Dace Verdina – Latvia
I was born in 1969 in the former Soviet Union, in the republic of Latvia and I grew up with my mom who believed in the system of communism and in its development.
I grew up in a family with a passive and alcoholic father and a strong-willed mother. As I was growing up, I always felt sadness inside of me. I remember that when I was eight, my grandma took me to a Lutheran church. Although it was now January, there were still two huge Christmas trees up and they had lots of candles. For the first time in my life I saw such beauty and it has remained in my heart to this day. Looking back, I can see that I was becoming aware of God’s beauty in that moment, even though I do not recall my grandma telling me anything about God.
As time went by, I became aware of a question rising up within me – again, my heart was being opened during a time of festivals:
Why do we colour eggs every spring? I asked.
Because it needs to be done, my mother answered abruptly…
Later, when I was fifteen, my mum and I were working in the garden and while I was weeding carrots I again had a surge of questions rising up:
How did the Earth start?
Who gives power to the soil so it can produce the harvest?
How can it be that a small seed holds the two colors of the carrots inside of it?
My mum`’s reply was that there was a great explosion and that this was the answer to my questions; but I was not convinced.
When I was 21 I lost my mom. It was a difficult time and I was very depressed. I went to see my doctor and she recommended that I visit the church, which I did. For several months I would go to the Lutheran church and tears would roll down my cheeks, and then afterwards I would feel better.
Then one Sunday in the church service I said:
Yes God, I believe that You are. I believe that you, Jesus, are the Son of God.
I heard a noise inside of me as though something was breaking and I began to cry out in a loud voice; and so this time – as I walked out of the church – I was a changed person. The next morning I looked out of my window and I saw the trees and I knew that God had created everything.
This is how my love story between me and God began.