Saturday, July 30, 2005

teRiga is completed

The cross-denomination service project of teRiga has officially ended. On Friday we completed our clean up of the storage unit sight. We were pleasantly surprized at how much was completed, we thought for sure we would be unable to finish the project, however the team stayed an extra hour to fill up the last garbage bin and brought the entire mound of rubble level with the ground.


Saturday was our next unknown, we had planned a work project in one of the cities most honored parks, Mezaparks, the sight of the Song Festival which is held every 5 years and incorportates tens of thousands of people. Our goal was to not only have the youth serving but also the adult memebers of the congregation, we were wonderfully surprized...about 200 adults from 32 different churches throughout Riga and surrounding cities came for Saturday's work project. Add to that the 130 teRiga youth that had been working the past week and you have about 330 people serving their community, that is a loud statement. It is very exciting.
Sweeping the sidewalks in the park.
Workers of all generations came to help in the big work day.
Silent witness to those passing by.

We closed with a celebration service for everyone in the park, some local bands favorite "Metanoia" (who will be comming to the valley and Dox (?) in October) finished out the concert. It was pouring down rain, but the spectators didn't care, youth and adult and senior stayed in the rain, singing along with the bands, worshiping in the rain.
Metanoia in Mezaparks.
Keren Baldwin (middle) worshipping with fellow teRiga participants. The unity between Latvian and American youth in worship is beautiful.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

and we are still working

teRiga officially started the 25th. the first evening was orientation, stuff like that. Monday the 26th was the first day of our work projects.
teRiga team: 130 Latvians and Americans
I am currently working on a demolition clean up crew. There were these 4 car garage sized storage units, two of them, that were bulldozed, we are cleaning this mess up. They were bulldozed with all their contents in them, some really cool stuff and a lot of really gross junk. There are about 30 students and adults working on this sight.
teRiga team cleaning storage rubble. This is one of seven sites cleaned during the week.
The first day was amazing. The lady from the city that set up the dumpsters came by early in the AM, we had only been working for 45 minutes. By the time she had arrived we had already filled one dumpster, she was shocked, she thought we would only fill 2 dumpsters the entire day.
Crystal and Kaite working at the storage site.
It was cool to see her excitement at our enthusiasm to get the job done. The next day she was waiting for us at the work site, all smiles, she had arranged to have many more dumpsters available so we could be even more productive than the day before. There are a lot of hazzards with this site, a lot of rusty nails, a lot of broken glass, a lot of basements with rotting top boards, please pray for the teams safety. We have only had minor scrapes up until this point, praise the Lord for that.

Crystal picking up rubble from one of the collasped basements.

Thank you all for your support, this has been my hardest trip so far emotionally. It has been harder to focus on the task at hand with so much going on at home, please also continue to pray for my family. The service for my Grandfather is Thursday. Brian and I will not be able to attend, but the family has promised to get the whole thing on tape for us.

Well, peace out from Latvia, more to come, keep checking. Love you all, behave while I am gone, eh?

Monday, July 25, 2005

we have arrived

I have arrived in Latvia, with my trusty traveling companion, Spike (my brother's 9 year old chihuahua).

For those of you who haven't heard, I received the sad news that my Grandpa passed away Sunday morning. This was expected, though still hard. It made sence to me to continue with my trip to Latvia, not only to work on the projects but to also spend some time with my brother who has been in Latvia since June. When I get to a computer that has the capability I will add pictures of the various things going on. I don't know when that will be, so please hang tight on that one. Thank you for your prayers, the trip went with out hitch, even getting Spike into the country was smooth.

American girls: Joanna, Crystal and Allison on the tram getting ready for teRiga.

The first day of teRiga starts tomorrow, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Tonight is the first night of getting to know our Latvian friends who we will be working with through this week. There are 100 Latvians participating, and 12 Americans. Already relationships have begn, the Latvians are really outgoing and cheerful, a trait not commonly seen until they get to know and trust you better. This is a great sign. More to come...stay tuned.

Monday, July 04, 2005


In just a few weeks Crystal will be headed off for her third trip to Latvia. As part of her ministry with Bridge Builders International she has been able to assistant the American participants that travel to Latvia with BBI each summer.

Crystal with American participants of teRiga 2004.

This summer she will again be helping with teRiga. teRiga is a strategic service project with the intent of making the church more relevant to the community. Many youth and adults will serve throughout the week by participating in service such as city beautification projects and many others. The idea behind teRiga is that the church will earn the trust of the community by serving and thus be an effective tool in sharing the gospel. Recently, in our own church, Doxology, we have been challenged to answer the question: “If your church were to disappear completely, would anyone notice?”. We truly want to live a life on this earth that is reflective of our Savior:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind... and LOVE your neighbor as your self.”
Matt. 22:37

Ways to help with Latvia:
· Pray..for each day of the trip. July 24-Aug 9th
. Financial support: Checks can be made payable to BBI and sent to:
PO Box 625
Philomath OR 97370

Friday, July 01, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

We enjoyed a trip to Vegas to attend friends’ wedding.

Here we are celebrating after…”the kiss”