Visit with Estonians and Latvians. WOW!
Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
15Trip End Jul 29, 2008
Bev and I walked the mile from the apartment to the Pallas Hotell where our friends are staying for a 9:00 am breakfast.
First I went to our post office box and got the mail that's accumulated. It was exciting to see new subscribers for the Good News magazine and the Bible Study Course from Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia
You can read the United News article about the aggregate effort of a team of people producing literature in Russian and Esonian here.
After breakfast Bev and I gave Britt and Jim and walking tour of the heart of Tartu. We took them through the City Square and then down to the Atlantis Club where we've held three Feasts of Tabernacles meetings. It was good to revisit those a place that hold so many good memories for us.
Then Bev and I had to get ready for our guests tonight. A few carloads are coming up from Latvia and our locals from Tartu will be here. Toomas Schvaak is coming down from Tallinn.
There were plenty of chores to take care of through the day including picking up our missing piece of luggage at the bus station and buying more envelopes for the mailing prep to be done on Sunday.
All is in place and I feel very good about how things are going.
Six PM when are guests are due to arrive. First comes Katrin and Andrus. Then Toomas, then the Latvians. Jim and Britt made it from the hotel. Ten came up from Smiltena about 90 miles south.
Bev prepared salmon. Others brought side dishes. A LOT of strawberries came from Latvia which were just picked on one of the farms. They looked beautiful and were very delicious. It was a great meal with great socializing and people getting to know one another. I was happy to see the intermixing between the Latvians and Estonians. Their languages are so different that they have to resort to Russian. I guess one thing the ugly old Soviet system did was to provide a communication vehicle in an enforced common language. Most older people know Russian well. Younger people, however, are not learning Russian.
After dinner we gathered in a circle to have discussion about the Church, the Bible and other questions. People also told the story about their coming to understand the Bible and its relevance to them. The stories were touching and moving. There had to be lots of translation in motion as everything that was said had to be translated into Latvian and Estonian.
Questions covered subjects such as what is the difference between us and other groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists and the Messianic movement. There were questions about the Holy Days and which other groups keep them.
We really appreciated hearing stories about how they came to understand the Truth
Sunset came at 9:43 PM and that's about when we ended our meeting. Robert Schultz suggested that we pray to God at that point and Britt Taylor asked a meaningful blessing mentioning of various nationalities meeting for a common purpose. We said farewell to the group driving back to Latvia. It would be a 90 minute drive back to Smiltena. The pastor has a sermonette and sermon the next day at 10:00 am. His wife Elita has a children's Bible Study. A full day for all of them. They invited us to come and worship with them the next, but it would have been a bit much....next time!
I wrote an article for the United News about Robert Schultz and this wonderful Latvian connection here.
Bev and I stayed up another hour just talking about how special and wonderful the meeting was...coming to understand each other and relate to common beliefs.
The work of God in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia is featured in this segment of "About My Father's Business" when Johnnie Lambert and Victor Kubik are interviewed by UCG president Clyde Kilough. (posted February 9, 2008) Real Media stream is at pnm://www.kubik.org/misc/easterneurope.rm. Real Media