Baltic Pastoral Institute Day Two and Dome Cathedral

Tuesday, February 25 was another full and wonderful day of serving the Lord and His people and enjoying the sights of Riga.

Once again we started at the BPI after a walk across town without Chuck! We made it no problem and enjoyed the exercise. We got to BPI in time for the half hour chapel service being led by Uris, one of the students. Uris said that the Lord gave him the idea that they should exercise their faith that morning and do a half hour prayer walk. I was so blessed by that because as soon as they got back from the prayer walk, I was going to teach on prayer! Later I shared that feeling of confirmation with Uris and he said that friends have told him that he will become a prayer giant and that my teaching also felt like confirmation to him! Isn’t God good?? ๐Ÿ™‚ As the men walked and prayed Steve and I stayed in the conference room and prayed over the men, the day, and our Corvallis people. We enjoyed the back and forth with the men over the course of the day. I was also blessed to have lunch with Vesma from BPI. Vesma is our interpreter and she is very gifted in that role. She has a deep heart for the women of Riga – in particular for the women of the institute.

After our day at the institute Peter picked us up and took us back to the apartment. We did a quick drop of our books and computer and walked across the square to Riga Cathedral also known as Dome Cathedral. Peter had arranged for a tour of the cathedral for us and his staff with his friend Pastor Elijs, Pastor of Dome Cathedral. The first thing we did was climb the clock tower. If we remember right, the number of steps to the top is 286. I confess, once again Steve and I didn’t go all the way to the top, but we made it to the level just under the clock face. As we looked south from the clock tower face we could see the St. Peter’s clock tower. At the level equivalent to where we stood, but across the way, Peter proposed to Baiba just about 12 years ago (or so). She had no clue what was coming, but when the elevator stopped on a floor that tourists didn’t usually see, she knew something was up. And then there were candles everywhere — a dead giveaway! How romantic! ย What a blessing to enjoy this tour and what an incredible place to see Riga! We even had a late afternoon with crystal clear weather! Several of our new Riga friends have commented on the gift this weather is to us — so spring like! Thank You Lord! (I’ve only worn my long-johns once!)

The cathedral was started in the early 1200’s and Pastor Elijs said he thinks it was finished before the end of the century. He obviously loves this place of worship and knew detail after detail. There is a lot of maintenance work happening now, and I’m guessing all of the time, with work on the pipe organ underway at this point. Steve and I came down from the clock tower early and took in the beauty of the cathedral interior with Liene. As we walked around the organ ‘maintenance man’ played little snippets of various arpeggios and even some short phrases from classics that made me long to hear a full organ concert. So beautiful!

I was impressed with the organ and Steve was impressed with the pulpit. The pulpits in cathedrals often remind me of the prow of a ship. Pastor Elijs preaches from the pulpit every other week. He graciously unlocked the door to the pulpit and let Steve climb up to see what it feels like to be in the ‘driver’s seat’. Warning to Suburban’s Building Committee — there could be a pulpit remodel in our future! ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

After the tour Steve and I grabbed a quick bite at a ‘Double Coffee’ just under Chuck’s apartment. Coffee is their featured beverage, but Double Coffee has a varied menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items and the atmosphere is cozy and inviting. It was perfect for the limited time we had last night. After dinner it was off to Matthews Church where we shared a testimony with the Celebrate Recovery group. This is a group of between 30 – 40 individuals who are supporting each other in their journeys in sobriety in the Lord. We spoke about how the Lord is supporting us in our day to day journey of missing Becky. It was a privilege to participate there.ย 

After our sharing time, Steve went with Peter to further explore partnership possibilities for our Sister Church arrangement and I went to Pastor Andis and Madera’s apartment at the top of the church to meet with a group of seven women from Matthews church. What a sweet time! I love these women and their hearts for the Lord and for the other women of Matthews Church and of Riga.

Wow! What a day. We were tired in that very good way when we got back to the apartment. We took a bit of time to review what we have for Wednesday and then fell into bed! How thankful I am for Chuck’s apartment and the way he has arranged it for his guests. Keep praying for us! You are our biggest blessing.

Love and blessings,
Steve and Claudia

Almost There!

Our journey began on Tuesday, February 17 in Portland. Steve and I spent the night there because our flight out on Wednesday left Portland at 6:00 a.m. I’m posting a quick update as we sit in the Frankfurt, Germany airport waiting to board the plane for the last leg of our journey to Riga. We are getting close!

Repacking - 'Semper Gumby'
Repacking – ‘Semper Gumby’

Our dear friend and partner in serving the Lord, Kim Simmons, told us before we left that our theme for the journey is “Semper Gumby” or in English “Always Flexible”. That motto was put to use first on Tuesday night. When we got our luggage into the room thinking we’d hit the hay early, the handle on my bag would NOT go down! It was stuck in the upright and locked position. So we made an emergency run to the local Target to get me a new bag. I am thankful on so many levels for this little excursion. The Target was nearby, the bag was the right size, and I was thrilled it happened at 6:00 p.m. the night BEFORE we flew and not at 3:45 a.m. the morning that we needed to catch our flight! THANK YOU LORD!


Chicago and Blue Skies
Chicago and Blue Skies

The rest of our journey today has been long, but wonderfully uneventful! We breezed through security in Portland, encountered beautiful blue skies in Chicago, and had an uneventful, and shockingly comfortable flight to Frankfurt! One more leg to go!

On Monday night the SCC Ministry leaders prayed over us after our quarterly meeting. Carey shared this scripture from Isaiah 59:21:

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

I see this as a promise for us at SCC and for our brothers and sisters at Matthews Church in Riga. I love this picture of the Word of the Lord in our mouths, the mouths of our children, our grandchildren, and on and on! I can’t wait to see this promise unfolding over the next days and weeks and months!

Blessings – Steve and Claudia