Epistle 5

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MAY 18, 2007

LATVIA5

Thank you all for your prayers for our travel to Riga yesterday.

We drove through some of the most pastoral countryside I have ever seen.  Linda B. we would never have been able to get to Riga if you had been with us as you would have been walking the road all the way taking picture after picture.

Oak trees are revered here.  They actually catalogue them and number them.  It isn’t uncommon to see a beautiful oak tree in the middle of a field with a nicely built rock wall around it.  Looks beautiful.

We had a grand time in the Capital.  While in Old Riga, seeing the sights, we were approached by some questionable gentlemen, but the lady at the cultural arts center stepped in and told them to get out.  She then lectured us, in a gracious way, about being very careful when we left and to hold our packages close to our bodies.

We saw a young man holding out his hands, with his head bent, just at the door to St. Johns Cathedral.  Was surprising to us, even though we often see people begging on our street corners.

While in one of the shops, I heard English.  When I turned there were three young men and a man in his 40’s.  I simply said, “It is so nice to hear English.”‘ I asked one of the men where he was from and he said, “America.”  I laughed and asked where.  It seems that the USS Normandy is in port until next week and they also were sightseeing.  The older man asked us what we were doing in  Latvia, I told him we had been serving in the countryside to the east.  Of course that led to what we were doing and he was surprised to find out that I was a Pastor and he was a Chaplain.  We had our pictures taken together and exchanged business cards, and left blessing each other.

While at the top of Peter’s Church, once again we heard English and not only was Oregon covered, but they were from New York and as we were talking a third woman walked up and she was from Pasadena, California.  We all laughed and said it was good to see other Americans.

We drove to Jurmala on the Baltic Sea to put our toes in the water to say we had done it.  It was windy but sunny.  Pepper, Kim and Bruce’s dog, loved the water but was a bit taken back by the fact that it came at her.  Not like our ocean in Oregon with grand waves, but little lapping waves.  Found a few seashells for the collection.  We had to pay a 1Lat fee to drive into the town.  This is used to keep the roads in great condition.  There were beautiful Victorian looking houses with gingerbread trim.

Tomorrow is our final quilt day.  Please pray that all the women are able to complete their project.  It is so important for them to feel successful.  Kimma will continue with the ministry after we leave and be able to help them if they aren’t able to.  There is a possibility that the Madona newspaper will be there to take pictures and print a story.

Sunday is church at Madona and then back for Kathy’s time to shine.  She has been such a  blessing to me – her calm spirit has always done that for me.  She has picked up the pieces where I have left off.  We don’t know how many to expect for her class on Sunday.  She is well prepared and I know will bless these women with the three items she has brought for them to make and take.  This gathering will be a diverse group of women from the young to the old.

We pulled into Ergli last night at just about 11:00 p.m. and the sun was still shining.  So strange.  At midnight you could look out the northern windows and see the sun – a very strange thing to see.

Well, this one is short – which I am sure you are all pleased with.

Blessings to all of you – our time is winding down here – won’t be long before we are back in the states.

As always, in His service,

Leslie and Kathy