October 11, 2016
Dear Friends and Family,
First we want to express our gratefulness for your generous support and prayers for us as we start our mission in Latvia. A lot has occurred since our first letter – so let me bring you up to date.
When I first wrote you toward the beginning of May we had agreed to sell our home to the couple with the Latvia shirts and had a closing date of June 10th. Well, during the buyers’ inspection our septic system failed and we had to have a new one installed. This took about 4 weeks and on the day it was finished we found out that the buyer had lost his job and as a result could not get a mortgage. Not good news.
Before we had the chance to get discouraged we received a phone call, that same day, from the New York Times – they had seen a picture of our house online and wanted to do a write up on it. Two days later a journalist with a photographer arrived and spent about 4 hours taking pictures. That following Sunday our home was featured on the front page of the Real Estate section of the New York Times with a write up and pictures. Crazy – our little home featured with three others that were selling for nearly 2 million dollars. Anyway, after about 7 new showings we had a new buyer!
On July 5th, Troy, Amy, Cole and myself flew to Latvia to participate in several youth camps and also to secure our apartment and begin to furnish it. While we were there the kids served and participated at Word of Truth’s three weeks of youth camps. While the kids were busy there I traveled to Narva, Estonia to minister at a youth camp and then to Daugavpils, Latvia to minister at another youth camp.
In between youth camps and preaching at Sunday services, I got the keys to our new apartment, turned on the utilities, purchased appliances and set up the rooms with furniture. I was also able to purchase a van. Things were pretty much ready to go in Latvia when we returned to the States on July 29th.
We spent the beginning of August making repairs to the house that the buyers requested while also giving away or donating the rest of our belongings. We only kept things of special significance to us and memories – this was all moved to a storage unit. We completed the sale of the house on August 12th and then moved our daughter down to her apartment in Virginia.
Sadly, on August 7th, I lost my very dear friend, Larry House. We had spent the last 26 plus years ministering together in our local church and sharing our families and life. He was killed in a motorcycle/auto accident. His wife and also dear friend, Leslie, spent 11 or 12 days sedated and on life support. It was a very difficult time for us. I’ve never had to say good bye to a best friend. Please hold the House family in your prayers. Leslie has made amazing progress and is consistently healing quicker than the doctors’ projections! She is now home after an extended stay in the hospital, then at a rehab center. Pray for her and their 4 daughters and families: Heather and Andres Berrio, Ashley and Aaron Reninger, Alissa and Luke Reninger, and Rebecca and Caleb Mauchly.
Larry’s viewing and funeral were on August 18th and 19th and our church sending out service was on the 21st. Ten days later we arrive in Latvia on the evening of August 31st. We had a few days to get settled and then I was off to the Baltic School of Ministry (BSM) for two weeks of teaching. While I was away MaryBeth kicked off schooling for Amy and Cole – they are being homeschooled working with an online curriculum. Kalen and Troy began their online classes with Rowen College.
MaryBeth made it to BSM for the Wednesday evening Worship night that I always do when there. We prayed for each student one by one and watched the Lord faithfully heal the broken hearted, deal with unforgiveness, set free from sin, restore hope, encourage and pour out His love.
The kids are actively participating in Word of Truth’s youth meetings and we have begun to serve as a family at Word of Truth’s Friday night outreach services. During these services food and clothing are provided for the area families and individuals in need. They come and sit through a service – hear the Word of God, receive prayer, and at the end receive bags of food and take clothing that they need. As a visiting minister I have preached at these services over the last 6 years and am very thankful to now do more and have my family involved.
I have been asked to help with a new church plant that holds services in Latvia/English and will begin services in the near future in Russian/English. At this time, I will be ministering there once a month, but have been asked to consider pastoring the church. It is set up to focus on the lost and provide graduates of BSM a place to be mentored while being responsible for every aspect of church ministry. Over the next few months we along with Bishop Nikolajs and Bishop Modris will be praying about whether this is the Lord’s will for us.
Our next big hurdle is getting our Residence permits – on October 6th we spent the entire day at the Visa Office. We left with Kalen, Troy, and my applications being accepted. They are requiring us to get some additional documents for MaryBeth, Amy and Cole from the State of New Jersey. Please hold this in your prayers – once we receive our Residence Permits we can stay for a year but renew it every year for a total of 5 years.
My schedule for the remainder of October so far is:
- October 12-13: Teaching at Word of Truth’s Restart Services
- October 14: Serving at Word of Truth’s Outreach Service
- October 16: Preaching at Factory-99 Sunday Service in Marupe
- October 23: Preaching at New Life Church Sunday Service in Bauska
- October 30: Preaching at Word of Truth Sunday Service in Riga
- Throughout the month helping at BSM
This weekend Amy has been asked to share with the youth on the American Holiday Thanksgiving and the importance on Giving Thanks.
You can also follow us online at www.CelebrationCC.com on our page.
Once again thanks for your prayers and support!
Missions Pastor, Celebration Community Church