The final international engagement before retirement for the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries) was to Moldova in the Eastern Europe Territory.
During the visit, they welcomed cadets (trainee Salvation Army officers) from the four countries that make up the territory – Georgia, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. The commissioners also dedicated the new territorial headquarters building in Chişinău, which has transferred to the Moldovan capital from Moscow following the recent establishment of the Russia Command.
During the welcome to cadets, Cadet Anna Bichikaeva, from Ukraine, told how God taught her to trust him. ‘When you choose to walk God’s road and can make only one step, he makes 1,000 steps,’ she said. ‘Just trust and follow God and he will meet all your needs.’ Along with Cadet Anna, Cadets Elnura Budaeva and Vladimir Budaev (Georgia), Andrei Colĭcev (Moldova), Dmitry Pomitkin (Ukraine) and Vladimir Zubarev (Russia Command) were welcomed as Joyful Intercessors – the sessional name given to the current intake of trainees.
‘Live up to your name,’ Commissioner Nancy Roberts urged the new cadets in her charge to them. Quoting Hebrews 12:2, she reminded them to ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith’. In his message the Chief of the Staff also referred to the name of the new session, noting that in the final hours before his death Jesus did not pray for himself but for others.
During the meeting Colonel Rodney Walters, Territorial Commander for Eastern Europe, accepted Lieutenant Tatiana Colĭceva back into the ranks of officership, and the Chief and Commissioner Nancy Roberts prayed for the new territorial headquarters team. Following the Bible message from the Chief of the Staff, officers, soldiers and new cadets knelt at the mercy seat in prayer and rededication.
Earlier in the day the new headquarters building was dedicated to God and opened by the international guests. Commenting on the historic nature of the occasion, the Chief of the Staff noted that while The Salvation Army has been in Moldova for many years, ‘now it is here in a new way … this will be more than an office building; it will be a service centre to help bring the world to Christ and Christ to the world.’
‘Today is a day of miracles,’ added Colonel Walters. ‘This building and the funding have been provided by God.’
On Sunday morning the international leaders joined the cadets, territorial headquarters staff and divisional and regional leaders for the first spiritual day as the new Eastern Europe Territory. During this time the commissioners shared the story of their 45-year officership journey.
The Chief of the Staff's final words were of encouragement to the Eastern Europe Territory: ‘Stay faithful to God and he will bless you.’