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International leaders ‘witness something special’ on USA West visit

General Lyndon Buckingham enrolled 177 new Salvation Army soldiers during the congress. Photo Joy Yi.

General Lyndon Buckingham and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham made their first visit to the USA Western Territory for the 2024 Testify Congress on 14–16 June.

“We witnessed something exceptional,” the General wrote on his Facebook page. “We enrolled 177 new junior and senior soldiers in the first main session, and territorial leaders Commissioners Douglas and Colleen Riley ordained and commissioned 14 officers. Additionally, hundreds answered the call of prayer at the mercy seat.”

General Lyndon and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham at the Testify Congress.

The General spoke at the first session of the congress. “God, the Holy Spirit, is on the move in The Salvation Army and here is the proof,” he said, sharing a four-part formula for the movement: connect with God, share the good news, demonstrate care and concern, and pursue holiness.


“We are not satisfied merely telling people about God’s love,’ he continued. ‘We bring love and hope, and joy and promise – and grace, copious amounts of grace.”

The General, USA Western Territorial Commander and Chief of the Staff at the NBA-themed men’s rally. Photo John Docter

The following day, simultaneous children’s, men’s and women’s rallies featured, respectively, an orange mascot telling the gospel story, an interview-style conversation with Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham, and an NBA-themed (National Basketball Association) free-throw contest and message from Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Edward Hill.


The 13th annual ENCORE! Territorial Music and Arts Celebration highlighted the creativity of 500 young people, while 28 other young people competed in Bible Bowl, a competition capping a year of Scripture memorisation.


The Phoenix Citadel Dancers tell their story with an exuberant African dance during the main session. Photo Joy Yi.

“The story of Jesus is absolutely timeless and changeless,” Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham said in the second main session, noting that there is no one way that God reaches people. “But his protection, his guidance, his patience, his unconditional love and his amazing grace leading to transformation are the common theme. When we share God’s grace, a little piece of the world is changed.”

Cadets worship during the commencement service. Photo John Docter.

On 16 June, morning and afternoon sessions focused on holy living and a send-off to tell the world. The General first urged attendees to embrace their identity in Christ, referencing Colossians 3:12-17.


The General also presented Doug and Donna Erlandson with the William Booth Award and Debi Leighton and Brigadier Vivian Rodriguera with the Exceptional Service Awards.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to gather as one body, united in our mission to spread the love of Christ,” the General wrote. “May God continue to bless the USA Western Territory and all those who serve within it.”


For the full story on the International Headquarters website, click here.


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