From the 7th to the 14th of July 2012, 61 people gathered at Raiskums special boarding school to participate in a camp for people with mobile disabilites. Half of these people had mobile disabilities and the other half were there to help them to overcome this.
We started with a night of introductions and a game where people had to burn a match and tell something about themselves before the match burnt out. For some participants it was the first challenge, because they had never lit a match before. During the evening we split up into teams and tried to answer very challenging and entertaining quiz questions.
On Sunday morning we had a church service with a pastor and worship team from Riga’s Morning Star church. Sunday evening we spent listening to the Riga Gospel choir who came to Raiskums to perform for us. This was a highlight for many of the camp’s participants.
During the week we had lectures that challenged us to give our life 100% to God and to be part of His plan for us. We had the opportunity to discuss in groups what God’s plan in our lives is and how we can fulfill this. We began every day with morning exercises to wake up our body, which was followed up with a short devotion and prayer for the day to open up our spiritual eyes. We had great worship times lead by Raili. Raili is Finish and was born blind, but this did not prevent her from leading worship in Latvian. We had many opportunities to come forward and let guests and camp staff to pray for us. All of this was very challenging for our spiritual minds.
Our physical body got challenged by taking part in orientation in Raiskums and around the school, taking part in sport and games, going for walks, sitting full day in a wheelchair and for some of us even swimming in the nearby lake. Everybody was able to get time to meet with physiotherapists and receive massages and/or personal exercises to continue therapy at home.
One evening we watched a challenging movie called Evan Almighty, which challenged us to think about how God is using us to fulfill His plan. We also had the opportunity to peek into a communist Asian country and to see and hear how people live there and how hard their life is. It challenged us to pray for people we do not know and to pray to change the world.
Our creativity got challenged during the workshop times. We made and decorated vases in one and learnt that everyone can be an actor in another. We saw that everyday life can be theatre and a wheelchair is not a hindrance to being part of the acting.
We had the chance to leave camp more beautiful than we came and let our nails be painted and our hair be trimmed. It is usually really challenging for us to visit a hairdresser or to get a manicure and so many of us took this opportunity to change our outside look.
During our free times many of us gathered together to play mind challenging table games – scrabble, monopoly, chess, checkers, facts game etc.
Every year one day in camp is called “Extreme day” when we are able to be part of something really challenging. In past camps, we have been flying with ropes at heights of 20m, rafting, driving with Quattro cycle etc. This year we went to Latvia’s biggest horse stable. We saw how horses are trained, where they live and what accessories are used to make them beautiful. All of us had the possibility to stroke and feed the horses and a really cute pony. Many of us were able to ride the horse or pony, because strong men lifted us up to the horse and held us there. For everybody else who couldn’t or didn’t want to ride the horses, a horse carriage was offered and we had long rides in the beautiful Burtnieki area. We finished up this day with a camp fire and picnic and were sharing testimonies and poems in the fresh evening air. This day was a highlight for all of us.
We finished up the camp with feedback to help next year’s camp to be even better. Later we were able to share our highlights with everybody. Even the people who have speech problems and are usually shy, spoke up during this time.
It was really great to get out of my home, to be in Christian fellowship, to meet friends and to make new friends. Overall it was great to be part of seeing how two people changed during the camp and asked Jesus to come into their life – one was a participant and the other an assistant.
Thank God, the organizers and the sponsors for the camp. Thanks also for all the personal assistants who had to overcome their fear of the unknown and learn to do something totally new for most of them and help us to enjoy the camp 100%.
“Challenge 5” is history; “Challenge 6” is still to come. We hope that the end of the camp was the beginning of a new and wider world for all of us.
The YWAM Riga ministry, Wings for Wheels, had its summer camp called “Challenge 3“ at Talsi Christian School (TCS) 2nd – 8th of July, 2010. We had nineteen participants with mobile disabilities from all over Latvia and even from Estonia. We had 21 staff/assistants/helpers from Latvia, Estonia, USA and Denmark to facilitate the camp. This was the largest Challenge camp to date.
The name “Challenge” reflects that everything connected with this camp is challenging. The challenge is to find all assistant/helpers, prepare the camp, find the finances, find transportation for participants to get to the camp, bring beds to TCS, make living as accessible as possible, run the camp, and to get participants back at home. Languages were also challenging, because everything needed to be translated into four languages – Latvian, Russian, Estonian and English. Everybody was challenged with the use of so many languages.
“Challenge 3” daily schedule contained different challenges. We had quiz to challenge people minds, we had photo game to challenge people to act, we had art workshops to challenge people to create something with their hands, we had sport games, orienteering in Talsi to challenge physical body, lectures to challenge brain, rope course to challenge psychics etc. All participants had the opportunity to visit dentists from USA and get their teeth fixed.
It was first year when camp took place on Sunday and everybody had opportunity to take part from service in Talsi Baptist Church. For many participants it was highlight of camp to be able to visit church. Churches in Latvia are mostly not accessible for people in wheelchairs and for some people it was first time at all to take part from service. We were able to give a testimony and challenge the church to reach local people with disabilities. In Latvia these people belong under unreached people group.
