The General and Commissioner Silvia Cox Bring Encouragement in Cuba and the Dominican Republic
THE VISIT of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) to the Latin America North Territory began in Cuba, where the theme of the congress, Tocados Por Su Gloria [Touched by His Glory] became a reality for Cuban Salvationists and friends.
The General was welcomed by Miss Maria de Los Angeles from the Cuban Office of Religious Affairs, who spoke about the important work carried out by The Salvation Army in Cuba.
In the welcome meeting a congregation of more than 1,000 people – some of whom had travelled for 16 hours by public transport – united in singing praises with the help of the Puerto Rico and Virgin Island Divisional Band (USA Eastern Territory). Worship began with praises to God set to Caribbean rhythms before the congregation members were challenged to give their all to their Lord and Saviour.
The Caribbean flavour continued in a cultural night, where the rhythm of 'Guantanamera' proved popular. Cuban Salvationists demonstrated their talents, through a variety of presentations, including drama, poetry and Caribbean dance.
The young people of Cuba had opportunity to ask questions of the international leaders during the youth rally. The General explained that taking care of his spiritual life is one of his biggest priorities. In her Bible message, Commissioner Cox encouraged the young people to learn more about Jesus and have a personal relationship with him.
At the women's event on Saturday afternoon, more than 600 women joined in celebration and committed themselves to be useful to the Lord. During the singing of 'Change My Heart O God' more than 50 women made their way to the mercy seat to pray for their families and their personal relationship with God. The meeting included typical Cuban dance and testimonies about how God has changed people's lives.
The final meeting before the international leaders left Cuba was a Sunday morning holiness meeting. The highlight of the gathering was the enrolment of 115 senior soldiers.
The following day the General and Commissioner Cox flew to the nearby Dominican Republic, where they became the first active international leaders to visit the country. They were welcomed by a government official, Congressman Alexis Jimenez, Rotary Club Representative Mrs Angelita Rodriguez, and a group of Dominican women.
More than 300 women gathered in worship and prayer under the leadership of Commissioner Cox at an event that took the title 'Under the Shadow of God'. In her Bible message the commissioner encouraged her listeners to realise that they can rest in the shadow of God’s love, in his presence and in his victory. Precious moments were experienced in God's presence at the mercy seat.
The General, who had been a member of Rotary while living in Zimbabwe, attended a lunch at the Oriental Dominican Republic Club, where the club president, Miss Minerva Acosta, expressed appreciation for the work of the Salvation Army in the poorest communities and the disposition of the Army always to help people. In appreciation for the work of The Salvation Army the General was made an honorary member of the club. In response, the General recognised Rotary Club member Mrs Angelita Rodriguez for her valuable contribution to The Salvation Army's mission in the Dominican Republic.
At the main public meeting, a congregation of 350 worshipped together in the presence of God. The General gave the challenge to be visible Christians in their communities, because the message of Christ needs to be heard in this world. In response, soldiers and young people surrendered their lives at the mercy seat, searching for a lasting and deeper relationship with God.
The enrolment of 45 soldiers demonstrated that The Salvation Army is moving forward in the Dominican Republic, a fact that was borne out by the many young people who indicated their acceptance of a calling to officership.
Report by Major Loraine Medina
Education Officer, College for Officer Training
Latin America North Territory