PRAISE and celebration were the hallmarks of the visit to Liberia of the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William A. Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy L. Roberts (World Secretary for Women's Ministries). The international leaders were in Liberia to celebrate 25 years of The Salvation Army's ministry.
Hundreds of Salvationists and friends greeted the visitors on their arrival in Liberia, including two junior soldiers dressed in traditional costume and Officer Commanding Lieut-Colonel Festus Oloruntoba. The Chief told the crowd that he was looking forward to a joyful occasion.
The welcome meeting on Thursday was titled 'A Celebration of Praise'. The united songster item 'All Hail, All Hail, Liberia Hail', brought the congregation of 1,500 people – including Commissioner Nancy Roberts – to their feet, dancing and singing along. The command band also participated.
In her Bible talk, Commissioner Roberts encouraged everyone who had gathered for this special occasion to be aware that the weekend was a sacred time. The Chief spoke about praising God and reflecting on what he has done in times past.
On Friday, three rallies were held in three different venues with three different themes. The youth rally took the theme 'Twenty-five Years of Dedication and Commitment', the women's rally was titled: 'Women of Value ... Walk Worthy' and the men's focus was: 'Men of Issachar ... Forward into Victory'.
The Chief of the Staff called into the youth rally first, where he spoke to the young people about living and serving by example. Commissioner Nancy Roberts used the women's rally as an opportunity for encouragement, telling her listeners that they are special, important and unique. During the men’s rally sharing time the Chief spoke on the role of men in the Church. He said that men are called to lead, labour, listen and love.
On Saturday the sense of celebration spread across three sessions that included much singing and cultural dancing. In the morning session the Chief of the Staff told the congregation that the presence of Christ brings about transformation. The afternoon session included an art exhibition featuring works by students from Salvation Army schools.
The day included the unveiling of a special 'corner stone of the command' at Monrovia Sinkor Corps (church), Liberia's first corps.
At the evening session, after the Chief witnessed many cultural items he told the congregation: 'We may be different in culture but we are one in Christ.'
Sunday began with a march of witness through the Paynesville Community, with the international visitors taking the salute from more than 1,500 marchers. The holiness meeting which followed was attended by the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, the Hon Joseph Boakia, who had graciously received Commissioners Roberts in his office on Thursday. The vice president paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela who, he said, was a great man. But he was quick to say that no person is greater than Jesus Christ.
Sixty-three soldiers were enrolled by the Chief of the Staff before his final Bible message. Sixty-five people moved to the mercy seat for prayer.
The weekend of celebration concluded on Monday with God-blessed officers councils.
Report by Captain Samson G. Kanmoe
Field Training Officer