Our Russian adventure
Boscombe Salvationists took a truck-load of aid to Moscow. Mike Adams tells us how.
One Sunday evening in January (1992) our CO, Major John Mott, asked, ‘Can anyone get a truck to take some badly-needed supplies to Moscow? So our Russian adventure began.
At the same time, contact had been made with Captain and Mrs, Sven-Erik and Kathleen Ljungholm the officers (in charge of the SA) in Moscow. They needed bulk supplies of food (for the 18 SA canteens that were feeding 6,000 Muscovites at day), clothing, medical supplies and all kinds of only paraphernalia to make the new soldiers being enrolled feel like ‘proper Salvationists’.
And – we were told – it would be nice if all this were in place for the weekend in March when the General officially reopened the work in Moscow. We had just seven weeks.
A team of six was quickly selected, and back-up teams were also formed. The latter took care of fund-raising and the task of collecting and storing gifts. Another team sorted, sized, cleaned and packed the clothing.
By mid-February things had started to move on swiftly. The local Safeway, a shop across from the hall and local Rotary clubs gave valued support. Leyland DAF promised a 17-tonne truck plus a minibus for us to use, and P&O Ferries agreed to give us a generous discount and their Dover-Zeebrugge passage.
Meanwhile, we had kept in touch with Moscow, making changes to our cargo as priorities shifted. We bought two tonnes of tinned meat and a half a tonne of baby food. We believe that the cost of those late and expensive items – about 5,00.00 GBP - would come from somewhere.
And it did. When the General addressed a Rotary conference at Bournemouth, the collection, over UKP 2000 was given to the Project. The rest of the money came later.
Almost 100 people saw us off from the hall on Tuesday evening. This commitment to the project kept the team in very high spirits for several days. And on Saturday morning at 07:00 AM we were sat in Zubowski Boulivar outside the Army’s centre in Moscow.
We had crossed Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Belarus, and Russia itself. En route we picked up a Mail on Sunday photographer at the Polish-Russian border. He travelled the 22 hours non-stop through Russia with us and, as he said, ‘thoroughly enjoyed his first exposure to Salvationists’.
In Moscow, we changed into uniform and went straight to Red Square and held a short open-air meeting.
End Part One of Two