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Chief of the Staff makes first visit to Africa

Chief of the Staff makes first visit to Africa

Chief of the Staff makes first visit to Africa

3 January 2019

Commissioners Bronwyn and Lyndon Buckingham (centre) visited Rwanda, Africa recently and spent time with officers, soldiers and those connnected with The Salvation Army there.

By Major Dieudonné Louzolo

Rwanda was the destination for the Chief of the Staff’s first visit to Africa just prior to Christmas.

March of Witness, Kigali.

The Salvation Army’s second-in-command, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham was accompanied in Kigali (capital of Rwanda) by World Secretary for Women’s Ministries Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham for a weekend full of Christian worship, praise and celebration.

On the Saturday, 100 people attended the Silver Star celebration – recognising the role of parents in enabling their grown-up children to become Salvation Army officers.

A march of witness opened Sunday’s activities with the international leaders taking the salute. This was followed by the ordination and commissioning meeting of the Messengers of Compassion session of cadets.

Batsinda Corps hall was full to capacity, with Paul Kabera attending on behalf of the Rwanda Government and supported by the General Secretary of the Protestant Council in Rwanda, the Reverend Dr Samuel Rugambage.

During the meeting, the Chief of the Staff spoke powerfully from 1 Peter 1:3-9, underscoring the importance of living authentically as Christians. “People don’t want only to hear about God’s love," he said, "but they must also see that we live with faith, with compassion, with grace.”

He challenged the congregation – and those watching the service being broadcast on TV10 and Good Rich TV – to surrender to the lordship of Jesus.

In a second meeting where the newly commissioned officers received their new appointments, the Chief of the Staff charged the lieutenants not to be intimidated, using the text of 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

Commissioner Bronwyn offered a powerful prayer for the new lieutenants after they received their first appointments from Rwanda’s Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel Seth Agyei Appeateng.

The Buckinghams sign the Genocide Memorial visitors book.

The following day, having presided over officers’ councils, the Chief of the Staff and Commissioner Bronwyn took time to pay their respects at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial in Kigali, where they laid wreaths and formally signed the visitors book.

This was a genuinely moving occasion for the Buckinghams, with the Chief remarking afterwards that the loss of life during the conflict was “overwhelming and horrendous”, and encouraging Salvationists and friends to “learn from such tragedy to ensure we do all we can to promote peace and mutual respect”.

Major Dieudonné Louzolo is the Chief Secretary of the Rwanda and Burundi Command.

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