Youth Camp 2019 Recap

It’s hard to believe Youth Camp ended almost SIX weeks ago. In some ways it feels like hardly any time has passed.

A typical day at camp was busy and eventful. Our days would begin bright and early with team meetings (and a healthy dose of coffee) before the rest of the campers woke up. After our team meeting, we would meet up with the campers for our “morning exercises” (choreographed dancing to 80’s pop songs) before eating breakfast together. Breakfast was followed by a time of music and a devotional, which was the topic of our small groups directly after.

Our team was put in charge of overseeing the main group activity of each afternoon, which was also loosely tied into the theme of the day’s devotional. The first day’s activity was a scavenger picture hunt designed to help the campers and leaders get to know each other and bond.

Day two’s group activity put the campers’ “Hope” to the test in a relay-style game where each team would take turns choosing from ten brown lunch bags, each containing a different combination of bite-sized snacks, and eating the contents. A few fortunate campers were able to enjoy a sugary treat, while others had their hopes crushed when they realized they had to eat combos such as an Oreo with horseradish or Skittles in soup.

Note: This picture was clearly taken BEFORE Taylor realized he would have to eat a Marshmallow-Herring Sandwich…

The third and final group activity of the week brought a whole new set of challenges for the campers as we put their “Heart” to the test, both figuratively and literally. Students were put through several variations of tag, a tug of war tournament, and number of other high-energy games to get their hearts pumping.

In between devotionals and group activities, campers and staff had plenty of time to enjoy the sprawling campus, which lended itself nicely to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities. We were even able to introduce flag football to the campers as many of them had never played before and were only familiar with the local “futbols” (soccer).

After a jam-packed and fast-paced day, by the time evening rolled around, all the staff and campers were wiped out and ready for bed by 9:00pm…

…oh wait…that might have just been the staff.

Following each evening devotional, the campers miraculously received a second wind and were ready for every activity that was planned for that night. Evening events included activities such as: a camp-wide game of Capture the Flag, watching a movie, and a truly inspirational talent show to list a few.

The talent show even featured some of our own team members assuming their on-stage alter egos. Brandon and KC gave stunning performances as Judge Simon and a unicorn (we’ll let you figure out which one was which). Meanwhile, Anastasija captivated the audience as MC Gloria Gonzales and Zach dazzled (literally) in the musical trio “Fabelicious”.

Most nights, by the time the activities were finished, we were well into the wee small hours of the morning. Tired and sore, we would each slowly find our way back to our respective cabins, turn in for the night, and recharge for another day of actioned-packed games, thought-provoking devotionals, and countless hours of joy-filled laughter.

Latvia day 2

Today we attended Mathews Church. With the help of interpreters, we were able to follow along for the most part. The teachings were mainly out of the book of Mathew and 1 Peter among other supporting scriptures.  The message today reminded us that our cornerstone should be Christ alone and not the things of this world. The Latvian word for cornerstone is “Stūrakmenis”. There were several songs, many of which were familiar to us albeit in Latvian. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in our style of worship. 

We had a planning meeting after church.  We spent time going over the schedule and getting to know one another. Everyone seemed to hit it off and we have a sense that this is going to be awesome camp!

Later that evening, the men got together and loaded the supplies for camp. Several of the guys and one gal stuck around to throw the football and discuss sports. Tomorrow we get up early and head to camp.


Hello church family!

As Claudia mentioned, we’ve arrived safely. The flight from Portland to Frankfurt was pretty uneventful, However, as we boarded the plane to Riga, we discovered a  hole just below one of the wings. The ground crew and pilot investigated the damage and deemed the craft still flight worthy. Although it made us feel uneasy, we boarded the plane and trusted God will get us there safely. The flight was fine.

We were able to pick up some groceries before bed. Our bodies adjusted quickly as we all woke up early and cooked breakfast.

After breakfast we ventured around Riga visiting the sites of the city on foot. According to KC’s Garmin, we walked over 28k steps. Throughout the day we spent time in devotion to God, sharing testimonies and getting to know each other on a deeper level .

