The number 20 was significant for the visit of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) to the Rwanda and Burundi Command which saw The Salvation Army's 20th General lead meetings to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its ministry in Rwanda – a fact recognised with 20 loud hallelujahs!
The international leaders were welcomed at Kigali International Airport by command leaders Lieut-Colonels Seth and Janet Appeateng before being greeted at command headquarters by traditional dancers.
On Saturday, after Rwandan Salvationists had started the day engaged in community ministry, the General and Commissioner Cox joined officers, Salvationists and friends at the Rwanda Red Cross centre for an anniversary celebration service that was featured on TV and radio. The meeting included traditional dance and music from the command songsters and command youth songsters. In his Bible message, the General urged the congregation not to fear but to have hope for the future.
An anniversary cake was cut by Commissioner Cox and Lieut-Colonel Janet Appeateng.
Later, a women's rally included vocal items, Bible poems and drama. Commissioner Cox challenged her listeners to go and tell others about Jesus. Many responded to the invitation to renew their relationship with God.
During a men’s rally, the General encouraged those gathered to surrender everything to God and serve him wholeheartedly. Many men moved to the mercy seat for prayer and renewal.
The day closed with a youth concert featuring songs, drama sketches and traditional dance. The young people also had opportunity to ask the General questions. A sponsored student gave thanks that The Salvation Army had provided the opportunity to acquire an education.
Commissioner Silvia Cox encouraged the young people to trust in Jesus Christ and stand strong – even if they face opposition.
On Sunday the General and Commissioner Cox took the salute before the holiness meeting. More than 1,300 Salvationists and friends celebrated the faithfulness of God through lively singing and dancing.
Enrolling 108 junior soldiers and 155 senior soldiers were enrolled, the General challenged them to keep their promises. Further recognition of growth in the command came with the elevation of Burundi Section to district status.
The General was formally greeted by the General Secretary of the Protestant Council of Rwanda, the Rev Dr Samuel Rugambage, and the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board, Professor Shyaka Anastase. The professor thanked The Salvation Army for its work in Rwanda since 1994, and assured the strong collaboration of the country's government.
In his Bible message the General told his listeners that to be true ambassadors of God's Kingdom they had to keep their hearts in tune with him and experience true transformation.
The next day, after leading two sessions of officers councils, the international leaders visited the Rwandan Genocide Memorial in Kigali, where they laid wreaths. On their last day in the country they visited the training college, command headquarters and Batsinda Corps (church).