A WHISTLE-STOP island-hopping tour of the Caribbean enabled General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) to sample Salvation Army life in five countries in just over a week! In each country, it was clear that local Salvationists were excited to join in worship with their international leaders, with some locations receiving a visit from a General for the first time in many years. The visitors were accompanied throughout their visit by territorial leaders Commissioners Gerrit and Eva Marseille.
The international leaders' first port of call was Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. Delmas 2 Corps (church) was filled to capacity for a lively youth rally, with music offered by a united youth choir and the divisional band. A worship team from Lafferonay Corps lifted the spirits of the whole congregation in praise and adoration of Jesus, and Commissioner Cox spoke in a personal way to the young people about the depth of their commitment to the Lord.
The Sunday morning holiness meeting was charged with the excitement at the enrolment of 47 soldiers. In his Bible message, the General challenged his listeners to live out the gospel as it is preached. Many people went forward in response to the call to officership.
The next day, the journey continued to French Guiana. The international and territorial leaders were received by Regional Commander Major Alisthene Simeon and the Mayor of the Parish of Matoury, Mr Gabriel Serville, who expressed words of encouragement, offering his gratitude to the Army for its work. The regional band and a group called Active-F-Eight presented a welcome song in a local rhythm.
On Wednesday the General and his party arrived in Suriname in time for the youth rally. A united choir and the regional worship team were reinforced by a military band whose rhythmical gospel classics were received with great enthusiasm. Home league women added to the joyful occasion with a colourful traditional dance, and more dance – this time of the worship variety – was presented by a young women’s regional dance group.
Next on the itinerary was Barbados. The General commented on the beauty of the island but also offered these thought-provoking questions: What difference does the Word of God have on us, in the way that we think and act? What difference do we as Salvationists and Christians show the world because of our relationship with Jesus Christ? What impact do we have on the world around us as we seek to be like Jesus and follow the Great Commission?
Finally, the visitors headed to Jamaica, where they were greeted at the airport in Kingston by the rhythmic strains of the Caribbean Territorial Band and the joyful singing of soldiers and friends. The General greeted everyone and thanked them for a truly warm welcome.
On Sunday the General challenged his listeners to have an undivided heart, so they can triumph over evil. The call to consecration and full-time service was answered in a practical demonstration of surrender at the mercy seat.
The afternoon meeting gave opportunity for a grand expression of praise to God. The General encouraged everyone to bathe The Salvation Army in prayer and to participate with the rest of the international Army throughout 2015 in Boundless ... the Whole World Reading, the Bible-reading challenge to read together through the New Testament as part of the Army's 150th anniversary celebrations.
The call for prayer was repeated in a vocal selection by Sunbeams from Top Hill Corps, who sang: ‘Pray on, stay on your knees for this is where the victory’s won.’ Commissioner Cox, in her Bible message, emphasised the obligation of every Salvationists to witness to their faith. There was a tremendous response to the call to affirm that, by the grace of God, his people will share the news of God’s power to save.
At the end of the meeting, and led by the General joyfully waving a flag, the congregation shared in a time of praise and thanksgiving to God for the outpouring of his Spirit through the ministry of the international leaders.
Report by Lieut-Colonel Vevene Jonas