Monday, October 31, 2011

La La La La Latvia

Lars, David and I were part of a short term missions project, RISK, which sent a Norwegian based team to every country in Europe for the weekend.

The was goal was to bring Jesus to all of Europe.
 But, of course, He was already waiting in Latvia.


We contacted YWAM Riga and stayed in one of their apartments in the former Jewish ghetto.

YWAM Riga doesn't have a "base" but rather several different apartments throughout the city.

A DTS from another Latvian base was also staying in the building for a week of teaching.

Our team joined them for the afternoon and we handed out free bread with The Baltic Bread Project.
The bread is from the bakery under our unit.
We wandered the streets and gave away fresh, hot bread as an expression of Christ's love.

occupation museum 

Latvia was occupied for over fifty years by the Soviets and Nazis.
Latvia declared its independence in 1991.
Although they are a free nation, oppression still hangs in the air.

When they took the bread from our hands it was like their somber faces cracked off.

The real, joyful, glowing parts peeked through.

We live off bread in Norway.
David and I had the pleasure of introducing Lars to such culinary delights as beets and acorn squash.
It was like taking a three year old to the zoo. 

"I've never had anything like this! IT'S AMAZING!"

I'm an international kitchen wizard!
Dal with spinach and feta.

We ate incredibly well during our stay.

We joined the DTS to watch Latvia vs Malta
Hunting down ingredients in the Central Market.
We were invited to make dinner with Elise (one of the leaders of YWAM Riga) on Saturday.
However, she had a party late that afternoon so she gave us free range of her kitchen as well as directions to the bi-monthly Slow Food Organic Market.

We visited the Central Market first for fresh produce

The Menu:
Roasted Acorn Squash with herb butter and honey
Balsamic grilled Portabella mushrooms with caramelized onions and red pepper
Beet salad with avocado, feta, raspberries, walnut, and radishes with chili and honey dressing

We could not, for the life of us, find the illusive organic market. 
We were just about to give up when we turned down a side street and found it in a secret alley.

Oh man.

We bought a loaf of heavy, dark, sweet bread. It weighed more than my cat. DELICOUS!
Apples. Squash. Fancy hat. Can I take you home?
It was the most amazing market, ever.
I wanted to eat everything.

Then we found the eco-catering booth and I just about died.
Beet and bulgur salad, venison and wild boar burgers, cranberry creme brulee
aaaand mouthwateringly beautiful pumpkin soup (we don't have pumpkins in the arctic)

"Is that PUMPKIN SOUP?! Oh, it's breaking my heart!"
"Try it! Let it break your heart."
*taste taste*
"Is your heart breaking?"

David and I ate the most satisfying burger we've ever had.
Venison. Ciabatta bread. Cranberry chutney. Caramelized onions.

I'm ruined forever.

When you arrive at YWAM Riga's rundown apartment building you wouldn't expect to find the perfect oasis of a home that Elise has made. 

Her hygge nest is filled with paintings, exotic spices, medicinal tea and a jungle of herbs.
She has unique collections of pottery, instruments, and art from everywhere she's "pitched her tent".
From Oregon to Australia to Russia.

Elise is a beautiful expression of Papa's heart for hospitality.

Faithful footwear
"It's a didgeridoo."
Koselig kitchen

The eats.
By the way, Lars loved and ate most of the squash.
Poor deprived Norwegian.
Josh Garrels. Enter the Worship Circle. Twinkle lights. Fancy glasses. Fellowship. Excellent.
Latvian dessert.
Peppermint coated cranberries.
Such a blessing
I'm a lousy evangelist. I just want to feed people.

House church.
Dave from YWAM Riga leads a house church in another area of the city.
We had a lovely, sunny walk to his home on Sunday morning.
So inspired by that encouraging family of believers.

Lars and I went walking in the graveyard at golden hour.
"You are feeding me so many new words! Misty. Asphalt. Gloaming!"

Gustaf visits Riga.
The "Norwegian" team

And then it was time to go home.

What a blessed time.
Thanks Riga for the fellowship, beauty, and encouragement!

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