Tourists and Encouragers

Today was a slower paced day, which was probably very good because we’ve kept a brisk pace. Around 10:00 Laima and a sweet gentleman from Matthews Church and one of Laima’s friends from Matthews Church picked us up in a black Mercedes van to take us on an excursion to Rundale Palace. The palace is located about an hour and half due South of Riga. Driving through the countryside was eye-opening. We were surprised at how much Latvia has in common with Oregon – at least in the Willamette Valley. It was beautiful and lush in the full bloom of summer.

The palace is incredible. When you read through the history of the palace it is like a mini-history of Latvia. We thoroughly enjoyed the time getting to know one another better and the pleasure of walking through history and beauty. The palace grounds are a French-style garden and impeccably groomed and we had the pleasure of enjoying lunch together in an open air restaurant on the palace grounds. If you’d like to know more of the history of the palace and see some professional pictures, please click this web address: Rundale Palace Link.

We had about an hour at home and then headed to Matthews Church for a meeting with those who serve in mercy ministries. We visited with an older man and his wife who helped organize medical care and supplies for the disadvantaged immediately after freedom was first gained. We heard from a young woman whose passion is relational ministry for seniors who would otherwise have little or no social contact at all. We heard from a young man who came to Jesus at Matthews just a few years ago and now participates in sports outreach to youth who live near Matthews and helps with the ‘littlest ones’ ministry. We heard the testimony of the man whose life was completely turned around through one little prayer and the gospel of Jesus Christ after a life that took him to prison. Today he preaches in the ‘littlest ones’ services and has a passion to see them come to Jesus. We heard from a young man whose heart is completely torn for this same group and he faithfully purchases food to distribute to them and coordinates this service every single week. And we heard from a woman whose has devoted her life to Celebrate Recovery.

We are incredibly humbled by this group of devoted servants of Jesus. They are discouraged in a work that is very demanding and where much devotion is required for each life brought to fruitfulness. The gentleman whose preaching speaks to the ‘littlest ones’ each week reminded us of the history of America. Of this great land built on faith, and the Bible, and freedom in Christ and He asked ‘what has happened’? So we shared with him the realities for our lives in Christ and the difficulty of working in a land that prizes personal freedom far above the freedom that Christ came to bring. We then prayed encouragement over them – asking God to fill them with the power of His Holy Spirit and give them every good thing they need to complete the work He has set before them. And they in turn prayed for us asking God to bring revival to His church in America and to empower and encourage us.

Please join us in praying encouragement and power into these mercy ministries of Matthews Church. And let’s join them in praying for revival in the churches of America.

(The internet is glacial tonight. I will try to add pictures to this post tomorrow!)

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