The temperatures here in Latvia this March have been historically low, but for me the bright, clear, dry, crisp days we have experienced in the latter part of the month have been beautiful.
This meant that my journey to Drusti last Sunday, with Ineta my translator, was absolutely stunning. It reminded me of the classic scenes seen on English Christmas cards, hence the title of this piece.
Drusti is a village of about 700 people right out in the middle of the countryside. We have a Salvation Army church/corps there and I went to be part of their Sunday worship. We arrived to find the hall full of people, some of whom had walked over 4 kilometres in extremely cold weather (some say it had been -20 degrees the night before) to be present for the meeting. Ilona, the officer there, started the meeting with singing accompanied by a backing tape. There were all the ingredients of Salvation Army worship the world over, singing, reading the Bible, prayer, testimony, and a sermon – oh, and the collection too!!
Towards the end of the service the children came in and at the close of the service out came the refreshments. There was the famous Drusti tea, of course (see ‘The Trivial Round’) and coffee and cakes and biscuits. Perhaps best of all there was home-made cheese made by one of the ladies present with milk from her own cows and sprinkled with carraway seeds. I came away with a huge cheese and a bag of Drusti tea. Gradually the congregation dispersed many of them walking the long distance back home.
There was an atmosphere of warmth and celebration of the kind experienced when God’s people meet together. One lady summed it up when she said, ‘I can leave my worries and troubles at home when I come here, because I find joy in this place.’