'Finding Love in All the Right Places' (Spring 2005)
Indrani Poddar first heard about Jesus from missionaries to her home country of India. She found the Lord for herself through a Salvation Army church in Atlanta, but her Hindu parents tried to separate her from her new church and friends, including her fianc?, Salvation Army Captain Sirkant Bhatnagar. Late last year, when Indrani went back to India for some medical treatments, she faced a harrowing situation, which she describes:
Shortly after I arrived, I learned my parents had quickly started plans for an arranged marriage after I had received my medical care. Then I discovered my documents were missing so that I could not leave.
My fianc? came to my aid and made the perilous journey to my home in India. We were able to get away and make it back to the United States unharmed but not without several anxious moments. He brought copies of my documents and even brought a copy, for identification purposes, of the Priority! magazine that told my story and had photos of me.
Although we had spoken of marriage, [Sirkant and I] thought it would be some time in the future if it worked out at all. However, because of my situation, The Salvation Army granted permission for our marriage, which took place March 30. [Normally, a Salvation Army officer's spouse is also an officer.]
Since arriving in Irving, Texas [where my husband is pastor of a Salvation Army Indian church], I have become deeply involved in the ministry. God continues to teach me new things every day, and He is blessing my ministry in so many different ways.
My plans are to enter the School for Officer Training in Atlanta, Ga., in 2007 so that I can finally fulfill my calling from God [and become an officer myself]. In the meantime I will serve God in every way possible.
I pray that I may be a witness to my parents as I talk with them about my faith in God. One of my greatest desires is to see them believe and accept Jesus as their own personal Savior. I would be happy for anyone who is interested to pray for my parents and me as I try to share my testimony of God's mercy and grace.
'AGAFE: A Heart-Language Support Group for Transplant Patients' (Fall 2005)
Luis ("Wichy") Diaz, who needed a liver transplant in 1998 but could find no support group for Spanish speakers, was the inspiration for AGAFE, a Spanish-language support group for transplant candidates, at the Buffalo Temple Salvation Army church. Luis received a transplant in 2000 but needed another. Captain Sam Gonzalez sent the "sad news" that Wichy died awaiting that transplant. But Gonzalez reports that Wichy's legacy lives on through AGAFE.
It was Luis' desire for AGAFE to continue its mission of supporting others, as we did with him, and as he himself did with others in hospitals and homes. Let me share with you the blessing/impact this support group has had. You might recall Blanca's case [she needed a liver transplant but came to AGAFE because she was suffering from depression]. She spent weeks with Reina (Wichy's wife) at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, providing 24-hour support to them there. We provided transportation two to three times a week to Rochester, with 25–30 people going there each time. The last weekend, another lady (whom AGAFE had helped while her husband was awaiting liver transplant) also stayed with Reina. We have seen John 13:34–35 "alive" during these last two months of Wichy's life. To Him be the glory!
John 13:34–35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
'Faith for Healing Against All Odds' (Prayer Power, Fall 2005)
Bernard Porelli said he believed prayer would bring complete healing for cancer that had spread through his body. Captain David Wetzel sends this update about Bernard, who lives in Scotland. Bernard is father-in-law to Wetzel's son, David Wetzel Jr.
In September 2005, Bernard started to have headaches that painkillers wouldn't touch. Then, just before Christmas, he experienced double vision. An MRI revealed a tumor behind his eye.
In May 2006, bone scans showed improvement in cancer "hot spots," but an MRI showed that the brain tumor had grown. Yet Bernard's double vision had disappeared and his headaches had improved, which doctors could not explain. The prognosis is not good, but Bernard remains confident.
"My doctors can do nothing for me. The cancer is too widespread ... but I know that this sickness will not end in death. I know that I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord....
"At the beginning of all this, the Lord gave me a Scripture: Isaiah 41:10-13. 'Do not fear [Bernard] for I am with you. Keep your eyes on me. I will strengthen you and hold you by the hand through this time. Your enemy [the cancer] will be shamed and dishonored, and there is a day coming when I will remove it and it will be as nonexistent.'
"The battle is not over yet, and I need you to keep praying for me. I am strong in faith but weak in body.... Keep praying Psalm 140:7 over me, 'that the Lord will continue to shield my head in this day of battle.' "
Bernard adds that speaking God's Word aloud has been a great weapon in his battle.
"Let me encourage those of you who need God to do something in your life—whether it's healing or finances or to be delivered from depression or habits—search God's Word and speak it out loud every day, twice or three times a day if need be, and as you do this, the power that is in God's word will be released in you and your faith will increase...."