Saturday, October 10, 2015

Was God’s Army destined to fail? Part Two

Jan 9 1894 the Glasgow Herald from Petrograd reported:

The Salvation Army in Russia is doomed. I hear upon best authority that the Imperial Government views with extreme favor the continued propagation of General Booth’s ideas which have of late taken deep root in various parts of Russia, principally in Finland, but also in St. Petersburg itself.  It is only a few days since a painful sensation was caused in aristocratic circles here by the action of the Princess Gargarine, who, it will be remembered, wished to have the religious service at the funeral of her late husband performed in accordance with Salvation Army notions and ordered the minister of the Greek Orthodox out of the house. In consequence of this, and other cases which have been brought to the notice of the authorities, they have determined to take energetic measures to check the further extension of Salvationism.

Over the course of the last thirteen years the Army’s work and effectiveness peaked; more than a dozen corps, eighteen cadets, childrens homes, a popular and profitable newspaper, acceptance at every strata of society yet we are in decline; we have but one corps now in Moscow and Petrograd. We can no longer publish our ‘War Cry’ due the lack of paper. –

“1918 was in every respect a dark year for our work. Despite all our hopes, all our strivings, after triumphant faith, in spite even of our occasional successes, it was becoming clear that the tide was on the ebb.”  

Ten Years in Russia, Karl Larsson p. 123

“Adjutant and Mrs. Ljungholm have arrived from Moscow and we have decided to allow them and the other Swedish officers to continue on to Sweden”- to safety....

12 December 1918 Petrograd, Russia

01:00 Packing for the expulsion train journey from Petrograd across the frontier to the Finnish border - Colonel Karl Larsson reflecting on the ten years that resulted in defeat; the planting the Army’s banner firmly on Russian soil:

And were we brought to live in splendor
Among golden clouds in skies of blue,
And were our life a stellar dance,
Where tears aren’t shed, where laments aren’t known,
To this poor country still (Russia)
Our longing would endure.

On crossing the Finland Russia border some twelve hours later;

 Isn’t that what I said”, exclaimed the Finnish border Chief Officer when he saw us, “that you would soon return!” –from Russia. “Absolutely right”, was my response, “but we will return yet again to Russia.” “I believe that as well, he answered.

1937 Karl Larsson reflecting in his book; Ten Years in Russia, 

It has taken longer than we thought. But one day the Salvation Army will return to Russia. I probably will not be among them. But others will go and execute that which we failed to accomplish.”

*Och fördes vi att bo i glans
Bland guldmoln i det blå,
Och blev vårt liv en stjärnedans,
Där tår ej göts, där suck ej fanns,
Till detta arma land ändå
Vår längtan skulle stå.

Oct 10, 2015

Sven Ljungholm
Liverpool, England

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sven, I'm hooked. I, with others, have encouraged Cathy and you for a long time to share in writing what God sent you to and brought you through. Incredibly creative, committed and resolvent we watched the Army at its best as you gave your best.
As I read these introductory posts I transported from my London home into the “place” of your struggles and God's victories.
I look forward to reading more about your family's fascinating contribution over a 85 year span in firmly planting the SA standard in the Russian Empire's soil, life and culture.