Over a busy few days in the south of the USA, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) visited Asbury University and The Salvation Army's USA National Headquarters (NHQ). Beginning in Wilmore, Kentucky, the international leaders were given a personal tour of Asbury University – including the Andrew S. Miller Communications Building and The Salvation Army Student Fellowship (SASF) Center – by Dr Sandra Gray, Asbury University President. At the SASF, under the direction of Majors Earl and Janice Fitzgerald, they hosted a question-and-answer time with Salvationist and other students.
Asbury University, which describes itself as a 'Christian Liberal Arts University in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition' has a long association with The Salvation Army and runs some courses specifically for Salvationists and officers. Retired General Paul A. Rader served as president of the then Asbury College from 2000 to 2006.
The next day more than 1,500 students, faculty and friends crowded Hughes Auditorium to be greeted by the SASF Band and Songsters, under the direction of Salvationist bandmaster and Asbury professor Nathan Miller. Dr Gray welcomed the General and Commissioner Cox, noting that, over its association with The Salvation Army, more than 500 Salvationists had attended the university.
Introduced by USA National Commander Commissioner David Jeffrey, Commissioner Cox read the Scripture and shared a word about God’s faithfulness through the years. The General told the congregation always to acknowledge the pre-eminence of Christ. 'You may have hopes and dreams,' he said, 'but the ultimate goal is to take our place in the eternal Kingdom of God. It’s great to start well, to have motivation, but it’s not how you start but that you finish well. The challenge is not in the words we say but in the lives we live.'
(The General's message is available as a podcast from www.asbury.edu/podcasts/24076)
The General’s next visit was to USA National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. In a chapel service for the officers and employees of NHQ, Commissioner Cox shared that she had to learn to trust the Lord in all circumstances. 'Although I accepted Christ as a child,' she explained, 'as a teen I had to ask him to come into my life again. I had to learn to trust him through his Word. I was like Thomas – I had to see to believe. It is not always easy to trust the Lord. But I have found that it is an exciting life to work for the Lord. And even now I am learning to trust more and more in his Word and to thank him for whatever he is doing.'
The General shared from his heart: 'I love to visit headquarters around the world,' he said. 'We know the joys, the frustrations and the importance of this work. We are not just supporting the frontline mission but finding new resources, establishing partnerships. That is why we must serve with our whole hearts. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. Focus on the Almighty God. God will see us through to victory, but not always the one we were expecting!'
After the General called in on the chaplain of the US Senate, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret), and the chaplain of the US House of Representatives, Father Patrick J. Conroy, the international leaders finished the day with a private tour of the White House.