Daily devotions


Early Sunday morning in Riga January 29

Winter came at last to Riga. We have had a couple of days with minus ten degrees.

It has been an intensive week. It started with a two day gathering for all Officers and other leaders in Latvia. It was the third time we started the year with two Leader´s Days in Skangale. We looked back what happened during 2011 and looked forward to what will happen during 2012.

Here are more pictures from the Leader´s Days in Skangale

The first day after Skangale we received the first truck with humanitarian aid to our new Storage in Riga. It came from the Salvation Army in Lidköping, Sweden, and they sent 19 ton of clothes and other things.

 Here are more pictures from our storage in Riga

The work week ended with two days of teaching at the School for Officers Training with the first year cadets.

Now it is Sunday morning and in a few hours we will go down to Iecava for a soldiers enrolment. Last soldiers enrolment in Iecava was many years ago, so that will be a very special event for the corps in Iecava.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky


Headlines week 4

Defending Truth Without Compromise
Charisma News - "The most frequent objection of those who fear the presence of believers in government is, "What right do you have to impose your morals on us?" Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council tells them, "The same right you have to impose your lack of morals on us."
Someone's values will always be reflected in public policy. Almost every government policy decision is a value judgment. In this postmodern world, where moral relativism is the philosophy of choice, these value judgments are often based on the conditions of the moment rather than objective, transcendent, biblical truth. This is where the two sides diverge

About uniforms
Patrik Oltermann in FSAOF - "The uniform has been defined as a prophetic robe (the prophetic view of ourselves and others that we have made ourselves available in the war). The uniform has also been described as a sacrament (an outward sign of an inner grace). These aspects are vitally important and should not be lost. But they are only meaningful aspects of uniforms (whether it be a parade, work or field uniform) if it is worn outside the corps’ walls. Moreover, it is only meaningful if the uniforms as a external sign is followed by an inner grace."

The "Right Time" Is Now
Greg Laurie, devotion - "Though she was raised in a Christian home, my mother rebelled against God for most of her life. And whenever we got into any serious discussion about life or its meaning or the afterlife or God, she would always say, "I don't want to talk about it."
One day, she was very ill, and I felt especially impressed to go and have a conversation with her. So I went to see her. I said, "I want to talk to you about your soul, and I want to talk to you about the meaning of life and what happens after we die.


Words of William Booth 2

My ambition is the souls of men

William Booth meeting King Edvard VII.
The King asked William Booth to write in his autograph album. William Booth wrote:

"Some men´s ambition is art
Some men´s ambition is fame
Some men´s ambition is gold
My ambition is the souls of men

From Words of William Booth by Cyril Barnes


Early Sunday morning in Riga January 22

Weekly review from my point of view

It is Sunday morning in Riga. The first snow has been falling. Not much snow. Only a little snow covering the ground. After two cold winters with lots of snow I cannot say a long for more snow.

The past week we have had some business meetings and something so unusual as time to work in the office.

This week we have decided the theme for our coming congress in Riga this summer. In airports and in major train stations you can often see a sign showing a meeting point. We will use that sign and call our congress "Meeting Point Riga 2012". If you want more information about our congress you can send a mail to iveta.rasa@pestisanasarmija.lv. Soon we will also post more information about our Congress on our website: www.pestisanasarmija.lv.

During the past week Ruth and myself have also made our visiting plans for this semester. We plan to have three gatherings in all corps and outposts. One Sunday meeting, and after the meeting we will invite soldiers, adherents and other interested to a gathering called "Open Microphone". In this gathering we will inform about what is happening in the Salvation Army and also be available for questions and comments. We also plan to have a corps review in all corps.

  Tomorrow, Monday we will go to Skangal together with all officers, other Leaders and cadets for the first Leader´s Days for this year. There will be a full program in two days.

This weekend our three sons will meet each other. They live far away from each other and they have been travelling from Stockholm, Borås and Moss to take part in the the Slavation Army floor ball cup in Drammen, Norway. They will play in the Swedish team.

But now it is Sunday morning and soon time to go down to the Sunday morning meeting at Riga 1 Corps.

Have a blessed week
Peter Baronowsky


Baptism's purpose...

Major Jostein Nielsen, Norway
Translated from Norwegian; Sven Ljungholm

"I will speak at the Salvation Army today (on Baptism). Those who know that the Salvation Army does not practice the baptism ritual may wonder where I’m headed and might be anxious about some of these introductory words, but I'm not on a collision course with either the Bible or the teachings of my church.

