Bells installed in New Zealand
Commissioners Don and Debi Bell assume command.
Wellington Citadel was full on the evening of Sunday, March 15, for the installation of the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory’s new senior leaders, Commissioners Don and Debi Bell—natives of the U.S. Western Territory—as territorial commander and territorial president of women’s ministries. The meeting also included the installation of Colonels Graeme and Wynne Reddish as chief secretary and territorial secretary of women’s ministries and the welcome of cadets to Booth College of Mission.
Commissioners Don and Debi Bell
The Bells have served in New Zealand since July 2008, with Commissioner Don Bell serving as the territory’s second-in-command to now retired Commissioner Garth McKenzie. Prior to their New Zealand appointments, the Bells served their home territory as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries.
A powhiri (Maori welcome ceremony) honored the Bells and Reddishes along with Commissioners Makoto and Kaoru Yoshida, leaders of the Japan Territory, who represented the General for the installations.
Commissioner Don Bell pleased the congregation by responding in Maori, the indigenous language of New Zealand, focusing on the Army’s mission to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13), he said.
Commissioner Makoto Yoshida charged the new leaders to rely on the Lord for their tasks; both promised to do so and affirmed the centrality of the Word of God and their adherence to the Army’s doctrines and mission. A letter of greeting from the General was read and Salvationists were urged to support and pray for their new leaders.
As cabinet secretaries, divisional and regional leaders joined the Bells and Reddishes on the platform for prayer, Yoshida introduced the group as the territory’s “leadership team.” “They work together, and they will do it well because the Holy Spirit is helping them,” he said.
Ambassadors of Holiness
The meeting’s focus then turned to the Ambassadors of Holiness Session—the largest cadet intake since 1986, with 19 New Zealand cadets and one from Fiji. Commissioner Debi Bell welcomed the cadets on behalf of the territory and, she said, as “representatives of the King of kings.”
In his Bible message, Bell emphasized 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” An ambassador for Christ was someone who spoke for Christ, he said. “The honor of a country is in the hands of its ambassadors, so seize the opportunities; they may only come once.”
“How do we achieve God’s goals for us?” he asked. “By accepting our personal responsibility to follow after him. We are ambassadors—every one of us, not just those sitting on the platform.”
Salvationists in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga are rejoicing in God’s ongoing resources for their mission to seek the lost and lead them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.