13 Mar | 2018
General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) were left in no doubt that the India Central Territory was pleased to see them when they arrived at Chennai Airport to be greeted by a large group of Salvationists and friends. Territorial leaders were among the crowd that greeted the visitors with the cheerful singing of the chorus 'Joy! Joy! Joy! There is Joy in The Salvation Army'.
On Thursday, travelling on to Vijayawada, the international leaders were greeted by joyful Salvationists and friends waving Salvation Army flags and shouting hallelujahs as the General and World President of Women's Ministries went past. At officers councils, held in St Paul's Basilica Church, the General encouraged the territory's officers to have spiritual thirst and reminded them of their responsibility in saving souls.
The following day, the international leaders joined crowds of women in travelling to Eluru for the territorial women's congress. Some delegates had travelled for many hours. The General spoke to local media representatives about The Salvation Army's ministry to the most needy members of society.
Later, addressing more than 5,000 congress delegates, Commissioner Cox explained The Salvation Army's 'mission to serve'. After her Bible message, a number of women moved to the mercy seat. During the day, the General visited Pezzoni Pet Corps (church) in Vijayawada to lay a foundation stone for the construction of a new prayer hall.
On Saturday, the international leaders travelled to Ponnur, where they met staff and students of the Evangeline Booth Hospital. They moved on to Bapatla, where they were met at Bapatla Zion Baptist Church by young people from around the territory. The General released a dove as a sign of liberty before joining a march of witness to Bapatla Central Corps, which hosted the territorial youth congress.
The young people were inspired by the testimony of Major David Williamson (Private Secretary to the General) before Commissioner Cox gave the Bible message in which she challenged her listeners to have a strong relationship with God. She told them that God knows their potential, and that he has a purpose and mission for every person. Almost 200 people knelt at the mercy seat in acts of commitment and rededication.
In the evening, more than 4,000 people attended a public meeting in the grounds of The Salvation Army's Bapatla High School, which was led by Territorial Commander Commissioner Naomi Lalngaihawmi and included words of greeting from the Anglican Bishop for the Missionary Diocese of Eluru, the Most Rev Dr John S.D.R. Nakka (Vice President of the Andhra Pradesh Council of Churches).
In his Bible message, the General emphasised the importance of seeking to help the lost, referring to the way that a shepherd will seek for the lost sheep. Around 170 people responded to the General's challenge by kneeling in prayer at the mercy seat. When he made a call for officership nine young people came forward and were prayed for by the General.
The international leaders made the return flight to Chennai the next day, where more than 720 Salvationists and friends gathered for a public meeting at Vepery Corps. The General called on his listeners to be mobilised in their communities, proclaiming the good news of the gospel to the unreached and underprivileged. At the end of his Bible message, many people made their way to kneel at the mercy seat.