Franciska Simpson (Latvian) - grandmother of my wife
"GOD OF THE LIVING"
Mark 12:26, 27
"It was in the spring of 1923 when I first came into personal contact with this organization.
I found God as a result of this.
For a long time I had lived without any faith, I had not even thought about God and religion.
All spirituality was like a fog to me and I didn’t think of finding solutions to spiritual
seeking and longings in religion. I lived in the world, among unbelievers, I had the view,
like those around me that spiritual things did not have anything to do with me and I didn’t
have the desire to go into detail about the basics.
I lived in Jelgava with my parents and elder sister. Around that time my sister – with whom
I was very close and who was more denying of God than I was, started to be interested in
religion. She didn’t speak to me about it much, but I observed her and I also started to
have a desire to go to some spiritual meeting some time. I had been a couple of times to
a German youth group at the Blue Cross and everything that I had heard and seen had left
a strange impression on me. I started to realize that there is another world from which
comes a deep, silent peace and joy. This started to draw me, even though God and the Bible
was still quite dark and difficult to understand.
About this time the Salvation Army started to have meetings in Jelgava. Whereas before I
was indifferent, I was now thirsty for and indeed looking for every opportunity to hear
God’s word. One evening in a big meeting when I heard again from the platform an invitation
to give yourself to God, I couldn’t resist any longer – I let everything go – thoughts,
doubts, fears and went forward – revealing openly my deep longings after God and his peace.
It is impossible to express everything that I felt that evening, but from that time my
soul started to have a different light. Everything changed and had a different appearance,
like the curtain of eternity had opened in front of me and showed me everything in the light
of eternity. I started to understand God’s word and it became alive to me.
I no longer “asked advice from flesh and blood” but went forward on a new way, that opened
up before me, not knowing where it would end. A wonderful strength carried me as if on wings.
After a few days I was already a recruit in the Salvation Army because I felt that I could not
be quite about my amazing experience of God that was opening up before me. I also saw that
everyone around me was also longing after it but didn’t know where to look or what it was.
Then, after a while I heard an invitation to become a Candidate, to become an officer in
The Salvation Army, without any thought or doubt I signed up and I am now a Lieutenant in
The Salvation Army. I have one wish and that is to give everything to God and his work – all
of myself, all time, all strength and all my life. I am happy, eternally happy and eternally
grateful to God for this great happiness he has given me – to belong to Him, work for Him and
help others. There is no greater joy and it is available to all.
“Kara Sauciens” No. 14. 1926 (“War Cry” in Latvian)