TWO flights and a police escort-accompanied drive took General Linda Bond to Thohoyandou, South Africa, (near the border with Zimbabwe) for the commissioning and ordination of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session of cadets from the Southern Africa Territory.
The covenant day meeting on Friday was marked by simplicity. Captain Noluntu Semeno shared her early experiences as an officer, including learning that a march of witness can start with one person – herself!
The General told the cadets always to present Jesus as Saviour. She had a message for everyone in the congregation too, telling them that they are called not to a hall, but to a community. In a quiet time of intercession, the seven cadets signed their covenants in obedience to God’s call on their lives.
The next day, the territorial women’s department hosted a Silver Star meeting which honoured parents for releasing their children to become officers. Lieut-Colonel Fikile Khoza (territorial headquarters) challenged the parents not to hinder their children, but to pray for them continuously, respecting that they would belong to the people they serve.
The General sensitively shared with the parents that this day could become a dedication ceremony as they could promise anew to be examples of Jesus to their children. The cadets sang 'I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go', after which they honoured their parents with handmade gifts.
Later, on a steaming hot afternoon, Salvationists packed the Thohoyandou hall, giving the General a rousing welcome to the first public meeting.
Items from all over the territory – timbrels, drama, band and songsters – were given in worship of God. Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Herero, Swati, Tsonga and many other cultures shared their uniqueness in dance. In the midst of the jubilation, the cadets and two 'kidettes' (children of the cadets) brought the focus back firmly to God – his story becoming our story as we make history.
The General gave the reminder that, because of who God is, everyone can live a pure life, justified and redeemed by the blood of Christ.
On Sunday morning, the seven cadets of the Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session walked down the aisle, Bible in hand, to the song 'I Would be Thy Holy Temple'. Training Principal Major Lenah Jwili handed the cadets over with confidence to Territorial Commander Commissioner William Langa. The sessional song, composed by Ricardo Walters, highlighted their promise to proclaim the resurrection of Christ.
Later, the General spoke to the newly ordained lieutenants – and the congregation – about the true nature of God. 'How we understand God is how you’ll behave,' she said, adding a challenge to all Salvationists to realise that they are called to live their lives differently to the world.
During the afternoon appointments meeting, seven beaming lieutenants – and two excited children – entered amid thunderous applause to accept their first appointments. The General offered words of challenge to the new officers, using the temptations of Christ, and reminding them that they are called to a life where they are the servant not a saviour, to a life of suffering not seduction, and to a life of submission not show.
She encouraged everyone present to pray: 'I don’t know what you want me to do today God, but I am ready to do whatever you want of me.' Many people moved to the mercy seat and young people lined the stage as they publicly offered themselves for officership.
On the Monday, the General spoke at two sessions of officers councils.
Report by Captain Wendy Clack