I have written before about Saldus, where there is a relatively new expression of The Salvation Army and which lies in the western region of Latvia in between Riga and Liepāja on the western coast. The work of the Army there was started by Captain Velta, who is the officer at Liepāja, and who has had to travel about 100 kilometres to Saldus to conduct meetings and look after her little flock. Just recently the little community at Saldus has become established enough to become a bit more independent, so it has been possible to relieve Velta of the almost superhuman task of having to lead two worshipping communities between which there is such a huge distance. Gints and Revita, the first Salvation Army soldiers to be enrolled at Saldus are now serving as lay leaders to this little group of people.
It is in the way of things that sometimes we work for things that we don’t actually see happen. Moses comes to mind. It always seems unfair to me that he did all the work to get the people out of Egypt and endured all the hassle, only to be able to view the Promised Land from afar and never actually enter it! I know the reason the Bible gives for why that happened, but it still seems strange to me. Anyway, I digress. It perhaps seems just as unfair that Velta had done much of the work towards our being able to open a soup kitchen at Saldus, but it started just a few weeks after she ceased working there.
By the 1st November a venue had been located in which to have the soup kitchen, and thanks to the generosity of some visiting Salvation Army officers from Norway who were around when we were going out to buy the pots and pans, some great new equipment was bought with which to start the project.
Revita wrote excitedly after the first kitchen to report that 32 people had turned up for the soup, so it must have tasted OK! She also reported that her son, Mark, had gone out and invited the needy and the homeless to come to the kitchen in a way that is very reminiscent of a story that Jesus told.
Perhaps the most remarkable incident of all which Revita recounted, was of the man who came and excitedly told her that his grandmother had been an officer in the Army in Latvia in pre-Soviet times. Revita invited him to the meeting the following Sunday – and he came!