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Interview with Arthur Kozlovski

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A month ago, Artūrs Kozlovskis was ordained as an officer in the Salvation Army. Currently, he is working in Āgenskalns with his wife, where they have started a variety of activities for families, young people and children. But what exactly is an officer, what does he do and how did Arthur become one? Here are some questions and answers from Artūrs.

You were ordained as an officer of the Salvation Army on December 8. What is an officer?
I was ordained as a Salvation Army officer on 8th December. A Salvation Army officer is a full-time spiritual servant. The corps (church) (at least in Latvia) is led by an officer. The responsibilities of an officer include management of the activities in corps, pastoral care and a lot of other things.

How long have you been in Salvation Army and how did you get here?
I came to the Salvation Army in year 2009. I was also attending another church which was renting space for worship from Salvation Army. But because there was a change of generations in the church at that time and the only young people that there were left were me with another friend, we decided to go to the Salvation Army. There were a lot of young people in Salvation Army at that time and we were very warmly received. I felt right at home, so I decided to stay here, and here is where I grew spiritually the most.

How did you come to the decision to become an officer?
I came to the decision of becoming an officer after many of my friends told me that they see me as potential leader and manager. At first I did not really pay attention to it, but when other people I did not know started to tell me this I asked God if I would really become a leader? And He continued to approve it. Then I started thinking and asking God what kind of leader He wants me to become? And again he told me through several people that I should become a Salvation Army officer. And so, after a long time of thinking and asking, I came to the decision that I really have to become an officer.

How long was the training time and what was it like? Is your learning over?
Total training time was two years. I had a full-time education in School For Officers Training of the Salvation Army and in addition one week per month, I studied in the Latvian Bible Centre. I had several short practices, as well. During the first year my field-practise was in Seda corps, outpost of Sarkaņi and Daugavpils corps. And the second year was spent in two long practices: the first practice in corps of Klaipeda and the second was in Riga 2. During these practices I discovered the diverse work the Salvation Army and it gave me more insight into officer’s daily life and work.
Two years ago when I started the training, it seemed to me that this is it. I am doing what God wants me to do. This is my life’s calling and I do not have to think about anything else. Please do not misunderstand me, as I still believe that God has called me to serve as an officer of the Salvation Army. But of all the training that we received in School For Officers Training, in my opinion, most clearly I remember what the director of our school said: ‘It’s always important to continue to learn, grow and develop as it is the race of entire life.’ Even before we started to learn, I thought that my ordination day will be the finish, but as this day was approaching, I realized that this was just the beginning. I realized that everything that we were taught in those two years was a basis, a starting platform from which spring runners begin their run. Graduating the school was like a push to a new start, but the race is yet to come.

What does it mean to be an officer of the Salvation Army?
I was asked this question in an interview before I entered training, and I will answer it the same way as back then. By being an officer I mean to be a friend of the lonely, to be able to fully serve people in need of physical, mental or any other assistance, and to share God’s love with all the people around. Our session was called the Proclaimers of Resurrection. From day one, when I found out the name of our session, I tried to understand what this name really means to me. I started thinking about resurrection of Jesus, what it brought with it, what happened to the people who saw Jesus alive after his crucifixion? Resurrection brings people hope, joy and being alive. And if we truly believe that Jesus Christ has risen, we have to live it through. We have to give the light of hope to the oppressed, happiness to the sad and being alive to those who do not know where to find it. We have to bring these things to people, because the resurrection of Jesus Christ offers it to each one of us.