This photo was taken by Aivis Ilsters and is one of a number under the title ‘Spring in Latvia’. On Palm Sunday I travelled to Bauska to join the Salvation Army corps/church there for worship and ‘pussy willow’ was very much in evidence. It is the symbol in Latvia of the palm leaves that were thrown at the feet of Jesus on his way into Jerusalem, there being rather a dearth of the real thing in these parts! There was a great turn out at the meeting for this special day, and evidently folk who might not normally attend came because it was Palm Sunday. The hall was full, and each of us had a piece of ‘palm’ which we had to wave as we sang the ‘Hosanna’ songs associated with Palm Sunday. Ruth, the Swedish officer there is soon to retire, having started the work of the Salvation Army in Bauska eighteen years ago. The choir sang very well in both Swedish and Latvian, and, amongst other things, the Major was presented with some medals which she had won for coming second in a sporting event at the local Sport’s club. I think, if I remember rightly, it was for pillow throwing!! After the meeting there was a little queue of people to give me gifts, mainly of flowers and ‘pussy willow’, although one lady presented me with a hand stitched bookmark, and special cream buns and coffee were served in celebration of this special day in the Christian calendar. The kitchen from which all these goodies appeared is really very small. I really can’t imagine how they manage to make soup for the 180 people who, it was announced in the meeting, had attended the soup kitchen that week.
If you are a praying person, pray for Ruth as she retires and the people of Bauska as they face the challenge of having new leaders in the next couple of months.