An ‘Army Renewal’ and a very personal salute to Aux-Captain Muriel Sims who was promoted to Glory a few days ago. We had a few special adventures together, some sad times together, and a fair few ‘discussions.’
In retirment she laid foundations for the beginning of The Salvation Army in Romania and lived to see a young but very much growing Army taking shape there. She mentored, supported and fought valiantly in prayer with the early officers appointed there, especially Romania’s first ever Salvation Army officer, Captain Roxanna (pictured holding the flag). The picture is Muriel being given the ‘Others’ Award by Commissioner Barry Pobjie, then TC of the Eastern European Territory for her work. She was given the freedom of one of the cities of Romania and took tonnes and tonnes of aid to Romanian orphans in the 80s and 90s.
Muriel wasn’t always ‘easy’, but I saw parts of her life that maybe the vast majority who knew her didn’t get the opportunity to see and this leaves me with so very much to admire and aspire to.
God bless her family. God bless her Romanian legacy with great abundance. Thank God for Auxilliary-Captain Muriel Sims.
More developments on the Romanian front…another friend, Captain Adrian Roman, who is the officer at the Ploiesti Corps, writes with news that they have been asked to vacate the building they had been renting in the city. They now have no-where to meet because they are finding the cost of renting too high elsewhere in the city. They have had to cease much of their children’s work and they are losing touch with people because of nowhere to meet.
Adrian is struggling too without the resources to buy a vehicle for his work. Unlike here in the UK, officers aren’t provided with cars in the Eastern Europen Territory. This fledgling Salvation Army region has seen some great growth as it approaches nearly 10 years of work, but they are vastly under-resourced in many ways.
I don’t know if the process has changed in the last couple of years, but the officers in Romania have to travel several hundred miles each month to pick up their monthly allowance in Chisinau, Moldova. They get what they need to run the corps and what is left is their allowance. I too often fear that these good folks ‘go without’ even the basic things to ensure the mission continues. Thats strong commitment, but in today’s society and in an international Army, it shouldn’t have to be like that.
If you’re reading and you think you could help Captain Adrian with a decent second hand vehicle, please contact me.
Having had a busy day (and week), I’m just rounding up preparation for our meeting tomorrow night. We’re looking at the picture of salvation provided for us in Psalm 27 and I’m just reminded how good and blessed it is to be in the presence of God, especially with God’s people. There is very little more precious than that.
It was wonderful today, at the opening of the Aberdeen Citadel refurbished building, to hear the General’s heart for the world-wide Salvation Army. He is a man who holds the internationalism of the Army close to his heart. As he told of plans to invade Outer Mongolia, and as he confirmed growth in Greece, advancement into Kuwait and adventures into Kathmandu in Nepal, my mind just explodes further as I picture every tribe, every tongue, every nation under heaven actually in Heaven praising the Father. Yet, I’m just as excited about our hopes and plans for expansion in Aberdeen. For now, my heart is set on seeing more Scots in heaven!
It was great this morning to hear from some good friends, fellow officers, in Romania, Captains Ianut and Roxana Sandu. They are the corps officers in Craiova, a city in rural Romania which is primarily ‘Orthodox’. They are having a difficult time spreading their work there as the people generally see those who are not Orthodox as sinners heading to hell, and so you’ll imagine the wall of resistance they face in trying to reach out there. They sent some pictures of the little congregation they’ve managed to raise, mainly of orphan children, and of their work to try and support a nearby orphanage that desperately needs playground equipment…the stuff they have is rusty and un-useable. Simple things we in the west take for granted, even in our most challenging communities. Yes, the challenges these young officers face are challenging to say the least.
At the end of this busy Saturday, I can hear the noise of our public houses spilling out into the streets of Torry…the rabble, the pain, the ‘drowning sorrows’ and no doubt the brokeness mixed with little tinges of celebration. I’m reminded that God’s shelter of salvation is huge, and its great to be under it…but there is yet more room for even more people. God help us all as we do all we can to reach the world for Christ, beginning just where we are.