Sunday last saw me driving on my own west to the Region of Kurzeme to a Salvation Army corps in Liepaja, the third largest city in Latvia. The work both at Liepaja and at Saldus, which I visited in the afternoon and which is almost 100 kilmetres from Liepaja, is led by the lady in the picture, Captain Velta Udarska and her assistant, Lieutenant Erika Kozlovska. Velta has her own testimony of the way that God transformed her life. She is passionate about sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with other people because of her own experience. She is also a great believer in the power of prayer, so much so that she prayed for a husband and God provided one! It was good to share in worship at both Liepaja and Saldus and to hear testimonies, particularly at Saldus, of the way that God has provided for people and met their needs.
One of the fascinating things about travelling around and seeing where the ‘Army’ operates in Latvia is meeting different people and hearing their stories. I met Agnese, the 15 year old who led the worship and played her guitar to accompany the singing, a bright, intelligent- looking young woman whose Mum, Maruta, is currently the cook at the corps and makes fantastic soup! Guntars resplendent in his junior soldier’s tee shirt, operated the powerpoint for the singing. I liked him, although I guessed he might be quite a handful at times! I met Diana and her delightful little daughter Sofija. Diana is a teacher who works with teenagers at the ‘Army’ on a Friday, about 15 of them. These young people are growing in the Christian faith, but, as Diana said, working with young people, whilst rewarding, can be hard work and very challenging, to say the least. Then I met Armands, and his fiancee Baiba with her lovely children Mikus and Irisa. I’d already heard about Armands. In January, when I first arrived, he was terribly sick and not really expected to live. People prayed for him and God miraculously healed him. It was quite remarkable to see him so fit and healthy.
There were others too. Railija, a blind lady from Finland who has settled in Latvia, and who plays the piano and sings beautifully, and Gints and Revita, a married couple who have just joined The Salvation Army and are the first and only SA soldiers living in Saldus.
….so that was Sunday. It was a long day but a good one – and just great to meet up with more of the people who make up the Salvation Army family here in Latvia.
PS You can see pictures of most of the people mentionned here in the Gallery!