We have not forgotten but have had little opportunity with wifi, therefore hard to send updates.
Tuesday we went to the School for visually impaired, it was wonderful and I couldn't imagine what we would do for 5 hours but the time was filled wonderfully.
Then we drove to Camp Wesley and had devotion and dinner. Yesterday we went back to Camp Wesley and had devotion and spent too short a time with all. Then we toured Liepaja First, Matras, and Tasi. Then Kuldiga, then to Riga. Again, wishing we had more time in Kuldiga.
Then Riga, newbies and Julie P shopped at Old Riga, then dinner with 16!!
Today we are going to Ropaza (probably spelled wrong) , where Gita B is from and where we saw the children dance last year. We will have Bible study and games. And food.And tomorrow we are supposed to get food and cook for 50 a Texas BBQ on Sunday at Gita's. No problem.
We had a busy and productive day in Latvia! Gita M took the new folks on a tour of Cesis, including Cesis UMC, and were met by pastor Kristine. They also toured the Hope Center, After School Program, Liepa and Sarkani UMCs to gain understanding of the mission and outreach activities we support. It was a long but amazing day by all accounts.
The veterans took part in craft activities to be used at Wesley Camp and also spent time with members of the 1st Riga congregation and their children. Some veterans also worked on painting the foyer area of 1st Riga, which was a last minute project we found about on Monday! We had lots of fun and made great progress. It will be completed in time for services on Sunday. Daina and members of the congregation made us a great lunch, once again! The hospitality and warmth of our Latvian family, which is what they are now, is truly amazing and a blessing.
We visited the Latvian National Library this morning, what an amazing place! The current 12 story facility opened in 2014 and the modern architecture is striking. The access and amount of reference material in all formats is incredible, plus a 360 view of Riga from the top floor is beautiful.
We had a delicious lunch of homemade chicken soup, rye bread and pierogs courtesy of Gita B and Rudite! The new folks went on a tour of the Occupation and KGB museums to gain perspective of Latvian people, their culture, history and struggles for independence. Some of the old timers went shopping for paint and supplies as we will be painting the foyer of the sanctuary tomorrow.
We took a trip in late afternoon to Jelgava and met with Pastor Janis B and two members of his congregation. He provided an overview of his congregation, outreach activities and current infrastructure and financial challenges. Was so good to see him and as always we were met with such warmth and hospitality (read food!).
Madeline and Julie along with the 3 Children's Sunday school teachers and moms took 7 kids to the Riga Zoo for an afternoon of fun and laughter. The kids especially liked the giraffes and watching a family of lemurs. We ended the day with ice cream- yum!
We made it to Riga safely, with all our luggage! We were greeted with a picnic basket and flowers. We rested most of the remaining day. It is rainy and chilly- so great!
We had a beautiful service Sunday morning at Riga 1st. Astra did a great job with the message. We sang and had communion. Gita blessed each of us during communion with a prayer, and at our debrief the newbies all talked about how special that was. And we all agree. After church we went to Gita's house for a picnic. Lots of good food. We played a game where we had to pair with someone we didn't know (Maddie cheated) and learn about them. Then we took turns introducing our new BFF. It was fun and a great way to learn about everyone.
Around 5pm we came to hotel, debriefed and then walked to Old Riga, in light rain, and showed the newbies around.
NOTE: More pics are posted on our Facebook page (no FB log-in required)