Chief of the Staff Leads Historic Meetings in Kenya West Territory
By Brad Halse, Major –
Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, Chief of the Staff and World Secretary for Women’s Ministries, respectively, traveled from London to the Kenya West Territory to formally open a new officer training college and witness the commissioning of 152 new officers alongside territorial leaders Commissioners Kenneth and Jolene Hodder.
Roughly two hours from territorial headquarters in Kakamega, more than 2,000 Salvationists joined to witness the opening of the new training college in Turbo that can accommodate up to 80 cadets. Across the territory’s 12 divisions and 14 districts, there are now more than 520 corps—a new corps opened every nine days on average over the past year.
Funding for the $3 million facility was largely provided by territories around the world, an investment, Peddle said, in the future of The Salvation Army in Kenya. The Kenya West Territory raised the funds for the college’s chapel and allocated significant funding to establish a trust fund for ongoing operation.
“We come by the way of the Cross. We come by the name of Jesus. There is no other way,” Peddle said to all gathered. “Friends, today we must be sure that God has our heart and our soul. These things belong to God. The devil has no right to them.”
Pointing to the new college he challenged the cadets and all present: “This place is put here for people who are ready to fight. To fight for God!”
Streams of soldiers and officers responded to the message during the outdoor meeting, coming forward to kneel on the grass.
The following day, more than 12,000 Salvationists and friends from throughout the territory attended commissioning at the sports arena of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega.
This commissioning was unique as the session included 32 cadets who completed the normal two-year training program along with 130 sergeants-in-charge who have been in leadership roles in corps throughout the territory, in some cases for up to 12 years.
It was a 2013 decision of Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, supported by his cabinet, to give these many sergeants-in-charge access to formal training over the past three years so they could be commissioned as lieutenants.
“You recited the doctrines well. Hide these things in your heart. We must not be blown back and forward by the things people in the world are saying,” Peddle said. “People will laugh at you, they will challenge you. But you are preachers of the word of God! Be confident that the word of God can set the prisoner free.”
He invited the crowd to respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit and large numbers moved to kneel on the grass under a hot Kenyan sun, with many eagles soaring overhead.
Several members of parliament and local county assemblies, led by the Governor of Kakamega County, His Excellency the Hon Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya attended. A member of the territory’s advisory board, he spoke highly of The Salvation Army’s service in Kenya and of the leadership provided by the Hodders.
The day marked the final opportunity for the territorial leaders to address their soldiers before departing for new appointments in the USA Western Territory. Kenyan Salvationists were loud and passionate in their admiration of the Hodders and the way they led the territory.
Colonel Stephen Chepkurui, currently the Chief Secretary, will become Territorial Commander and Commissioner Grace Chepkurui the Territorial President of Women’s Ministries on Jan. 1, 2017.