Almost There!

Our journey began on Tuesday, February 17 in Portland. Steve and I spent the night there because our flight out on Wednesday left Portland at 6:00 a.m. I’m posting a quick update as we sit in the Frankfurt, Germany airport waiting to board the plane for the last leg of our journey to Riga. We are getting close!

Repacking - 'Semper Gumby'
Repacking – ‘Semper Gumby’

Our dear friend and partner in serving the Lord, Kim Simmons, told us before we left that our theme for the journey is “Semper Gumby” or in English “Always Flexible”. That motto was put to use first on Tuesday night. When we got our luggage into the room thinking we’d hit the hay early, the handle on my bag would NOT go down! It was stuck in the upright and locked position. So we made an emergency run to the local Target to get me a new bag. I am thankful on so many levels for this little excursion. The Target was nearby, the bag was the right size, and I was thrilled it happened at 6:00 p.m. the night BEFORE we flew and not at 3:45 a.m. the morning that we needed to catch our flight! THANK YOU LORD!


Chicago and Blue Skies
Chicago and Blue Skies

The rest of our journey today has been long, but wonderfully uneventful! We breezed through security in Portland, encountered beautiful blue skies in Chicago, and had an uneventful, and shockingly comfortable flight to Frankfurt! One more leg to go!

On Monday night the SCC Ministry leaders prayed over us after our quarterly meeting. Carey shared this scripture from Isaiah 59:21:

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

I see this as a promise for us at SCC and for our brothers and sisters at Matthews Church in Riga. I love this picture of the Word of the Lord in our mouths, the mouths of our children, our grandchildren, and on and on! I can’t wait to see this promise unfolding over the next days and weeks and months!

Blessings – Steve and Claudia

Someone to Love, Something to Do, and Something to Look Forward To

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 preparing to speak at Matthews Church

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!

Peteris and Bill
Bill with Pastor Peteris Eisans

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.

Eight Days!

Our trip to Latvia is coming so quickly! On Tuesday, February 18 we leave for an overnight in Portland and our first flight leaves Portland on Wednesday, February 19 at 6:00 a.m.

This week Steve and I will be focused on final preparations for the classes we will teach at the Baltic Pastoral Institute and the opportunities we will have to share with Matthews Church in Riga. There are so many prayer requests on my heart right now! How blessed we are to know that you are praying for us!

  • Pray that what we prepare will be a blessing to those with whom we share.
  • Pray that we hear clearly from the Lord as we prepare.
  • Pray that we are flexible and listening to the Lord and our new friends as we actually get to develop new relationships in Latvia.
  • Praise for the way that our family at Suburban is supporting this trip! The Over and Above offering was astounding and we see this as confirmation from the Lord that this trip is HIS idea!
  • Pray over our itinerary — travel safety / mercies — divine appointments even as we travel — our adjustment to the time change, especially that we will be ready to teach in spite of the impact on us physically.
  • Pray that the Lord opens up our understanding of His purposes for this unique relationship with other believers in Riga, Latvia. I’m certain He has far more in mind than we can even ask for or imagine! 🙂

Thank you for your prayer support and love, both for us and for our sisters and brothers in Latvia!

Blessings – Claudia