In the church calendar today celebrates the Feast of Epiphany, where the texts of Jesus' baptism is in focus. If baptism is necessary for salvation, it may seem absurd that Jesus had to be baptized. John the Baptist said so and many others have come down on the same side. But perhaps there is a key to understanding this in the book of Hebrews?

If you've followed my blog over the last couple weeks, have you noticed how Jesus for a brief time was made lower than the angels, and that he truly had to be as 'the children of flesh and blood'. This complete identification with humans was further confirmed further through baptism. Baptism signifies the transition. Jesus is ready to complete the mission: to save the world. His baptism was the gate to the road to Calvary.

Therefore Jesus’ baptism was necessary, not for his own salvation, but for that of the whole world. I think he saw it as a foretaste of death and resurrection. His comments to John: "We need to do to fulfill all righteousness" is a confirmation of that.

For me to be righteous before God, I must also die with Christ and rise with him. It is this that is 'baptism', and that ‘baptism’ is necessary for salvation. The rituals can symbolize this in a good way, but if it does not happen on the inner level, they are external actions only in conjunction with religious ceremonies. Piety concerned Jesus. The ‘inner’ characterizes the ‘external’ and not the opposite. Therefore, the Army opted out of the external rituals without thereby saying that it is wrong to exercise and take full advantage of them.

In order to live a sacramental life, it is necessary to be 'baptized'. How it happens is a mystery, and in the expository lesson later today I will testify to the mighty 'experience' I had when I recognized and became aware of what it meant to be dead with Christ and raised with Him in this life

Today's 'manna':
I'm dead and risen with Christ."


The General after six months

Interview with General Linda Bond after six months in office.


Headlines week 3

Preaching what-ifs
Wesleyan Life
- "What if preachers developed a deep reliance upon the Holy Spirit like we did when we preached our first sermon?
What if the words of preachers painted inescapable, unforgettable, and compelling pictures of God's kingdom in the hearts of people?
What if preaching was so brutally honest about the bad news that people craved the good news?"

Martin Luther King Jr.: A Letter to American Christians in 1956 (and Today)
Ed Stetzer - In a 1956 message, Martin Luther King Jr. reads an imaginary letter from the Apostle Paul. I've excerpted it below, but be sure to read the whole message.
"I am impelled to write you concerning the responsibilities laid upon you to live as Christians in the midst of an unChristian world. That is what I had to do. That is what every Christian has to do. But I understand that there are many Christians in America who give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. They are afraid to be different. Their great concern is to be accepted socially. They live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many of you Morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. You have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. How many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way."

Have I grieved thee with an ill kept vow?
Andrew Bale on FSAOF - "Every Salvationist publicly states at the time of their enrolment that they ‘believe and will live by the truths of the word of God expressed in The Salvation Army’s eleven articles of faith.’ In addition every soldier solemnly declares that they “will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders, they will show the spirit of Salvationism whether in times of popularity or persecution.
TSA in the UK has a hard-core clique of Officers and soldiers who are openly dismissing (in both practice and public preaching) the following Army beliefs:
    Doctrine 5 – Original sin
    Doctrine 9 – The possibility of back sliding
    Doctrine 10 – Holiness
    Doctrine 11 – The general judgment and eternal punishment of the wicked

Franklin Graham about Rob Bell


Welcome meeting for the new cadets in Riga

Sunday, January 15, the welcome meeting for the new Latvian cadets was held in Riga. Here are some pictures from the event.
 The two new cadets in the center of the platform
 The Training School worship group was leading the congregation in worship
 The second year cadets follow was is happening with interest
 Vineta´s testimony
 Artur´s testimony
 Riga Staff Songsters were singing
And of course flowers after the meeting

Words of William Booth 1

God´s promises are sure if you will only believe

"A few days before his promotion to Glory, the Founder was helped
from his bed to a chair. His speech was failing. Bramwell, daughter
Lucy and a nurse were giving close attention, ready to meet his every
‘Bramwell – the promises,’ he whispered. ‘The promises.’ Then
someone prompted him by adding ‘of God’. That was the thought in
the old man’s mind; and slowly, with great effort, he went on: ‘The
promises – of God – are sure – are sure – if you will only believe
Almost every word was punctuated with a movement of the hand.
That immortal truth wasWilliam Booth’s last statement to the
world. He had always depended on God. He had proved that His
promises never failed. And he knew that God expected him to remain
true to all his promises.
The General had demanded much of his followers. The promises
his officers had made to him often alarmed more mercenary-minded
Christians, but he had never asked for more than he would give


Early Sunday morning in Riga, January 15

Sunday morning again! I am slowly getting used to write 2012 instead of 2011. Yesterday the first snow came to Riga. Almost two months late.

