Today at 8:45am on the dot Dace Pole, a friend of Laima’s, picked us up to take us to Matthews Church for services. Prior to the services we visited with the members of the church and spoke to Hardijs, the Chairman of the Board, about what would happen in the services and when we would participate. Liz Myers brought gracious and truth-filled greetings from us and you, Suburban friends, to the people of Matthews Church and I prayed Ephesians 1:15-21 over the people. At the first service time we were very graciously welcomed and each of us were given a beautiful bouquet of sweet peas. At the second service time we were given Matthews Church t-shirts and a painting of Matthews Church that we will bring home to you! A highlight of that time was the whole body of believers at Matthews sending a wave to you. We weren’t to wave back, instead we are to wait until we can wave to you on their behalf! At Matthews we also got to see Baiba Eisan again and Anete Abola along with her husband and their 2 month old baby Rebekah and Andis and Madara Miezite and Timothy and their new twins. After services were over we enjoyed a brief bite of abundant and delicious food in the Matthews kitchen area. From there we went to Matthews ministry to a group called ‘the little ones.’ I think it possible that in our country we might actually call this service ‘the least of these.’ This group was very down and out. It was easy to perceive a variety of different problems among the individuals in the group. But even with their problems they were polite and listened well. Kim shared a brief testimony about her life and although it has been relatively easy and she’s not wanted for anything, she has found that only Jesus can truly satisfy. Then I shared briefly about fear and the overcoming of fear through the salvation and presence offered by the Lord and ended with prayer over this group. It was a sweet, sweet time. The man who delivered the sermon for the group is one who was in the same situation as many of these people just a few short years ago. He spoke on God’s grace and did so with power and truth. When the sermon was done, they were given food to take home with them (or to the streets when that applied.) Matthews Church appears healthy and strong in spite of having been without a preacher since January/February. They continue to do some important ministry and continue to pray for and seek a new Pastor. Please join your Latvia Link team in praying for Matthews Church. In fact, it would be a good plan to pray for them every time you pray for Suburban’s search for a new Pastor!
We spent about an hour and a half in the apartment and then it was time to head to the home of Hardijs and Vigrita Rozenfelds. Hardijs is the Chairman of the Board for Matthews Church. We enjoyed another wonderful meal (are you catching the drift that we eat ALL OF THE TIME) and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this wonderful family. In addition to their son and daughter and her soon-to-be-spouse there were other leaders from Matthews at this gathering including those involved in Finance, Children’s Ministry, and of course choir. We went around the picnic table each sharing who we are, what God has called us to in ministry life and as an occupation and other pieces of our stories as we saw fit. I was impressed by this group of people, the hard life events they’ve endured, and their deep, deep love for Jesus, His church, and their own families. In them I saw what a difference it makes to have Jesus in your life, and to be firmly knit into a family of God, especially in the hard times that come.
Hardijs invited us to go to Jurmula to the Riga Bay to watch the sunset. We said ‘yes’ and the whole crew of people jumped into cars and drove the 30 kilometers to the beach. Jurmula is a pricey resort area of Latvia and the walk through there and on the beach was wonderful. The wind was a bit piercing, just like at home, but the air temperature was about 63 degrees as was the water temperature! A bit different than at home.
After strolling for a while in what I think of as half light, I looked at my watch and realized it was 11pm! The light here goes on and on and I’m fast becoming a crazy night owl! We left the beach and strolled through the main pedestrian mall of Jurmula. It was a beautiful quiet night and many delightful conversations happened. Plus Kim Simmons got to eat good ol’ fashioned Latvian Cotton Candy — which is crazy sweet!
God is at work. There were many strategic conversations for the Kingdom tonight and for Kingdom hearts! Please continue to pray for us, for Matthews Church, and for Suburban — both in regard to our partnership and as we each continue in the process of seeking a new minister for our church families.