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    Latvia Mission Trip Updates

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    SunSundayJulJuly3rd2016 July 3
    byBev Campisi Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    How the time has flown by!  While each day has contained longer hours for each of us than we normally live, we also agree it is hard to believe our time here has almost ended! Because our flight leaves at 6:35 am, we checked into their airport hotel today and will arise and walk ourselves to check in at 4:15 AM. Prayers for our safe and timely return home.

    Our day began with helping at church with some last minute set up and visiting with folks from various places we had become acquainted with ... Americans, Latvians and Danes the last few days.  Worship began at 11 and because we English speakers outnumbered the Latvians today, Gita did most of the service in English and others heard through their headphones by their very capable translator.  What a gift she was.

    Holy, holy, holy is the best way to describe how worship happens in this place. Voices of different languages sounding as one as songs are sung.  For scripture reading, three folks read from their Bibles...I've never heard Danish being read...lovely. Their special candelabra for prayers, their special communion time.  Holy.  And two hours without it even being realized!

    They fed us again, a delightful buffet of so many Latvian dishes!  And for dessert such cute streusels ...three huge "letters" each of them in the shapes of F O L.  This time was filled with very active conversations with many sharing ideas and future plans.

    All are excited to be connected through Friends of Latvia and looking forward to a roster with our contacts to be shared.

    Lots of goodbyes and fond farewells took time.  Some of our group went shopping, some rested up at the hotel and we all returned to church at 6 PM to fold up all of those 200 chairs to get loaded into the truck...in light rain...so the term "bucket brigade" was really a reality!  

    Gita had returned to sit in a circle with us and asked our first timers to share what they are taking with them.  It was heart warming to hear each comment.  As Gita says, it is selfish of her, but this is where she really gets to hear the impact made by the stories of this brave people, having so much hope and joy with so little.  We are humbled, knowing our lives of excess and waste when most have so little. We are all challenged to continue telling their stories and help our church families get a better understanding of why we are so willing to continue these relationships together.

    Then it was off to the Lido to eat one more Latvian buffet style meal.  Four of the young women from Riga First came too because it is hard for them to let us go.  And one of our generous guys bought their suppers.  

    It's been a great trip with so many stories. 

    I'm grateful to Marilyn Hall for being such a great connector of prayer partners to our mission together, and we are all appreciative of your blankets of prayer.  I am grateful we haven't had anyone get hurt or seriously ill, our vans held up ok with just minor troubles and we are all still friends!

    May God bless and multiply your time you have given to our Latvian team.
    Grateful thanks!
    SatSaturdayJulJuly2nd2016 July 2
    byBev Campisi Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Good morning, Riga time!  

    During our singing time and while having and enough battery charge to do this, allow me to share two prayer requests Gita Mednis has shared in sadness before our opening announcements this morning at our Friends of Latvia Gathering.  Please be in prayer for these families and church families who grieve with them. 

    Mr. Mareks Grinbergs is a member at Riga 2nd and learned his daughter passed away this morning in England.  He is here and we prayed with and for him in community.

    Smithfield UMC learned this morning that Eddie and Kaye Leech, who had registered to attend FOL, but had had to cancel due to Eddie needing double bypass...they learned last night their grandson, Alex Jensen was killed in a car accident

    As each Latvian pastor gave their reports yesterday, Friday, our first day of FOL, they spoke through an interpreter and the following needs were lifted up for us to pray about.  

    1.  Gita B-urgent help is needed to fund a ventilation system at Hope Center which must be installed before hot summer after all of their overly wet Spring which has continuously sent the babies and mothers living there to clinic for illness due to lilies within. Gita has obtained three estimates with assurances this will fix this problem and it is very expensive.  We heard 5,000 euros...up to 7,000 euros.  Secondly, insulating this old building will protect it better in the future.  In Latvia this is done covering the outside of the building and is very expensive, so this is a secondary priority.  The NJ church through Wayne Richards sent 3,200 dollars and it was announced that will go towards this.  We expect we will hear other churches announce their support as well and then Grapevine will submit ours.

    2.  "Big Gita" told of the important national award "little Gita" was given by Latvias president for good works with the Hope Center.  Also that contributions continue to go down, and expenses go up.  They will not turn away one expectant mother.  Gita has told little Gita to pray about making a trip to the US to travel to churches telling the story and if God lays this on her heart, to do so soon so more supporters will be found to continue this important outreach.  There was much affirming nodding of heads...like "come on over"!

    3. Vera in the Russian congregation wants ideas on how to involve Teens and Tweens who lose interest after their young years.  She has done a few events with them where she is having them learn to cook and invite their parents, who then come eat and see inside the church/after school program but she prays for more ideas.

    4. Kristine.  Pray for the situation in Cesis where many church members overuse alcohol and there is family abuse of mothers and children by alcoholic fathers. Kristine asks God's wisdom on how she can "Slove" this problem.and they would like to raise money for a new church building and money to pay a real musician to have better worship.

    5.  Gunta, Tasi pastor, asks prayers for their church, their church families and their ministries in transition.  She hopes to make this a social center where people can come to be safe and fellowship and wash their clothing. They are writing and receiving grants for new floors and other improvements.  She is also parttime pastor at Liepaja where their youth have doubled and they now have a worship team!  PTL

    6.  Astra asks prayers for strong families to be in church.

    7. Vivita is on required (by gov't) paid maternity leave and Zinta will be pastor in Kuldiga.  Wants a new shower and washer and dryer so they can be offered as services to people who can come to their church for these needs to be easier for them. 
    The " Texas Seven" heard this need on their tour at Kuldiga and Rev. Cynthia Moss from Florence UMC, TX had brought money from her congregation and knew is was God's direction for its use, providing the Washer on the spot. PTL

    8.  Inese is stepping away from Wesley Camp to be a pastor.

    9.  Anna Dobele finished her bachelors and is being called to go to univ. for theology studies. Gita lifted the personal problems of her family in very difficult financial situation where her parents have lost their home and this might slow her process.

