Saturday, August 30, 2003

and...we're married!!!

Mr. and Mrs. Kelley, August 16, 2003 at Camp Tadmor

Friday, August 01, 2003

Next stop....Latvia

Crystal has returned from her mission trip to Latvia. The trip started out with two vans, nine very excited youth and way too much luggage. By the time we reached our 9th hour of being on the same airplane we still had way too much luggage; however the excitement transitioned to sleepiness. If you have every traveled overseas you know what I mean. We arrived in Latvia 11pm local time and were greeted by several members of Matthew’s youth church. They drove us to the church and showed us where we would be staying for the next two weeks. The next day Marcis, the youth pastor of Matthew’s church, woke us up bright and early and we dove headfirst into our partnership ministry.

There is so much to tell, way too much really so I will focus on a few of the highlights. Our time in Latvia was spread out among several ministry opportunities; opportunities that were diverse to allow each team member to shine in the ministry that they have a passion for. All the ministries we did in partnership with the youth of Matthew’s church, this helped us build strong trusting relationships.

Children’s Ministry

Several times through out the two weeks we all (Latvians and Americans) went to spend time at orphanages. All the girls went to a baby orphanage where we were able to hold and play with a baby for an hour. All the boys went to an adolescent orphanage where they made the kids a BBQ lunch and played games with them for a few hours. This is very important because Latvia has such a high rate of orphans in the country that workers cannot provide personal care for each and every child. Spending just a few hours with these kids was a huge opportunity to show them the love of God and that they are loved. We have committed to praying for the kids we interacted with, that they will know the love of God and turn to Him in their time of need.

Music Ministry

We brought over our worship band from the Hub in hopes of being able to minister with music. Matthew’s Church had two youth services in the two weeks that we were there. The Hub band was able to play in both these youth services and two Sunday adult services. This was a great time to share our passion for the Lord with fellow Christians and encourage them. The Latvians sing some of the same songs as us but in Latvian. It was pretty incredible to hear many voices singing in different languages, it really brings a sense of unity despite our cultural differences. We also did music ministry outside of the church. We put on a concert of original music, the Latvians call it “American rock and roll”, at a military base. We also shared testimonies and gave a couple hundred Latvian soldiers the opportunity to accept Christ to. Many of them came up to talk with us after the concert.


Several members of our team prepared a mime drama presenting the salvation message. This was a great tool because it gave us a platform to communicate despite the language barrier. We used this drama many many times throughout the week. The most responsive was on the busy streets of old Riga (Capital of Latvia). With the help of an interpreter we briefly explained the drama and invited everyone to come learn more at Matthew’s Church. This by far was the most influential tool to communicate to the Latvians because they place a high value on the arts and music and performance.


This was the whole purpose of our trip to Latvia, for us to build trusting relationship with the youth there and partner with to help strengthen both their ministry and ours. One of the many ministries that Matthew’s Church has is to go out in the country and help develop and strengthen smaller youth groups. We went with them to two other youth groups, one in Liegatne and one in Ventspils. We helped lead the youth service, we used the above ministries of music and evangelism and our Pastor Peter Kelley gave a message. Outside of the youth services we spent the entire day with the youth of these churches, encouraging them and making friendships. These times included time at the Baltic Sea, hiking in the forest, playing by a stream in old ruins, exploring castles, sightseeing in Lithuania, and time at the church playing volleyball or music together.