Carelinks | Riga ~ Feeding Scheme
You can receive the weekly reports by emailing us at email@example.com. Here are the highlights from recent reports.
There is the possibility of continuing the feeding scheme throughout the year - if enough volunteer workers can be found. Hopefully these reports will help you understand the nature of the work and encourage you to come over and help:
“I have to admit to being intimidated by the prospect of functioning in a location where I could not speak or read the language. When I actually arrived I was faced with several situations on a regular basis.
First challenge was the large supermarket where I had to purchase groceries for the feeding scheme at the Hall. In many ways it was much the same as any store in my home town. The produce department was familiar: potatoes, carrots, onions, beets no problem. Canned goods like kidney beans all had pictures on the label ... no problem. Tomato paste, sour cream, seasonings were more of a challenge but with Duncan’s help I managed. On future trips I found there was English on some labels, similar root words that were familiar, and helpful store staff who spoke English or could find someone who did. My best resource was a helpful young man in the dairy aisle. The best discovery of all was an App for the iPhone that you speak in English and it would display the translation in Latvian. We could find all sorts of things after that.
At the hall I met brothers and sisters who had a variety of language skills. Sometimes I just couldn’t make out what they wanted and turned to others for help. Sometimes gestures got the message across or someone was available to translate. All it took was patience on both sides and some creativity sort of like playing charades or pictionary. Many young Latvians learn English in school so they are usually the best ones to ask. I just wanted to share my experience so that others considering coming to Riga won’t let language hold them back. Some things just don’t need translation, they are universal. Ladies walking their dogs in the park, boys playing hockey on the ice, children making snowmen and parents walking with their children. The opportunity to meet brethren and sisters from all over the world is an added bonus.”
Sis Anne Barton
Brother Jim and other speakers type out their talks into Google Translate and print them out or get them on the screen - and then a local brother or sister can read them out correcting the errors, in the local language. You can see how Jim and Maxim managed to thus give a series of talks on the letter of James, with neither of them understanding each others’ language. The recording is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGl4zkD799I
Pictured here you can see how the screen looks on a smart phone with the app mentioned by sister Anne - you speak your words into the phone, and out comes the translation, either on the screen or by audio.
Sister Hannah Aldersely describes her work: “This week I had the chance to join Duncan, Maxim (a brother from Ukraine) and Jonatan (a brother from the UK) on a short drive through Riga to deliver firewood to Brigitta. Brigitta is a sister who regularly attends our meetings and feeding program at the hall. She also never fails to help with the cleaning up afterwards. The drive to Brigittas was made a little longer by the darkness and heavy snowfall. I was excited, but a little nervous, as I’d heard it was a rough area of town and we had been told not to speak loudly when we reached her apartment as it might cause trouble for Brigitta if people living nearby knew she was getting help from foreigners. I felt a bit like an undercover agent as we quietly climbed the dark stairs with broken windows and no lighting carrying sacks of firewood, and swung through a broken window into her small room as the door couldn’t be opened. There was snow on the stairs due to the broken windows. The room was lit by a few candles we had given her and she had even made it quite homely with a mattress; there was no electricity, water, sewage or toilet. Although she is alone and has next to nothing to her name, she is always so thankful for everything and so willing to serve and help us out at the hall.
Another sister, Tanya, who attends the meetings and often does the readings at the hall, fell on the ice and broke her arm. Duncan, Jonatan, Deb, Cardia and I visited her in the local hospital on New Year’s Eve to encourage her and give her some company.
Sis Hannah, Bro Maxim and Sis Brigitta Sis Deb, Bro Jonatan and Sis Hannah with Sis Tanya in hospital on New Year’s Eve
She was in a lot of pain but very happy to see us as she has no family. Tanya and Brigitta have challenged me a lot with their content, thankful nature and truly live by the verses from Philipians 4:11-13 “...I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Sis Hannah Aldersely Bro David Corbin from Brooklyn ecclesia USA writes: “I am very impressed and excited about what's going on here at the Riga centre in Latvia. Truly it’s an oasis of blessings both natural and spiritual to this community. First, the energy and professionalism of the sisters (Vanessa, Rachel, Hannah) involved in the cooking and catering. Secondly, the great condition of the facilities, thirdly, the marvelous and almost unbelievable attendance from local brothers, sisters and the visiting public. And fourthly, Bro Duncan’s guidance, coordination and mentoring of the process. natural food, which was extremely delicious, but for the spiritual food also.
