GENERAL Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries) took the good news of the gospel to Salvationists and friends along the full length of The Salvation Army’s USA Western Territory. They began in Anchorage, Alaska, and travelled southwards to four other locations: Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
The international leaders took part in public meetings with Salvationists and friends in each location. They shared news of The Salvation Army’s international ministry and spoke about the movement’s momentum, which continues even through difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘They are passionate leaders, with a steadfast commitment to Christ,’ said Territorial Commander Commissioner Douglas Riley. ‘They share that with the world, and they want the world to know Jesus.’
The General delivered messages centred on the living hope that is available through Christ – hope that ‘marches on’. The General said: ‘God has a plan for his Church. We will stand tall and strong. We will stand firm on the gospel principles that we understand to be truly relevant. We will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will call men and women to repentance; we will offer the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in their lives.’
Enrolments were a feature of each meeting, beginning in Alaska with the swearing-in of nine senior soldiers. As he moved southwards through the territory, the General enrolled junior and senior soldiers and adherents, with groups big enough to fill the stages of the various venues. A time of prayer and recommitment in San Francisco resulted in several people moving forward to declare a calling to full-time ministry as Salvation Army officers.
The rich cultural diversity of the USA Western Territory was on display at every venue, with worship including a song in English and Tlingit (the language spoken by the Tlingit indigenous people from the coastal regions of Alaska and western Canada), a Fijian dance, a performance from a youth mariachi group (a traditional Mexican music style) and Hawaiian hula dancers. Additionally, Scripture and prayers were offered in English, Spanish, Korean and Marshallese.
In Hawaii, the international leaders toured the Ray and Joan Kroc community centre where the General picked up some pointers from a personal trainer. While he was being shown around the fitness centre, Commissioner Rosalie spoke with a group of women engaged in Bible study outside on the lanai (a Hawaiian term for a covered veranda). The commissioner said: ‘I was delighted to see that, with all the amazing facilities and state-of-the-art equipment, God’s word was right at the heart of everything that happens in the centre.’
The moving of the Holy Spirit was felt through times of testimony, like that of Joshua Needham, a soldier from Santa Clara Corps (church) in California. He told the congregation in San Francisco how he had overcome addiction and found Christ through The Salvation Army, which led to him getting his family and life back. He said, ‘The relationships that were destroyed during my addiction were restored. I was recently awarded joint custody of my six-year-old son. I get to be his father again … I am also able to coach my son’s soccer team.’
On his four-year sobriety anniversary, he was watching as his son scored four goals. ‘Coincidence? Never,’ he said. ‘Praise God!’
The General told his listeners: ‘The world needs salt and light,’ adding that everyone who shared in the meetings across the territory is called to be those things. ‘It’s about one thing and one thing only,’ he said. ‘It’s about welcoming prodigals home. The Kingdom of Heaven here on earth depends on each of you. It depends upon me.’