During lectures, we spoke about Christian marriage and how to see yourself as God sees you. House of God (a local non-denominational church) pastor Samuel Thomas Valuathadathil shared on theme “When God Weeps – Why Our Sufferings Matter to God”. Last day lecture was on how to deepen relationship with God. Last lecture brought us active discussion and questions how to get saved, how to listen God and how to understand when is God speaking.
This year art workshops where different. First one everybody was challenged to use artificial clay to make a cup and second workshop was to paint all these cups. It was amazing to see how creative participants were and how beautiful and interesting pottery they made.
For a third time in the Challenge camps history, we took the campers to the “YWAM Valdemarpils Ropes Course”. The participants impatiently looked forward to this time, but new people were a bit scared if they heard all the stories from the previous years. This year God blessed us with beautiful warm weather and little rain. Every participants and staff were able to be launched 20m into the air (and act to be squirrel). There were no physical limitations to learn to fly. It was the place in camp where literally every person in wheelchairs got wings for wheels and learnt to fly. Second element “huge swing” was more challenging and only people who where able to use their hands took part of this. At first they were pulled up to 9m platform and then let them jump to huge swing. It took courage to make this step to emptiness. Sadly we were not able to use quad cycle this year to drive around, but we loaned a buggy and most participants were able to get ride with this. After challenging pulls, jumps and drives we had tasty picnic. For a second year we had so good chef that participants agreed that the best activity in camp is food :-)
During evening campers had possibility to enjoy Christian magician show, to watch a movie “Joni” (Joni Eareckson Tada) and to hear concert from “Vestnieciba” (Embassy in English) – a Christian band from Riga Prieka Vests church. After concert everybody was able to join in and to worship God together. The camp finished with Love Feast and testimony night where everybody got chance to share.
Lysette posted a story (15-Feb-12) :
One of the things that Freedom61 is involved with is Human Trafficking prevention in schools, orphanages and crises centers. So many students and teachers as well don’t know about the issue or they don’t realize how big it is. Each time we hear more stories from students about their own of their friend’s/ family experience.
During our last awareness event that we organized in November we talked with a guy: he had a job offer and wanted to go abroad. We asked him what kind of job it was, what the name of the company was, where it was, etc. He couldn’t really answer any of these questions. He told me that he was travelling trough Belarus to Czech Republic. All of this together sounded so weird to me, so I told him to not trust it. ‘You need more information and answers before you go abraod, for your safety. Later we heared that he didn’t go! Thank God. Lots of times with prevention we don’t know what will happen afterwards. Did they listen? But God showed us that prevention is so important. It’s so good to once in a while hear something like this, it makes us realize that we do it for a reason and that it does help!
In January we have been to twelve different schools in different parts of Latvia - Sigulda, Turaida, Dundaga, Laidze, Talsi and Tukums. We also did prevention lesson in different orphanages, crisis centres and in a youth centre in Tukums as well. In total we did 22 lessons and the approximate amount of students was for 482.
Santa posted a story (13-Feb-12) :
XENOS RELEASES THIRD CD "CLOSER"
There are 10 songs (8 latvian and 2 english) on the CD, and a number of them have already been radio singles.
This album was more then two year jouney. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered in 5 different places and includes a number of other musicians to bring a diversity of sound.
The new album continues the message of both previous albums, talking about true values, love, faith, seeking God, responsible actions and important choices of life. Xenos wants to bring joy, encourage and make people think.
The leader of the band Santa Lozinska says:" The recording of this album took this long because sometimes you have to go trough some hard things in life to be able to write new songs that have new revelations that have not been shared in the previous albums already. Feels like every word of the new songs that I wrote has a deep meaning to me and I believe they can reach other peoples hearts as well."
Amidst one of the coldest winter on record in Latvia, approximately 250 people, local and from around the globe, gathered in Riga to attend the Mission Days 2010 event. People from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Canada, USA, UK, Brazil, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, Argentina, and Netherlands, among others, were represented there. People from different denominations gathered to worship, pray, learn, and understand their part in fulfilling the Great Commission. Indeed, God was up to something bigger than we could imagine, and over the three days of this event, it would unfold before our eyes.
On the opening night, our keynote speaker, Dr. Lindsay Brown, International Director for the Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization, challenged us to be open to take up the call to Missions. The barriers that serve to hinder our 'going' were matched with truth. The testimonies that followed served to inspire us to go and caused us to see that we are without excuse if God calls.
Throughout the event, God's heart for the nations became more evident. We saw the extravagant love of God toward Latvia, as He called a young Brazilian to come for 3 days. His purpose was to encourage people, and remind Latvians of the treasures that exist in them - treasures needed by other nations, that will bless the nations, and serve to build His Kingdom among the peoples.
We experienced the power of God to do the impossible as a young mainland Chinese girl shared in a seminar about her family, 5 generations of Christians, who were 'missionaries' within their own nation. God called her to study to be a missionary in other lands, provided finances and visas, and ultimately brought her to Latvia to share His love, tell of His faithfulness, challenge us to walk in the reality that nothing is impossible for Him.
