For a while the Army made encouraging progress. A refugee home was opened, as well as one for children. On Easter Sunday, in 1917, The Salvation Army made their first march down Nevski Prospekt, singing salvation songs. Thousands watched and 450 were attracted to a public indoor meeting. They were given full liberty for street meetings, and the officers' training school (seminary) was opened.
2 November 19182 November 1918
It happened a couple of years ago but we thought it apropos for the War Cry to share…. Editor
PICTURES FROM OUR WORK IN RUSSIA
It was a bitterly cold evening. There was heavy knocking at the front door. Adjutant Helvy Boije heard it, and so did her two companions. • But they thought it was some night creatures that happened to pass by, and gave it no further thought. ? But then they thought they heard a man's voice, shouting: "Open the door!"
"But as the pounding and the shouts soon ceased, and our supposition strengthened, we quietly went back to sleep."
After a couple of hours the adjutant thought she heard a sound again and sat up in bed to listen.
This time it was not possible to err: someone knocked, though much softer but more rapidly than before.
The adjutant jumped out of bed, threw on some clothing and ran down to the door to see what was going on.
For the moment everything was quiet and still, but then the knocking again, and a voice: “For heaven’s sake, please be so kind and open!” Without hesitation the adjutant opened the door and saw a pitiable man shaking because of the bitter cold. He was weeping bitterly but not for his own sake.
Are you the Salvation Army?" He asked. "Yes," replied the adjutant.
"Then you shall for the blessed Savior's sake show mercy to my wife and my four children. If you’ll allow them stay in one of the outbuildings of your farm, it is at least better than here in the cold."
The adjutant, immediately called on her comrades, and was very distressed that she had caused the people to wait so many hours outside the door.
As soon as they came in from the cold, the man, a Russian Pole, began to tell tell their story.
Lian had worked in Copenhagen but. because of the war, the factory, where the man was employed, had to lay off his people, and he stood there with his family.
The Russian consul in Denmark said to the man, when he wrote out the passport, including a note, for them in order that they could return to Russia:"Take this piece of paper! It is Salvation Army address, and remember, that when you come to The Salvation Army, you shall not hold back from knocking on their door, let it be night or day. "
The adjutant cannot share this without her eyes being filled with tears.
"How completely and intensely did this man trust us in his task to reach us! And yet, when the man came and knocked at our door, the man had to wait so long."
In short time both the man and his wife and children were in every way cherished. First they received a sufficient amount of food to banish their hunger. The officers smoothed out their own beds where they soon were sufficiently warmed and they were soon asleep.
They had arrived at the train station very late, without a penny, and so the hungry and tired, at once gone to The Salvation Army.
The wife was later taken to the hospital, while her husband and children spent two months stayed at the Army's slum colony. The man managed to get work in a factory, and after some time he had scraped together enough to provide a small home for his family.
Among those attending the Army meetings (religious services) in Petrograd, and rarely absent, was this grateful and happy family.
Yes, that was a story of the Salvation Army officers' work during the quiet hours of the night.
We shall now take an example from their daily work.
Early one morning one of the officers was on her way to slum colony. At the tram station she entered into another tram, where a woman was seated and who looked very worried and troubled. The lady was reading a magazine and didn’t notice the arrival of the embarking passenger.
To her surprise the officer noticed when she glanced at the newspaper that it was, Vjestnik Spasenija (the SA’s Russian version of the War Cry) No one was out and selling newspapers this early: the woman could not have bought the paper the same
day. It was apparently an old issue.
The officer's curiosity was aroused.
The poor woman's face was, as I said, sad and distressed. And she read the newspaper in a way, as if searching where she might find a glimpse of hope, a release from her difficulties.
After some moments she raised her eyes from the newspaper pages and then observed the Salvation Army officer.
Her eyes shone reflecting surprise and joy, and she asked, “Mam, are you a Salvation sister?"
"Yes”, answered the officer, "I am. Can I be of service to you in any way? You appear troubled”.
Yes, I am, but now I am glad; so happy to have met the people I’ve been seeking."
So she told the officer her story.
Together with her dying husband and their small children she had made the journey from Brazil to Petrograd.
When they finally arrived all their money had been spent and she’d left her husband and children behind at the station.
When their train passed through Stockholm’s Central Station (traveling to northern Sweden, crossing the border and south through Finland to Russia), a Salvation Army officer gave her a copy of Vjestnik Spasenija and
said that; “When you reach your destination you should go to the Salvation Army at the address on this newspaper.”
1918 CONGRESS IN PETROGRAD
Translation: Sven-Erik Ljungholm
From the book: RETURN TO RUSSIA WITH FLAG UNFURLED