It is easy to forget that, in Europe, Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday that is celebrated. Over what would have been Thanksgiving, I traveled to Palanga, Lithuania, for a conference for the Lithuanian Lutheran pastors.
It was a wonderful few days with deeply theological presentations from other LCMS Eurasia missionaries. We were able to engage in discussion and fellowship with other Lutherans who have lived very different lives than anyone from the United States has experienced.
It is a true joy to see the friendship that we have in Christ and to recognize the body of Christ in places that I have never been before.
Now, it might seem strange that a missionary is going to a pastor’s conference. Missionaries are supposed to be making contact with non-Christians, right?
In my role as a theological educator, it is important to make contact with other faithful Lutheran pastors to encourage them, as the church bodies in these countries are quite small. Also, it is a help for them to meet and get to know those who are working to train new pastors so that local Lutherans will be encouraged to study at Luther Academy in Riga.
Training new pastors from the local populations is the way forward for missions because those who have been raised in these cultures can speak to their fellows in a way that a foreigner will never understand.
Please pray for this work and that the Lord will provide many new workers for his vineyard.
Pastors from multiple countries gather together for fellowship and discussion of important matters.
Successful visa acquisition for the Cundiffs at the office of Pilsonības un Migrācijas Lietu Pārvalde, or Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Rīga.
It’s official – we are legal residents in Latvia for the next year! Obtaining our identification cards makes many things so much easier, especially when it comes to paying bills, going to the doctor, etc.
November brings quite a few cultural celebrations here. November 11th is Lāčplēsis Diena (see sidebar), November 18th is Latvijas Republikas Proklamēšanas Diena (Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia, or Independence Day), and November 29th was the first Sunday in Advent. November 18th brings nationwide ceremonies, a military parade, and family gatherings. We were surprised that the Sundays (especially) in Advent are so widely celebrated here, and not just in the churches. The tree-lighting ceremony occurred in Dome Square on November 29th, and we were blessed to witness the gorgeous (and cold!) spectacle.
Two hours of Latvian class continue for Quintin and Lindsay every week. We have a long way to go, but we are thankful that Google Translate helps fill in the narrowing language gap!
Quintin became part of the Luther Academy Academic Council in November, so has meetings for that each week. They discuss the direction of the school. This kind of administrative leadership is important for the development of the program. Quintin has also been active in preaching and doing the liturgy at the English services at St. John in Vecrīga (Old Town).
Lindsay has taken on another administrative task at Luther Academy: a registrar of sorts. She will be keeping records of admissions and grades and will be able to produce transcripts. She also volunteered with the International Women’s Club of Rīga for their annual Christmas Bazaar that benefits many local charities, including crisis centers and foster families.
Be sure to follow our Facebook page, “The Cundiffs in Latvia”, for even more photos and stories of our missions in this beautiful country!
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
• Continued good health
• The Lord to continue to bring faithful men to Luther Academy
• The Latvian Lutheran Church, as she continues reaching out to local people
GIVE THANKS FOR:
• Making international connections with pastors
• Opportunities to share the Gospel with our neighbors
PRAISE GOD FOR:
– His work in Eurasia and across the globe to bring the good news to all peoples!
– Our supporters for helping to make this mission possible
Sveiki! One highlight of November was that I was able to video chat with my good friends in Nebraska and in North Dakota.
I have been doing well in school, and my wargaming club is wrapping up for the semester.
An individual in my class is having a lot of behavior problems. I ask that you pray for him.
– Carter (age 11)
Lāčplēsis Day is a Latvian remembrance day observed every year on November 11th. It commemorates the victory of the Latvian Army over the allied German and White Russian forces in 1919, even though Latvia was vastly outnumbered in manpower and technology. Even students tried to help hold the line, but during this battle, Latvia lost 743 soldiers, of whom 57 were officers. (Lāčplēsis was a Latvian epic poem hero whose name translates to “The Bear-Slayer”.)
On this memorial day, Latvians light thousands of candles and place them outside Rīga Castle (see above) on the banks of the Daugava River. The holiday is also marked with parades, processions, and wreath-laying ceremonies at monuments to freedom fighters.
Prayerfully continue or consider partnering with the LCMS to support the work of Quintin Cundiff and his family.
Make checks payable to: The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and send to
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
PO Box 66861
St. Louis, MO 63166-6861
Mission Central 40718 Highway E 16 Mapleton, IA 51034