The General and Commissioner Silvia Cox Make History Across Eastern Europe
A LONG-awaited event became reality when General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) visited four countries of The Salvation Army's Eastern Europe Territory – Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. The visit to Romania was the first by a Salvation Army General. In each of the four countries the international leaders were given a traditional welcome of bread and salt.
In Romania the General and Commissioner Cox visited corps (churches) and danced with children at Ploiești. At the SALVATtex warehouse they spoke with people undertaking work training by sorting donated goods for the Army’s recently opened first shop in Bucharest. They also joined the Army’s new mobile medical team in its work on the streets of the Romanian capital.
In Moldova they witnessed a similar ministry when they joined the long-standing mobile clinic which provides medical services to remote communities. In Dolinoe village on Sunday morning the General spoke to local people about God's healing touch to the broken soul.
During the public meetings held in Romania, Moldova and Georgia, representatives of different corps testified to God’s work in their lives through physical healing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Testimony was also given of God's power to love and rescue and of the way in which he is working in corps and communities. The message of 'God's Priceless Kingdom' was illustrated in beautiful ways through the singing of young people, words of witness, and by timbrels echoing across the stage. Dance in national costumes in Romania and Georgia illustrated local traditions.
Two young people in Romania interviewed the General. Under their questioning he revealed that he is a fan of Manchester United football team and that his favourite Bible hero is Joshua.
In Moldova, the divisional band played in the public meeting. In Georgia, the regional youth worship band led the congregation with vibrant singing in Georgian and Russian.
Following the Bible message in Georgia, many people knelt and responded to a calling to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. A large number also gathered on the platform to express their interest in becoming Salvation Army officers, reflecting their desire to be agents of change in an often-fractured world.
During officers councils in all four countries, the General and Commissioner Cox both shared the challenge to live out the message of the living, practical gospel. The General called everyone to be holy in today's complex world. In Ukraine, officers responded to the General's urging to be true to their calling and to maintain their zeal and passion for serving others.
Throughout the public meeting in Georgia, a cameraman and interviewer were present, taking appropriate video clips. These clips, coupled with an interview with the General, featured on the Georgian TV station Tabula, giving Khsnis Armia [The Salvation Army] some good publicity. The conclusion of the meeting included another historic moment as, for the first time ever, the Founder’s song, ‘O Boundless Salvation!’, was sung in the Georgian language. This moving rendition brought the curtain down on a visit to the Eastern Europe Territory that will live long in the memory of those who were able to be a part of it.
Report compiled by Lieut-Colonel Magna Våje Nielsen
- Photos of the visit can be downloaded from the IHQ Flickr stream at sar.my/geneet