Salvation Army celebrates 1 year anniversary
The Salvation Army Church yesterday celebrated 12 months of mission in Samoa with a thanksgiving service.
The church established itself in the country just after Cyclone Gita early last year and can be found today on the Salenesa Road at Moto’otua.
Salvation Army regional officer, Lt Colonel Rod Carey, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that every week between 50-60 people go the church.
“We have people ranging from the National University of Samoa lecturers to the unemployed – from families to people who have been on drugs and alcohol program coming in for recovery – so we get a wide range of ages and people from all walks of life joining the Salvation Army Church,” he said.
The church has established a drug and alcohol treatment program in Samoa, which the Lt Colonel Rod says has seen over 100 people since its establishment.
“The drug and alcohol treatment program has now had 134 clients since August last year. The majority of our clients are from the Courts, we have had some people self-referring, realizing they got a problem, so they come and ask for help.
“Although we prefer that they come and ask for help, rather than getting into trouble with the Courts and then have them come to us, because then they’re already in strife, aren’t they?” he added
Lt Colonel Rod said they are happy to be in Samoa permanently and are grateful for the support of the Samoan people and the Government and its various agencies.
“We are really grateful for the support of the Samoan people and the Government and other agencies and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who are funding the drug and alcohol program (not the church) but the alcohol program and we are just pleased to be on the island,” he said.
While the church currently has a branch at Moto’otua, Lt Colonel Rod said they are looking forward to setting up more branches and other welfare work programs, in other parts of the country.
“Salvation Army church and social services will be here forever now and eventually we’ll buy a building and set up ourselves in another place. In a year or two we might want to set up a service place in Savai’i and maybe amongst the villages,” he added.
“So we also plan to do other welfare works, so we [have] got a youth group going, children’s ministries, hoping to do craft groups, hoping to start an adults learning centre so adults – who maybe need to write a curriculum vitae and go through job interview – to help them get employment so we’re going to run those courses soon.”
The Salvation Army is an international movement and an evangelical part of the universal Christian church which operates in 128 countries around the world, including Fiji and Tonga. Their arrival here last year makes Samoa the 129th country to have host the church.