Today was a slightly slower pace with fewer appointments scheduled so we started our day with a walk to the Latvian National Library. The day dawned clear and beautiful – in fact, although there have been some showers and rainy walks since we arrived, for the most part we’ve walked in dry weather. This is a blessing for us, but we are thankful even more for this answer to prayer for Latvia. We hope the dry weather continues so farmers can bring in the harvest before it is too late!
The Latvian National Library building is located across the Daugava River about a mile and a half from where we are staying. The building is beautiful and functional and houses both books and historical collections of value to the people of Latvia.
One of my favorite features of the Library is ‘The People’s Bookshelf”. This shelf is five stories high and is protected by a wall of glass. The people of Latvia have been encouraged to donate a personal book and to write the story of the book’s significance inside. When complete the wall will house 15,000 books. Today the collection is over 5,000 books. When I saw the library in 2015 Laima Dravniece shared that a Latvian Bible was the first book in The People’s Bookshelf.
Another lovely feature of the library is the incredible views, especially on a beautiful fall day like today. As visitors we were able to access up to the eighth floor (out of a total of 13) and the views were outstanding!
From the library Steve and I walked back across the river and to the Baltic Pastoral Institute (BPI) to spend some time visiting with Liva Fokrote, Dean. We got to know Liva back in 2014 when Steve and I first visited Latvia. Liva and Peteris Sprogis, Bishop of the Latvian Baptist Union, and Chuck Kelley, Director of Partners Latvia, worked together in 2008 to open this training school for those called to be Pastors. Liva is fun to talk to – intelligent and real, she clearly loves Jesus and these young men who want to grow in Him and serve His church. She shared some wisdom and some insights about how Americans can best partner with Latvians in spreading the Gospel to Latvians.
After lunch we released Steve and I power walked with Liva back to the Baptist Union offices and where I had the privilege of meeting Līvija Godiņa, the retiring Director of Women’s Ministry and Agnese Megne, the incoming Director. I was impressed with the humble spirit of both of these women and their clear hearts for Jesus and the women who love Him. As I prepared to leave, I was introduced to a group of four women who are in Latvia to teach “Entrust”. Entrust is an excellent Women’s Ministry Training program that started in Austria. http://www.entrust4.org/home. My friend Martina has taken part in Entrust training, now in her second year, and has found it both challenging and a blessing.
This day is nearly done. For dinner tonight, Steve and I are splitting. I will enjoy a last meal with Martina while Steve goes in search of pizza! 😉 Tomorrow we will stick close to the hotel waiting eagerly for Pastor Mike and Randy to arrive. We can’t wait! Please pray for travel mercies and connections to fall in place — and luggage to arrive with the team! 🙂