Tomorrow we will attend Mathews Church. Afterward, the team will meet with Matiss to plan and load the supplies for camp. We appreciate your prayers and support. We will keep you posted!

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They’re Off!

After a day of being flexible (our word, remember?) the team is winging their way to Frankfurt, Germany and from there to Riga. The flight ended up being delayed by about 3 1/2 hours. Thankfully that was not an issue as they had a 9 hour layover in Frankfurt, so now they’re down to about 1 1/2 hours in Frankfurt, honestly about a perfect layover time.

They used their airport time to play “Go Fish”, a true team-building endeavor – :-). Keep on praying – we’ll let you know when they arrive……

Countdown Prayer

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We’re in the last few days of preparation for the Latvia Team trip to partner with Matthews Church in providing a Youth Camp outside of Riga. The team leaves Portland about 3:30 this Thursday afternoon. We covet your prayers!

One of the things we pray into as a team is summed up in the word ‘flexible’! Every year from trip prep to trip completion we run into surprises – it’s the nature of developing projects over a 5,000 mile distance. We’ve already had some surprises and seen God provide what we needed to meet the need of the moment. So pray for flexibility for us! We want to flex with what God has for us, even if that means detours or last minute adjustments or changes to plans. Pray that we will have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to follow all that God has during our travels, during the camp, during our time with Matthews Church’s Family Camp and even on the way home.

Three more sleeps and we’re on our way! Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers!



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The Latvia Link team is calling all prayer warriors to pray for this summer’s trip to Latvia that begins Thursday, July 25 and ends Tuesday, August 6. Our Sister church, Matthews Church, has invited us to send a team to help with a Youth Summer Camp that will meet at Camp Hope Latvia.

Our team this year includes team leader, Randy Tryon and his son Taylor; Anastasija Balakina, our intern from Latvia; Jennifer Miller; Zach Enas; and Brandon and CJ Stewart. These seven individuals will be under the direction of Matiss Babrovskis, recent graduate of Baltic Pastoral Institute, staff person at Matthews Church, and Suburban’s intern for six weeks in the fall of 2018.

Please pray that:

  • the team will be ready physically, spiritually, and organizationally for the trip
  • all travel plans will come together and flow smoothly
  • clear communication for all things needed for camp programming
  • the camp will fill with young people – both those who know the Lord and those who have yet to know Him
  • all needs will be seen and provided for by the Lord and His people
  • the Latvian and American teams will work well together, bless each other, and bless the Lord.

If you’d like to see more of the camp environment, click on the link below and then look for the video titled Camp Hope Latvia 2018. Our camp will be a bit smaller and have some different activities, but this is the facility at which the camp will happen.

Camp Hope Latvia 2018

We’ll keep you informed as the trip grows closer! And the team hopes to update you during each day of the upcoming trip. If you’d like to give toward the team’s expenses, go to the link below, select ‘one time gift’ and choose Latvia Summer Trip under the choose fund option.

Latvia Financial Support

Thank you for your prayers!!!

This is the Week! Thursday is the Day!

Recent Family Picture

In just 2 1/2 days, on Thursday, October 11, Matiss, Elina, and Emma arrive to spend just over 6 weeks in Corvallis. Their journey begins at 7:05am in Riga, which is 9:05pm on Wednesday night here in Corvallis, and ends in Portland at 5:38pm on Thursday night. By the time we see them at PDX they will have been nearly 24 hours in transit with another 2 or more hours before they arrive at our house. Ugh.

They are young, resilient, and they’ve traveled before, but please keep them in your prayers for safe travels, for sufficient energy, for smooth connections and that even in this time of travel God will use them for his purposes. It has been years since I traveled with a 17 month old and I never attempted an international flight with a toddler. Pray for Emma that this will be as comfortable as possible for her and for her parents as they work to keep her entertained, fed, and rested up.

Thanks to all of you for the items you’ve contributed to make their stay a blessing to them. You will have a chance to meet them this Sunday in Suburban’s services.

Thank you for your faithful prayers!

Claudia Lee