Leaving on a Jet Plane

Chuck Heads Back to Latvia for Mission Days and More

By Chuck Kelley
Founder and President, Bridge Builders International

Leaving home is always hard. But when I focus on the amazing privilege I have to do strategic ministry in the land of my mother and grandparents, I long to return to Latvia.

PORTLAND, Oregon – When John Denver first recorded this iconic song in 1966, it had a different title – “Baby, I Hate to Go.”

I can relate. As I write to you now from the Portland Airport, watching the jet planes take off, it dawns on me that I have been flying back and forth to Latvia several times a year every year since 1989. And every single time I leave home, I feel I don’t want to go again.

But when I focus on the amazing privilege I have to do strategic ministry in the land of my mother and grandparents, etc., I sing – “Baby, I Love to Go.”

Why?

I look forward to every trip because of life-changing opportunities to touch hearts in the name of our Lord Jesus. I look forward to seeing souls fed through our ongoing and special programs and projects.

Like Mission Days.

Mission Days is BBI’s annual signature event, perhaps the most important mission mobilization event in the Baltic nations. Each year, enthusiastic and teachable people come together for education, encouragement, motivation, opportunity and vision for world missions. Led by BBI/Partners’ Madara Molnika, and assisted by a team of leaders from several other mission ministries in Latvia, Mission Days 2018 will take place later this week, April 19-21 at Matthews Church in Riga.

Keynote speaker Peter Iliyn has crossed cultural borders for the Kingdom in more than 75 countries.

Our guest speaker this year is Peter Iliyn. Peter was born in Paraguay to parents who emigrated from Russia. After growing up in a childhood steeped in Russian culture and language, he continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his BS in electrical engineering and material science. Peter joined Youth with A Mission (YWAM) in 1976, serving as the North American Director for many years. When I first started BBI in 1994, Peter was my monthly prayer partner for a couple of years.

It will also be my privilege to deliver two messages at Mission Days, unpacking our theme: “Crossing Borders.” Missions is deeper than sending people from one place to another; it is about intentionally reaching all sorts of people who live within specific subcultures. These groups include students, children, youth, orphans, those with disabilities, athletes, business professionals, politicians, refugees, artists, musicians, those afflicted with debilitating struggles.

Numerous workshops led by ministry veterans will focus on how to practically minister to this myriad of people groups.

Our worship leaders are Maris and Linda Prindulis, a well-known couple who form the nucleus of a group called “Jorspeis” (Your Space).

Our worship leaders are Maris and Linda Prindulis, a well-known couple who form the nucleus of a group called “Jorspeis” (Your Space). When they sing and lead worship, the Lord is truly lifted up.

Please pray with us this week.

  1. That many ripe and potential young people will take part with open minds and hearts.
  2. That Maris and Linda will effectively usher us into the Lord’s presence as they lead worship.
  3. That Peter will truly connect with the people as he speaks. Pray the same for myself.
  4. That the workshops will excite people to get specifically involved in the world of missions, at home or abroad.
  5. That some will sense the special calling of the Lord to give themselves to “crossing borders” as a lifestyle.

My friend, do you see why I can say, “Baby, I love to go?”


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