GENERAL Linda Bond brought inspiration and challenge to Salvationists and friends in The Philippines. During the visit – her first to the country – the General spoke at several gatherings, installed the new territorial leaders and ordained and commissioned 15 lieutenants.
At Camp Jabez in Cavite, around 50 kilometres from the capital city, Manila, the General addressed more than 250 young Salvationists participating in a gospel arts camp. The General told the young people that they are 'the Army of today whose service is the best expression of their love for Jesus'. Nearly all responded to an invitation given by the General to commit or rededicate their lives to God.
The weekend celebrations commenced with officers councils on Saturday morning, where the General confidently greeted Filipino officers in their own language. The General told the gathering: 'Our mission is to preach the resurrected Christ to this broken world.' After the Bible message, officers went forward to signify decisions of deeper commitment to the Lord to be lovers of souls.
Shouts of 'Mabuhay, General!' (Welcome, General!) filled the packed Aliw Theatre complex as Salvationists and friends welcomed the international leader to the Walang Humpay na Papuri (Unlimited Praise Celebrations). Eighty junior soldiers representing 80 corps enthusiastically greeted the General, accompanied by the territorial leaders.
The General was welcomed with traditional folk songs and dances before watching colourful cultural dances followed by dynamic displays of street dance and timbrel praise. In her response, the General told the congregation that 'although we differ in a variety of things, God unites us in his love'.
After the General installed Colonels Wayne and Robyn Maxwell as leaders of The Philippines Territory the couple addressed the gathering.
Territorial Commander Colonel Wayne Maxwell in his response spoke in both Tagalog and English. The colonel concluded his comments by telling the Salvationists of The Philippines: 'We look forward to working together with you as "One Army, with One Mission and One Message".'
Colonel Robyn Maxwell (Territorial President of Women's Ministries) spoke of her passion for women’s ministry and noted that she had been impacted the previous year when she saw a photo of a Filipino woman officer walking through mud with a carabao (water buffalo). She believes that God has prepared her for this appointment.
Following the installation Colonel Robyn awarded Cebu Central Corps, from the Visayas Island Division, the women's ministries banner of achievement for 2012.
The General in her message reminded the congregation that ‘praise’ – the key word of the meeting – is not limited to the sanctuary but must be extended wherever God’s children are.
In a panel interview the General revealed the secret to her youthful energy – living by Jesus' standards. 'A simple joy,' she said, 'leaps in a person who knows Christ more and more.'
The finale of the weekend was the commissioning and ordination of the 15 cadets of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session. As the General commissioned the new lieutenants she challenged them to be true to their calling and The Salvation Army’s mission.
In her Bible message, the General spoke about the need for everyone to be transformed by God.
The Holy Spirit moved in the congregation in an overwhelming way, as seekers made their way to the front and even onto the stage to be prayed with.
In the appointment meeting, the lieutenants and their children presented a musical drama about the proclamation of the gospel from the time of the Early Church to the present day.
There was excitement as the territorial commander announced the appointments of the new lieutenants before they were all charged by the General to 'move forward together and communicate Jesus unashamedly'.
In his conclusion, the territorial commander invited the 19 accepted candidates of the Heralds of Grace Session, as well as other individuals who felt the calling of the Lord into officership, to stand with the lieutenants on the stage. Many people responded and were prayed over.
Report by Major Fe Campilan and Major Aida Selma
Edited by Lieut-Colonel Bob Lee