Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TEN YEARS IN RUSSIA 1913-23 Introduction


Karl Larsson

To the reader

If the Salvation Army's history in its entirety should one day be divided, probably no part would be more interesting than the description of the attempt to plant its (SA) banner in the vast Russian Empire’s soil that was made during the years 1913 - 1923. 

From a human standpoint the attempt failed. But that does not make the story of the attempt less interesting. Who dares, moreover, when everything is taken into account, suggest that this attempt was unsuccessful? Several results remain, and others will be seen when the shadows dissipate. Hasn’t it always been in most attempts that brought humanity forward first looked like defeat? But the defeat incited new aspirations that ended in victory. That’s how it’s been in God’s kingdom. And the Salvation Army has witnessed similar experiences. The experience of these ten years in Russia is so interesting, instructive and inspiring, that they deserve to be known more widely than has been the case. It speaks about work, self-denial and suffering for Christ's sake, all urging a younger generation of Salvationists to a daring outpouring on their Master’s behalf. If that happens, something positive has been gained, and maybe the benefit will be that once again the gates of the Russian kingdom will open for us and other of God’s servants.

It should not be forgotten that the depictions in this book relate to a period of time, which is now twenty years distant. It is clear that in some areas have since then changes have taken place, whether for better or worse I will not comment on.

Although several of the most intimate experiences had to be excluded, and other valuable information has either been forgotten or followed departed comrades to the grave, yet so much material remained, that it has not been possible within the framework of this book to make a place for everything. However, I hope that what is included will provide a clear picture of the struggle that was waged.

With gratitude I acknowledge the valuable assistance that I in the preparation of these representations received from Lieutenant Colonel Helmi Boije, Major Elsa Olsoni, Major Pink Hacklin and Major Clara Becker and others whose correspondence, messages or stories in the Finnish War Cry were at my disposal. It is altogether a first-hand  Christian experience that is offered the reader without seeking to present something better or worse than it was.

Karl Larsson

Stockholm 1 April 1937

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