Marching in vibrant outfits, speaking various languages from cultures all over the world, Salvationists entered The O2 arena in London on 3 July for session 5 of Boundless 2015, ‘An All-Embracing Army’. General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox entered on a simulated jet, stepping off the plane to greet the audience.
Captains Nokuthula and Themba Mahlobo from Southern Africa Territory hosted the gathering, which highlighted The Salvation Army’s cultural diversity.
‘Tonight we are going to take you on a journey around The Salvation Army world,’ Captain Nokuthula said.
The performances sampled the 126 nations where the Army is at work, including Hong Kong and Macau Praise Dancers, Ontario Central East Youth Chorus, Paduan Suara Korps Palu singers from Indonesia, Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters from the USA, LA Korean Fan Dancers, South America West Dance Troupe, Vasa Gospel Choir from Sweden, Hawai’i Hula Hālau dancers and Waverley Temple Timbrels from Australia.
Captain Themba introduced the Wateule singers and dancers from Kenya West Territory, who performed a musical act that had the entire audience moving and clapping along.
Major David Vandebeulque from France and Belgium Territory spoke about receiving the call to help others through The Salvation Army. He recited the passage, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19). He said being part of the Army is a call that moves from generation to generation, from place to place.
‘We have received this marching order to reach the whole world!’ Major Vandebeulque said. ‘And today, the world is on our doorstep. We may not all be called to personally go to the ends of the earth, but we are all called to stand up, to open the door in front of us.
‘Nations shift, and quite often following dramatic events. God entrusts these to us. We must learn to know all cultures which exist in our communities in order to communicate the gospel in a relevant way. We must not value one culture and ignore another. The powerful message that we can give the world is to live in community with all cultures united.’
Adding to the hopeful theme, Ariana Calvo Jiménez, a Salvationist from Latin America North Territory, gave a powerful and tearful testimony. She was diagnosed with leukaemia at 11 years old, and experienced blood transfusions, chemotherapy and lumbar puncture. Twenty days into her treatment, doctors told her parents she wouldn’t live more than 24 hours.
‘While this was happening, all of my family, people from The Salvation Army, our friends, everyone that heard my story began to pray to God for a miracle in my life,’ Ariana said. ‘To the amazement of the doctors, I began to improve little by little. God is the doctor of doctors.’
Three years after her last chemotherapy treatment her marrow is clean.
‘The power of the creator was boundless and acted in me,’ she said. ‘Above all things I thank God, who helped me with the strength to walk this difficult path.’
Leading to the grand finale with international flare, Vasa Gospel Choir and Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters took the stage with soloist Silvie Paladino, singing ‘Jesus Paid It All’.
General Cox closed the night with a benediction. ‘Reject every type of evil, he said. ‘May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole soul and body remain blameless. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Amen.’