First Burundian citizens commissioned as Salvation Army officers
History is made during the Rwanda and Burundi Command’s commissioning weekend.
During The Salvation Army’s Rwanda and Burundi Command’s commissioning weekend, eight new Salvation Army officers took up their appointments, including the first two commissioned from Burundi. Commissioner Clive T. Adams, territorial commander, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland, was the special guest.
Celebrations began with a Silver Star presentation, honoring the parents of the cadets. Cadet Yvonne Nyiamahoro spoke for the officers-in-training, thanking parents for their support, education and help. The parents and relatives enjoyed and were moved by the events of commissioning weekend, with some deciding to start attending Salvation Army corps.
Commissioning day began with a march in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, featuring music from Kenya’s Nairobi Central Band. This public witness created excitement and interest in the community close to Batsinda Hall, site of the meetings.
As they marched into a packed hall of more than 500 people, the eight cadets of the Heralds of Grace Session carried signs explaining and proclaiming God’s grace. Rwanda and Burundi’s Officer Commanding, Lt. Colonel Seth Appeateng, led the meeting, which included further musical support from the Nairobi Central Band.
As the cadets were commissioned, Salvation Army history was made. Two of the cadets were the first Burundian citizens to be commissioned as officers of The Salvation Army. In addition six Rwandan cadets were commissioned, increasing the total number of officers in the command to 37. There was a palpable sense of joy and blessing throughout the meeting.
In his Bible message, Adams emphasized the need for God’s grace in a suffering world and encouraged the congregation–not only the new lieutenants–to be real heralds of grace wherever they go. Many accepted the invitation to come forward to the mercy seat, where cadets and officers prayed with and counseled people as they responded to God’s call.
Following the commissioning, Rwanda and Burundi Command General Secretary, Major Jean Laurore Clénat, led a celebration meeting. Numerous groups from the command contributed in this time of prayer, thanksgiving, praise and worship. Adams spoke directly to the new lieutenants and charged them to be “ever ready to preach the gospel,” not only by their words, but also through their lives and actions in the communities where they are sent.
As the new lieutenants received their appointments at the end of the meeting, they–and the people of the corps to which they were appointed–expressed great gladness, reflecting the praise and blessing of the whole weekend.
Report by Major Bente S. Gundersen