The Father’s House - Smiltene, Latvia
In the late 90s we heard a clear call to move to Smiltene (Latvia). Working this through over time with our local church leadership and other older, wiser people we moved from the UK in 2001. Even though in reality Ilze was returning to the town were she’d lived previously, there was quite a ‘buffeting’ for us over the first year.
In time we settled in, and started meeting with three ‘seniors’ on a Sunday in our flat, sharing our lives and sharing Jesus.
Over time as this community grew, we left our flat for Sunday meetings to move into a small rented hall, years later moving on to rent a larger hall in a local hotel as we outgrew the previous space. Along the way we adopted a church based youth group which also grew and thrived and over several years we have been able to send some of those young people to events in the UK like ‘New Day’.
The path has not always been easy, and the road rarely straight and, at times the ‘potholes’ of life have seemed bigger and more commonplace than the actual ones in the local streets. But, in truth an easy journey has never been promised to us. In addition, living in a very small town where everyone knows everything about everyone else comes with its own challenges.
However, from the start, we have experienced “the good hand of the Lord upon us”, both as a church, and as a couple. We have seen people come into a living relationship with Jesus, and seen many (relatively speaking) healed both physically as well as emotionally. Probably one of our biggest ongoing challenges here in a post-Soviet setting is ‘The Battlefield for the Mind’, helping people to understand their identity.