With the recent additions of Burkina Faso, Gabon and Samoa, The Salvation Army is officially recognized in 131 countries worldwide. See the exciting news from International Headquarters below for details!
The central African nation of Gabon became the 129th country where The Salvation Army’s presence is officially recognised during a weekend of celebration and prayer in the country’s capital, Libreville, led by Commissioners Benjamin and Grace Mnyampi (International Secretary for Africa and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries), supported by Commissioners Onal and Edmane Castor, territorial leaders of the Congo (Brazzaville) Territory.
The new ministry in Gabon is overseen by the Congo (Brazzaville) Territory, which sent a large delegation to the special event, including officers, soldiers, bandsmen and songsters. The Salvation Army in Gabon has also been established in other towns such as Latoursville, Moanda, Franceville and Port-Gentil.
The celebration began with the Founder’s Song, ‘O Boundless Salvation!’, followed by prayer and thanksgiving.
A message from General André Cox was read to the congregation, calling for The Salvation Army in Gabon to preach the message of ‘Christ crucified and risen for the salvation of those who are lost in sin … nothing more, nothing less’.
The International Secretary for Africa reminded the people of Gabon that, as the work of The Salvation Army begins officially in their country, it is important that Gabonese Salvationists remember that Jesus Christ will build his Church, not mere men and women. The Salvation Army in Gabon, he said, must be built on a foundation of substantial depth so that it is solid and unyielding. Emphasis must be placed on the teaching of the Word of God and fulfilling the Army’s mission.
Commissioner Benjamin Mnyampi took the Gabonese Salvation Army flag and presented it to Commissioner Onal Castor who, in turn, handed it over to the officers in charge of the work in Gabon, Captains Alexis and Irma Zola. The international secretary offered words of prayer and the Salvationists and friends of Gabon responded joyfully. The captains took the flag and marched while the Salvationists followed around the hall, saluting and cheering.
Other highlights of the historic celebration were the swearing in of two senior soldiers and the enrolement of six junior soldiers by Commissioner Benjamin Mnyampi and the dedication to God of five babies by Commissioner Grace Mnyampi.
The ceremony was enriched by music from Gabon’s Salvationists, including the songsters, home league singers and timbrel brigade from Libreville Outpost. Music was also provided by the Congo (Brazzaville) Territorial Band, territorial songsters, home league singers and timbrel brigade.
Praise and glory were given to God for opening the door to Salvation Army ministry in Gabon.
From a report by Marcel Tsiba Madzou, Congo (Brazzaville) Territory
Following consultation with The Salvation Army’s International Management Council, and after a long period of preparation and exploratory work, General André Cox (now ret.) approved the official recognition of the Army’s work in the west African country of Burkina Faso, making it the 130th country in which The Salvation Army has a legally and officially recognised ministry.
In 2005 it was decided that, should the Army ever work in Burkina Faso, it would do so initially under the supervision of the Ghana Territory. It was subsequently decided, however, that as Burkina Faso is French-speaking, and French is not one of the languages spoken in Ghana, it would be advantageous if any new work in Burkina Faso were to come under the auspices of the Mali Region.
In 2011, word was received at International Headquarters (IHQ) from Major Eugene Dikalembolovanga, at that time the Regional Officer in Mali, to indicate that a ‘national receipt’ had been received from the authorities in Burkina Faso, which authorised The Salvation Army to preach anywhere in the country. Later the same year it was reported that The Salvation Army had received registration in Burkina Faso. However, it was apparent that the local understanding of registration was not fully in line with basic requirements from IHQ, so work continued on developing registration documents that would satisfy the authorities in Burkina Faso and meet the requirements of IHQ. The Salvation Army was operating out of three centres in the country, and was growing at an encouraging pace.
By the autumn of 2012 it was felt that, once some outstanding matters relating to the Army’s constitution and funding issues had been resolved, a position would be reached to give official recognition to the Army’s presence in Burkina Faso. Such legal matters take considerable time to resolve, but the way has now been cleared for the official recognition to take place.
Captains André and Fatouma Togo, officers from Mali, are currently leading the work in Burkina Faso, including a corps (church) in the capital, Ouagadougou. The captains were trained in the Democratic Republic of Congo Territory, and have served there and in Zimbabwe prior to being appointed to Burkina Faso.
The official opening, under the leadership of Commissioners Benjamin and Grace Mnyampi (International Secretary for Africa, IHQ, and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries), will take place in Ouagadougou on 25-27 August 2018. Included in the weekend’s programme will be men’s and women’s rallies, a youth concert and an officers’meeting.
In a country whose motto is ‘Unity – Progress – Justice’, we pray that the ministry of The Salvation Army will contribute to those aims in the years ahead.
Report by IHQ Communications
Following consultation with the International Management Council, General André Cox (now ret.) approved the official recognition of Salvation Army work in the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa). The official start of work will be 1 August 2018, with inauguration meetings taking place during the first weekend of the month, 3-5 August.
In 1984, contact was first made with the Samoan authorities by the then-regional commander in Fiji. A further contact was made in 2001 and, following receipt of a letter from the Prime Minister of Samoa in 2017, it was felt that the time was now right to engage in moves to seek official registration for The Salvation Army, and to appoint officers to begin to develop plans for a ministry there.
In his correspondence from March 2017 the Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’illele Malielegaoi, expressed a keen interest in having The Salvation Army begin work on the islands, citing drug and alcohol dependency as key issues he felt The Salvation Army could address. He wrote: ‘I like to think you were divinely guided … to bring the good news of your work for Samoa.’
Plans were soon put in place to establish a corps (church) and an addiction treatment centre. Violence against women and children was another key area that was suggested as a focus for the Army’s ministry. Sunday meetings have been taking place since May 2018, and employees, engaged to be involved in the addictions programme, began work in June.
With legal registration now in place, along with an approved budget for the first three years, and officers appointed to lead the work – Lieut-Colonels Rod and Jenny Carey (regional officers), along with Captain Miriama Simanu (planting officer) – the work will develop under the auspices of Salvation Army leadership in New Zealand.
To reflect the new opening, the name of the territory has been changed to New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory.
Report by IHQ Communications