Last month Vanessa and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time interacting with Territorial and Divisional leaders from The Salvation Army Papua New Guinea Territory. Our time in Port Moresby commenced in response to an invitation to attend the Territorial Leaders Conference, which gave The Salvation Army Solomon Islands Ministries representation at the TLC for the first time. While Solomon Islands has been a part of this Territory since it's launch in 2011, the TLC ushered this relatively new expression of The Salvation Army into a new era of growth with an announcement by the Territorial Commander that IHQ had approved a name change for the Territory, which will now be known as The Salvation Army Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands Territory, with the Solomon Islands being granted 'District' status. So the Solomon Islands Ministries is now officially the Solomon Islands District, which means Vanessa and my position has been changed from 'Officers in Charge' to 'District Officers'.
The TLC was led by Commissioners Willis & Barbara Howell from the USA Southern Territory, with Colonel Julie Alley from PNG setting the tone for the weekend with the keynote address by declaring, "The kingdom of God does not rise and fall on our ability. We are to lean into the supernatural ability of Jesus Christ." This powerful introduction was followed by two days of amazing teaching from the guest leaders who spoke around the theme 'Following Christ, In Leadership.' In the opening session, Commissioner Willis spoke on the importance of 'guarding your heart' from Proverbs 4:23 - "Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do." Later, Commissioner Barbara led an interactive session inviting the leaders present to share the characteristics of leadership we found most inspiring and then spoke about the nature of servant leadership.
On the Sunday morning of the conference Vanessa and I gave a presentation about the growth in the Solomon Islands over the past six months, which was enthusiastically received by everybody present. During our presentation, Vanessa spoke about our new Solo Army Lavalava project and presented the Commissioners and our Territorial Leaders with a lavalava each as a gift from the Solomon Islands. This gift made a real impression on Commissioner Barbara who ordered 40 to take back to the USA Southern Territory for a Divisional Women’s Weekend.
During the week following the TLC, we engaged in a number of meetings at THQ with Cabinet Secretaries and department heads to discuss some of the new initiatives ready to launch in the Solomon Islands. These meetings proved very productive with a strong commitment of support coming from THQ for the ongoing development of The Salvation Army in this emerging district of the Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands Territory.