Afterwards we took one of our sisters home, getting her five bundles of firewood on the way to her home. It is heartbreaking to see what and where this poor sister calls home. No heat, light, security, absolutely none of the comforts associated with a home. In an abandoned apartment block, this sister is squatting in a room on the second floor. Access is through a broken window from the hallway, which she covers with pieces of plastic, discarded lumber and cardboard boxes. Yet for all the sad things going on in this sister’s life, she exudes happiness, gratitude and faithfulness. She conceals her sorrowful condition with a joyful and positive attitude. What a noble sister.
The success of the days efforts belies the struggles, anxious moments, cost, manpower shortages and the long hours that goes on behind the scenes. I say that this is evidence of God’s blessings and help to prosper his work”.
Bro David Corbin
Bro Nathan Badger of Ontario, Canada continues:
“I have wanted to visit the Riga Bible Centre for several years, so it was exciting to finally witness this Latvian light-stand first-hand.
Jesus has asked us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and that is the focus of the Bible Centre: Firstly, to teach the riches of God’s sound doctrines, agape love, and eternal hope with poor and under-priviledged people, and secondly, to warm and fill them (James 2:16) with a healthy meal, clothing, and refuge from the elements year round. I would love to return and spend several months helping and teaching, God Willing. It is especially inspiring to see that these efforts are resulting in regular baptisms and opportunities for brethren, sisters and young people worldwide to contribute to the spread of the Gospel.”
Bro Nathan Badger
Brothers Dave and Nate about to give talks at the Bible Centre; Brother Maxim at the computer
Bro David Corbin had a final report:
“2/2/15: 104 in attendance at the Bible class at the Riga Bible Centre. We witnessed the baptism of NIKOLAY. This made the fourth baptism in the last three days. Two in Kiev on 1/31/15, another one outside Kiev on 2/1/15 and today 2/2/15. Truly, as in the days of the apostles, the Lord added unto the ecclesia daily such as should be saved. An observation: In the western ecclesias the rear seats are the first to be filled and are the seats of choice. Over here it’s the opposite. You have to rush to get a front seat. With 104 in attendance the Lord blessed the stretching of the food, as Sis Hannah and Bro Andy were in full panic that we were going to run out. I certainly thought so as well and was consulting about contingency plans to feed the remainder, when word came that everyone was fed and some were welcome to get a second serving. It was the third time I’ve heard Bro Nathan speak on lighthouses and I can say it gets better each time. He really applied, from the construction to the design to the purpose and management of lighthouses, to both the believers and unbelievers lives. Great job Bro Nathan may our heavenly Father continue to bless you to do his work. ... I've arrived back in NYC, safely thanks to our heavenly Father and the prayers of the brethren. I had a wonderful time there and can’t wait to visit again, perhaps for a bit longer. All near and far will be hearing from me of the wonderful and exhausting work you are doing over there and the great response we are still getting from the public. May God richly bless each and everyone of you who labor on in his service. May he prosper his work. I will never forget the faces of those poor souls who visit the centre each day. I look forward to when we can offer the opportunity to them 7 days a week. The brethren in the Ukraine will always be in my prayers... And Bro Maxim, a bastion of faith and goodwill to serve. May the Lord take care if his situation soon. Give him my love.
Love in Christ, Bro David Corbin
Sis Vanessa, Bro David and Bro Nate serving Sis Tanya, now out of hospital, is helped by Bro Andrej to re-arrange her scarf-sling for her broken arm before she returns on icy paths to the night shelter