Carelinks | Latvia
In Latvia in early December temperatures were down to -15C, i.e. 15 degrees below freezing. This is no fun for those living on the street, or the elderly folks in night shelters. They have to be out by 8am and are only allowed back in at 8pm. Most night shelters don’t allow them to leave anything there, so in the day time they must trudge the streets with their bag of belongings. We provide several hours where they can come in to the warm, have unlimited coffee, and have a Bible teaching session followed by a nutritious meal. We really appreciate your ongoing support which allows this to happen. The majority of those attending are now already baptized and there are always new people getting interested. They gather outside the hall well before opening time, and no words can quite describe the feeling when we open the doors and they all flood in to the warm. This is really a very, very hard life and we are, with God’s help, making a huge material and spiritual difference. We made a short video, taken from the outside of the hall and then from the inside as the doors open, to try to give you an idea. Please view the link: https://tinyurl.com/carelinks-riga
Many of these folks have worked, but because they are ethnic Russians they receive no pension nor medical support. Family life was largely destroyed in the Soviet years, with the idea that the state would always provide. But that has all ended. They had no pension system in those years, and so now if they have no family to live with, they are on the streets. All these people have different stories.
Sister Inara was baptized at the end of November. She explains in her baptism video how she grew up as an atheist in Soviet times. She got married and then became very ill but recovered. She turned to God at this time, and began reading the New Testament. She has read it through many times and can quote it fluently. Her husband began gambling, and gambled away their flat and ran up huge debts in her name and then died of a heart attack. So she was left homeless and bankrupt. She heard there were free meals at our hall and attended, and was pleasantly surprised to find we were a church. She hadn’t read the Old Testament and was enthralled with our daily talks about the Bible, often going through Old Testament stories and bringing out the practical and doctrinal lessons from them. It all made sense, and so she decided for baptism and testifies that her life has really changed within and she can sleep well at night. We marvel at the way God works to bring His chosen to His Son. You can Sis Inara’s baptism and her testimony at https://tinyurl.com/carelinks-riga-baptism1.
We were so sorry to have dear Bro Daniel Aldersley, pictured above playing the guitar, return to New Zealand after nearly three months wonderful service with us. From cleaning the toilets after soup kitchen [the highest value work in God’s sight] to leading meetings and doing singing, Daniel has been such a huge help. We hope more will come forward like he did.
In December we were delighted to baptize Igor. In running a soup kitchen there are always going to be a few drug addicts and alcoholics who come in, and we don’t turn them away if they are sober. Igor was one of a group of heroin addicts who started dropping in last year. But then he started coming on his own, without the group and he started changing. Recently he came in with a brand new warm tracksuit and trainers. He’d spent his wages not on drugs but on buying these things in his new passion for exercise. It’s been a long long road from heroin addiction to the truth of Jesus Christ, but Igor says we were the ones who helped him read the Bible, pray and really come to God, realizing that temptation is from within us, not the popular ‘devil’, and being spiritually-minded is the essence of true Christianity.