Jesus is the reason why we celebrate Christmas.

so what will you give Him on His birthday???


LTV Cribs pt. 1

heres a sneak peak (get it? fletch is peaking out the window...? haha. lame, i know) at our room.

now i know what you are probably thinking... does it get any better than the pink window shades?!?!! well the answer is yes, it does... in the form of green 1970's russian wallpaper, which is beautifully accented by a red and black floor rug. mind you, all these came with our room. they would certainly not be our first choice. i have to be honest though, part of me like how ridiculous our room looks. its growing on me.

with our room we wanted to contrast the modern look of ikea with the decorating style of communist russia. i think we succeeded.

and as you can see, these are all completely candid shots of me and fletch (fletch and i?) in our room. we just happened to be in all of them... and doing perfectly normal things, like peaking out a window and reading a cookbook.

our beautiful entryway.

well, there you have it. a quick glimpse at where we live.

[note: im pretty sure you picked up on my sarcasm throughout this post. but i do want to be careful because, though i am making light of our living situation, we have a roof over our heads in a great location, lots of space, and an overall great living situation. and for all that i am VERY thankful to live where we live. we just wanted to have a little fun with it. hopefully, ill be able to put up a video with a full tour of the house soon. hold tight.]


freedom statue, 4:30pm

a few people commented about how they enjoyed the last video, so i thought i would do another. i took this video in the centre of old riga so you could get a glimpse of how beautiful it can be here at night.

(and if you watch closely, you might be able to see me...)



a few people have asked for my address here in latvia, so i thought id put up for all to see;

[edit: i realized that putting my address online for everyone to see wasnt the smartest thing to do, so if you would like my address you can shoot me an email and i will get that to you]

feel free to come and visit!


quick update

hey heres a quick look at what life is like here at 2 am in latvia.

and im sorry ive been terrible at responding to emails so far! we are still trying to figure out how to get our internet set up at the house. so hold tight. and for now, enjoy this video we made last night...

a czech thanksgiving

every year, the north americans in josiah venture gather together in czech at a place called malenovice to celebrate thanksgiving.

we left latvia on tuesday night and drove for the next 20 hours (something i never want to do again) to arrive in time for dinner the next day in czech. our time in czech was very cool. dave patty (the founder of josiah venture) taught on the Father Heart of God and his talks had a huge impact on my perspective on Gods love for me. i also got to meet a lot of jv people and spend a good amount of time with our latvia team. i am thankful (get it? because it was thanksgiving...?) for my time there. we also got to visit the ikea in czech and i bought a few things for our my room and our house (ill put up pictures of the rest of the house soon). then on sunday we all packed ourselves back into the van and made the 18 hour drive back to latvia! yuck.


lots of GOOD news

1) thank you for all of your prayers, they worked!
2) all of our bags have arrived intact!
3) we moved into our new place to live last night! it is a two bedroom home that it is attached to a larger house and the family who we will be renting from lives upstairs. mike has his own room and fletch and i are sharing the other room. our room is the corner one, and it came with the pink window shades (and im too cheap to buy new ones! haha).

we also have a bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. this place is quite a luxury for the price we are paying. i have sensed the Lords blessing in allowing us to get settled in and avoid living out of a suitcase for months.
4) we had our first staff meeting this morning and there were a total of 12 people there! we have an amazing team and its exciting to see what God is already doing and getting ready to do in this country.
5) tonight we are driving 18 hours to czech for a josiah venture thanksgiving. we all have a lot be thankful for!


the trip here

before you begin reading, understand that this was maybe the stupidest thing i have EVER done in my life...

at 7am this morning (11/15/07), fletch and i left sky harbor airport. getting our bags checked in was a little bit of an ordeal, but it ended up worked out in the end. we said tearful goodbyes to our friends and family and headed through security. we boarded the plane bound for chicago and arrived at o'hare airport around 4 hours later. this is where things got interesting...

