Sunday, July 5, 2009

Playing in Copenhagen

We spent a few days in Copenhagen sightseeing and playing. Our first stop was a boat tour that provided a great overview of the sights and of the rich architecture. We were able to take a closer look at the city, including the Little Mermaid, by living like the locals and renting bicycles. Copenhagen is an extremely bike friendly city with bike lanes on every street and plenty of bicycle parking. Even though we were at play, we took time to thank the great Lord above with a communion service in the hotel bar area. On our final night, we visited Tivoli Gardens. A few of our team members rode the rides and then we had our final team dinner in the oldest restaurant in Tivoli. Our last supper was full of reflections and sharing warm memories. We were blessed to be part of this awesome mission and know that we'll be returning home changed as a result of our Godly experience.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Riga First UMC

We stopped in Riga , before leaving Latvia, and visited the Riga First UMC. Our arrival happened to coincide with with Riga UMC Women's Cookbook Club dinner night and lucky for us, they invited us to break bread. They served a delicious potato dumpling soup, with some excellent side dishes, and a scrumptious strawberry cream dessert. The church Pavarotti performed a solo and Rita sang "Amazing Grace." After dinner, the Pastor, held a brief candle lighting prayer service. Our time at Riga First UMC was short, but meaningful. The next day we did some sightseeing around the charming city of Riga and toured the Museum of Occupation. Our experience helped us gain a deeper understanding of Estonian and Latvian history. From Riga, we headed to Copenhagen for R&R.

Liepa, Latvia

We worked with the Liepa UMC during our time in Latvia. Our team held a Vacation Bible School with children from the local community and over 40 children ages 3-14 attended. Our activities included crafts (see the crowns), games, music, and reading. During our time at the church, we bonded with the mothers and babies in the Liepa UMC Hope Center. This center supports single mothers in transition. Susan prepared lunch for the team at The Hope Center each day. We took plenty of time to hold the babies, pray for the babies, and to spread God's love to the babies. The construction team made great progress on the dry wall project in the future Liepa UMC Chapel. They taped and floated all the walls during their three days on the job. The construction team also squeezed in a quick shoe repair job for another team member and gave their work a 30 day guarantee! "Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above (Psalm 148:1)."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Goodbye Estonia, Hello Latvia

Our last days in Estonia were blessed with more beautiful connections. The youth performed music and a drama the final night of camp, and we wrapped up with a bonfire and smores. On the last day of camp we had a communion service and blessed each camper with a wooden cross from the St. Luke’s UMC Mens’ Ministry. The service was followed by our goodbyes and, of course, a few tears. On Sunday we attended two services, one in Voru and one in Vitka. Wick shared the message with the Estonian people that we are God’s Beloved.“……. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased (Mark 1:11).”Several members of our team gave testimonies at each church service where we exchanged gifts and reminisced about the many blessings God granted us during our camp, construction project, and time together. On our way to Liepa, we stopped for dinner in Cesis. After a few wrong turns, and an excellent collaborative map reading effort by the MEN on the team, we arrived at midnight just in time to catch the Latvian sunset.