This week has been very much about the School for Officers Training (SFOT).
- Monday the second year cadets started their studies in the new facilities in Agenskalns, Riga.
- Wednesday was the internal welcome meeting for the new first year cadets.
- Friday we had the teaching for the first second year cadets while the Becketts were drilling the two first year cadets for the welcome meeting on Sunday.

And today is Sunday and the welcome meeting. Everything is prepared. The printed programs with our greeting to the new cadets and the prayer cards so everybody remember to pray for the two new cadets (See right).

Here is our greeting to the cadets:
"Dear Cadets
We welcome you as cadets in the Salvation Army in Latvia.
We are thankful to God for calling you and thankful to you for being obedient to His calling.
Above the entrance to the Hall where we are celebrating your entering training there is a big flag with the text “Latvia for Christ”. That is our mission. Our mission is to tell people in Latvia they need Christ. Your name is “Proclaimers of the Resurrection” and you are called to tell people about the possibility to experience  resurrection in their lives.
That is what happens when a person receive Christ. A new life starts. What was dead is made alive.
So many people in Latvia do not know about resurrection life. They do not know that there is forgiveness and a new hope. They do not know about the love of Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit.
That is why God is calling “Proclaimers of the Resurrection” today. We pray that your name will be what you are.
We can assure you that our prayers will follow you during your training and in your ministry.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to give them” (Josh 1:6)
Rut and Peter Baronowsky, Regional Commanders Latvia

Directly after the welcome meeting Ruth is leaving for Prag for a meeting with the group preparing the European Congress in Prague in October. I think that will be the first European Congress ever. Are you coming?

But before that I wish you a blessed coming week
Peter Baronowsky


Always the whole truth

From Marie Willermark´s blog. The Swedish TC explaining the new Comminication platform:

It is exciting when a new ad campaign launch garners the desired attention. Indifference is the worst that can possibly happen when there’s something truly important to say. When the Salvation Army in Sweden today launched its new profile targeting the general public I received many and differing reactions.

In addition to a revamped and more attractive SA red shield, which has been our most visible symbol since the late1980s, we also added the slogan "Faith is only half the story."

When such an expression suddenly lands in front of our eyes we might easily think about it as being, either, or? "What, the Salvation Army deals with half-truths?"

When we have something to say it is not the only message that matters, but to whom we say it. This slogan is not an attempt to describe why God has raised up The Salvation Army and to define our complete identity. We have indomitable pride in God's whole truth about His perfect salvation from sin and His holy will to keep us holy.

An effective slogan ought not be lengthy or seek to provide a full explanation. For us its purpose is to quickly reach people who have little or no knowledge of the Salvation Army. It serves as an appetizer, a teaser. Precisely, as has already happened, it will raise questions about the larger picture. People whom we reach through our advertising campaigns and fundraising letters often assume that social work is ‘all there is’. We want to garner reflections that allow us to clarify that faith is the substance; the whole of our reality. But we do not attempt to say everything at once.

When one uses a short expression,eg., “Faith is only half the story”, it's just an expression, an entrance leading to something larger. It has never been our intent or contention that there must be a literal expression of our theology.

When we formulate ourselves in this way, I feel a strong association with Jesus' way of communicating. He says for instance that ‘if the eye or hand offend us we'll pull it out, cut it off’.(Matthew 5:29-30) - but we don’t take the words literally!

When Jesus spoke in parables and images, it was often with exaggeration and unexpected twists to gain attention and attract questions that led to seeking the deeper truth.

When we commit ourselves to communicate with the general public we can never with words alone present the whole truth. It occurs only in the encounter between a seeking people and a living God.There is no public relations campaign in the world that can replace the live interaction between people. The whole truth about God's love and goodness is expressedcompletely through social work as well as in our worship services (SA meetings)

Our new way of communicating can neither improve nor diminish the good works of Christian discipleship that is ongoing every day in our (SA) businesses – programmes and projects. What we want to achieve through public relations is to ensure that the Salvation Army does not remain a closely guarded secret for a large proportion of the Swedish population.

