Gospel News â Sep-Dec 2012
sermon back home in standard American English let alone code switching between two languages). Doing a bilingual exhortation is a handy skill as some visitors come to the ecclesia from Africa, Iran and other countries and will more than likely understand English as it is the world's lingua franca.
By the way, our Russian brothers and sisters here in Riga love a good discussion on the scriptures so there was plenty of dialogue after the exhortation was concluded. Since I don't understand Russian, I didn't know what was being said, but I could see it was animated and interesting to the members. Afterwards, refreshments were served while everyone took a recess before the 2nd session. This ecclesia left quite an impression on me.
Sincerely Brother Toussaint Foster
My Report On Visiting Riga
Sis Suzie Lange (Bloomington, USA)
Flying over the Atlantic to Riga came with the usual anxiety, an anxiety that was soon forgotten once introduced to the Ecclesia in Riga. I am humbled and exhilarated by the days I have spent here. Humbled because dozens believers in the Ecclesia get up each morning from the shelter, without any home or place to go during the day. In addition they have no idea whether they will eat or if they will face sunshine, rain or cold as they approach each day. They live by faith and in the blessed Hope alone.
In two of three days of lectures there were around 100 attentive baptized believers listening and then discussing God's word. The third day there were perhaps 60 as it becomes almost impossible to pay bus fare for three days running. The interest and understanding of
scripture was enriching to behold. During my five days here I have seen four baptism, and it is clear why this happens: the Ecclesia has members of nearly 300 and should all attend at once I am not sure the Hall would hold them! The reasons (as I see) for the baptisms is the strong attention to Bible instruction in every lecture.
Solid exposition gives people hope as they fully understand the message of salvation, the tender mercy shown and acknowledgment of our common humanity provides the loving message Jesus left us to preach. "This is how you will know my disciples by their love for one another". In my observation, the loving validation of the worth of these human beings and the consistent instruction in righteousness according to the scripture produces believers whose passion sends them out preaching. Then they bring their friends and they get that instruction and are baptized and bring in their friends. The Riga Ecclesia in the hands of Duncan's pastoral care has flourished because it sees the reflection of Christ's whole mission, namely a right balance between the expression of God's loving care for his "little one's" through feeding and welfare programs, and the instruction in the plan of salvation for all men.
In Riga this has been offered freely to those whom the world considered worthless but who have been made to know their worth to God through Christ Jesus. It has been my privilege to be here and see these truly devoted disciples. It puts one's fear of flying in the air into perspective when visiting with those who routinely have to put aside their fear of dying on the streets.
Those baptized were SKAIDRITE, mother of sister Sandra, who was present at the baptism in the Baltic Sea at the very spot she was baptized previously. The family were all so very happy despite very tragic lives.