Once again, a few have passed since posting...sorry.
The past few weeks have seen Courtney trying to fight off a nasty cold-and-sinus doozy that kept her on the couch and doing minimal activity for almost 3 weeks. She seems to be just about over it, and for that we are thankful! I (Dan) took a 6-day intensive training course for camp leaders - a requirement from the Latvian government for all camp leaders. Some of the information was new (especially Latvian law and regulations), some of it was review from my camp experiences, and ALL of it was in Latvian - even the two tests at the end! I am so thankful for my friend, Rihards, who attended the course with me to help translate. We both passed the tests, too - woohoo! (and Praise the Lord!!)
LIGHT! - the days are becoming longer, which means a bit more light through the windows, and that is a blessed thing. In fact, we have had mostly clear skies the past few days. On Christmas we watched the sky turn orange, red, pink, and then purple before becoming dark around 4pm... and the past few mornings the we have glimpsed the clouds turn from orange to gold as they caught the rising sun at 8:40am. We look forward to the lengthening of days over the next 6 months.
CHRISTMAS! - Two weeks ago (the 15th) I went on a Christmas tree hunt with Rihards. We met up with Riga 1st's part-time maintenance man, Janis, at his country home and tromped through the woods with his two dogs. After walking a while we found a nice little grove with some skinny little trees, and borrowing Janis' handsaw, I cut one for our apartment in Riga. In the photos you can see the three guys and the tree - in the woods and in the apartment.
We wanted to attend some of the Christmas Eve services in Methodist churches in the eastern part of Latvia, yet Court didn't feel well, and the 4 hours on a train and almost an hour of walking wouldn't help her feel better, so we attended the candle-light service at Riga 1st which started around 4pm. We got home about 6.30pm and made our traditional 'Ante Pasta' which includes a variety of meats, some cheese, olives, bread, etc...
Christmas Day turned out a lot quieter than expected, and we welcomed the time to chat, read, and talk to our families on the phone. On Second Christmas (Dec. 26th), we went to the Hope Center with a few others because they were having a small Christmas party for the girls and their babies, yet even more exciting - two of the girls AND their babies would be baptized. Courtney really enjoyed the opportunity to help with the service
and to distribute gifts to the girls from some folks in North Carolina. (Thanks, Jacquie and Cirlcle 5!) Yesterday after church we went over to Gita's house (the District Superintendent and the pastor of Riga 1st and Cesis) for a small Christmas/New Year's party. They cooked an awesome roast and we exchanged gifts and sang songs and played games.
Court and I look back on this past year and we give thanks for God's grace and love experienced through the support of our friends and families, and also in the peace and perseverence in the difficult times. We are amazed at the little life growing in Court, and also nervously excited as we anticipate a lot of changes with the baby coming at the end of May or beginning of June.
So many, many more thoughts, but that's it for the random stream of consciousness at this time.
PEACE - Dan and Court