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Salvo volunteers revel in Commonwealth Games ministry experience

Salvo volunteers revel in Commonwealth Games ministry experience

Salvo volunteers revel in Commonwealth Games ministry experience

13 April 2018

Volunteers from Papua New Guinea have joined a team of Australians to serve on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games.

By SIMONE WORTHING

“One of the biggest things I have learned about evangelism through serving here at the Commonwealth Games, is that preaching the Gospel is not just speaking in church,” said John Eric, who is part of The Salvation Army's volunteer team from Papua New Guinea at the Gold Coast event.

“It’s about serving and going out into the community, engaging with people, connecting, and meeting needs – even through something as simple as handing out lollipops.

“We’ve learned so many new things and had new experiences. There are some cultural differences, of course, but we will be taking what we have learned home to apply in Papua New Guinea.”

John is one of six volunteers from Papua New Guinea who have been serving on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games. They've joined a bigger group of volunteers from across Australia, running kids’ clubs, sports clinics, and serving meals to the homeless and emergency services personnel.

Several teams have also been busy with “lollipop drops” – handing out lollipops to Games’ patrons and volunteers, and people on the street.

Leonie Henari, another volunteer from Papua New Guinea, has also found the experience of volunteering a valuable one. “It has had its ups and downs but I am really loving seeing how God works through us to make people happy in the sports clinics we’ve done, feeding the homeless, and just talking to people on the streets,” she said.

Tahlia Burke, from Bellarine Peninsula Corps in Victoria, wasn’t sure what to expect, but was looking forward to a new volunteering experience.

“It’s been great, just being part of the team and going around spreading God’s love to those here for the Games,” she said. “It’s also been good to hear so many positive comments about The Salvation Army and what we do. I’m enjoying meeting new people and helping to lead them into what we are blessed to know.”

Students from The Salvation Army’s Salvos Discipleship School on the NSW Central Coast, have also been an integral part of the volunteer team. “It’s been really awesome,” said Teagan. “I’ve loved spending time with the kids at the clubs, connecting with the community and seeing God work through us.”

Vijaya Stewart came down from Townsville to be part of the volunteer ministry at the Commonwealth Games. “I wanted to join in and help and see how corps can assist,” she said. “I’m also running in the community ‘Gold Run’ so it was ideal for me to help out here.”

Salvationist Steve Grice has been working closely with team leader, Major Trevor Nicol, in overseeing the ministry.

“It’s been a blessing to be the church in the community,” he said. “Serving the homeless in the drop-in centres, helping feed emergency services personnel, and being part of the different ministries has been something that The Salvation Army has been able to do here on the Gold Coast.

“We want to leave something behind – a legacy – and feel so thankful for the opportunities to do this.”

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