fletch and i have two very good friends in the chicago area that were willing to come see us off at the airport, so we exited the security area to spend some time with our friends chad & polina little. we sat and visited with them for awhile in the baggage claim area and before any of us knew it, it was 1:45 and our flight to frankfurt was leaving at 2:32! that meant we had 47 minutes to go through security and run to the next concourse in time to get to our gate in order to make the flight. as we entered the security check line one of the security personnel informed fletch that his carry-on bag was too big to take on the plane and he would have to check it in. this was bad news because it was under the 45 min cut off time to check in bags for our flight. of course, we found this news after we had already exited the security line and had lost another 5 minutes. we got back in the line again and waited for about 10 more minutes and potentially waiting another 30 minutes just to get security... a security personnel told us that there was another security check line that was "wide open," so we took a chance and got out of that line and ran to the next security check point to find an even longer line. great! haha. i asked a security worker if there was anyway we could get through the line faster since we were about to miss our flight. she went and asked her superior who quickly said "nope." we waited for another 10 mins and then things got desperate. i started asking people if we could cut in front of them, hoping to get through security a little bit faster. to my surprise, most people let us go ahead of them and we soon found ourselves at the front and heading through security. my bag got the special "waste just enough time for you to miss your flight" treatment (surprise!). after the security man had finished giving my bag the rub down, i quickly grabbed my phone, wallet, belt, jacket, backpack, carry-on and two laptops and began sprinting to our gate with all of that in my arms. after running for about 5 mins time stood still... i watched in horror as my mac laptop dropped out of my hands at a full sprint! i managed to kick out my foot and get it under it as it fell to brace some of the impact. shoot! no time to waste. i bent over awkwardly balancing all my stuff and struggled to pick up my laptop. i looked back to see where fletch was at, and i saw him a ways behind. i found out later that he was struggling keep his pants on since he didnt have his belt on and his pants kept falling down! haha. we sprinted through the o'hare airport (which is, one of, if not the largest airport in the usa) for a good 10 mins only to arrive at the gate at 2:33. we were 1 min late. the airplane was still sitting at the gate, but the door was closed. one of the check-in ladies put the icing on the cake by sarcastically asking me "where were you?" i bit my tongue and decided not say what i wanted to say to her. i sat down in disbelief. i was furious and sweating profusely. i had just thrown away a few hundred dollars of support money. fletch arrived about a minute later and we sat there in silence for a few long seconds. we gathered our stuff together and found the customer service desk and sat in that line for the next hour to watch out next potential 3:30 flight come and go. we then realized this would mean we would miss our connection flight in frankfurt because the next flight out of o'hare didnt leave until 6:13pm. we sat in line for about more 15 mins and then finally got to the service counter. we told the lady our situation and endured her laughing at our bad fortune. she poked around on her computer for 30 mins only to have her tell us "i cant help you." she suggested staying a few days in chicago and trying again in three days(!!!) or else try calling our travel agent. we found a place to sit down and call our travel agent. thankfully, we caught them right before they were closing. after a few minutes of explaining our situation to the lady at our travel agency she looked up our intinerary and saw that we had somehow been booked on the 6:13 flight! this was comical because a few minutes earlier in the customer service line i had asked God to "do something," and apparently He did. thank you!

so here we are sitting in chicago o'hare airport. we had our last meal in america and im very dissapointed to say it was mcdonalds (aka throw up in my mouth). were waiting to board our flight to frankfurt, not knowing how we will get to riga from there! i just called scott to let him know we had missed out flights and that we may be spending a few days in germany. i guess its only fitting to start out our journey like this...

