Sending Off the Latvia Mission Team!
Today, we are so excited to send our team off to Latvia! Join us in praying for them over the next 10 days as they travel overseas to share God’s love and fellowship with our friends there. This year Karlis and Tomass, Pastors of Majvieta Church in Riga, have invited Trinity West Seattle to bring a team to contribute to and participate with them in their all church retreat.
Foster Sopher is among those going on the trip and shared the following story about his experience with the Latvia mission team:
I believe it was sometime in 2015 that I was first exposed to the church in Latvia. Up until that time, I could not have pointed out Latvia on the map, known its capital and largest city is Riga, or even said with any certainty that there was a church in that small country. That all changed when Tomass and Karlis came to visit. They were introduced publicly to the congregation, and I had the opportunity to talk to them while at church the few Sundays they were in Seattle. That might have been the end of my Latvian adventure, for although I enjoyed our brief interactions, we hadn’t made the strong connection that was about to follow. Then, Pastor David Fairchild put out a general invitation on Facebook to come spend time with the three pastors at a local pub. I saw the announcement less than an hour prior to the event, but I decided to take the opportunity to get a last conversation in with the men from Riga.
Upon arriving at the pub, I was surprised to see that no one else had shown up. It was just the three of them and me. As those who know me will attest, I love a captive audience and proceeded to get to know these guys as well as I could in 2 or 3 hours. I discovered wonderful things about these men. They loved the Lord, they loved the church they were ministering to, and they spoke my preferred language: sarcasm. By the end of the night, I had two great new friends and had committed to go on the next trip to Latvia to minister to these dear men however the Lord directed, a decision I have never regretted.
When I arrived in Riga that following year, the first words I heard from Tomass were: “Foster, you came. You are a man of your word.” Then he gave me a big bear hug. His words, his emotion, and his big smile were so endearing and so welcoming, I knew I was going to love my time in Latvia and want to come back.
This will be the third time for me to travel to the country. The first time we spent much of our time at camp Ganibas, helping with the construction of “The Barn,” a large building for banquets and meetings of all kinds. The second time, I was part of a team that helped spruce up the church in Riga for an upcoming international convention of Baltic state churches and then attended said conference. On that trip, I was able to spend more time with people of the church and get to know and love them even more.
This time we get to go back to the camp, not primarily to work, but to spend time at a church retreat with our brothers and sisters from Riga. I’m excited to renew old friendships and begin others, sharing together what God has been teaching us and how he has been working in our lives. As Tomass would say, “It’s going to be cool!!”