    10.  Astra taking senior pastor of Riga First as Gita retires as Superintendent. 

    11.  A new after school program in Liepaja directed by Baiba.  She prays for an assistant teacher who can come on to help with the addition of school children this next year.

    Thank you for your prayer support.
    Until soon,
    FriFridayJulJuly1st2016 July 1
    byBev Campisi Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Day one of Friends of Latvia was really wonderful.  Our Riga First friends had all things registration organized and radical hospitality was everywhere!  Latvian treats set out for our arrival, coffee and snack breaks, a fabulous luncheon created by one chef and a few staff helpers in their tiny kitchen is so impressive!  Our Friends of Latvia Secretary will have detailed notes I'm taking to share when we return but suffice it to say Pres. Mark Croft's well-planned out agenda allowed for a real unity for all.  We sat at tables mixed with Latvians, Americans and Danes.  Two translators and headphones allowed Latvians to understand our English and they interpreted Latvian for us.  Wonderful singing of praise songs in each language simultaneously and it is simply glorious.

    Reports from each US church and the work/relationship they have with their Latvian congregations and projects...reports from each Latvian pastor, all very inspiring.

    The Hope Center reported a desperate need to have a new ventilation center before summer to remove the mildew that keeps the babies sick.  From NJ, Wayne Richards announced that his hardworking congregation sent him with $3,200 so that is a start.  I feel certain by tomorrow or Sunday the rest will be taken care of.  We heard a few different numbers but between 5 and 7,000 is needed.  Grapevine had a small chat in the van and will consult all tomorrow on if we want our $2,200 (funds sent over ahead of the team to be designated according to need) to all go to this project, or what. We want to hear what is announced tomorrow first!

    I hope to send some prayer requests tomorrow which were shared today from various pastors for their congregations but my battery is almost gone and my charger is at church!

    For now, we continue to feel encouraged knowing you all and others are praying for us.

    Thank you each!

    Until tomorrow


    ThuThursdayJunJune30th2016 June 30
    byBev Campisi Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    At 6:45 AM the Payne men went and picked up and loaded 200 rented chairs and many tables from the Pentecostal church while Julie and Madeline swept up and mopped all the dust accumulated from yesterday's sanding of the old carpet. At 6:45! I helped unload those chairs with the entire Payne family about 9:00. The Texas Seven were loading up later for their tour Gita arranged at the Occupation Museum followed by a trip to Kuldiga to visit one of their partner pastors. The Crofts, McNinches, Paynes and Jesse and I worked throughout the day in all areas of the church just doing all kinds of things. See the Facebook album for photos and captions! (no FB log-in required)

    Additional Friends of Latvia are arriving in Riga so transportation is important. 

    We are reminded continuously of these Latvian friends being so grateful for our presence and participation and advancement of Friends of Latvia. And we are grateful too!

    Tomorrow welcomes the two and a half days of FOL Gathering and we are ready!

    Thanks be to God!


    WedWednesdayJunJune29th2016 June 29
    byBev Campisi Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    I have looked forward to this trip knowing the Texas Seven, as I now refer to the newbies, would be experiencing the Latvian country, people and culture as I did on my first trip and we who have been before would be helping work at First Riga in whatever way needed, preparing for the Friends of Latvia gathering which begins Friday.  This has meant we have been splitting up some, being together some and trying to continually see who is doing what in which van and at what time!  We have laughed together and AT one another over red lights run as we try to caravan places, of van lights left on when exited, of a parking ticket and yes, now we can add being stopped by the police for no known reason.  I'm happy to claim only the first badge of honor and the rest go to Pastor Steve Moss.  I did however have the "fun" yesterday of dealing with my van dying every 12 feet as we left for our day.  After getting our lead van to circle back and redistribute riders, they went on to their KGB prison tour and I eventually had Rihards talk to the the rental company and while he didn't follow my wishes for them to bring us a new van, he did go and get a replacement battery for our key fob accessory thing and off we went, good as new.  I had to overcome the guys wondering if I'd run out of gas!  And then them wanting to keep on trying it just one more time but I stood my ground.  We were in the shade of buildings, not blocking traffic and I was not willing to try and turn that corner they wanted to where I would have been waiting out in the hot sunshine, blocking traffic and being honked at!  Have I mentioned it can be a challenge being the team leader of so many leaders?! 

    And so.  Today Richard Payne drove those Texas Seven to Wesley Camp and to meet with one of their church pastors out the way of Liepaja..a three and a half hour trip one way, staying at camp, enjoying dinner and doing devotionals with the campers before heading home after midnight tonight.

    The Crofts, McNinches, and Paynes and I were doing all kinds of things at church all day and the photos on fb show the story. The staff is having the typical things happen when under the crunch of time preparing for a big event, so please pray for their hard work efforts to be honored in successfully completing all they have planned for with less stress!  And that God continue to keep us safe and renew our energy!  I know there will be more from other pastors who might write of their day today, but since they are on the road, don't look for it tonight!  It's 11:40 PM here!

    Good night!

    Latvia Mission Trip UpdatesThe latest news from the team currently in Latviaby Our next trip to Latvia is June 24 - July 4, 2016... working in Riga, Wesley Camp and attending Friends of Latvia.
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