Monday, 11 May 2009

Latvian life

Latvia's run of good luck in the ice hockey ran out on Thursday as they were knocked out in the quaterfinals against Canada, Canada won 4-2. We went out for a meal at the hotel as usual (how predictable we are!) and just as we were pulling into the car park, I remembered that Latvia was supposed to be playing ice-hockey that evening and they had a projector to televise the game at the hotel, I had visions of a packed hotel later on. To our surprise the game had already started when we got in, but a very subdued crowd of a half a dozen teenagers were the only ones in, I had a feeling the expectations of Latvia winning was rather low. There was some attempt at cheering when Latvia scored but hardly enthusiastic, so at least apart from the blaring television we managed a meal in relative peace, better than I feared anyway.

I was flabbergasted by the Swedish finance minister this week as he decided to have a go at the Latvian government by insisting they get their finances right, insisting that the Latvians had to take greater responsibility in order to have a sustainable future. Nothing about the responsibility of the Swedish banks who contributed so much to the unsustainable nature of Latvia's previous growth. Well our Latvian neighbours are doing their bit for a sustainable future - they are planting potatoes! 
We have had a spell of dry weather and as soon as we had a shower of rain the Latvians were out hand ploughing their land and planting potatoes. We have noticed there have been far more men out in the gardens this year, usually gardening is either a woman's job or an old man's job (I bet Ian gets a few odd looks out there on his own so often). I am not sure if it is a sense of desperation or just making sure that at least they will have food on the table later on in the year. There is one thing for sure though, I would like the Swedish finance minister to come and take a good look at the folks out there working so hard and see if he still wants the Latvian government to make even deeper cuts. No country should have to go through so much pain so quickly and this is the second time; the first time was the rapid conversion to capitalism in the early 90's from the security of the Soviet system (imperfect though that was it did mean security for many). The Latvian system is not perfect and does need reform but not like this, the rapid change can be so destructive especially when so many are still in shock that so much seems to be unravelling so quickly for them, their dreams dying at their feet. I keep praying for hope but there is nothing on the horizon yet but I know it is just a matter of time. There is a God who cares and provides and something special is out there for Latvia, I just can't see it yet.

We went to a prayer meeting this morning and it was a slightly different format to normal as we were joined by a few others to start praying for the camps that the church will be involved in over the summer. Many who attended were English speakers so it was very refreshing to be singing in English again, even if I did have to look at the words as I can't remember English songs any more. Ian played his djembe drum and at one point he carried on playing after the music stopped, it was a real battle drum beat and I felt like a battle was certainly going on in the Heavenlies and the atmosphere was left refreshed like the freshness after a rain storm in summer. He also felt free enough to dance with the streamer for the first time in ages. He was quite surprised by the response to his dancing, a young man who can be a very teenagerish was genuinely impressed with the dancing and wondered where Ian had been taught (which he hasn't, he just goes with the flow) and was asking all sorts of questions about it, he was the last person we would ever have expected to have responded to a bloke dancing with a streamer as usually it is a woman's thing. Ian is certainly challenging some gender roles here! Just to clarify at this point, Ian's dancing is kind of wild and vibrant and not quite like the more graceful dancing that women usually do with streamers, there is no doubting he is a bloke.

I am glad that Ian did feel released to drum and dance today as there was a need to chase some demons away. We have both had strange dreams this week and both have a sense that something is not where it should be, something is in the wrong place. Not sure what that something is or even what place exactly it is in, so definitely need some revelation on that. We would love to hear of any insights if you have any! I was encouraged as well by a picture that someone had while I was sharing about my faith. I don't get disappointed in God as I know, from experience and from listening to others that God always works things out in the end, even if it is surprising or not what we expected and as I talked he saw a picture of Everest and the words were "His ways are higher than ours". That is just so true, God has the big picture and often we can't see the top because of the clouds, but just as there are times when the clouds clear from the mountains and you can see the summit clearly, so God clears the muddle and reveals the big picture and it is truly awesome but sometimes frightening too; I think that is why the clouds are there to stop us realising how high the climb is, but believe me it is worth it in the end.

The last piece of news is that our kitchen is done! Well not quite! Nearly done! Ever so nearly! Our tiles arrived at the shop on Thursday so Friday we did a detour to pick them up on the way to visit some friends. Saturday Ian got on with the tiling and by Sunday had grouted them but it was at this point he discovered a small problem....... the sockets were too far into the wall and the plugs would not connect with the contacts - to say he was not best pleased is to put it mildly. On Monday afternoon he had to take the relevant tiles off the wall and sort out the sockets, I knew it was going well when I heard the whistling! All we need now is some paint for the window wall and a coat of paint on the door frame into the kitchen and a piece of beading to finish the tilling off and a small piece to take off the back of a box which will cover the gas stopcock and a ....... actually I think that's it! Wonder how long it will be before they get done? Do you ever find out it is the little niggly details that don't always get done? (Just for Emma the detail on the tile, see it is not a drawing on the wall by your Dad! By the way have a good trip)


Emma said...

Thank You.

Kezza said...

the kitchen looks really good!! :)

Joanna said...

Glad you like it. Those tiles took such a lot of finding that I am pleased they look good in the end, otherwise there would have been tears and tantrums I think. Lol

Kathleen said...

Kitchen looks great. I am praying into the Everest picture, hmmmm. We may have to change our ways and come for a cuppa'

Joanna said...

Well you know where we are! :o)