On Saturday 5 November, The Salvation Army Samoa hosted a formal welcome for Territorial Leaders, Commissioners Mark and Julie Campbell, followed by a blessing of the newly acquired land at Vaivase. Regional Leaders for Samoa, Captains Eric and Julie Turner, conducted the event which was attended by corps members, community partners, Regional Headquarters staff and Addiction Services team members.
‘To have a permanent place for The Salvation Army Samoa is vital for the ongoing sustainability of our services and will give us space for the development of future services. The Samoan word for land is fanua which is the same word used for the placenta of a growing baby. So, we see this land as a space to nurture our faith community and our community services as we grow physically and spiritually,’ explains Captain Julie Turner.
Lt-Colonels Rod and Jenny Carey and Major Miriama Simanu made up the initial planting team, arriving in Samoa in 2018. The trio spent many hours praying and researching for a permanent site of the burgeoning work in Samoa. Over time they were joined by other prayer warriors. Major Miriama explains that ‘one of the verses that came up often in those early days of praying was Jeremiah 3:33, “Call to me and I will show you great and mighty things, things you do not know”.Prayer is the key to everything,’ she says.
Five years of faithful and fervent prayer later, and The Salvation Army Samoa now has a permanent place to call home. Captain Julie explains further that, ‘The purchase of the land is a powerful answer to prayer. Our prayer warriors (mostly children) have prayed faithfully for this land and God has provided. The first programme to move to the Vaivase property was our Tuesday night prayer meeting. To see our children, youth and adults now praying each week on the land that they prayed for all these years is a very special experience.’
All current services and operations will move to Viavase including Regional Headquarters, Samoa Central Corps, Addiction Services office/reception. The land God has provided currently has four dwellings and these will be renovated and used for office and programme space,and meeting rooms. The surrounding grounds are large and spacious, and plans are underway for the construction of a church hall/large meeting room and development of the Regional Headquarters office space. The land also houses some income generating rental properties.
Community partners and government departments, including the Ministry for Women, Community and Social Development, attended the blessing of the land in support of The Salvation Army Samoa. Also attending were the New Zealand High Commission staff, police and corrections staff, and other NGOs.