In 2007 Reverend Leslie Nelson had the opportunity to serve overseas on a short term mission to Ergli, Latvia with missionaries Bruce and Kim Thompson.    Follow from the beginning of the adventure through the Epistles home and see and hear what the Lord has done.  We hope you enjoy the journey and gain a true insight and love for those who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for those who serve abroad on the missions field.

May 8 – 23rd, 2007

Ergli Latvia

For over two years, I planned and prayed about a missions trip to Latvia to minister alongside my friends, Bruce and Kim Thompson. They are living in the village of Ergli; spreading seeds of the Gospel so that one day an evangelical church can be “planted” in this village. They currently attend Madona Baptist church, the closest evangelical church, 30 miles away, where they partner in ministry with fellow missionaries, Dustin and Kristine Peterson to build this growing congregation. The goal of our trip is to serve both the women from Madona Baptist Church and women contacts in the town of Ergli.

Latvia is the country just west of Russia on the Baltic Sea.  They declared their independence in 1991 and the final Russian troops left in August of 1998.  It is a country of mainly women, as most of the men were lost in the war or have left the country to seek work. As a result, these women and their families are

extremely impoverished.  The women I will be sharing with have no real beauty in their lives and they are hungry not only for creativity and relationships, but for the Lord.  Things are very gray there without much color.  (Winter is 17-18 hours of darkness and 6-7 of daylight).  They are known however for their incredible weaving which is mostly cream and light brown.

Kim and Bruce Thompson have been working with the women of Madona Baptist to solve how to bring non-believing women into the church in a non-threatening way. That’s where I come in!  I have been asked to come and share the Gospel through quilting.  Oh yes, my favorite past time, quilting and my favorite subject of all time, Jesus Christ.  You see, it is about building trusting relationships with other women – that is where it all starts – no hammering people over the head with the Bible – just plain old loving women because we are women and we need to share our lives with each other no matter what our culture is.  I can teach through quilting about creation (beauty and birth), going through the eye of the needle (adversity), piercing the darkness (truth vs. lies) etc., piecing our lives together (piecing the quilts) through just plain old quilting.

I have designed a quilt project for them that they will be able to complete in one and a half days so that they feel successful.  This is really important. A donor has graciously provided for the purchase of five sewing machines so that we can teach these women a skill and leave them with the tools to build a cottage industry.

As women, we so desperately need to be in relationship with each other.  Through this mission it is our hope to rebuild a trust and commonality between both Latvian and Russian women, churched and non-churched women, so that they can come together and share their lives, and in so doing, be loved into the Kingdom of God.

A group of six women have stepped forward to manage the cottage industry, not so much to use for financial gain; but to continue to reach out to their community as a ministry to women, to let them know that walking with Christ can be a joyous time if we walk hand-in-hand, stitch-by-stitch with another friend.

I have been a sender of missionaries for years, yet never considered myself a missionary.  I actually am the one who would not sing “Here I am Lord, Send Me to the Nations” when we commissioned missionaries for fear that He might send me to Africa.  Now I laugh at how the Lord has impassioned me for these women in Latvia and the hope of a new life in Him and spreading of His Word across their nation.

As always, in His service

Rev. Leslie D. Nelson

Epistle 1 Epistle 2
Epistle 3 Epistle 4
 Epistle 5 Epistle 6
Epistle 7