Led by Central Territory officers Lt. Colonels Phil and Sheila Davisson, the Spain and Portugal Command has steadfastly carried out the Army’s mission in these two countries hard-hit by the pandemic this year. In Portugal, The Salvation Army increased its already prolific assistance on many fronts. For instance, the night shelter in Xabregas expanded to a 24-hour operation. The Lar Marinel Nursing Care and Home Cares Service provided meal delivery service not only to homes in Sintra but also in Porto. The Eventide Home in Sintra gave tablets and computers to residents so they could keep in touch with their families and helped them deal with emotions by obtaining comfort dog named Lua. When schools closed, computers also were provided to youth at the Novo Mundo Children’s Home to ensure they could continue their studies. Especially noteworthy, the Sao Bras Corps received a commendation from the local government for their work.
In Spain which had more than 287,000 cases of COVID-19, the Army worked tirelessly to provide help through corps feeding programs and food distribution. It maintained its exemplary work with the homeless in Barcelona where the corps is led by Majors Oregui and Belinda Aria, who previously served in Chicago. In Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, a small group banded together, led by Central Territory retired officers Captains Luis and Raisi Zambrano, to distribute food to families and individuals. “There are days when we feel that the forces are not enough,” said Captain Luis, “but God renews our strength and we arrive at the end of the day with joy, ready for the next day.”
When face-to-face meetings were cancelled in both countries, corps congregations remained connected through online Bible studies, prayer meetings and united worship services. Though Spain and Portugal began allowing church services in May, most corps will continue online services and programs for some time due to insufficient space to meet safely. Work through videoconferencing tools, which the command already used with two headquarters, the training college and the field prior to forced isolation, has been strengthened.