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...