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Jan7ThuBringing the spirit of the Boundless congress home. January 7, 2016 by Brandalyn Musial
In 2008, my husband and I moved to Vancouver Island. We began attending a church, but something didn't feel right. We used to drive past a Salvation Army corps in Nanaimo, B.C., and I felt myself drawn there. One Sunday, we decided to give it a try. We met some great people and the opportunities to serve made us feel at home, so we kept coming back. We had found our new church family, and were soon enrolled as soldiers.
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About two years ago, Lt-Colonel Larry Martin, the divisional commander for the British Columbia Division, visited our corps. He asked if we had applied to go to Boundless, the international congress in London, England. I replied that I didn't even know what a congress was! The next thing I knew, we were handing in our applications.
When we arrived in London, I wondered if sending us had been a mistake—if the money would have been better spent on someone “poor” who couldn't afford to come. I pictured the spiritual benefit it would have been for someone to experience congress and return to their community refreshed.
The believers we met from “poor” countries, such as Malawi, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, were on fire for Christ and full of the Holy Spirit. Their stories of churches bursting with enthusiastic young people and outgrowing their resources made our hearts sing. Their testimonies that God is alive and at work around the world, in and through The Salvation Army, motivated us to keep going. Their joy reignited our spark for mission.
By the end of the congress, I realized that I was the poor one. I was the one who came to the congress feeling flat and discouraged about what I saw as the complacent, apathetic nature of churches in the West. I was the one who needed to be refreshed—to see the O2 arena filled with 15,000 joyful believers; to hear about the thousands of Salvationists in the Kenya East Territory excited about knowing the Lord; to talk with people who have a passion to reach out with the love and hope of the gospel.
And hearing General André Cox's vision for the future of the Army—to remain a biblically centred, gospel-focused movement responding to God's call—gave me the assurance that this is something I can throw my life into.
We left the congress uplifted, invigorated and determined to bring home the burning embers we received and fan them into flames with our corps family—to encourage them, as we were encouraged, to keep trusting with reckless abandon, keep loving without limits and keep hoping with unwavering confidence.
Since coming home, we have been looking for opportunities to be involved in community outreach, both personally and through our corps' local initiatives. I have lots of ideas: visiting seniors' homes, wearing my uniform more, visiting our soup kitchen to have a meal and interact with patrons, engaging in conversations with people. I have put my name on the “whatever you need me for” list at our corps. God is faithful and on the move!