by Viki Payton
From God’s calling of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) to Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), it’s clear God’s plan always has been for His people to be a blessing to all the nations. Central Territory Salvationist Mitchell Rutledge is experiencing exactly how The Salvation Army is meeting God’s challenge to “be a blessing to all nations.”
Mitchell’s interest in foreign relations originally stemmed from his love of government and politics. His understanding that people of all cultures are created in God’s image developed his desire to work in diplomacy and international affairs and informs his plans and goals.
This summer Mitchell completed an internship with SAWSO (The Salvation Army World Service Office) where he spent the bulk of his time researching and writing case studies based on two Salvation Army ministries in Athens, Greece.
The first ministry is a refugee day center where staff help meet the needs of the growing refugee population in Athens. They provide classes in Greek, English, finance, sewing, cooking and other resourceful topics that will help asylum seekers settle into their new life in Greece.
The second ministry, an anti-human trafficking endeavor called the Green Light Project, is based in a red-light district in Athens. It provides a drop-in center where women are cared for with food, medical attention, sleeping pods, etc. They also are encouraged to take part in classes at the refugee center.
The case studies Mitchell wrote will be used to see how these unique faith-based outreach programs are impacting their communities and will encourage others to follow similar models.
This isn’t Mitchell’s first experience with The Salvation Army internationally. Given his interest in international diplomacy, he completed a summer abroad study program in Moscow, Russia, the summer after his junior year of high school. During his almost three months there, he studied Russian language and culture. He used Google and Facebook to connect with the local Salvation Army and found his way to the corps on public transportation. He was welcomed with open arms and became a part of the young adult group—living proof of our Salvation Army family’s hospitality.
Mitchell is currently a sophomore at the American University of Paris where he is studying history, law and society.