GENERAL André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) enjoyed a packed itinerary during their visit to Indonesia, which included centenary celebrations in Central Sulawesi.
The international leaders were welcomed to Indonesia by territorial leaders Commissioners Michael and Joan Parker, members of cabinet and senior officer leaders of Bala Keselamatan (The Salvation Army).
More than 1,000 people attended the Celebration of Praise in Jakarta at which Commissioner Cox preached to a packed crowd. Dozens of seekers responded to the appeal by kneeling at the mercy seat. Officers councils, for Java Bali and North Sumatra Divisions, and local officers councils were also held.
A businessmen's lunch in Jakarta to launch the territory’s new strategy for public relations and fundraising provided an opportunity to highlight the ministry and work of The Salvation Army to invited guests including the Swiss Ambassador. The General thanked those in attendance for their support and outlined the importance of The Salvation Army's integrated mission. He told his audience that the territory's 100 schools, 20 hospitals and clinics and 20 homes for children and the elderly are all part of Salvationists' expression of love for God and their neighbours.
Speeches, music, cultural dance and the support of Camberwell Citadel Band from Australia Southern Territory made for a very special event.
The 30 members of the Australian band also travelled with the General to Palu, Central Sulawesi, for meetings to celebrate 100 years of Salvation Army ministry in the region.
Around 4,000 people, including government officials and ecumenical leaders, attended the Centennial Congress in Palu. Visitors from Australia, Singapore and The Netherlands shared in the celebrations, and the opening programme was attended by the Minister of Religious Affairs.
The General challenged the congregation to lead upright lives and to make the future years even greater than the past.
Special features during the congress included:
- a praise and worship meeting at which Commissioner Hans van Vliet (territorial commander, The Netherlands and Czech Republic) encouraged the 3,000-strong congregation to be the salt of the earth;
- the opening and dedication to God of the new Woodward Corps building by the General;
- councils attended by more than 500 officers;
- seminars for local officers and for youth;
- a special Sunday school for more than 700 children and their leaders. Many of the young people responded to the message from Commissioner Silvia Cox by moving forward and kneeling in prayer.
Commissioner Cox also spoke at a women’s rally where 240 women made a public response to the Bible message. At the men’s rally Colonel Peter Walker (Chief Secretary, Australia Southern Territory) spoke about the importance of the altar. Many people responded to the colonel's challenge by kneeling at the mercy seat.
A cultural evening of music and dance portrayed the rich diversity of the island of Sulawesi. Traditional bamboo bands, a string ensemble, timbrels and vocal groups wearing colourful traditional costume enhanced the evening. Camberwell Citadel Band again provided excellent support.
At the Sunday Praise and Worship Finale the General officiated at the enrolment of more than 200 new soldiers. After the General gave the Bible message the altar call resulted in a large number of seekers committing themselves to a life of following Christ, with many responding also to the call to serve the Lord as officers in The Salvation Army.
The congress was reported in local, national and Christian newspapers. Radio Cakrawela (Salvation Army Radio) broadcast the events to villages in the mountains and rain forests of Central Sulawesi.
During their time in Palu the General and Commissioner Cox visited Salvation Army facilities including a school, hospital and nursing academy (which has 450 in training at the moment) as well as several corps (churches).
Report by Major Bambang White