Epistle 2

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MAY 16, 2007

LATVIA 2 EPISTLE

So many things have transpired.  Sometimes feels as if we are on this incredible roller coaster and it is going full speed and I am hanging on for dear life with my hands on the safety bar and the my feet flying behind me.  So exhilarating yet just a little unsettling.

Being in the country has its advantages and Inese’s ski lodge where we held the quilt retreat was a place of peace and quiet even with all the women there.  The bird calls begin at about 4:00 a.m. and finally end at about 10:30 p.m.  We even heard a cuckoo bird.  Sounded just like the clocks that hang on the wall.

It is green and lush with spring here – flowers everywhere – daffodils, tulips, a type of little ground daisy and violas.  The birch trees are everywhere and their white bark and lime green leaves are in stark contrast to the very dark pine trees.  Rolling hills abound with tilled dark earth ready for planting.  It is a very common site to see women, all ages, in their gardens preparing the soil for their winter potatoes and vegetables.

 

A little side track here – – –

What a blessing to have been able to experience Inese’s ski lodge/hostel.  We have read about them, but never experienced them.  The mountain, Gaizen skalns (1,017 feet) belongs to Inese.  It has been in the family for generations.  There is a tower on the top that was built during the German war occupation and you can see in all directions.

Inese shared with me that she was obsessed with the need to invite the heads of all the main line denominations to her mountain to pray over Latvia.  She invited the Russian Orthodox Bishop, Catholic Cardinal, Baptist Pastor and the Lutheran Bishop.  They came and blew a shofar brought from Israel from the top of the tower to the four winds.  They then prayed non stop for 24 hours.  They called it Gaizenskalns 1.    It was the first time all the denominations had ever come together as a community.  They have continued this event each year holding it in a different part of Latvia praying for all Latvians to come to a saving knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.  They are holding Gaizenskalns 5 this year.

She shared that she thought everything would be wonderful after this event.  She soon found out that being a risk taker for God brings consequences.  She was set upon by thieves, a murder was committed on her beloved mountain and she lost a lot of her business.  She said she became angry with God.  We shared our hearts and I had an opportunity to just listen.  We talked about what it is to have a passion on your heart from God and how to stand strong.  She said she had been praying to God that He would bring her someone who would understand and who she could relate to.  She asked me to bless her house before I left.

The time came for us to leave this gracious host and return to Ergli.  As we were standing outside the Inn I shared about Nehemiah and his excellent leadership style, his burning passion to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, being a risk taker for God and asking the King to let him go, and then facing all the opposition.  I related it to her coming back to Latvia(her home) to reclaim her families homestead and the foundation that she was laying for future generations.  We blessed and anointed the house and Inese.  We received a call from Inese on Monday asking us to please bring her a Bible as she didn’t have an Old Testament and she wanted to read about Nehemiah.  She share that a group came after we left and as they entered her establishment she told them that this was a blessed house and that they go away blessed by staying there.

 

Back to the retreat – – –

We got the room all set up and ready for the retreat.  Before the women arrived Kathy and I went and investigated the nearby ponds, ski slope, forest road.

Our women started to arrive in the late afternoon and settle in.  As Kathy and I sat in our bedroom doing the hand sewing on the bindings of the quilts we brought to present as gifts, these women began to sing praise music.  It was a lovely thing to hear.  Where do we hear people just breaking into song?

As each new group arrived hugs and kisses were exchanged.  The language barrier wasn’t a problem.  They quickly caught on to what they were being asked to do and the sewing marathon began.   When they went to select their individual quilt kit to make they clapped their hands and oohh’d and aaahhh’d.  They were overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone who graciously gave toward this project to bless them.

Most of these women had worked all day and were ready for bed by 10:00 p.m.  Kathy and I stayed up with the last three women until 12:30 a.m.  Donna is a missionary in Riga. Inita our interpreter is from Tilza now living in Riga and Zeta the Romanian Gypsy orphan.  They were an absolute delight.  They tried to warn us about being safe and careful when we go to Riga this Thursday.  There seems to be a movement by some against persons of dark coloring and Americans.  Please pray for us as we travel to Riga for sightseeing and shopping.  We need to be street wise and cautious.

After we retired to bed at 12:30 a.m. I realized I wasn’t going to sleep.  The Lord’s plans weren’t necessarily mine.  I sang in the night praises and prayed.  At 4:30 a.m., I decided to get up and be the quilt angel.  I went back to the sewing room and checked out each person’s blocks to see if there were any areas of sewing that needed to be clarified in the morning.  I then pressed all the blocks that hadn’t been pressed and placed them on their chairs.  This way everyone would be starting at the same point in the morning.

After a breakfast of eggs, sausage, potatoes bread and home made black current preserves, we began to sew once again.  These women worked not only separately, but you would see them working as teams of two and three.  Who ever had the skill at sewing, sewed, who ever had the skill of matching and pinning fabric did that, etc.

At one point these women had me laughing so hard the tears were running down my face and they kidded me about my laugh which made me laugh all the more and it started all over again.

Inese was presented with one of the quilts at the end of the day to say thank you for sharing her lodge with us.  She only charged $20 American for each person and that not only included their bedding but dinner, breakfast, lunch and two snacks.  She in turn presented Kathy and me with traditional Latvian woven banners.  Mine read “God BlessLatvia” and Kathy’s read “Blessings fromLatvia.”  The women at the retreat hugged us and gave us Latvian Chocolate bars to say thank you.  I think I really like this place – chocolate is abundant and ice cream is everywhere.

To say the least the sewing day was an absolute success and these women are all ready to return next Saturday to finish their quilts.  The newspaper in Madona is coming to do an article on the event and take pictures.  We will have the first quilt show inLatvia.

So much for this travelogue – I will startLatvia3 and send in another email.

Blessings to all of you fromLatviafrom Kathy and me.  We wish to thank you for your prayers as we continue to serve.

As always, in His service,

Leslie