Friday, July 31, 2009

Week 1 over...

Well, today was the last day of VBS, which means week 1 is over. Our team is definitely exhausted. In America, VBS usually only lasts 3-4 hours, but in Latvia, they like to make them 7 hours long. I absolutely loved the time we spent with the kids; it’s amazing to me how the majority of them know only 1 or 2 words in English, yet they still love just being around you. It made me want to pour into them even more. There were definitely those few that my heart just went out to. Throughout the week, we had a total of 115 kids come to VBS, which is GREAT for this part of town! Petr said that a kid’s mom came up to him and told him that she had told her son that she just couldn’t take him one day because she had too much to do and he insisted because he just had to be there! It meant so much to her that she changed her plans so she could take him! But David and I were both upset today because we missed the goodbyes because we had to leave to pick up team 2 at the airport. We were very excited to see team 2, but a lot of those kids we might never see again so that was hard.

It has also been great to see the soup kitchen StoneBridge helped furnish. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of Latvian cuisine, but what Petr’s church is doing with the kitchen is amazing. More and more I just love the relationship our two churches have. It makes me proud to be from StoneBridge to go in their kitchen and know that we have been a part of that.

It has also been really great getting to know Petr’s son David more. Last night, a few of us went to Alfa Mall and got dessert and we just started talking about Latvia’s history. It is so fascinating, the country is so young and already has SO much history!

Team 2 arrived safely and I must say it was quite humorous to see how tired they were. For a lot of them, this is their first year, so the traveling hit them hard. But nothing like some good guitar hero at Pastor Petr’s house to wake you up! I am really looking forward to camp next week! It is going to be so great to experience everything with a new group this year!

Tomorrow we are heading to Old Town Riga again to do some more shopping and sight seeing. It will be great to unwind and just have a good time as a team before heading to camp.

Please pray for our stamina, especially team 1, that we can keep our endurance up and pour even more into the youth this next week. We appreciate your prayers and miss all of you! 8 days down, 10 more to go!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Latvia Update...

Greetings from Riga, Latvia!  We are currently hanging out at Petr's house.  So far things have been great!  We arrived in Riga around 6 pm on Friday after a LONG day of traveling.  We were extremely exhausted so we did not do a whole lot that night.  Yesterday, we slept in then went into Old Town Riga and did some shopping a sightseeing.  I absolutely love Old Town, the buildings are so old and there are cobblestone roads and street vendors...I find it romantic :).  We had lunch at a place called Malibu Pizza which was delicious!  We ate there last year so I was really excited to go back.  There were 8 of us and in about 5-10 minutes we had eaten 5 large pizzas!  We were very hungry!  That evening we had a meeting with the youth leaders from Petr's church to discuss the VBS week and then we split up in groups and went around to hand out flyers in the neighborhood for the VBS.  I am very anxious/excited to see how many kids come.  The neighborhood around the church is a little rougher with a lot of drugs and broken families.  It's so cool to know that God already has planned who will be there.  It's very comforting actually.
VBS begins tomorrow.  We still don't really know exactly what's going on, a lot of stuff gets lost in translation.  But I will try to update sometime tomorrow and let you know how it went.  Please pray that the hearts of the kids will be open.  The youth staff is expecting a lot of them to come strictly for the free meal and not really want to be there, so I just pray that something they see or hear will make them wonder more about Christ.  This is a very humbling position to be in.  I know our team and the Latvian team would really appreciate all your prayers!
I will update again tomorrow, but also check out our youtube page!  We have been/will be posting some videos of what's been going on.  To get to it, go to then go to the student page.  There is a link on there that will take you to our youtube account!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Latvia Bound

I am officially a horrible blogger since it's been about two months since I last blogged! But, I wanted to be sure to write before we leave tomorrow.
For those of you that don't know, David and I will be heading over to Riga, Latvia with a group of students from our church. We leave tomorrow afternoon and will be gone until August 10th! We are so excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of the kids in Latvia, and also in the lives of our team. I had the privilege of going last year and know the impact it had on my life, so I am ten times more excited to get to go over there with David. It will be a challenge, but one that will have great rewards.
While we are there, we will spend our first week leading a VBS for the kids of Riga at Pastor Petr's church. I am really excited about this. Last year, we did not do a VBS in the city so I am looking forward to something new. Lift David up in your prayers as he will be speaking every day at the VBS. Pray that God uses him in a huge way.
Our second week, we will be going to Camp Norkalni and leading a youth camp. The layout is pretty similar to camps here, there are different rotations each day. I am extremely excited because in addition to helping with the craft rotation and just hanging out with the kids, I am in charge of leading worship at night. I was able to do this last year as well and it impacted me so much. I will never forget leading one night and singing Open the Eyes of my Heart in both English and Latvian. Hearing two languages praising God at the same time is unlike anything else. With as amazing as last year was, I am looking forward to what God has in store for this year. Pray that we can break past any language barriers and worship one God with one voice.
I hope that we can keep you updated while over there, but it will all depend on time. If not, we will have MANY stories to share when we get back!

Things to pray for:
  • Safety for both teams as we travel to and from Riga, Latvia
  • Unity as a team
  • God to be lifted high above all things
  • Good weather
  • All luggage to arrive
  • Health
  • Open hearts of VBS kids and campers
  • that God will grant David the words to say as he speaks during VBS week
  • that the worship team will glorify God through the songs we sing