Posted on January 11, 2012
Commissioner Marie Willermark


Headlines week 2

Israeli and US troops gear up for major missile defense drill after Iran maneuvers
Washington Post - "The Israeli military is gearing up together with U.S. forces for a major missile defense exercise, the Israeli military announced Thursday, as tension between Iran and the international community escalates.
The drill is called “Austere Challenge 12” and is designed to improve defense systems and cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli forces. It follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Video Looks at Church Planting in Muslim World
Charisma News - "This video is focusing on the Tama people of Chad. Green says, "They're doing church planting there among a people group of about 200,000 people. There is no church and no known believers there."
Chad isn't known for its stability. "Chad is considered one of the most unstable countries in the world, second only to Somalia. There was a civil war several years ago. It's stabilized somewhat, but there is a large number of refugees," says Green.
Pioneers church planters have a huge task ahead of them. "These people are exclusively Muslim," says Green. "That is their identity. It's very closely tied to their ethnic identity. And the possibility of changing religious identity is very foreign to them

The cost of freedom
Marie Willermark (TC Sweden) - "Ukrainian example of the Freedom Prize; reads Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter (Daily News) noting that Olexander Tymoshenko seeks political asylum in the Czech Republic. He is the husband of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (famous for her braids). Her circumstances are described as though, "living in a torture cell."

Why does this happen in a free Ukraine? One thing that struck me during the five years I lived there was the standard for right and wrong and also what constituted truth or falsehoods. My reasoning led me to believe that this approach was fostered or that it was an unplanned result of the Soviet state ideology. All goals were measurable and all necessary resources were allocated in order to reach the goals.

Prophetic Word for 2012: Revival Begins With You
Jennifer LeClaire in Prophetic insight - "While I was praying over 2012, I received impressions about many things—some warnings and some promises. But what burned most on my heart to share with the masses wasn’t a list of predictions or a prophetic directive. What burned most on my heart to share are four simple words: Revival begins with you.
We yearn to see signs, wonders and miracles manifest today as they did in the book of Acts, don’t we? But are we willing to pay the price the early church paid? Are we willing to die to self? Are we willing to relinquish control to the Holy Spirit so He can move like He wants to move? Are we willing to repent for the character flaws that hold us back? Are we willing to walk in love and unity with true believers who don’t believe exactly the same as we do? Are we willing to war against the spirit of compromise that is raging against the church in this age? Revival begins with you.


Proclaimers of the resurrection

The new cadets, Proclaimers of the Resurrection, started their training Wednesday. Here you can see them together with the second year cadets and the Training School staff.
The official welcome meeting will be on Sunday, January 15, at Riga 1 Corps.


The cost of freedom

From Marie Willermark´s blog: 
Ukrainian example of the Freedom Prize; reads Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter (Daily News) noting that Olexander Tymoshenko seeks political asylum in the Czech Republic. He is the husband of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (famous for her braids). Her circumstances are described as though, "living in a torture cell."
Why does this happen in a free Ukraine? One thing that struck me during the five years I lived there was the standard for right and wrong and also what constituted truth or falsehoods. My reasoning led me to believe that this approach was fostered or that it was an unplanned result of the Soviet state ideology. All goals were measurable and all necessary resources were allocated in order to reach the goals.
What was deemed ‘right and true’ were those facts and associated actions that could be authenticated with a officially stamped documents. Even if all concerned were witnesses to a different and more plausible and honest reality, all worked only in accordance with the official version. A double standard that became a common everyday occurrence, and one that all lived their unreflective lives in.
When a person who grew up in that community is saved, comes to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, it means not only a freedom from one’s own sins, but also as a colleague in Moscow told me, she also needed to be saved and freed from the identity as a ‘Soviet person’.
Consequently, it is not surprising for Ukrainians that those currently in power determine the legal framework of what constitutes official justice and truth. There are not many who believe that a president with a shady gangster background, credentials from diploma mills has become the country's leader on (his) democratic merits. He who holds the purse also pulls the strings.
Can we Swedes simply shake our collective heads and think, "poor them". Comforting that it happens far away in Eastern Europe. How far away is it really? There are more sophisticated means by which to manipulate freedom. If we do not realize and recognize the treasures we hold dear, we will lose them before anyone even notices it.


