What happens in a former Communist country when 182 public school teachers from 112 different schools in 64 different districts come together for a Christian conference? Almost anything!
From the first speaker, we were off to the races. The room was packed full. There was a sense of anticipation. What an amazing contrast. We were teaching and ministering to teachers, enabling them to take Bibles back to their classrooms to protect their students from growing up in the moral-spiritual void that their teachers did. At the same time America was once again grieving over yet more carnage among our youth in a school system that’s rejecting God’s Word. Many of these teachers are not confessing believers – yet they want to be better teachers. Rather than see the Bible as an enemy of education they recognize their need for help.
Listen to the words of an elderly teacher who traveled with her daughter from the Russian border. “For many years I have been praying for such possibilities to share the Bible in school with students. My daughter is working in police with teenagers. She says, ‘I am working with young criminals.’ There is no other way to change our criminal situation rather than to teach Word of God to our future generation. We took forty Bibles at once. They were very heavy, but we really wanted to bring the Bible to our region.”
All day Saturday and Sunday we hammered Biblical themes in our teaching. I concentrated on Genesis 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen.1:27 NAS. He made them male and female! I emphasized that the sexual confusion of this generation was directly related to their rejection of the Creator. I talked of the different function /nature of men and women, and how, if we are going to teach effectively, those distinctions need to be emphasized, not smothered.
Unlike the politically correct atmosphere I’ve experienced in the United States, these teachers drank it in. We were able to present each teacher with forty children’s Bibles printed in their own beloved Latvian language. Several years ago we were smuggling those same Bibles into the country. Now they are being passed out in the public schools.
One of the highlights of the conference was a fourteen year old boy who sang. He is an orphan and his Christian teacher, who has filled a special place in his heart, brought him with her. Our visits to the churches were also a great enjoyment – one Church especially, where many of the new believers were teachers who had been taught through this conference outreach.
Because of the very limited financial means in Latvia right now, they could not put on a conference like this. We paid for the rooms, food, and building rental. We brought with us gift packets of ladies items, small soaps, perfume, shampoo etc. that were real luxury items. These were put together by a number of churches in the States as a special blessing. We also awarded three door prizes, a vacuum cleaner, a coffeemaker and an iron. Here these items would not mean much but there they were much appreciated.
I was glad that Life Coalition International covered the cost of the conference. What would it cost here to put almost 200 hundred people up for a whole weekend, feed them, and have professional translators? It would cost at least $200 to $300 per person! There, it cost about $40 (U.S. dollars) per person. That’s a deal! That’s why I wanted so much to have LCI seize this opportunity. I know it’s fruit will be eternal. They asked if we would please do another next year. I did not commit because, as of this writing, we have fallen behind financially and need to take care of business.
Just think – right now teachers are passing out Bibles in their schoolrooms. What’s the vision worth? So I ask you to please help. Maybe there will be a day when the United States will look at Latvia’s schools and say we need to follow their example. Why not? It seems just yesterday we were smuggling Bibles in. Anything is possible!
In the Master’s service,