picking up where we left off... we arrived in frankfurt and headed straight to the united air information desk. we met a guy there who was a tremendous help to us and after 15 mins of looking around on his computer he told us that there were no more direct flights to riga. he eventually booked us on two different flights; one to munich on luthfansa air and then another one from munich to riga on air baltic... for no extra cost! miracle. we didnt have much time so we ran to the luthfansa desk and waited in line there. after about 20 mins in line we got to the counter and began the process of checking in. after the attendant (it was her first day... surprise!) had printed out my boarding pass, she started working on fletchs and about half way through her computer shut down (surprise!!!). she moved to the next desk and about half way through that process that computer went down too! well by this time it was 10 mins until the check-in deadline and the computers were still down so the attendant got on the phone with our gate and hurredly wrote fletchs tickets out by hand. as we were about to leave, she saw fletchs enormous carry-on and said "thats too big, you need to check that in." i almost screamed. she hand wrote his bag tags and escorted us to security where we did the security check routine again. we got through security and had to run to the next terminal to get to our gate. thankfully, the computer system was down for all of lufthansa and that meant that they hadnt begun to board yet. we got on the plane and made the quick one hour flight to munich. we got off the plane and headed towards baggage claim area and waited around for fletchs carry-on bag to show up. after waiting around for a bit and not seeing it fletch asked a ticket lady what he should do, since we were again cutting it close on making it to our gate in time for our flight. she suggested heading straight to our gate and filing out a lost baggage claim when we arrived in riga. we took that advice and ran to the next terminal and looked for the air baltic counter (this may sound a lot easier than it actually was...). we found the desk and checked in with air baltic. our check-in lady had trouble checking us in because she kept putting in the wrong baggage tag numbers for our bags (surprise!), so that process took a lot longer than necessary. we were cutting it close on time so we ran to security and made it to our gate with about 15 mins to spare! we were so relieved and worn out that fletch fell asleep and i had started to read to relax... and we almost missed the boarding call for our flight! i turned around and saw the last few people in line and quickly got our stuff together and got in line. we boarded the plane and 4 hours later arrived in riga. we headed towards the baggage claim area and waited around to see only one of our nine bags come through! we ended up being the last ones left in the whole baggage area. we headed over to the baggage claim office and filed missing bag claims for eight of our bags. the lady at the desk was very helpful and an hour later we walked out to the reception area to find out that no one was there to pick us up! fletch found some latvian money that he had with him and called scott to have the phone die in mid conversation right after he told us to "get out some money and take a cab" (we later found out that he was joking). we took a cab to the centre of riga because we did not have an address for where we were going to be staying that night and that was the only thing we knew how to say in latvian. we walked around downtown for a little and ended up walking all the way to the salvation army center where we hoped we would find a phone that we could use for free. there wasnt. i went and bought a phone card and called scott to find out he was at the airport waiting for us!!!!!!!! haha. (he had been there and waited around for an hour and then left because he had to pick up his girls at ballerina practice and then came back for us!) anyways, he met up with us at the salvation army and drove us to where we are staying. we put the one bag in our room and then walked to the store to buy some food for dinner, since we were completely exhausted and had not eaten in about 12 hours. after eating i took a shower and we went to sleep.

WE MADE IT! thank you Lord.


here we go!

well the countdown is complete. we are leaving to the airport in about an hour. i am packed and ready to go... and COMPLETELY exhausted. next time you hear from me (Lord willing) i will be on the other side of the atlantic! i will be in touch soon.



"i hate goodbyes."
-lloyd christmas

i have never been this emotional in my entire life. i broke down in tears twice in the time it took me to write this blog. i did not realize it would be this hard. even though i hate to say goodbyes, i have found that it is a necessary evil. it helps to bring closure on both ends. our training in colorado taught us that we needed to say good goodbyes. the idea was that in order to fully embrace our new culture, we needed to "let go" of our home culture here in america. in order for my ministry in latvia to be effective, i cannot be consumed with wishing i was back home in america. in order to build the relationships i need to build in latvia, i cannot be constantly wishing to see my family and friends back home. i have to let go of all of that for the time being, and trust that God is Sovereign over these things. i must choose embrace my new culture and i cannot do that while i am still clinging to my home culture.

all that to say, this does not make it any easier for me to say goodbye. i have already been able to say a few goodbyes, but there are still a lot more that need to be said in the next five days. i dread a few of them. i literally get sick to my stomach when i think about saying goodbye to my family. so, i ask for your prayers and for the Lords Grace in this process of saying goodbye. i know it will not be easy to say goodbye, but i also know that the cost of following Jesus is never cheap.


november 14th!

woops. the departure date just got pushed forward by a day. IM LEAVING ON THE 14TH! thank the LORD! He is good...


