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London, England (January 13, 2011): The General has approved the official opening of Salvation Army work in the Solomon Islands, effective 1 February 2011. This will take the number of countries in which the Army is operating to 123.
A proposal was first made for approval to undertake a feasibility study into the potential for Army work in the Islands in 2005. This study was carried out by the Papua New Guinea Territory who, along with the Australia Eastern Territory (who funded the study), had expressed an interest in mission outreach to the Islands.
Many months of detailed exploration and prayerful consideration of all aspects took place and provisional approval to move ahead with plans was given at the beginning of 2009. Later that year Major Soddy Maraga, an officer of the Papua New Guinea Territory, was appointed to oversight the fledging work in the Solomon Islands.
The Papua New Guinea Territory will have responsibility for the work, which is being helpfully funded by the Australia Eastern and Australia Southern territories.
Legal and constitutional issues were carefully studied and by 2010 it was clear that there were no legal obstacles to the Army’s plan to declare the work officially established in the Solomon Islands. Responsibility for liaison on all related matters was given to the Papua New Guinea Territory.
By the end of 2010 the territorial commander in Papua New Guinea, Commissioner Andrew Kalai, was able to confirm that regular Salvation Army meetings are taking place in the Solomon Islands, soldiers are being sworn in, local officers are being commissioned and already two soldiers have expressed their desire to be considered for training as officers.
The General invites Salvationists around the world to pray God’s blessing upon this newest part of our global family.