Travel Day

Conflicted. I think I understand that word better than ever now! On one hand in just 18 hours Steve and I traveled over 5,000 miles without any illness or death or really any major inconvenience. Even in our lifetime the trip between Corvallis and Riga, Latvia certainly has held many more hardships and lots more hours! So that is a huge praise!

But we did encounter some ‘challenges’ on our trip. Our trip from PDX to Seattle progressed on time until the cabin doors were closed and the pilot announced that due to traffic in Seattle we were going to have to sit on the tarmac for 40 minutes before our turn to take-off rolled around. In some ways this is just one of those things that happens on any given flight day. But we had also just discovered that we could not check our bags from PDX through to Riga and instead we had to go to baggage claim in Seattle, get our bags, go to the ticket counter, check our bags through to Riga and get new boarding passes, then go through security again before going to our gate. Before the delay we thought we could do this in our 2 hour layover without worries and maybe with lunch. But after the delay nothing was certain.Thankfully we made it in a ‘5 minutes to spare’ fashion, basically walking onto the plane to Paris without much wait. In the rush to get to our seats and get situated, Steve was working at putting carry-on luggage into the overhead bins and handed off his ipad and coat to me to hold for him. When he took them back from me he said “Where’s my passport?” Ummm, I didn’t know because I didn’t realize he handed it to me, but it was nowhere to be seen. We looked under the seats, in the aisle, in the overhead bins, under the feet of the poor people behind us — everywhere! Steve retraced his steps, even getting escorted off the plane to see if it had fallen somewhere on the jet-way, all to no avail. When he returned to our seat, I could see him shaking his head at me from way up the aisle. I’d been praying this whole time asking the Lord to open our eyes to the passport. I knew without it Steve was going to be permanently escorted off the plane.  Just as he got back to me, I looked under the seats again and found a blanket kind of wrapped around a bar in the seat mechanism. I tugged on that and there under the bar, under the blanket, in the same shade of blue as the carpet, was Steve’s passport! THANK YOU JESUS!!!!! I’m not sure of the last time I’ve felt that relieved and grateful.

Just in case you ever travel to Europe by way of Paris, you should know that Charles DeGaulle airport is its own city — maybe even it’s own zip code! The place is a monster. We landed, connected and departed all in the same terminal (one of three), but travel from our arrival gate to our departure gate was a 2 hour trek with 2 security checks, a bus ride, and one passport check to enhance the experience. Back when we discovered at PDX that we couldn’t check bags through to Riga, we were offered the option of checking them to Paris and collecting them there for the go-to-the-ticket-agent, check-in-the-bags routine. I can guarantee, if we had chosen that route we would have missed our flight to Riga for sure. On the other hand, our bags might have made it. Which they didn’t until mid-morning on Saturday about 18 hours after we arrived!

In all of this we were met with kindness and help from all of the airport and airline’s staff. That was so sweet after all of the horror stories we hear about flying these days. And in all of this, I learned a lot about myself; primarily that I’m a wimp. But I also learned to just keep praying, just keep praying, be patient and wait. Answers do come and things look a whole lot better after a good night’s sleep.

Here We Go!

Soon Steve and I head out the door to begin the 18 hour trip that brings us to Riga, Latvia and a visit to Matthews Church, Suburban’s Sister Church there. We covet your prayers for safe travels and the ability to be present to God and others even on the journey.

There is a unique feature in the room we slept in last night. High above our bed, on a side wall, sits an electric outlet. So curious. I know the purpose of a wall outlet. It brings electricity to a place and from there so much can happen depending on what is plugged in. But this particular outlet must be intentionally designed for a unique use – either that or someone ran out of electric wire and didn’t want to waste the short piece left. 😉

I kind’a feel like that outlet. I know my purpose and Steve’s purpose. I love the way the Westminster Catechism states it: ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’ I even know that as we embark on this trip we go to join our brothers and sisters at Matthews Church in glorifying God for the marvel He has done over the course of 150 years of Matthews Church’s existence. But when such a uniquely positioned opportunity exists, I wonder what other purposes and possibilities does the Master Designer have in mind for us and for Pastor Mike and Randy when they join us next week? Please pray that we are faithful and useful servants ready for whatever He wants to plug us into!

A Visit to Suburban’s Sister in Latvia

Did you know in October Suburban’s Senior Pastor Mike and a team from Suburban are going to visit Matthews Church, in Latvia? Here’s what Pastor Mike has to say about the trip:

“I can’t wait to head to Riga! One of the things that we heard about early on in our interview process here at Suburban was the partnership with Matthews church. It was encouraging to us then to hear about how Suburban has been working shoulder to shoulder with folks all around the world to see God’s Kingdom come. I’m excited to have the opportunity to visit Latvia, to get to know some of the good people of Matthews church, and to see how this relationship continues to develop in the future.” –Pastor Mike

Thank you to Suburban for prayers over the team this Sunday. Please continue to pray as the team leaves over the course of two weeks. Steve and Claudia Lee leave Thursday, October 12 and Pastor Mike and Randy Tryon leave Thursday October 19. The team returns on Wednesday, October 25.
Pray for:

* Safety in travel and good interactions within the team and with those encountered along the way

*Deepening connections with the leadership and people of Matthews Church

*That God will be praised and glorified as the team joins in celebrations of Matthews Church’s 150th anniversary

*Discernment of God’s purposes for next steps in the Sister Church relationship

Thank you for your faithful prayers! – Latvia Link Team