What is lacking?

James Card  about the Salvation Army - "What seems to be lacking in our modern Army, in my judgment, is the expectation that Soldiers will actually take the commitments of the Articles of War seriously. We have allowed life at the Corps to become, like many other churches (and indeed like much of our society in general), a spectator sport. Our people expect us to entertain them, teach them, provide for their needs; but do not expect to contribute much to the process. Ought we to insist that when our people promise to "spend all the time, strength, money and influence I can in supporting and carrying on the Salvation war" they actively do something about that commitment? Perhaps we might ask them which local officer position they would like to train for at the same time they sign the Articles of War."

Early Sunday morning in Riga - January 8

Review of the passed week seen from my personal point of view.

Last Sunday, the first day of the new year, the Corps in Bauska enroled seven new soldiers! That was a good start of this year and several other corps are running recruit classes preparing for more soldiers enrolments. The Salvation Army in Latvia is growing.

During the week our youth leaders have conducted a camp for younger teenagers in Skangale. Teenagers from all over Latvia participated in the camp.
During the past week the Leader of the Salvation Army in Sweden/Latvia has started a blog. She has posted a blog about the high cost of freedom:
 "When I see the number and variety of ads for wine in our newspapers and hear Sverker Olofsson in his television program (January 4), about Sweden, which is about to drink itself to death, - then I wonder who is paying the cost for that freedom. The children? The family? Teenagers? In any event, the cost is not borne by the advertisers and the drinking culture lobbyists. Why don’t more decision makers (you and I in our different roles and circumstances) exercise their freedom to say no to all that destroys, breaks down and kills?"

During the past week the School For Officers Traning (SFOT) has moved from Betania, which the School has shared with Riga 2 Corps, to the premises in Agenskalns where the Children´s Home just moved out. The Officers at the School have been working long days all week through to prepare the new facilities for the cadets moving in next week. It will surely be an exciting and blessed week.

I pray that also your week will be blessed.
Peter Baronowsky


The High Cost of Freedom

From Marie Willermark´s blog:

The High Cost of Freedom
The question is not what the cost is, but rather who pays, and whose freedom is purchased.

The Arab democratization wave actualizes the political freedom’s dilemma. It should not only be won, but also realized. Young students, men and women, gave their lives to formulate and build a new future, but the established power structures appear to maintain control.

The "free market" direction has also been thrown open for discussion. When the municipal and state liquidation sales gained speed, arguments targeted the politicians and pointed to their incompetence to run large businesses. It may be a relevant argument, but it has been proven that skills to win bid proposals for improved activities in schools and social services has not fared any differently.

When I see the number and variety of ads for wine in our newspapers and hear Sverker Olofsson in his television program (January 4), about Sweden, which is about to drink itself to death, - then I wonder who is paying the cost for that freedom. The children? The family? Teenagers? In any event, the cost is not borne by the advertisers and the drinking culture lobbyists. Why don’t more decision makers (you and I in our different roles and circumstances) exercise their freedom to say no to all that destroys, breaks down and kills?

Fortunately, there is a freedom that can both withstand the need for control, corruption and profit. Magnus Malm writes thereof in the journal NOD, 2/2011. (Unfortunately the article is not available online.)

"Freedom has an inherent risk. The risk of things going on that we had not planned for. Our deep need for control meets its mortal enemy, freedom, and it becomes a duel to the death."

He goes on to reveal the whole issue in its important, original context: It has to do with whom we worship. Idols in biblical history are visible, touchable, tangible - but sadly dead. The living God is invisible and is therefore seen as perplexing - bewildering. "We carry the false gods. But the living God carries us. "

This is not only a question of theology. A sound freedom is the foundation for every person, family, community and country. (A) Freedom can only survive with the one who knows who and what is sacred in life. Freedom does not seek all that which I can find in order to extend my life. Freedom becomes greater when I consciously choose to waive that which is not pleasing to God. For if God is who he says he is, he purpose is to create healthy relationships - something that is indispensable for freedom to not be abused.

The analysis I’ve conducted of my own life reveals that I have an enormous amount of freedom. It’s obviously impacted on by external causes; I'm not poor and needy and I live in a functioning democratic country. But above all, I own a freedom purchased at a very high cost. My soul, my very spirit is freed from all feelings of guilt and shame. Such is the result of the outpoured and spent life of Jesus.


