Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia.
Ph. +371 26407248
Pastor Artis Eglitis’ Ministry in 2013
I have been blessed to work as a Lutheran pastor in several areas. I will try to give a brief report which I hope will give you an idea of the ministries that God has given to me that have been supported by the Baltic Mission Society.
Gaujaslīči. This word is difficult for Americans to pronounce, so Pastor Mark Krause and I chose to call this ministry the “River Bend Assosiation.” The project was the idea of the Cesis city mayor. Two years ago he asked me to think about how the church could provide social and diaconal ministry in Cesis. He said he could provide a large building and property to develop this ministry. Cesis is an 800 year old city 100 km (60 miles) from Riga, capital city of Latvia. Our city lost about 1/3 of its population during the last 10 years because of the economical situation in our country. People left many of the smaller towns to go to other parts of Europe and Canada for jobs. Our idea is for the churches and the community to work together to create a better enviroment to help keep more people from leaving and mabe even to begin atracting people to live here again. There is no separation of church and state in Latvia like in America. It is amazing how the government is willing to work with the churches, especially in Cesis. The mayor was also willing to talk with Pastor Krause and I about how the Baltic Mission Society and other ministries may provide support for this project.
The River Bend Association is also in partnership with the Orphan Grain Train (OGT). Pastor John Reehl from Nebraska has made arrangements to have two containers filled with clothing and other supplies to be sent to Cesis to be distributed to the poor in Cesis and the region. More than 100 families were helped last year and the program continues to grow as more people discover the program.
The River Bend Association working with the city has also created a social ministry for homeless people. Men, who spend the night in the shelter, can choose every morning to come to our place for a hot meal and a warm place to stay for the day. They are also invited to a time of prayer and biblical discussion in additional to being asked to help clean the building. Men and women from the mental health daycare clinic are also invited to come for devotions and help with maintenance. We have had some donations for food and tools from congregations in Latvia to support this programm in addition to international aid.
I also work with the Orphain Grain Train to administer their “Adopt an Orphanage” program in Latvia. Families in the US adopt an orphange to buy sanitary items, medicine and vitamins for children in orphanages. We are also working with a women’s prison in Riga serving children born in the prison.
The River Bend Association would love to expand its ministry to include a variety of summer camps for families, youth and children. Gifts can be given through the Baltic Mission Society to help provide these camps. The Baltic Mission Society and Pastor Krause is sponsoring a Servent Event for late July 2014. If you would llike more information please contact Pastor Krause at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are planning to spend time working on the Association building and particpating in “Church Days,” a celebration of the Lutheran Church in Cesis.
Pastoral Leadership Institute International (PLI)
Pastor Krause introduced the pastoral leadership program of the Pastoral Leadership InstItute International while he was serving as a missionary in the Baltics. The leadership program has developed into a Latvian program that works to meet the needs of the Latvian Lutheran Church. After this summer the program will be taught entirely by Latvian instructors.
Last summer was our first graduating class of 12 pastors and their wives who had completed the 4 year program. We were also blessed to have 30 other pastors and their wives in the first, second, and third years of the program. Next year we hope to have at least 10 pastors and their wives in each of the 4 year program. After this summer we will be blessed to have almost 2/3 of our pastors in our leadership program. I believe this will helps us become a more missional church.
I have been the coordinator of the leadership program for our church since Pastor Krause returned to America. This past December I arranged leadership training for our 3 bishops and the CEO of our church which was presented by a Pastoral Leadership Institute team from America. I want to thank the Baltic Mission Society for the funding that has made it possible for us to host these conferences. I am also working to find at least 50 percent of the needed funding from local sources for this year’s conferences to be held in Smiltene at an agricutural college. We look forward to have Dr. Scott Rische and Pastor Krause work with us this summer. Even though this should be there last year to provide lectures at the conferences, we appreciate all the help they give to us.
Christmas Rose Advent Concerts:
Twelve years ago I had an Idea to have popular Latvian musicians present Christian concerts with hymns during Advent and Christmas in city centers and social centers in rural communities throughout Latvia. With the help of the Central Illinois District, the Baltic Mission Society, and Latvian funding from churches and business people, my dream became a reality. This is the 12th year that we have been able to present these concerts. The program has grown to where this year we had 4 teams of famous musicians that presented 11 Advent concerts in village centers and 10 concerts in social homes.
At every concert a Lutheran pastor was present to share the meaning of Christmas and offer a prayer. Concerts are free to attend, that means we have to cover all expenses before we come to a local community.
Over the past 12 years we have made 2 CD records and now we are working on the 3rd. The CDs have been a great help in the promotion of this outreach ministry. The ministry is growing because small communities don’t have the opportunity to hear good music performed by professional musicians. Pastors are also looking for ways to connect to their communities to share the Gospel.
The Congregations I Serve:
Last Year I served 2 small congregations in Skujene and Lode. On January 1st, I was called to serve the Valmieras district to help with mission development. I also now serve as pastor at congregations in Strenči and Rubene, Latvia.
I was also asked to support our church mission ministry in Dublin, Ireland. Over 50,000 Latvians have moved to Ireland for work. Pastor Krause helped us plant a congregation in Dublin. I fly to Dublin every other month to provide leadership and pastoral care.
Thanks for all supporters who helped me in this ministry! Thanks to my wife Helena for supporting me with prayers and helping me with many practical needs! Thanks to our Lord for giving me so many interesting ministry opportunities.
Pastor Artis Eglitis
Latvia, 15. Feb. 2014.
From Pastor Krause,
Artis Eglitis is a great partner in ministry and a very good friend. It is truly amazing how God is using his gifts of leadership to accomplish so many things for the growth of God’s Kingdom in Latvia, and now even in Ireland. Much of what he does is accomplished with little pay and sometimes with little gratitude. It is a true honor for me to help Artis develop the ministries God has given to him through the help provided through the Baltic Mission Society. I give thanks to God for him.