The General Challenges Salvationists and Friends of the Finland and Estonia Territory
1 December 2011
THE visit of General Linda Bond to Finland had a significant spiritual impact on Salvationists and friends of the Finland and Estonia Territory. The General challenged the territory to prepare for revival, adding that the people of God’s Army are to go forward filled with joy and praise.
At the Saturday afternoon meeting in Helsinki – held in the Alexander Theatre, a former Tsarist military building – the General told soldiers, adherent members and friends of the Army that after many years as an officer she still had to strive to do her best in order to be the best possible soldier.
She pointed out the reality of evil in the world and spoke about the importance of Salvationists putting on God’s full armour in the battle against this evil.
Territorial Commander Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek presented a Hedvig Award to Carl-Erik Lindblom, who was representing Greta-Maria Lindblom's Foundation. The award, named after Hedvig von Haartman, who began Salvation Army work in Finland, recognises someone who, though not a member of The Salvation Army, has contributed to the Army’s mission and shown an example of modern-day pioneering. For several years Greta-Maria Lindblom's Foundation has made a generous donation to support the education and welfare of children in developing countries.
On Saturday evening Salvationists and friends gathered for the commissioning and ordination of cadets. Four new lieutenants were ordained and commissioned for the service of Jesus Christ. One of them, Lieutenant Gabriel Ebah, has a Nigerian background. His parents had travelled from Nigeria to be present at the commissioning. The happy smiles and brightly coloured clothes of the Nigerian guests brought joy and delight to the congregation.
In her message the General affirmed Jesus' call to radical discipleship.
Several young people from Finland and Estonia responded when the territorial commander invited those to whom God had spoken about officership to come to the platform and join the new lieutenants for prayer and dedication.
At the Sunday morning holiness meeting in Helsinki Corps the territorial commander recognised the long and faithful service of three officers who were entering retirement. Commissioner Vibeke Krommenhoek led a drama called 'Excuses Why God Should Not Pick Me'.
The General emphasised in her Bible message that Christians are holy, not only because they are in Christ, but because Christ is in them.
There was a ready response to the General's message as many people knelt in prayer at the mercy seat.
In the closing praise and celebration meeting on Sunday afternoon the varied programme included moving testimony and joyous singing from a children's choir. Music was also provided by musicians from Zürich, Switzerland, who had given their support through the whole weekend.
An Estonian soldier, Maksim Torgashov, testified to God's saving grace. He said that he had been an alcoholic, used drugs and spent many years in prison. Homeless and recently released from prison he one day went to a Salvation Army centre where he was invited to a rehabilitation programme. He attended it, found salvation in Jesus Christ and is now in charge of the Hope House Rehabilitation Centre in Tallinn. God has used him to lead many others to salvation.
Report by Major Antero Puotiniemi