A VISIT to Haiti gave General Linda Bond the opportunity to see the progress of The Salvation Army's rebuilding work, following the devastating earthquake of January 2010. She also shared in worship with Haitian Salvationists and met children from The Salvation Army's College Verena.
More than 1,000 people crowded a banquet hall in Port-au-Prince to welcome the General with song, dance and united worship. From start to finish there was a spirit of joy and excitement, along with a steady stream of guests arriving from across the country.
The General told the Salvationists of Haiti: 'I’m proud of your Christlike service.' She praised officers, soldiers, employees and friends for their embodiment of the International Vision for the Army in the days, months and years following the 2010 earthquake; joining together as one Army to share the love and message of Christ. She delivered a message of hope and encouragement, along with a challenge to pray for revival in the Army that brought hundreds to the mercy seat.
Twenty junior soldiers and 50 senior soldiers were enrolled during the meeting. The General encouraged them to be different through the power of Christ and his Holy Spirit. She assured them of the prayer support not only of those who were present but also Salvationists around the world.
A tour of the Delmas 2 construction site – which will eventually become home to a school, health clinic, offices, conference centre with accommodation and corps (church) – left the General impressed not only with the plans for the buildings but also for the longer-term effect on the community. Haitian contractor ARCOTEC is committed to hiring and training unskilled workers from the community to participate in the construction. They will walk away with a livelihood for their families and ownership in the buildings and the community.
'That’s important,' said the General. 'They’ll be able to look at the new buildings and say they had a hand in them.' Before leaving the site, she prayed for the people involved in the construction – particularly the architect and contractor – and for the ministry that will be carried out in the buildings.
The General met children who will benefit from the new facilities at a lively send-off at The Salvation Army's College Verena, where she joined the Haiti Division in its weekly Thursday morning call to prayer. Following the prayer-time the Haitian and Salvation Army flags were raised, with hundreds of children singing the Haitian national anthem followed by 'O Boundless Salvation!' The gathering also included songs from the College Verena Gospel Choir, dance items and the presentation of small tokens of appreciation.
The General was shown around the school and toured the Port-au-Prince clinic before leaving the children with the message: 'I love you, The Salvation Army loves you and, more important than anything else, God loves you.'
Report by Kara Langford
Haiti Recovery & Development Office