Jehovah Jireh (again)

i am fully funded!!! i got a call a few nights ago from a supporter who wanted to increase their giving and that put me over 100% on pledged support! praise God! He is faithful to provide.


why latvia?

i get that question a lot. and here is why...

because of kids like this who do not know who Jesus is... simply because there is no one to tell them about Him.



as most of you know, i am not in latvia. my september 1st departure date has been pushed back indefinitely. i am now hoping to leave by late october.

this experience of waiting has shown me how incredibly impatient i am. as i wait for the rest of my financial support to come in, God has been giving me a crash course on patience. He has gently dragged me through this process of waiting on His timing. what makes this so hard, is that i feel like i have been waiting for this departure date for the past six years and now its looking like i might have to wait a little bit longer than i had anticipated... and as all impatient people know, these last few weeks of waiting have not been very pleasant. i am being forced to trust God. crazy huh?

so that is where i am at as of september 25th. please stay tuned for more updates and thank you for prayers and tremendous generosity towards me during this time! i have been encouraged by your support.



our SPLICE group

your prayers were answered! thank you so much! i was blessed to take part in this SPLICE training. i came away from this experience with a better understanding of what i will encounter as i prepare to move into a new culture and more importantly these weeks of training helped me to get back to having an intimate relationship with God (it took getting away from "ministry" for five weeks to realize how spiritually dry i had been over the past six months!). i am thankful for getting to experience God in some special ways during this training. praise Him!

SPLICE was a very emotionally draining three weeks. i made a lot of good friends and that is what made saying goodbye to this loving community so hard. as a community we had developed a common bond because of our shared experiences and understanding about what we were about to partake in as fellow missionaries in different parts of the world. we also witnessed how God had worked mightily in our three weeks together. here are a few of the pictures from SPLICE;

this man changed my life (robin allen, the director of SPLICE)

mike & i on top of pikes peak

a few friends from SPLICE (from right to left; fletch, ashley, candace, sarah & mike)

goodbye to my SPLICE family. it was fun. you all will be missed.



a few people have asked me what percentage i am at for monthly support... well, i added it up a few days ago and i am at around 60%! more than half way there...

also, the past few days i have been working on my prayer card. here is a rough version of the one that i will be sending out to my supporters;


PILAT & moose hunting

the MTI training center

well, the first half of my training is over. PILAT has helped me to learn a lot about language and as a result i feel better equipped to take on the daunting task of learning the latvian language. (pictured below: mike, fletch & i with the director of PILAT; dwight gradin)

mike, nick and i were blessed to have the ulman family who allowed us to live with them for the past two weeks and i know we were all blown away by their hospitality. (pictured below: maici, erin, gavin & david ulman)

on friday afternoon after PILAT ended, we got the chance to drive up to fort collins for the weekend and visit with our fellow JVLV missionaries, kelly and donna hargan.

it was a nice chance to connect with them again. kelly took us out four-wheeling on his birthday and it was quite an experience! as we were driving to where we were going to go four-wheeling we had a chance encounter with a MOOSE!

it came out of the bushes and out onto the road and cut off our jeep!!! i got so excited that i felt like that annoying kid in Jurassic Park....

i could not believe my eyes, this thing was huge and it could move! we kept asking kelly to pull up next to the moose and to his better judgement he decided not to. we later realized the wisdom in this decision, because there was no roof or doors on this jeep for protection and apparently moose tend to be very aggressive animals.

on sunday morning we drove back to colorado springs and went to new life church. overall, it was a very nice relaxing weekend. on to SPLICE....



its funny because the more i talk to people about the trip, the more i realize that i have no clue what i am about to get into! and in a weird way this is very comforting to me. i can look back on the times in my life where i have felt similarly and those were the times where i have been able to see God work the mightiest.

