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Army marches on in the Solomon Islands

Army marches on in the Solomon Islands

Army marches on in the Solomon Islands

31 July 2018

Every session of The Salvation Army convention in Malaita, Solomon Islands, was a packed house.

By Major Robert Evans with Colonel Kelvin Alley

The Salvation Army in the Solomon Islands has held its first Salvation Army convention, bringing together Salvationists from various regions and also other churches.

The Solomon Islands is part of the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory, and Territorial Commander, Colonel Kelvin Alley flew from Port Moresby to Honiara to attend. He then joined Solomon Islands District Officers, Majors Robert and Vanessa Evans, on a flight to Auki in Malaita, followed by a four-hour drive on the back of a truck up the North Road to Kwai.

Some Salvationists had travelled hours on a banana/mosquito boat up the east coast, and then drove several hours to attend.

Territorial Commander, Colonel Kelvin Alley, with junior soldiers from Kwai in Malaita, Solomon Islands.

“For all of the group from Moscom, this was their first time ever on a truck and their first time travelling to this side of Malaita,” said Major Robert. “The time and effort expended just to get to the convention was indicative of its significance in the lives of those who attended and in this season of growth for The Salvation Army in the Solomon Islands.”

Colonel Alley spoke on “Foundations for a Rock Solid Faith”, a fitting theme given that The Salvation Army in Solomon Islands is less than 10 years old. In February this year, the Evans’, from the Australia Southern Territory, were installed as the Officers-in-Charge and became District Officers in June this year when The Salvation Army Solomon Islands Ministries officially became a district of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Territory.

“It was an amazing experience,” Colonel Alley wrote of the convention. “The singing was amazing, joy filled the air, with many too filled with joy to be able to stand still!

“The Salvation Army in Solomon Islands is a miracle of God, with an amazingly precious, gifted and dedicated growing band of Salvationists who live in humility.”

During the convention, 17 senior soldiers from the Kwai and Moscom congregations were enrolled. Two junior soldiers were enrolled from the Kwai congregation, bringing the number of junior soldiers in this relatively new Salvation Army congregation to 12.

Miriam (right) is leader of the Moscom Fellowship. She, with her daughter and other Salvationists, travelled hours by dinghy at sea, plus another three hours on back of a truck to be at the convention.

After the enrolments, Colonel Alley called to the platform Kwai leaders, Charles and Judith Akwastaloa, for a history-making announcement for the Solomon Islands.

The Kwai congregation has been operating under the banner of the North Malaita Fellowship since it commenced in July 2017. Major Robert said “over the past 12 months this congregation has become a spiritually vibrant and evangelically active Salvation Army church, growing in membership and mission. In recognition of this growth and development, an application was sent to THQ for the North Malaita Fellowship to be given corps status, officially recognising it as a fully functioning church in The Salvation Army.” 

The Territorial Commander took great delight in presenting a Certificate of Recognition of Corps Status, making this the second corps in the Solomon Islands. From that moment the “North Malaita Fellowship” became known as the “Gateway Corps, Suafa Bay”.

“One of the highlights of this convention for me was seeing the pure expression of joy on the faces of everybody in attendance, especially from the Moscom congregation,” said Major Robert. “The Moscom Fellowship live and worship in one of the most remote parts of Malaita and rarely have the opportunity to interact with anybody outside of the four villages on Maru’upaina Bay in East Areare. 

“To come together with other Salvationists in such a way opened up the internationalism of The Salvation Army to this congregation, even in this small corner of the world called Malaita. All of a sudden they were not alone!”

A week after the convention, Major Robert and Vanessa enrolled four new soldiers at Honiara Corps who weren’t able to make the convention in Kwai. Eleven other Salvationists will be enrolled at their local congregations in the coming weeks.

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