I had just come into the house after working on clearing the land we have been plugging away at when I heard voices outside the window in our yard. I was dirty, sweaty, had thorns in most of the clothing I was wearing and honestly not in the mood to have visitors. I walked out to the kitchen, looked out the window to see this random guy and his 3-year-old son sitting down on our chairs in the yard. Somewhat baffled (and annoyed) I stood there watching, wondering why this person took it upon himself to walk down the driveway around the back of the house and play with his kid in our yard. It was very strange, to say the least. After a while, I walked out front and said “can I help you? Are you looking for someone from the church?” To which he replied “I’m not resisting! I have the right to remain silent!” I responded “excuse me, sir? I’m just trying to understand why you are hanging out in our yard.” He asked if they were not welcome. “ I didn’t say that. It’s just that we live here… Can I get you and your son some water?” Read More
Every year with “Wings for Wheels” (http://w4w.lv/en/par-mums/) we organize camp “Challenge” to encourage people with mobile disabilities. We also help them come out of their homes (because in Latvia it is still quite challenging for many people with disabilities) and most important to lead them to Christ. Because only He can forgive their sins, give them eternal life and true identity. Beside those important goals there are several more:
1. To offer opportunities to people with disability by the help of creative and physical activities in order for them to find and enhance the limits of their skills and possibilities, and to allow them to acknowledge and build their self-worth.
2. To promote the integration of people with disability within the society by motivating them to become active members of society.
3. To promote the meaning of healthy lifestyle and individually appropriate physical activities.
4. To learn Christian foundational values through various activities.
This year camp “Challenge” happened from July 2 till July 8. The week included all the parts Challenge is known and loved for: interesting lectures, fun sports activities and workshops, the opportunity to get a haircut, visit a physiotherapist and consult a orthosis & prothesis specialist for free and of course the Extreme Day. On the request of last year’s participants, we heard lectures on the reasons behind having no friends, whether it is possible to be single and happy, the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection and God’s calling for our lives. The workshops gave everybody a chance to try out line dancing, learn more about etiquette and make a lovely photo frame as a keepsake. In addition, we travelled to Brazil with the help of our imaginations and some Brazilian friends, were encouraged to push our limits in sports and enjoyed a concert by the popular Latvian band My Radiant You.
The Extreme Day (short video about it you can see here: https://vimeo.com/228361224) with its raft ride also gave a chance for callenging people phisically and their thinking, because many people believed that it is not possible and they will never experience something like this. After the first challenge of getting on the raft from a very steep river bank –wheelchairs and all –, we were rewarded with a beautiful ride on the Gauja river in nice summer weather. But that was not it – after coming on shore again we had a four-kilometre hike on gravel and sand before reaching our final destination, the zoo where we met and petted camels, alpacas and llamas. A campfire with lots of good food and testimonies about God’s works was the perfect ending to the day full of joy, excitement and surprising ourselves.
The camp had a good prejudice-shattering effect on people both with and without disabilities. One of the earlier participants testified about how the first Challenge camp he attended radically changed his view on Christians and led him to trusting his life to Jesus. Another participant shared her surprise over the realisation that in this camp, people actually care when they ask you how you are doing. One participant’s mother admitted that before the camp, she did not imagine people with disabilities could have such joy in their lives and sometimes even seem happier than people without. Another lady who took part for the first time said she had never experienced such genuine care in any church. Perhaps this is the challenge we should take to our home churches with us – how to really notice eveybody’s needs and respond to them in God’s love in our everyday life. And During the week, five people decided to join the family and give their lives to Jesus. It is so great to see how God can change identities and lives of people, give them value.
And now one of the participants in a camp who before several year trusted his life to Christ have a calling in a future to go and to proclaim Gospel in Africa! We can just praise the Lord for His works! 😊
Article prepared by using some information also published in “Wings for Wheels” oficial website www.w4w.lv
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Recently I had the opportunity to teach two bible classes at a local Christian school. There is quite the age and maturity difference between sixth graders and tenth graders, but the bible has a wonderful way of relating to both. Acts chapter three was the bible passage being discussed with special attention being paid to the scene around the healing of the lame man. Read More
“Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
Rationally, we can understand by reading verses like the one above that we should trust God. But the true nature of what we believe is revealed when trusting God is tough because of our circumstances. Read More
I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2
Have you been asking God what he wants you to do with your life, and you’re not getting an answer? Well, think for a moment if you’re really not getting an answer, or if you’re just not getting the answer you want. Read More
It’s so easy to slide into the routine of wishing we could be more like someone else. We get tired of the same ol’ us and we wish we were more like this person or that person. It can happen to the best of us. I’m not faulting you. The problems is that we are unique. Every little thing about us is unique! Your darn right we are! Our DNA, looks, personality, fingers and toes and the list goes on. There is no other YOU on this planet. And this planet needs you. Desperately! Read More
We’ve Been Given the Keys
I was on a bathroom break yesterday during a regular clinical day at the hospital. I’d been knee-deep in preparing a research article presentation, and wasn’t thinking about much else.
Upon entering the facilities, I noticed a key on the window sill. Likely it had been found by someone who was helping out a fellow human, wanting to help locate their pre 2000’s era GM vehicle’s door key.
Yes, this kind of information went through my head. And, while this is entirely normal for me to have this kind of thought fly through my cranium upon seeing a random object, there is some depth to a key like this. I remembered my first car…which used a key exactly like this one. Read More
Passover is a very special time for me as a Jewish believer in Jesus. It is special because I get to reenact the Exodus story and demonstrate visually through the Passover Seder how Jesus is indeed the Passover lamb. It is enriching for Christians and for Jews because the Jewish audience can see him as the Messiah while Gentiles can see him as more than just Savior, but also as Messiah and King. Read More
I was recently sent by our pastor to the city of Puno, which sits high in the Andes on the shores of South America’s great Lake Titicaca. Unlike the Great Lake Superior that I know from Minnesota, this lake is the world’s highest navigable lake sitting at over 12,500 ft above sea level. The landscape is beautiful, the views are breath taking, and the church I went to serve is fantastic. I spent 4 days preaching, teaching, doing workshops and training key leadership teams for Maranatha Church. Read More
In a lifetime there are a handful of moments that are truly life changing. Some of these moments are more obvious. As a youth those moments can be your first discoveries of your skills, desires, your first crush, an influential teacher, a best friend and those interactions with your parents that truly do shape you for better or worse. When you leave the nest and spread your wings the decisions become more involved and carry much more weight. What will I do with my life? Where will I go to college? What do I want to study? How will I pay for it all? Should I start a business? Oh, I need to get a job, right? Read More