Falling in Love with Latvia

by Keisha, DTS Staff


The breeze whips my hair all around my face as I walk through a forest of tall, wind-stripped trees. It smells fresh and new outside: like spring rain that has melted away the snow to uncover a blanket of green; like soft earth caked onto the soles of your shoes.

I want to breathe it all in. Because it has taken me a while to get to this point. But I have finally, during our last week here, fallen in love with this country Latvia.

I don’t know what made it click. Maybe it was the kind hospitality of the countryside, where the people welcomed us in immediately with a million and one kisses. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful party-loving gypsy friends we made along the way. Maybe it’s because of the way Latvians embrace freedom, music, art, and fresh bread (some of the best things in life in my opinion).

YWAM Madison DTS Outreach Latvia Youth With a mission street art riga

Street art in Riga, Latvia

But no matter what it was that sealed the deal, I’ve come to love this place.

It is not the stereotypical “mission field” (not at all implying that these are bad). Our team went out for burgers more than once. We didn’t have to use squatties. We did not preach on street corners or build homes or take cute photos of smiling brown faces.

But we did do small things with great love.

Sometimes loving the way Jesus loves means coloring pictures with the people in an elderly home. Sometimes it means speaking in a youth group, or playing with balloons or painting faces at a crisis center. Sometimes it looks suspiciously like sitting beside someone as they cry, or gasping audibly as someone’s hand is healed right before your eyes.

And in a great display of love, we watch in amazement as we place the “little” that we have into God’s hands, and there He turns it into “much.”

YWAM Madison DTS Outreach Latvia Youth With a mission painting faces in crisis center

Keisha with kids at a Latvian crisis center

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