THE Call to Mission of international Salvation Army leader General Brian Peddle has inspired the 750 delegates who attended the 28th Territorial Youth Congress of the India South Western Territory, held in early May 2019 at Adoor Marthoma Youth Centre, South Kerala. On the final day of the ‘Ready to Serve’ event, more than 500 young people encountered the Holy Spirit and dedicated themselves to God.
India South Western Territory’s Chief Secretary (second-in-command), Lieut-Colonel Joginder Masih, delivered the keynote address at the outset of the congress which also provided opportunities for the young delegates to consider matters of academic discipline, careers guidance, cyber protection and The Salvation Army’s doctrinal perspective on the sacraments. A camp fire on the second day served as a visual metaphor for the consumption of all that hinders the unity of the Church.
The event was underpinned by prayer, with 24-hour prayer chains continuing throughout the four days of the gathering. Social media tools such as WhatsApp and Facebook Live were used to ensure that Salvationists elsewhere in the territory and around the world could take part in the worship, teaching and prayer.
Many delegates took part in cultural programmes and performed different types of music and dance on stage. A high standard was maintained, with skilled performances across various genres. God-glorifying talent competitions also celebrated individual and group achievements throughout the territory.
The congress also served as the launch of the Salvation Army Mission Network, intended to create opportunities for those outside the Church to encounter Salvationists with a contemporary, relevant, 21st-century faith. To this end, the streets of Adoor City were filled with Salvationists for three hours on the Saturday during a public march of witness. The march saw the Christian message being shared creatively through music, flags, placards and words from Scripture amplified by a mobile public address system. Bands from each division played a variety of music to the public for the first time.
The Holy Spirit was encountered daily, but most powerfully during the final day’s activities. As Territorial Commander Colonel Nihal Hettiarachchi brought a final Bible message, an astonishing 520 young people – nearly 70 per cent of the delegates – felt the call on their lives and made a public act of commitment at the mercy seat. Twenty-nine of the respondents sought prayer specifically in response to the call to become Salvation Army officers. They indeed felt ‘Ready to Serve’.
From a report by Captain Ajesh Kumar Joseph
Territorial Youth Secretary, India South Western