Salvation Army USA clashes with international group over abortion

LifeSiteNews - "Leaders of the American branch of the Salvation Army have criticized the decision by the international branch of the church to condone abortion in some cases, saying that the new position does not reflect the beliefs of members in the United States.

WorldNetDaily revealed that American leaders were infuriated by a Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission position paper accepting abortion in the cases of rape, incest or fatal fetal deformity in December.

Major George Hood, chief communications officer for Salvation Army USA, told WND that that the position statement had apparently been developed “through the London office that does not reflect the position we’ve taken in the U.S. on abortion,” and pointed towards the U.S. branch’s own statement, which is unequivocally pro-life.
The USA branch states: “The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and considers each person to be of infinite value and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and redeemed. Human life is sacred because it is made in the image of God and has an eternal destiny. (Genesis 1:27) Sacredness is not conferred, nor can it be taken away by human agreement. The Salvation Army deplores society’s ready acceptance of abortion, which reflects insufficient concern for vulnerable persons, including the unborn.
(Psalms 82:3-4)”


Headlines week 1

2012 Predictions: Persecution Will Increase in US
Prophetic Insight from Charisma - "At the threshold of this New Year, people everywhere are concerned. Escalating political, economic and social unrest have caused many, even believers, to become perplexed and fearful about the future. Jesus warned us that before His return, perilous times would come. But thank God, He has provided a way for us to not only survive but even thrive during even the most difficult of times."

Why people are leaving the church
ReporterNews - "Southern Baptists have become so concerned over the loss of church members and the failure to attract replacements that they are resorting to all means of stopping the bleeding and starting a new onrush of growth that some are considering a change of name, either to remove the name "Southern" because it is too regional, or even the name "Baptist" because it is not inclusive enough.
It is my opinion that the church, not only Baptist, is losing out because it/she is not saying anything to a listening world

Pentecostal Renewal Transforms Rwanda after Genocide
Christianity Today - "We need to give people [hope] to live today by showing them there is life tomorrow. My auntie died because there was no sense of living again."
The Worship Center Church is one of a multitude of new, independent Pentecostal and charismatic churches throughout Rwanda. Most of them have sprung up since 1994. Recovery from trauma is a central feature of these new fellowships


The General Offers Challenge and Encouragement in Latvia

Report from the General´s visit to Latvia in the Canadian Salvationist
"The Salvationists of Latvia had great joy in welcoming General Linda Bond to their country, which is part of The Salvation Army’s Sweden and Latvia Territory. The General was accompanied by Europe Zone leaders Commissioners Robert and Janet Street (International Headquarters)."

Here the General is presented with a Latvian Salvation Army Crest.
Read more


Early Sunday morning January 1

A new year has just started. How will it be? Those thoughts easily come a New Years Day.
The Salvation Army in latvia will meet new challenges.
-We have just closed our Children´s Home in Riga and laid off the staff. A new program will soon start in the premises.
-A new session at the School for Officers Training will start in January.
-The text "Latvia for Christ" is still on our flag outside Headquarters in Riga. There are so many social needs. There are so many people without God´s light.
One year ahead we are looking back on the year that has passed. What shall I write on my blog by that time?

Last Sunday we went to a prison in Riga together with Andrejs and Irina. We had to pass a number of security gates and checks before we arrived at the prison chapel. When we entered the chapel it was filled with prisoners. Ruth an myself played cornet and piano, Andrejs and Irina sang. We served tea and something to eat and gave out envelopes with stamps so the prisoners could send a Christmas greeting to their relatives. After the meeting many of the prisoners stayed for a talk.
 On the way into the prison...
...and on our way out

Another new thing is that I have received fleas. Maybe it was in the prison, maybe somwhere else. I have stitches on several parts of my body and I am really a bit proud of that. I am thinking of an episode when someone spitted on William Booth. One of the soldiers came up to William Booth to take the spittle away, but William Booth stopped him with the words "Let it be. It is a medal!" I can almost feel the same with my fleas. It shows that I have been among the people we are called to serve, even if my medals are not visible under my clothes. Well, the stitches are fading away so my suffering did not last very long.

Now it is about the future. I look forward for the coming year with confidence and worries, if it is possible to experience those two things at the same time. So much work needs to be done and our resources are limited. But God will provide resources for the things he wants us to do.

I pray that the coming year will be a blessed year for you. Thanks to all faithful readers of this blog during the year.

Peter Baronowsky