thankfully, i will have some formal training before i make the move overseas. from july 23rd-august 24th i will be in colorado for missionary training. Mission Training International is the training organization that Josiah Venture sends each of their missionaries to and this is what my schedule will look like for the next few weeks;
  • july 23rd-august 3rd- i will be enrolled in the PILAT (Program In Language Acquisition Techniques) training program. these two weeks are focused on acquiring the skills that are necessary to learn other languages.
  • august 6th-24th- i will be enrolled in the SPLICE (Spiritual, Personal, Lifestyle, Interpersonal, Cultural and Endure/Enjoy) training program. this is a three week program that focuses on developing healthy missionaries.

if you think of me during this time, i would ask that you would pray for me. pray that God would humble me and continue to prepare me to serve Him in Latvia. also, pray that i would walk away from the training with a better understanding of who God is and a deeper love for Him. thank you for your support!


LV slideshow

this is a little slideshow i put together to show some of the pictures from my previous trips...


Jehovah Jireh

WOW. i have well over 25% of my monthly support raised! God raised over $300 in monthly support TODAY! and thats not including the $2,000 that He also raised in one time gifts TODAY! Praise the Lord.



its official.

on may 26th, at a little after 9am, i graduated from Biola University. the ceremony was a needed ending to my college career. i had been living in a limbo for the past five months feeling like i was finished with school, but without it being an official thing. and now it was. i was finished.

it was a bittersweet experience. on one hand graduation was a very happy moment because it marked a closing to an amazing period of my life, but on the other hand it was a very sad and sobering reality. this was it. no more college life. i knew that this meant the times i would see my college friends would be much fewer and farther between. in fact, i probably said goodbye to a few people for life.

i thank God for the opporunity that He gave me. i am very grateful for my time at Biola and i was blessed to be there for three and a half years. i was blessed to learn about the One True God. i was blessed to meet the people that i did. i was blessed to experience the things that i did. i was blessed to learn from some amazing people. i was blessed to figure out more of who i am. i am a different person now than i was four years ago and i am thankful for that. even though it gives me a pit in my stomach to think about it, i am thankful for graduating.

Biola does this neat thing during the first week of school where they have a dinner for all the incoming freshmen and they have you write on a notecard your hopes and dreams for the next four years. i filled out that card and sealed it in an envelope four years ago. they gave the envelopes back to us the day before graduation. i cannot remember what i wrote down and honestly im scared to open it. im afraid of falling short of what i had hoped to do over those four years. im scared that i wasted too much of my time at Biola. im scared that i squandered the gift that God gave me. im scared that whenever i do open and read what i wrote down four years ago, i will finally understand that my college career is officially over.

regardless of what i wrote on that card, college was what it was. i was blessed to experience it. i am thankful for it and (though it is a bit cheesy) i feel this famous saying shares some of my same sentiments towards the last four years;
"I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was give poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all, most richly blessed."
-Unknown Confederate Soldier's prayer


orientation recap

WOW. what a blessing! i recently got back from josiah venture orientation which was held in wheaton, illinois... and get this, mostly arizona people will realize what a rarity this is, IT SNOWED WHILE WE WERE THERE! the snow felt like a very brief glimpse into what the next two years of my life may look and feel like.

over the four days at wheaton i was able to put a lot of names with faces and meet some of the people who i had been corresponding with over the past months and even years. i also got to spend a lot of time with five other amazing people who are also missionaries in training (four of whom are commited to giving the same two year commitment to serve in latvia with jv!). overall, the orientation turned out to be a VERY encouraging time. after orientation i got a chance to spend time in chicago with scott and lisa runzo and the rest of latvian team. this was a very good time of learning and fellowship together. thankfully, i also got to stay a few extra days in chicago to spend time with my very good friends chad and polina little. they have continued to be a tremendous blessing to my life.

it was an amazing trip. here are a few pictures....

in the JV office

w/ chad and fletch, two of the guys i will be working with in latvia

JV MITs (missionaries in training)
from left to right: me, chad, fletch, kristin-who will be serving in slovenia, donna and kelly

in front of "the bean" in millenium park

more of the city

the little family adopted me for a few days


spiritual amnesia

its comical to me sometimes how bad my memory is. i daily forget little things like my wallet, keys, phone, etc. but rarely do i forget the really important things.... however, that is not always true when it comes to God. He continually proves Himself faithful and i constantly seem to forget that. i forget to remind myself of all the times that He has been faithful to me.

