Released 21 April 2008
NEW OPENINGS IN NAMIBIA AND MALI TAKE SALVATION ARMY WORK INTO 115 COUNTRIES
The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Robin Dunster, has released the following news:
The Salvation Army has 'opened fire' in the African nations of Namibia and Mali, bringing to 115 the number of countries where it is officially at work.
The Army previously worked in Namibia from 1932 to 1939. Now, 69 years later, the re-establishment of a presence in the country has been warmly welcomed by both the Church and non-governmental organizations. The work is being led by Major Lenah Jwili, a South African national, who arrived on January 3, 2008 and is already networking in the community, witnessing steady growth in the attendance at meetings and contacting key personnel. These contacts have led to the official registration of The Salvation Army in the country. Namibia is part of the Southern Africa Territory, which also oversees Salvation Army work in Lesotho, St Helena, South Africa and Swaziland.
Following an invitation for The Salvation Army to establish a presence in the predominately Muslim nation of Mali, a local response was undertaken under the leadership of André Togo. Mali is the most northerly part of the African continent in which The Salvation Army has a presence.
Brother Togo, a Malian, had no knowledge of The Salvation Army until he had a vision of 'millions of people wearing white uniforms, saying: "People of the nations, repent for we are coming with the Kingdom of the Lord"'. He was certain God was calling him to join these white-uniformed people and his research led him to The Salvation Army. With help from Salvation Army leadership in Nigeria and at International Headquarters, he 'opened fire' in Mali. There has been steady growth in the attendance at meetings and official registration of The Salvation Army in Mali has now been granted to 'labor for the progress of Christianity, to struggle against poverty'.
The Army's work in the country became official in January 2008 with the appointment of Majors Eugene and Odile Dikalembolovanga from the Democratic Republic of Congo as officers in charge, and Mali is attached to the Nigeria Territory. André and his wife Nana are currently preparing to move to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they will train to be Salvation Army officers.
Prayers for these new initiatives are sought as the response to the challenges found in Namibia and Mali are identified and grasped, enabling an holistic response that reflects the Great Commission given by Jesus (Matthew 28:19, 20) in tangible ways.