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Mar 27, 1998

High ranking Salvation Army official visits Belize

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A high ranking officer of the Salvation Army’s Territorial Headquarters in Jamaica is on an official working visit to Belize. Financial Secretary Major Neil Suanders arrived in the country this afternoon and will spend the week reviewing the Army’s work throughout the country as well as conducting an internal audit of the church’s finances.

Major Neil Saunders, Territorial Finance Secretary

“The other part of my visit here is to examine the fiscal operations of the Salvation Army in Belize and to confirm, something we already know, that the fiscal condition of the Salvation Army is quite good. That doesn’t mean to say that the Army has all the money that it needs but to confirm that all the bills are being paid on time. That’s part of the order process of the finance department.

There are a number of projects. For instance we’ve been working with the Ghann’s House, the rest home here in the city and also some acquisition of vehicle for the work of the Salvation Army and in addition the processing of children’s sponsorship – that is money that comes into the country for children in the daily school operations of the Salvation Army. And those projects will be under review too.”

Saunders says that while reviews are carried out on a monthly basis through correspondence, it is necessary to do spot audits periodically. The type of inspection was last done four years ago and is the last time it will be carried out from the Caribbean Territory. According to Saunders, Belize has been transferred to the Central America Territory, with command headquarters in Mexico. This was done, he said, for the sole purpose of making the task of administrating the work easier.

But poring over the financial records of the Army is not the only thing on the Major’s agenda for his first visit to Belize. This weekend, the Salvation Army is hosting a series of meetings for young people. According to Regional Commander Captain Stanley Griffin, the annual Youth Councils will be used as a forum for recruiting new members.

Captain Stanley Griffin, Regional Commander

“Every year we have a set of weeks set aside for the young people where we take them to a special place and we conduct spiritual retreat with them. This weekend is very special because we have as our guests Majors Beth and Neil Saunders. They coming in from Jamaica and they have worked with young people over the years and come with a wealth of experience. So we’re really looking forward for a grand time with them as they share their experience and also whatever that God has laid on their hearts for the young people of Belize.

We will commence Saturday night with what we call a youth rally which is open to all young people and adults. We have invited a number of youth groups from various churches and the young people in the Salvation Army will be showing off their talents. We’re going to have display; we’re going to have drama; we’re going to have dance. Our youth band, which varies from age of 7 to 13, they will be on duty – their first public appearance. And so a number of acts, a number of things will be happening and I’m sure that the young people will be very excited. On Sunday will be the youth councils where we will be catering for young people between the age of 13 and 25. We’ll be having two sessions at the St. John’s Credit Union building on Basra Street and this special service will really be to invite young people to take up leadership role in the Salvation Army.”

On Monday, the officers will go on a soul searching retreat in Belmopan – or in Salvation Army jargon, to have their batteries re-charged.

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