The opportunity for Suburban Christian Church to have a sister church partnership with Matthews Church in Riga, Latvia presented itself in February 2013.
Each year one of Suburban’s members, Bill Zipp, travels to Latvia and teaches principles of leadership to a group of students at the Baltic Pastoral Institute. Prior to Bill’s trip in February 2013, Chuck Kelley the President of Bridge Builders International and a key evangelical leader in Latvia, mentioned the possibility of having Suburban Christian Church and Matthews Church develop a sister church relationship.
Bill brought this idea to Pastor Steve and the Suburban Missions Team and they decided that this possibility was something Bill should explore when he went on his trip. So in addition to teaching at the Baltic Pastoral Institute, Bill spoke at Matthews Church, spent time with their pastor, Peteris Eisans, and spent time with the church’s board of elders and pastoral staff team.
Bill came home absolutely convinced that God was leading us into this direction. But now he had to convince everyone else!
So two trips were planned. The first was a trip in November 2013 of Pastor Peter Eisans and his wife, Baiba, to Oregon. They stayed with Steve and Claudia and Baiba was able to attend Women’s Jubilee. Peteris shared in the Sunday morning services, attended a Church of the Valley pastors prayer time, and got to learn more about the ministries of Suburban and the Corvallis community.
Quite simply, our hearts were knit together in love during this trip.
The second trip planned is Steve and Claudia’s visit to Riga, Latvia in February 2014. Both Steve and Claudia will get to teach second and third year students at the Baltic Pastoral Institute on marriage and family ministry. Steve will preach at Matthews Church and as a couple they will get to reconnect with Peteris and Baiba and forge new friendships in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.
When Steve and Claudia return from Latvia, a Sister Church Steering Committee will be formed and led by Bill Zipp. Together the committee will explore the next steps forward for our sister church relationship. As sister churches we have someone to love — each other and those who do not know Christ in our communities. Within that framework of love we will work on always having something to do together and something to look forward to together.