heres a little proof....

a few months ago i was going crazy trying to finish up my last semester at Biola (which was a miracle in itself).... 23 units, an internship, and a part-time job, etc.... by the grace of God i was able to finish all of that.... and i even managed to finish two semester long online courses.... in four days.... DURING FINALS WEEK!.... haha! wouldnt ever want to do that again. as all this was going on there was a fairly important decision that needed to be made. i had to decide what was next.... every senior in college's worst nightmare. i had to choose whether to find a job and a place to live in los angeles or to move back home to arizona and find a job there. over the last few weeks of school God made it clear that i should do the latter.

great. thats solved. however, that still left me with a few other unknowns....
-what would i do when i got home?
-how was living with my parents again going to work out?
-where would i work?
-when was i going to finish my Moody correspondence course?
-what was next for latvija? along with about a hundred more unanswered questions about latvija.... you get the picture.

all the while in the back of my head i was dreading moving away from Biola. i would be leaving the community of friends that God had provided for me, who had been my family for the past 3.5 years. i would also be leaving the wonderful place that Biola is. frankly, i was scared. i remember sitting up at night last semester during finals week thinking about what i should do next. i called my mom hoping that she could offer some wisdom on what i should do. somewhere during our conversation it finally hit me that my college career was coming to an end. i broke down. i cried like a baby. i cant remember the last time i had cried like that. how was i supposed to leave this place that i had grown to love so much?

well here i am on april 12th. 4 months removed from the situation....
-living with my parents has worked out wonderfully and because of it i have been able to spend a lot more time with my family, which has been amazing. this is one of the main reasons that i decided to move home.
-God has provided for me financially through three jobs.
-by the grace of God i finished my last college course (which was another miracle) and will graduate from Biola debt free! (largely in due to the generosity of my parents) and those of you who go to Biola know what a miracle that is....
-a few weeks ago i had the chance to go back to los angeles to surprise a few friends and go to a friends wedding. God has also provided a select few friends here in arizona that have managed to keep me socially sane.
-i spent the past two days here in wheaton, illinois at the josiah venture office with some incredible people. it is a three day orientation to the ministry of josiah venture. they have managed to challenge me, encourage me in numerous ways, while also calming a lot my fears about moving overseas for the next two years.

.... all that to say GOD IS GOOD. He is most certainly faithful. He is my provider in every way. i am loved by Him. i trust in Him. in fact, He is all of those things even when my life isnt running so smoothly. i think sometimes it takes hindsight to see these things.

now i just hope i can remember that.


my favorite verses

Ephesians 5:1-2
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

beautiful right? yes it is.

this is what i hope to do while i am in latvia. wherever i go, i want to imitate my God. i want to walk in love. i want to love sacrificially just as Christ did.

how did He do this? He withheld nothing. He literally gave Himself up for us. His body was offered as a sacrifice for us.

sit and think about that for a second... He gave Himself up... for us! amazing.

that is what i want to be about. that is what i seek to do over the next two years (and the rest of my life). i want latvia to see Christ's sacrificial love through my body. i want them to see me walking in His love. amen.


jv orientation

i will be attending josiah venture orientation in chicago from april 10-13. while i am there i will also be meeting up with scott runzo (the josiah venture country leader for latvia) as well as a few other friends from my previous trips to latvia. thankfully i will also get to stay a few more days in chicago to spend time with one of my best friends (chad little) and his wife (polina) who live in chicago and are both students at moody bible institute.


a view from the top

this is downtown riga, the capital city of latvia. the view is from the st. peters church tower.

tenative date

as of february 16th at 11:35pm, the plan is to be in latvia on september 1st! we shall see...


pictures from previous trips

if you get a chance, take a look at a website where i uploaded a few pictures from my previous trips to latvia. the permanent link can be found in my "links" section.

click here


ready to go

besides only having about .01% of my financial support raised, i feel ready to go. im anxious to be over there!