Monday, January 11, 2016

Share my Day
By Candidate Danille Strickland, Moscow

Forgive me if I do not share one particular day with you but rather give an overview of my first two months in Russia. It has been an unbelievable experience!

It was a great relief on arrival by air to find a beautiful woman - holding an army flag in one hand and flowers in the other - waiting to greet me. I soon learned she was one of many Salvationist recruits (soon to become soldiers) who have flocked to the Army since the Movement returned to Russia.  Dodging potholes and people, we drove to what appeared to be a rundown apartment building. However, inside was not so bad, and the actual apartment I was to live in and the family I was to stay with were fine, and soon I felt very comfortable and at home.  At 11 p.m. Captain and Mrs. (Kathie)  Sven Ljungholm  arrived to welcome me – they are in charge of the work here in Moscow. They were encouraging and friendly (but both look very tired) as they updated me on what was happening and suggested I be at their office at eight in the morning.  I have hardly left since!

The social work is incredible,  and things never stop.  The Salvation Army has opened 19 restaurants in the city which specially cater to the elderly,  invalids, pensioners and families with desperate needs. There is also a weekly distribution of food and clothing from the corps itself. Recruits (more than 100) are volunteering to make this all possible. Children’s homes and refugee camps are also regularly visited and given food, clothing and blankets.

But the corps here is also a marvelous, non-stop enterprise! I was present for the first Sunday in newly acquired building, with more than 200 people in attendance. The corps hall (seating 1,000+),  offices,  storage rooms, and the main distribution centre are all in the Moscow Cultural Centre.  Three Sundays later there were over 800 in attendance at the meeting,  and over 600 people at the outpost started just outside Moscow.
God is moving in a mighty way and The Salvation Army is marching on!

The second month
Things in Russia are still amazing.  When the Captain sentenced me to “three months’ hard labour” he wasn’t kidding! And yet, through it all,  God is being glorified and I have been incredibly blessed.  During my second month,  the Army’s world leader,  General Eva Burrows came and went – and the official opening celebrations are over.  But can we ever forget that historic weekend?  Many souls responded to the call of the Holy Spirit; prayers were answered; (60 responded to the call for full-time service as officers); the saints were blessed;  the “general” from Yalta was worthily recognized; 
The only SA soldiers in Moscow:
Danielle Strickland and Captains Kathie and Sven Ljungholm
20 junior soldiers were enrolled (and I,  their temporary leader, was thrilled);  and above all,  the name of our precious Lord and Savior was wonderfully uplifted.

Two newly enrolled soldiers spoke-
One of the new soldiers gave his testimony and said that he had been a Red Army officer in charge of a nuclear missile site. He said he used a handle dangerous and destructive weapons, but has now found another army,  whose weapons are love and Christian action. Another who testified is a psychologist at university lecturer. She said she had spent 15 years trying to bring healing and harmony to troubled people – and discovered that only in Jesus could salvation and true peace be found.

Share my day?  So much is happening,  and I have shared so little!

When I look back on those first two months in Russia I realize just how much has been done. I am awed by the privilege of seeing the direct results of the prayers of God’s people around the world.  Incredible strength is required here to keep going, and I am continually proving the Army Mother’s counsel that, “God does not call us to any work in our own strength; He bids us go and do it in His!”[1]

Major Danielle
2015 London

[1]  THE WAR CRY, Canada, June 6, 1992, pps. 4-5

Danielle, a Canadian, was the 1st uniformed Salvationist to volunteer to assist Captains Kathie and Sven Ljungholm, serving alone, in re-opening The Salvation Army in Moscow, Russia


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This reads like a breath of fresh air!

The phrase 'three months hard labor' amused me especially coming from someone like Danielle whom I imagine herself would approach everything like a whirlwind never mind Captains Kathie & Sven Ljungholm.