A young Latvian girl, impacted by participating in a missions training course and outreach to Albania, obeyed the call of God to gather a small team of Latvians to go there to minister in that nation on a short term outreach.
On the final evening, opportunities to take all we'd learned and heard, and all our inspiration and put feet to it. Several groups shared of the many opportunities that exist from Latvia. One group of young people lined the front of the church whilst passing loaves of bread, which were piled up on either side of the pulpit. It was 200 loaves all together. A message was being shared about how this bread was representative of Jesus' love. We've freely received His love, we've experienced it, and can therefore give away what we've received. Then, each participant was encouraged to come up and receive some bread to either keep or give away. The Mission Days event, marked the beginning of what has become the Baltic Bread Project. Many who attended have continued to participate in this and other projects.
Mission Days 2010 was a great success as so many are taking seriously the call of God to go, and saying "here I am, send me", instead of "here I am, send him".
Daveski posted a story (17-Sep-09) : YWAM Riga House Church Experiment: Santa and I have started a 12 week experiment called the Breakfast Club. It is a house church in our home for an invited set of people. It's purpose is to learn about house churches in the content of Riga and to met Spiritual needs that are not being met in people who occasionally go to church.
We have completed two Sundays and the group is doing well, growing together, learning and being challenged. As the leaders, we are certainly learning alot of what it takes to lead a house church in an urban center and post-modern generation. Stay tuned for more updates.
Santa posted a story (07-Sep-09) : XENOS has released a new song called "IN YOUR ARMS"
The author is our bands' electric guitar player Maris Veliks. It is a love song to God which talks about His mighty power and finding refuge only in Him. At the same time, the song shows God as a loving Father, who wants to embrace all of us as his loving children. We are encouraged to look at the cross where all our scars are healed, fears disappear and we are offered complete freedom.
You can hear the new song here: http://www.draugiem.lv/xenos
Daveski posted a story (27-Jul-09) : The end of a great week together came today as Santa, Elise and I saw off the St. Johns team from Sheffield, UK. On Friday, they completed both of the outdoor meeting areas at our training base in Valdemarpils. For the next 2 days, the team got to enjoy Riga along with a trip to the Lido Restaurant and Indian Raja.
We want to acknowledge the hard work and incredible generousity they showed to all of in the mission that they encountered.
Daveski posted a story (25-Jul-09) : XENOS had a concert at the Valmeira Lutheran church days. It was an incredible 30 minute set off most of our lively songs. The crowd of 400-500 people enjoyed it. We had about 150 of them up on the large stage with us dancing away and having a good time.
Daveski posted a story (24-Jul-09) : On Thursday the team embarked on a very large task - to short through donated clothes. YWAM often is the conduit of aid from which items from giving people flow to those in need. At the moment, the loft to the shed is full of clothes and shoes that have been donated. The team jumped in an began the needed sort of these items.
Construction also continued. David the carpenter and Sam the apprentice, where busy building the roof sections. Others in the team, wheel-barrowed in some sand to make up the bottom of the meeting area.
Daveski posted a story (23-Jul-09) : On Wednesday, the team from St. John's got their hands dirty. The construction of the outdoor meeting areas progressed to the point of getting the outer structure complete. Other parts of the team prepared the first floor windows for painting by sanding all of the surfaces. The team also completely cleaned out one of the shed's on the base. The refuse from that shed, along with a large pile of branches, become a 20 foot inferno. Many of the young guys had been trained through Scouts the art of managing a fire, so they made sure things were kept under control.
Daveski posted a story (22-Jul-09) : The team from St. John's Chapeltown ( Sheffield , UK ) arrived at our Valdemarpils training center to start a week of service. The team is made up for 4 adults and 9 youth. This trip is the first missions experience any of them have had. They will be doing a variety of projects including building 2 outdoor meeting areas.
They started off the day by doing the ropes course. This is a team building experience where most of the activities get people to work together to overcome some kind of obstacle.This was a great way to start the week off.
Marnie posted a story (04-Oct-08) :
This summer I staffed a DTS (Discipleship Training School) outreach in The Netherlands, 5 students, 3 staff. We represented 7 Nations ( Burundi, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, Curacao, Latvia & USA) and 8 different mother tongues. Together we spoke more than 16 Languages! 4 of the students/men in the DTS are Asylum Seekers in The Netherlands and so the focus of the outreach was working in the different Asylum Seeker Centers (AZC) across The Netherlands. Most of the people we met had to flee their country because of political & religious reasons as well as escaping tribal wars ext.. and arrived in the Netherlands with only what they could carry. We worked along side locals who are already working in the AZCs, mostly with women and Children, they asked for help reaching the young men, so that was our focus. Single men make up more than half the population on the AZCs. We organized sports games, small bible studies, we hung out every day at the AZC building relationships, drinking tea & coffee, eating with them and praying with them. It was an amazing time! If you would like more information please email me email@example.com ....