Message from Colonel Birgitte Brekke

Released 18 June 2009

What the WYC is all about

Welcome as a delegate to the World Youth Convention (WYC) and to the WYC Website!

Through this website we are going to get to know each other and share our stories. Some stories are already posted – and here is mine and my vision for the WYC.

I came to the International Training College in London from the Copenhagen ‘Templet’ corps, Denmark, in 1978. At the college I met Bo (Brekke) from Oslo 3 Corps, Norway. We were commissioned and got married in 1980 and then served together in the Norway, Iceland and the Faeroes Territory; Denmark; Sri Lanka; Bangladesh; the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory; the Eastern Europe Territory; and in Pakistan. While we were the Territorial Leaders of the Pakistan Territory Bo was shot dead one evening on his way home from a meeting.

Since Bo’s death I have reflected a lot about our life together. He was only 50 when he died but he was also only 21 when he said yes to becoming a Salvation Army officer. His life was too short (we had hoped for many more years together) but he spent his time well.

Bo was shot twice in the back of his head at close range and died instantly. One moment he was full of life, the next moment he was dead. Life can suddenly be over.

We do not know how much time we get, and it is has become very important to me that we do not waste any of the time given us.

I was asked recently what the WYC is about. Is it about the Army and what we should do, or should not do?

My answer: no, this is not about what the Army can do, or should do. That is an abstract discussion that won’t lead anywhere.

The Army is made up of individuals, and you are one of them. You are the Army and therefore the WYC is about you. The focus is on you.

What about you and God and the large group of people around the world that is the Army? What are you going to do together?

What is your call, your commitment to God and the mission of The Salvation Army?

That’s what the WYC is about. But what will we do before and during the WYC?

We will look to the young man Jesus, the radical. In his short life he fought the devil, spoke up for those who had no voice, healed the sick, fed the hungry, and was willing to sacrifice, suffer and die. We will look to him and his life and be inspired to live as he did.

We will look at the Army, that wonderful group of Salvationists that was raised up by God to be a fighting force for good in the world. We will look at our distinctives. What’s special about us, what is it that makes membership in the Army different from membership in any other church? By doing that we will be proud of who we are and we will be challenged to commit to the Army’s mission in the world. (Read under the heading ‘Resources’ General Shaw Clifton's book ‘New Love’ the non-negotiables of Salvationism.)

We will get to know one another and the way we live our lives in the north, the south, the east and the west. With greater knowledge will come a greater understanding of each other’s hopes, dreams and concerns, and we will be able to share our resources in a more informed way, and be more effective and efficient as we fight to make the world a better place.

There is much that needs to be done!

Welcome to the WYC!

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