A key feature of being an officer (minister) in The Salvation Army is that of being available to God through the Army to serve wherever you are needed. In many countries where The Salvation Army is well-established there is a particular time of year, every year, when officers wait with bated breath to see if it is their time to move to another town and another appointment. A traditional time to move is not established here in Latvia but this week such a move did take place. It was a small move compared to some countries where the Army is much larger, but relative to the size of the Army here, it did make quite an impact, and was a rare, if not entirely new, phenomenon.
Having experienced these kind of transitions personally all my life, it took me some time to realise that what, for me, has become second nature was entirely new for the officers here. One basic concern was how the whole moving process could take place all on the same day. For me, that’s just the way it’s always been, why would it seem to be a problem? When the penny finally dropped that for my colleagues this was something new, I tried to put myself in their place and tried, along with the team here at Regional Headquarters, to help and reassure them during this time of change.
There were so many things to think of and organise that I had taken for granted. What furniture should be left in the flats officers are leaving? How would Inventories be checked? What information should be left for the replacement officer? What SA equipment stays behind and what does the officer take with them? How is the actual move of peoples’ personal belongings organised and executed? How are all the financial matters relating to the corps (church) handed over? What about new schools and nursery places for the children involved in the move …and so it went on.
Well, in the end the move did not take place all on one day. One cohort moved last Thursday and so this weekend sees the welcome to six officers and candidates as they start their new lives in four different appointments, with the remainder moving into their new homes and appointments by next weekend.
So, it’s ‘all change’. If you do pray, and I know some of you reading this do, you might like to remember Ilona, Inga and her husband Janis, Ilona and Dmitrijs and daughter Diana, Arturs and Erika and baby son Kristers, Gints and Revita and children Daniela and Marks, Velta and husband Ainers, in your prayers.