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Jul4SatThird day of Boundless challenges Salvationists to stand up for social justice and reach the whole world for Christ. July 4, 2015
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Fourth Session of Boundless Encourages a "Caring Army"
The theme "A Caring Army" marked session 4 at Boundless 2015, highlighting the compassion with which The Salvation Army serves humanity.
Xyloband LED wristbands worn by attendees lit across the arena as Salvationists from around the world sang together in their own language How Great is Our God with the New York Staff Band, transMission, the Amsterdam Staff Songsters, the Indian Mizo singers and Ayoung Lee.
The session featured both individuals engaged in caring service and modern large-scale efforts to enact change, such as the #UpForSchool campaign that calls on world leaders to ensure every child attends primary school.
"The Salvation Army has credibility when we speak the gospel illuminated by the ministry experience of people in communities, corps and centres around the world," said Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, director of the International Social Justice Commission that advocates for human dignity and social justice for the world's poor and oppressed. More than six million people have signed the #UpForSchool petition that will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations this September. The colonel said the Army has facilitated more than 67,000 signatures and called on delegates to add theirs at sar.my/upforschool.
"The challenge of social justice is to do something even when it's not your problem," he said, noting that nearly 700,000 students attend 1,600 Salvation Army schools around the world. "God has given us an incredible opportunity to show his love by helping young lives grow in body, mind, soul and Christ-like relationships."
Cadet Surpiono Da Conceao Lopez from the Indonesia Territory is one such life. At 11 years of age, his family placed him in an enemy convoy truck, which led him to a refugee camp in Indonesia and then a Salvation Army boy's home. He accepted Christ there, and met his family again 10 years later, sharing Christ with them.
"When I see the faithfulness of God in my life, it makes me confident of God's faithfulness for the future," he said. Previously a hairdresser, Supriono said he now gives haircuts as a way to witness in the streets, which is illegal in Indonesia. "This is how I can tell them my story of how God rescued me."
April Foster from the USA Eastern Territory also grew up in a Salvation Army home. She has spent 29 years in service with the Army in various countries around the world.
"I've learned an important lesson by living with people in very challenging circumstances," she said. "What we focus on makes all the difference … When we focus on what's not right, what's missing, we can't help but feel overwhelmed. But when we focus on the strengths that people have … the dignity of every human being created in the image of God, then we begin to see a very different picture.
"It doesn't mean the challenges are not there … But when we see each other as strong, as capable, as having gifts and talents, vision, wisdom, then so much more becomes possible for real transformation that is lasting," she said. "And that is the way God sees us."
A creative arts team from the USA Eastern Territory presented three dramas throughout the session: depicting the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land, of William Booth's opening of a match factory to provide fair wages and safe working conditions in the 19th century, and about the darkness that Christ pulls people from.
"We want to be known as a caring Army, individuals and communities who understand God's heartbeat and make his Kingdom a reality here on earth right now," said Commissioner E. Jane Paone (Territorial President of Women's Ministries, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory) in the message. "Each day, at a local level, and at an individual level, we are to show Christ's love. He is the One on whom we depend completely, our source of love and light. He depends on us to act with compassion and justice."
Musical performers included the Amsterdam Staff Songsters, the Mizo Singers with dance from the Hart Triplets, transMission with the Hart Triplets and Shaw Coleman, Mannssambandet, the New Zealand haka group, the New York Staff Band and Ayoung Lee.
Watch the fourth session of Boundless, "A Caring Army":
Fifth Session of Boundless Highlights Army's Diversity
Marching in vibrant outfits, speaking various languages from cultures all over the world, Salvationists entered The O2 arena for session 5 of Boundless 2015, "An All-Embracing Army." General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox entered on a simulated jet, stepping off the plane to greet the audience.
Captains Nokuthula and Themba Mahlobo from Southern Africa Territory hosted the gathering, which highlighted The Salvation Army's cultural diversity.
The performances sampled the 126 nations where the Army is at work, including Hong Kong and Macau Praise Dancers, Ontario Central-East Divisional Youth Chorus, Paduan Suara Korps Palu singers from Indonesia, Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters from the USA, LA Korean Fan Dancers, South America West Dance Troupe, Vasa Gospel Choir from Sweden, Hawai'i Hula Hālau dancers and Waverley Temple Timbrels from Australia.
Captain Themba introduced the Wateule singers and dancers from Kenya West Territory, who performed a musical act that had the entire audience moving and clapping along.
Major David Vandebeulque from France and Belgium Territory spoke about receiving the call to help others through The Salvation Army.
"We have received this marching order to reach the whole world!" Major Vandebeulque said. "And today, the world is on our doorstep. We may not all be called to personally go to the ends of the earth, but we are all called to stand up, to open the door in front of us."
Adding to the hopeful theme, Ariana Calvo Jiménez, a Salvationist from Latin America North Territory, gave a powerful and tearful testimony. She was diagnosed with leukaemia at 11 years old, and experienced blood transfusions, chemotherapy and lumbar puncture. Twenty days into her treatment, doctors told her parents she wouldn't live more than 24 hours.
"While this was happening, all of my family, people from The Salvation Army, our friends, everyone that heard my story began to pray to God for a miracle in my life," Ariana said. "To the amazement of the doctors, I began to improve little by little. God is the doctor of doctors."
Three years after her last chemotherapy treatment her marrow is clean.
"The power of the creator was boundless and acted in me," she said. "Above all things I thank God, who helped me with the strength to walk this difficult path."
Leading to the grand finale with international flare, Vasa Gospel Choir and Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters took the stage with soloist Silvie Paladino, singing Jesus Paid It All.
General Cox closed the night with a benediction. "Reject every type of evil," he said. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole soul and body remain blameless. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. Amen."
Watch the fifth session of Boundless, "An All-Embracing Army":
Boundless 2015 social media sites – Twitter (@Boundless2015), Instagram (Boundless_2015) and Facebook (Boundless 2015) – continue to be flooded with the latest news and views from delegates and Salvationists and friends from around the world, using the hashtag #Boundless2015. Visit Salvationist.ca's Facebook page daily for the “Best of Boundless.”
Read the July 4 edition of the congress newspaper, Boundless Today: