General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) participated in a wide variety of activities during their visit to celebrate The Salvation Army's 30th anniversary in Liberia. As well as sharing worship with Salvationists and friends, the visitors opened a new Salvation Army school and showed special appreciation for the support of a former President of Liberia.
The international leaders were given a warm welcome at Roberts International Airport near Monrovia. Salvationists, students and friends gathered to greet the visitors, cheerfully singing the chorus 'Joy! joy! joy! there is joy in The Salvation Army'. In an interview with local media representatives, the General emphasised that the visit was intended to encourage and motivate Liberians with the message of Jesus Christ.
The next day the General toured Liberia Command Headquarters, where he encouraged the staff to uphold the standards of The Salvation Army at all times. Later, addressing the national media, the General said he foresees great potential and a brighter future for Liberia.
On Friday the international leaders travelled almost 70 kilometres to Kakata in Margibi County, where they dedicated to God and opened a newly constructed 12-classroom building, the Albert Orsborn School – named after the Army's sixth General. The district legislator, superintendent, city mayor and the government's county education officer were in attendance. In separate remarks, each expressed gratitude to The Salvation Army for its meaningful contributions towards education in Liberia, where it oversees schools and a college in 11 separate locations. In response, the General thanked the government for its partnership and encouraged the school's students to have hopes and dreams for the future, emphasising that education is important but that, without knowing God, it is worth nothing.
After the ceremony, the General and Commissioner Cox travelled back to Monrovia for a welcome meeting at the William Booth compound in Paynesville. A congregation of more than 1,200 Salvationists, students and friends joyfully participated in the programme. Thirty-five people moved forward to the mercy seat in acts of dedication.
Saturday started with mobilisation and open-air meetings in Paynesville, with hundreds of Salvationists and students parading through the streets. This was followed by the youth, women's and men's rallies. The evening hours witnessed the display of traditional performances from a variety of groups.
A special ceremony was conducted by the General to honour former President of Liberia, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in appreciation for her contribution towards rehabilitating the William Booth School after a devastating fire in 2015. The General presented Madam Johnson-Sirleaf – who was President of Liberia from 2006 until earlier this year, and was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 – with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Liberia Command.
Responding to the honour, the former President said: 'I want to recognise what The Salvation Army has done for education in our country. There is nothing more precious, nothing more meaningful and nothing more lasting than education.'
Among the congregation of more than 1,500 people at the Sunday morning holiness meeting were representatives of the Liberia Council of Churches, South African Ambassador Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley and county senator the Hon Jim Tonorla. Cadets were given their appointments, and 20 junior soldiers and 114 senior soldiers were enrolled by the General. Forty-nine soldiers responded to the appeal for officership.
The General encouraged his listeners to put Christ at the centre of all their undertakings. A total of 131 people responded to the General's challenge by kneeling in prayer at the mercy seat.