fulfils this vitally important role for us here in Georgia.
The other topic of news which has emerged over the past few weeks is that Regional Leaders, Gillian and Steve will soon be returning to the UK.
Their initial term of service in Georgia was due to end in February 2018, but, following a decision made by The Salvation Army in the UK, they have been told that they will be leaving Georgia this summer.