Friday, October 16, 2015

A look at a chapter in RETURN TO RUSSIA WITH FLAG UNFURLED 1

Staff-Captain Helmy Boijo,  one of the pioneer party from Finland, shortly before the outbreak of the revolution in that country, related an incident.

One day while a Salvation Army meeting was in progress in Petrograd the Staff-Captain, hearing a slight movement outside the meeting hall, looked up and saw a shadow on the glass door, a shadow of a woman. One of the "Old Believers," (Russian Orthodox) who had come from the Little Russians of the Sooth, and who, notwithstanding the need of herself and children, had declined to eat or drink with these who were not of her own faith. But the Staff-Captain and her comrades had been gentle with her and helped her so far as they were allowed and able.

The woman's shadow clearly revealed that in her arms was her youngest child. Presently the door was opened, and one of her other children peeked in.  They were standing about the mother, afraid at first to venture in. Little by little the inquisitive children opened the door, and the woman was able to hear more and more of the singing and the words - about the Savior of mankind.

Whilst the meeting continued the children led the way in, and at last, but not altogether unwillingly, the mother and her infant took her place in the meeting.

We shall always remember the bright look of hope that shone from the Staff-Captain's eyes when she said: "That is how it will be with The Salvation Army in Russia, I believe. Slowly it will win its way into the hearts of this great and noble people and many will be brought to the Lord."

That remark was uttered in our presence prior to the Staff-Captain's return to 'that sorrow-stricken country, where she was fully prepared for all the hard work and demands connected with pioneer work in the Russian capital and elsewhere, she could not have had any idea of the tragic experiences ahead.

When the opportunity came for her to' escape from the horrors of the revolution, she elected to stay at her post with the faithful and devoted little band of Salvationist pioneers of whom little has been heard during the long and bitter months. Some of them, we know, succumbed to the privations and hardships of their service, and shortly before writing came the sorrowful news that the Staff -Captain had been suffering from blood -poisoning following an attack of typhoid fever. We learned later of some improvement in the Staff-Captain's condition - We are again uncertain concerning the devoted Staff-Captain and her diminishing little band, whose record of Christ-like devotion in the cause of the sufferers in the great political upheaval deserves to be written in letters of gold. 

We invite our readers to pray for Russia and for our dear comrades in that famine-stricken land.
1917

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The Salvation Army was banished from Russia in 1923, The fate of the Russian Salvation Army officers serving there is not known.

Sven Ljungholm

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