Under the theme ‘Heart to God – Hand to Man since 1923’, General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries) visited the Latvia Region of the Sweden and Latvia Territory in June 2023 to celebrate the centenary of the commencement of The Salvation Army work in the country.
The public part of the celebration began with an open-air meeting in Jelgava, a city where The Salvation Army began its ministry 100 years ago. Assisted by Västerås Corps Band (Sweden) and Salvationists from around the country, the Army’s mission and message were presented to people walking in a park through music, drama and testimonies. Children were offered balloons, games and face painting.
MANY LANGUAGES REPRESENTED
The General commissioned two cadets and two auxiliary-captains from the Reflectors of Holiness Session and Territorial Commander Colonel Bo Jeppsson gave the new officers their marching orders (appointments) to different parts of Latvia. After the officers had been recognised, Västerås Band played a beautiful arrangement of Major Joy Webb’s ‘Share my yoke’, music with a message that transcended the many languages represented in the hall.
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle urged everyone to consider themselves also commissioned to be reflectors of holiness in a world in desperate need of God’s love, holiness and purity. The mercy seat quickly filled with those seeking salvation, guidance, wisdom and the strength to reflect God’s holiness in Latvia and beyond.
Whilst the congregation sang ‘All to Jesus I surrender’ in Latvian, Russian, English and Swedish, a special appeal was made for those considering officership to come to the mercy seat to seek God’s direction in their lives. Tears, laughter, joy and deep communion with God created an uplifting atmosphere, as the Holy Spirit moved to make the hall a holy place.
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle meets an employee at the Latvian regional headquarters
The weekend concluded with a celebration meeting, including previous regional leaders of Latvia sharing testimonies about God’s faithfulness to his Army in the region. Special recognition was given to Captain Arija Bergmane who, although officially retired in 2000, has continued her ministry until the age of 92. Captain Bergmane, whose mother was in the first session of Latvian officers in 1926, was instrumental in re-opening the Army work after Latvia’s independence in 1990.
Following the meeting everyone shared fellowship before departing with renewed hope, trust and passion to continue their efforts to win Latvia for Christ!