The General Calls for Integrity and Visibility During First Visit to Malawi
AROUND 500 excited Salvationists and friends gathered at Chileka International Airport to welcome General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) to Malawi for commissioning and congress meetings. Despite having lived elsewhere in Africa, this was the first time the international leaders had been to the country. The joyful and enthusiastic gathering began five days of celebration, challenge, dedication and fellowship. The General challenged those gathered to be ready for God to speak to them.
High on the hill overlooking the community in Bangwe, the General opened and dedicated the newly-built corps (church) hall before a vast crowd of Salvationists and community members. He challenged the corps members to respect the new facility by looking after it and using it for the purpose it was built - saving souls and transforming lives. The General noted that the building could be seen from a distance and that the ministry of this corps should be a beacon for the whole community. After he cut the ribbon and unlocked the door, the hall filled to capacity for the celebration meeting that followed.
The international leaders were then driven to another area of the large property and told of the plans that the Malawi Territory has for the site. Project Officer Narelle Gurney explained that this property was ideal for integrated mission. She said that the vision is to be truly integrated with the surrounding community so the presence of God may be revealed.
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The Saturday night celebration concluded with several hundred people kneeling at the mercy seat in response to the General’s Bible message. The presence of the Holy Spirit was clearly evident as people walked among those who were kneeling to pray with them. Some who could not speak the local language simply laid hands on people and prayed as they moved among the crowd.
On Sunday morning the General ordained and commissioned 14 new Salvation Army officers in a moving ceremony. He then enrolled 142 senior soldiers and 105 junior soldiers. Thirty people responded to a call to officership.
Sunday meetings were attended by the Mayor of Blantyre, Mr Wild Ndipo, who had received the General and Commissioner Cox in his mayoral office a few days earlier.
Worship throughout the congress and commissioning was supported superbly by a South Africa Territory Women’s Band and a six-piece brass group from Canada, as well as the Malawi Territorial Band. The music offered by these groups, individually and when combined, showed skill and spiritual sensitivity.
Throughout the five days of the visit, the General exhorted Salvationists to be 'people of integrity who would go out into the world to do war against poverty, against exclusion and against sin in the world'.
Report by Narelle Gurney
- Photos from the visit are available to download from the IHQ Flickr stream: sar.my/genmal