Dear COAH Supporters,
In 2016 we began supporting a church plant in Latvia, which under God's blessing has been fruitful. We would like to share their updates with you in this space. We trust you will find them encouraging, and would be moved to support these brothers and sisters in prayer as well.
We as Christians are called to grow continuously in our faith and love towards Lord Jesus and each other. But there is one aspect in which we are encouraged to be like infants (don’t overstretch the illustration). Apostle Peter writing to the Christians of his time talked about the importance of the imperishable Word of God. This Word God brought us salvation and the same Word keeps us growing in this salvation. This is what he says in 1 Peter 2:2: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” Babes need milk. Sometimes it seems they need it all the time. They crave for it! In the same way we must long for the Word as that is the only way we can grow. So let’s keep it at our hand and use it every day.
At the beginning of September our church celebrated its 1 year “anniversary” since starting regular (weekly) public meetings on Sundays. We began this new phase of ministry with a day-away. Everyone was invited and the goal for the day was twofold: encouragement and building friendships. Talks were based in Paul’s letter to Philippians (chapters 3-4).
The main take away point was that mature Christian life is characterized by a heavenly mindset. It is a worldview that sets the resurrection as the final goal and seeks to strive wholeheartedly towards it! We pray and hope that it will be our focus throughout the year to come!
In August the church organized a three week “Christianity Explored” course. Each time we looked at one major question: Who was Jesus; why he came; What does it mean to follow Him. It was a very exciting experience! Twelve people attended these meetings. The presentation of the death of Jesus was very clear and impacted some of the participants. One of the attendees has joined our small group Bible study and seems to be keen to explore the Christian faith deeper. At the end of the course, pastor Martins Martinsons privately concluded: “It is so good to know that you have done the right thing… By God`s grace we had the opportunity to preach the Gospel clearly and now we pray that God would make His Word grow!” Indeed, our aim is to continue praying for the people and meeting them on an occasional and regular basis.
As we enter the autumn season, regular activities of our church life have resumed. By God`s grace we have resumed our 3 Bible study groups where we will continue studying Marks gospel. It is very encouraging to hear that people appreciate and highly value these studies. One member admitted that she really feels that these weekly meetings are like backbone to the church. With that we want to also mention mom`s group that resumed meeting on Thursdays. It is excellent opportunity for mothers to study the Bible and invite their friends. Our Sunday services have also fared well during September. We began the year with a series from the early chapters of the book of Genesis. Sermons were highly thought provoking and taught many fundamental, but so many times taken for granted truths!
One of our key efforts in reaching students is the “Chuck Norris” kickboxing club. This year we have expanded the scope of our efforts, as we have received generous support from a Reformed Christian organization in the Netherlands. Miroslavs Tumanovskis is accompanied by a member of our church, Dagnis who is a professional physical conditioning coach and a very brave evangelist. Dagnis’ help is really crucial. This year we aim to be bolder in sharing the gospel and we also want to focus more on the international students. We launched the club on September 18th and around 30 people attend the club on a weekly basis. Our aim is to continue running the weekly trainings accompanied by outside training events where we publicly proclaim the Gospel. Our vision has not changed – we hope that out of this club Bible studies for students can emerge. Several good Gospel conversations have already taken place.
In respect to broader evangelistic purposes, we have set plans to use the Advent season more intentionally. During Christmas and Advent time, people are generally more open to talk about religion and spirituality so we see it as a very good opportunity. Our concrete plans are focused on organization of dialogue suppers where the church family can invite their friends and neighbors. The experience of lastyear has proved that such events suit the Latvian context well.
Dear partners in the Gospel, we are immensely grateful for your faithful support of this ministry. May the Lord keep you safe and growing in Him!
· Pray for our evangelistic efforts – Chuck Norris club, Advent season, Dialogue suppers, day to day personal evangelism.
· Pray for our Bible study work. Pray that people would learn how to handle the Bible for themselves. Pray that new leaders would be equipped.
· Pray for the people who attended the Christianity Explored course. Pray that the truth would work in their hearts and bring forth the fruit of salvation.
· Above all pray that during the coming season we would continue to listen to the voice of God and would continue doing faithfully His work.
Pastor Mārtiņš Martinsons on behalf of Pārdaugava Reformed Church