It has been a cold week this week with some pretty low temperatures -11C (12F) last night. Not as cold as it has been in Fort Collins apparently, but then again in Fort Collins it is a dry cold, here we have thick ice and I don't do well on ice. I fell over right outside our local supermarket, thank goodness the only thing that really took a dent was some pride, thought I was going to end up with a cracking bruise but didn't. This first picture was taken by Mark on our Christmas Day walk.
The beginning of the week saw more emails arrive out of the blue. One was posted to our old Danish account and another from someone we had lost contact with two years ago. Getting very weird now and almost freaky. One of the emails we were quite glad to receive the other one was from someone we had rather been left in the past. When I saw the stork a while ago, and felt that I should expect the unexpected I didn't feel excited, I kind of felt it will bring both good and not so good things our way. I am not worried either, it just has a feeling of inevitability about it, as if it has to happen. As we move into the next year I feel like it will be a year that sets the pattern for the years ahead, it will not be like what has gone before. It all sounds a bit vague so I was quite relieved, well almost, to read this in Martin Scott's blog from a group of prophets meeting in England
"There are more volatile shakings coming to the earth. So God has planned for us a Season of Acceleration. In this season we will be faced with defining choices, taking a leap into the future, and walking in faith without seeing the next step. We will even be challenged in our faith with understanding the spirit realm."
That kind of sums up how I feel like we can't quite see the next step ahead, the picture that comes to mind is when Paul was in a ship in a storm and in Acts 27:17 it talks about how they fastened ropes around the ship to hold it together and dropped the sea anchor and allowed the boat to be driven along. I know God is in charge, I know we will go where he wants us to go and all he asks of us right now is to do one thing at a time knowing that he has the timing and the place in his hands. Can't think of a safer place to be!
We might not have had all our children with us this year for Christmas but Scott and Sarah stepped in and joined our family. Scott is the friend of our son Mark and Sarah is someone that Scott met at camps here in Latvia and they were both doing a camp either side of Christmas with nowhere to go in between. We also met Sarah this year when we looked in on one of the camps and she is on the same course as our other son Matthew. We had a really fun time cutting down a couple of Christmas trees, one for our flat and one for the flat they were staying in and then we went to the hotel for a late lunch. We didn't have any early lunches as Scott and Sarah were both pretty tired from the first week of camp and took the opportunity to sleep in. As we were eating lunch our friend Chris drove by and noticed us in the restaurant so popped in to say hello. I found out that he hadn't got any plans for Christmas day as his mother was in the States so we invited him over as well. It was cramped in our little kitchen with 6 of us round the table and required full participation of everyone to pass plates, or cutlery or kettles etc. which was quite funny at times but added to the occasion I am sure. It was lovely to have the gift of company to help to celebrate the special day, the shortbread was welcome to.
In the summer we met Andzejs who has led worship for quite a few of the camps we have been to at Gančausķas and we agreed to meet up sometime. Problem is that he is quite busy now as he is a drummer in a pop band here in Latvia, so trying to sort out a time to meet up was quite difficult. Well we finally managed a meeting and arranged to meet up in Sigulda, it was quite funny really as he came by train. He doesn't have a car as he lives in the middle of Riga and it is easier for him to get a taxi to go to gigs. Can't imagine many English superstars travelling by train and there is no first class compartments here in Latvia that I know of. We had a great couple of hours over cups of tea or cocoa and pancakes.
This photo was taken at our other flat by Mark. It is a picture of a plug socket for a radio. Every Soviet house has one so they can plug in a little radio and listen to the one radio station that they could pick up. Our friend Victors who is making our kitchen was explaining to us that every morning you would hear "Good morning comrades" type propaganda encouraging the people to work for the country - that sort of thing. It is an amazing little piece of history slowly disappearing.