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Maxwells admit returning to Australia a bittersweet experience

Maxwells admit returning to Australia a bittersweet experience

Maxwells admit returning to Australia a bittersweet experience

22 February 2017

Colonels Wayne and Robyn Maxwell have been appointed to the Australia One team in Sydney. Photo: Shairon Paterson

By Esther Pinn

Australia Eastern Territory officers, Colonels Wayne and Robyn Maxwell, have arrived home in Sydney after spending almost four years as leaders of the Philippines Territory.

Colonel Wayne was serving as the Territorial Commander and Colonel Robyn the Territorial President for Women’s Ministries when the Philippines Government announced it would be enforcing a law restricting the role of expatriates in their country.

Due to serious consequences for people and organisations not adhering to this law, The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters made a decision to reappoint the Maxwells back to Australia and install new national leadership in the Philippines.

“It’s a bittersweet experience,” said Colonel Robyn. “Bitter because our hearts are there [in the Philippines]. They’ve become our family. So we will miss that. But sweet because we get to reconnect with our own family, our children, our grandchildren and the family has grown and extended while we’ve been away.”

While the move back home was unexpected, the Maxwells are looking forward their new roles as Assistant Secretaries to the National Chief Secretary – Australia One Support.

Working closely alongside National Chief Secretary, Colonel Mark Campbell, and National Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Colonel Julie Campbell, the Maxwells will provide insight to critical projects throughout the Australia One transition.

The Maxwells believe their time and experiences in the Philippines will help them bring a fresh perspective to their work with Australia One. Having witnessed poverty, war and terrorism first-hand, the couple said their outlook on life and values, had changed.

"We were inspired by the people who have little in the way of material things, and yet passionately live out the words of Jesus in John 10:10, where he says, 'I have come that you will have life in all its fullness'. They do live life in its fullness and it’s because of their relationship with the Lord," said Colonel Robyn.

“They do live life in its fullness and it’s because of their relationship with the Lord. So to hear them pray, they seek the Lord for the everyday basic needs, whether it will be medical, whether it be food, and they see God answer.”

The Maxwells explained they were also impacted by the leadership style of the Army in the Philippines. They shared how leaders were discipled from a young age, resulting in corps, across the nation, being filled with young people.

“We’ve been in corps before the meeting starts and go over the meeting plan and there will be young children there – seven or eight-year-olds. We asked the officers afterward, ‘Why are the young children part of the meeting plan?’ And they say, ‘They’re our children in training’. So that’s how they’re discipling,” said Colonel Wayne.

Colonel Robyn added: “There are so many young people in leadership because they start them at this age. They are given opportunities from a platform from a very young age and are mentored.”

As well as spending time with their family, the Maxwells are looking forward to the small luxuries of life in Australia, such running hot water, uninterrupted electricity, having a laundry and fresh drinking water from a tap.


  1. Elnora Urbien-Utrera
    Elnora Urbien-Utrera

    Thank you Colonels for living with us in our condition. You have humbled yourself and been part of our family in. the Philippines. In all the difficult condition and uncomfortability you served with joy. God bless you as you serve in your own territory. You will always be remembered.

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