22 September 2014

ON a whirlwind four-city tour of America’s Midwest, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) inspired more than 5,800 Salvationists to live out their faith with a sense of urgency, knowing God’s Word and confidently sharing the gospel. At rallies and receptions, Salvationists from the USA Central Territory responded unabashedly to the international leaders’ message but also to their sense of humour, genuineness and approachability.

During meetings across the territory the mercy seat was lined time and again with people seeking Christ, and 118 people made a public declaration for officership. After meetings, throngs of people lined up to have their Bibles and Army flags signed and with cameras to take the ever-present selfies with the General and Commissioner Cox. ‘We’re not made of chocolate – we can be man-handled a bit!’ quipped the General, inviting people to feel free to meet them.

From shaking the hand of Alexandria Eddy, who was enrolled as a junior soldier in Detroit, Michigan, to kneeling to talk with 106-year-old soldier Stella Lennox, in Rockford, Illinois, the General and Commissioner Cox showed their interest in engaging with the people of the USA Central Territory.

First on the itinerary, the cadets welcome and soldiers rally not only introduced the 22-member Messengers of Light Session but also gave a taste of the rich talent and cultures in the Metropolitan Division. The meeing also included music from the territory’s own Chicago Staff Band. Cadets sat in rapt attention as they received a charge replete with wisdom from Commissioner Cox, and later the large audience gathered in small groups at the General’s urging to seek God’s blessing. ‘If ever there was a need for The Salvation Army in our world, it’s now,’ the General proclaimed.

In Kansas City, Missouri, the international leaders met with the Metro Area Advisory Board before a soldiers rally full of Midwestern flare brought together three divisions, not only in attendance but also through personal testimonies, a combined band and a massed singing company of 100 children.

In the Northern Division the General reached thousands of listeners through an interview on a Christian radio station and then rallied the troops at an exhilarating Celebration of Salvationism, where 26 junior and senior soldiers were enrolled. Commissioner Cox gave the main Bible message, focusing on the reason for the celebration – Jesus!

The biggest congregation of the visit was in Detroit, where a one-day ‘Dream Congress’ based at the Cobo Center included the enrolment of 24 senior and 15 junior soldiers, a concert in a downtown plaza by a 90-member massed band, and a festival showcasing stories of dreams that had been realised in Detroit – such as the William Booth Legal Aid Clinic – that have made a tremendous difference for thousands of people.

The international leaders’ last stop was at the College for Officer Training, on Chicago’s lakefront, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Supported as they had been for the entire trip by territorial leaders Commissioners Paul R. and Carol Seiler, the General and Commissioner Cox spoke about The Salvation Army’s internationalism, addressed current issues and encouraged cadets in their spiritual development, leaving them with the challenge: ‘Get out there and win the world for Jesus!’

Report by Elizabeth Kinzie

 

Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General