07 April 2017

THOUSANDS of Salvationists and friends from across The Philippines gathered at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City for a congress to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Salvation Army ministry in the country. Guest leaders General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) offered encouragement and challenge to delegates in the arena and also to thousands of people watching online. Corps (churches) across the territory watched the live stream during their holiness meetings, making it possible for the congress to be accessible to a far greater number of people.

Powerful stories of God’s faithfulness, provision and healing were shared in the men’s and women’s rallies. The General reminded the men that, if they want to see change in a country marred by crimes that are mostly committed by men, they themselves should be changed and transformed by the power of God. 

At the women’s rally, four women were recognised for their years of faithfulness and service. One had won her son – now an officer – for Christ, and another brought her family to God and bravely shared the gospel with her neighbours. After Commissioner Cox's Bible message, the cross-shaped mercy seat was lined with seekers earnestly praying in response to the challenge.

Hundreds of young people attended the Saturday evening youth spectacular. In an interview, the General spoke about his approach to some of the big subjects of the world today and also addressed more candid issues, like how a young person should prepare if he or she wanted to become General of The Salvation Army. Commissioner Cox exhorted the young people to spend time reading God's Word, to pray and to allow the Holy Spirit to transform them. 

Sunday events began with the commissioning and ordination of the four cadets of the Joyful Intercessors Session. In his Bible message, the General encouraged the congregation to be salt and light in the world. When the invitation was given to kneel in prayer, people flocked forward, including groups who – with their corps officers – gathered to pray together for their ministry in the community. Those who had responded to the call for officership were asked to join the newly commissioned lieutenants and cadets on the platform as a public witness to their commitment.

Later, there was great excitement at the appointment meeting and celebration when Territorial Commander Colonel Priscilla Nanlabi announced the cadets’ out-training locations and the new lieutenants’ first appointments. 

The congress concluded with a time of praise for God’s goodness and faithfulness. Cultural music, dance and creative expressions of praise were featured, along with testimonies to God’s greatness. The territory’s mission partners, including Father Rex Reyes Jr, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in The Philippines, were recognised and invited to join in the symbolic cutting of the anniversary cake.

Before leaving the country to return to International Headquarters in London, the General and Commissioner Cox visited the officer training college and the Joyville and Bethany Children's Homes.

The main congress events were preceded by a young professionals and candidates conference and a territorial youth congress. More than 50 young people responded to the call for officership.

Report by Major Aida G. Selma

Tags: South Pacific and East Asia, The General