The visit to the India Western Territory by General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries) gave them the opportunity to bring challenge and encouragement to Salvationists and friends from Gujurat and Maharashtra and also gain first-hand experience of the challenges faced by The Salvation Army in these regions of India.
These two distinct regions of India with their own languages within the same territory often mean duplication, so the international leaders participated in similar events in order to reach the maximum number of people and ensure the gospel message was shared in their own language.
Genuine welcome and hospitality were the trademarks of each location as the General and Commissioner Peddle travelled around the territory. Cultural dances and traditional expressions of welcome like shawls, paghadi or safa turbans and flowers were a feature of every welcome ceremony.
Officers in both states benefitted from and appreciated time spent in councils with the international leaders. Gathering as people with a shared covenant is something special and afforded the General an opportunity to address his officers and encourage them to respond appropriately to his Call to Mission.
Salvation Army ministry comes in many forms in India, one of those being medical services. The General and Commissioner Peddle had the opportunity to visit Emery Hospital (Anand) and Evangeline Booth Hospital (Ahmednegar), where they were able to meet with staff, tour the facilities and dedicate a new X-ray machine and other new equipment to the glory of God and the service of humanity.
Cadets enjoyed some quiet moments with the international leaders during visits to both training colleges, where the visitors brought words of encouragement and affirmation to those training for ministry. Youth rallies were filled with vibrant, energetic young people committed to living out their faith as soldiers in The Salvation Army. Public meetings allowed thousands of people to join together for worship and to hear the Word of God.
Throughout the visit each meeting ended with numerous people moving forward for prayer in response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. In venues where space was limited people stood where they were to publicly express their willing response to God.
Travels throughout the visit provided opportunity for our international leaders to witness examples of extreme poverty in India. Towards the conclusion of the visit, the General tweeted: ‘This morning I watched as a street child washed her face with a bottle of unclear water and a piece of used cloth. I am still jolted by this image.’
While there was much to celebrate during this visit, it was clear there is still a real need for the ministry of The Salvation Army today.