Day One – Visiting Friends

Before coming to Riga this trip, I asked Laima Dravniece, my friend from Matthews Church, to spend our first day with us for the joy of her fellowship and to help us with understanding transportation options in the area. Many from Suburban know Laima and a few SCC ladies actually got to celebrate Laima’s birthday last year when she spent a week with us in Oregon.

Laima and Me!

In fairly typical Latvia/Oregon wet weather we walked to the central train/bus station and Laima showed us the schedules, costs, ticketing process and described the train and bus options for a trip we will start on Monday. Steve and I will head east and a bit north to Sigulda where we will enjoy a portion of two days and one night with Martina and Sandijs Aizupietis. Sandijs is Pastor to Sigulda Baptist Church and Martina became my good friend, my Latvian daughter, after the first trip Steve and I made to Latvia in 2014. 

Riga, Central Train Station

After we determined how we will travel on Monday, Laima showed us some sights in the area including the Riga Central Market. We had seen these massive one time dirigible hangars from a distance before, but never had the chance to visit them. For the sake of brevity, I am including a link to learn more about them from Wikipedia. 

The markets are astounding in sheer volume of produce and meat and fish and people! A feast for the eyes and a place I’m sure I would visit every week if I lived here to purchase the freshest items at the best prices.

Fresh, living Eel Fish, people took bags of these out
One of many stalls of beautiful, fresh produce
Four of the dirigible hangars that are repurposed as Riga Central Market

From the Market we walked to the Riga Congress Hall to view the art exhibition “Secret Double”. Suburban supports Chuck Kelley and Bridge Builders International or Partners as it is called in Latvia. Chuck and Partners worked to bring together artists from the Baltic States and beyond to highlight the issue of depression and share resources available to offer help and supports. The exhibition was well done and included a painting by Chuck and a textile art by Carol Andresen of Corvallis!

Secret Double Art Exibition

After lunch Laima called our hotel for us and found out that our luggage had arrived! Jubilation and thanksgiving ensued and Steve and I took some time to freshen up before we headed off with Laima to Matthews Church for an evening choral concert. Choirs from area Baptist Churches joined Matthews Church choir to share many songs of praise. The evening included a recounting of the history of choral music and choir directors over the 150 years of Matthews existence. There was a time during the years of oppression when Sunday School was outlawed, but even then singing was allowed. And so choir singing became a way to continue to teach and memorize the great truths of faith. Even more than in our culture, music expresses the heart of Latvia. The concert was wonderful — a full and rich choir, a resounding pipe organ, an expressive saxophone, excellent piano, bass, guitar, and percussion — a delightful evening praising our God together.

Ainars Purmalis, Senior Pastor Matthews Church
Matthews Church Banner
Combined Choir, Matthews Church, led by Maris Dravniece, Worship Pastor

What a wonderful way to end our day! Thank you for your continued prayers!

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