Chief of the Staff visits Rwanda
Commissioners Lyndon and Bronwyn Buckingham lead commissioning events in Kigali.
On their first visit to Africa, Commissioners Lyndon and Bronwyn Buckingham, Chief of the Staff and World Secretary for Women’s Ministries, respectively, traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to preside at commissioning activities.
On Saturday, 100 people attended a Silver Star celebration—recognizing the role of parents and mentors in enabling their adult children to become Salvation Army officers—with music by the Nairobi Central Temple Band and Songsters. The Chief read Psalm 90:17 and said: “May the favor of the Lord rest upon us during this weekend.”
“God has plans for our children,” Bronwyn Buckingham said in her Bible message based on Colossians 1:9–14. She challenged the parents present to constantly support their children in prayer, asking God to anoint them afresh every day and trusting him for their tomorrows. She also emphasized the significant role played by the mother and grandmother of the New Testament evangelist Timothy, and the effect they both had on his spiritual life.
Sunday began with a march of witness, with the international leaders taking the salute. Afterward, Batsinda Corps hall filled to capacity for the ordination and commissioning meeting of the Messengers of Compassion Session of cadets. Paul Kabera attended on behalf of the Rwandan government, along with the General Secretary of the Protestant Council in Rwanda, the Reverend Dr. Samuel Rugambage.
In a message based on 1 Peter 1:3–9, the Chief underscored the importance of living authentically as Christians.
“People don’t want only to hear about God’s love, but they must also see that we live with faith, with compassion, with grace,” he said. Buckingham challenged the congregation—and those viewing the service on TV10 and Good Rich TV—to surrender to the lordship of Jesus.
During the service of appointments, the Chief charged the lieutenants not to be intimidated, referring to 1 Timothy 4:11–16. He exhorted the whole congregation to set an example by sharing with others a word of hope, healing and faith, and to maintain godly behavior whether people are observing or not. Many people accepted the invitation to pray and be prayed for at the mercy seat.
Bronwyn Buckingham prayed for the new lieutenants after they received their first appointments from Rwanda’s Officer Commanding, Lt. Colonel Seth Agyei Appeateng.
The Kamonyi Divisional Youth Choir, Kigali Sectional Youth Choir, Burundi District Choir and the cadets presented music during the meetings.
After leading officers’ councils the next day, the Buckinghams visited the Rwandan Genocide Memorial in Kigali, where they laid wreaths and formally signed the visitors’ book. This was a moving occasion for them, with the Chief remarking afterward that the loss of life during the conflict was “overwhelming and horrendous,” and encouraging Salvationists and friends to “learn from such tragedy to ensure we do all we can to promote peace and mutual respect.”
Report by Major Dieudonné Louzolo