Commissioner Sue Swanson Joins African Women Leaders in Prayer and Praise
FORTY-EIGHT delegates from the 13 territories, three commands and one region of The Salvation Army's Africa Zone gathered with special guest Commissioner Sue Swanson (World President of Women's Ministries) to pray, learn and share fellowship at the fifth All Africa Women Leaders' Conference. The theme of the conference – held in Harare, Zimbabwe – was 'Reproducing Generations of Leaders'.
In her Bible message at the opening meeting, Commissioner Swanson referred to the story of Elisha and the widow. 'God makes the oil,' she said. 'Pray that we may pour ourselves out for the Lord and for each other – then there will be more and more oil.'
The commissioner stated in her keynote address that 'God wants to tabernacle with us. Our role as women is to obey the command of the Lord. God never asks us to give anything except what he has given us. Will you give your gifts?'
Throughout the conference the international Women's Ministries theme for 2012, 'Come and See', was strongly featured as delegates urged each other to 'Come and see what the Lord has done', singing this chorus in their local languages.
The women leaders learned about each others' cultures, role models for the next generation, social justice, qualities of a spiritual leader, delegation and transparency in leadership. Early in the week a fellowship evening allowed the delegates to express themselves freely by dressing in African attire, singing, dancing and presenting humorous yet meaningful short dramas.
Commissioner Swanson shared happenings in women's ministries around the world and spoke of serious issues affecting women and girls.
Leading devotions on the last morning of the conference, Colonel Angelique Lukau (Territorial President of Women's Ministries, Congo Brazzaville) requested prayers for Congo. Describing the events of Sunday 4 March when explosions rocked Brazzaville, she said: 'It was the day of the cadets' welcome. In faith we went ahead with the meeting and praised God! Whole families perished that day and I wept in front of the television.'
In a sketch, Commissioner Rosemary Makina (Zonal Secretary for Women's Ministries, International Headquarters) passed on her mantle to the 'future Zonal Secretary for Africa', played by Captain Nokuthula Mahlobo (Southern Africa Territory).
The commissioner, who – with her husband Commissioner Amos Makina (International Secretary for Africa) – retires at the end of the year, was warmly saluted by her 'daughters' from all around the continent, receiving gifts in true African tradition.
As delegates met for closing worship, news was received of a military coup in Mali. Prayer was offered for regional leaders Majors Kapela and Rose-Nicole Ntoya and the people of Mali.
In the final moments of the conference Commissioner Swanson challenged the women: 'Pick up your tambourine as Miriam did and say: "Look what the Lord has done!"'
Delegates knelt in dedication to God and signed a covenant.
Report by Commissioner Dorita Wainwright
Territorial President of Women's Ministries
Kenya East Territory