London, England – General Shaw Clifton has announced that The Salvation Army’s Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda Commands are each to be upgraded to territory status from 1 March 2011.
The Salvation Army ‘opened fire’ in Malawi in 1967, from the then Rhodesia Territory, but it was not until October 1973 that it gained government recognition. The work in Malawi remained a part of that territory (later renamed the Zimbabwe and Malawi Territory) until 1988 when it became a region of the Zambia Command, leading to the upgrading of that command to the Zambia and Malawi Territory.
Under God’s blessing the Army’s work grew in Malawi and in October 2002 it became a region in its own right, directly accountable to International Headquarters. Less than 18 months later, in February 2004, Malawi attained command status and the work continued to flourish.
With nearly 8,000 senior soldiers, more than 1,000 junior soldiers, 71 active officers, 35 corps, 13 outposts and 57 recent new openings, there is every reason to believe that God is going to lead his Army to achieve even greater things in the coming days, and thus territorial status has been granted by the General.
The General invites Salvationists everywhere to pray for God’s continued blessing on the Army’s ministry in this beautiful African country, and upon each officer and soldier.
It is almost 100 years since the Army’s work was first pioneered in Mozambique – by converts returning to the country from South Africa in 1916. The early endeavors of Salvationists met with severe persecution from all directions, including other churches and the government, but they persevered against the odds.
It was not until 1986 that The Salvation Army received official government recognition and it was possible to appoint the first officers to take command of the work. Growth was rapid and strong after this last hurdle had been overcome, and the work moved on apace, under the supervision of the Southern Africa Territory, until 2008 when it was granted command status in its own right and command leaders were appointed to guide and direct the developing work.
While not as large as some other expressions of Army ministry on the African continent, there is every reason to anticipate a continuing forward move in Mozambique, as new people are won for the Lord and new expressions of ministry develop.
A team of 52 officers leads the work in 40 corps, 60 outposts and four daycare centres, assisted and supported by almost 4,000 senior soldiers and more than 1,000 junior soldiers.
The General invites Salvationists around the world to join in praise to God for this development, and to pray that his continued blessing shall be upon everyone involved in the growing ministry of The Salvation Army in Mozambique.
Salvation Army work in Uganda commenced in 1931, as an outreach of what was then the East Africa Territory. The Army’s ministry became well established and continued to be productive for more than 40 years. Under the regime of President Idi Amin, however, The Salvation Army’s religious teaching was banned in 1977, and in 1978 the ban extended to include its social work, and so the Army was unable to operate at all for the next three years.
The work was re-established in 1980, against a background of ongoing persecution, and growth continued to be slow. Nevertheless, there was growth, and in 2005 the work in Uganda was separated from the East Africa Territory and recognised as a command in its own right.
The decision to acknowledge Uganda as a command provided the impetus for renewed growth, which continues to the present time. Uganda currently has more than 7,000 senior soldiers (with more than 1,800 converts, adherents and recruits, many of whom are moving towards soldiership), almost 7,000 junior soldiers, 75 corps, 60 officers and 24 cadets in training.
There is every reason to be confident that the Army’s work in the Uganda Territory will continue to grow, and the General asks Salvationists all over the world to pray for the Uganda Territory, its leaders, officers and soldiers.