Turn Back the Clock… to Hope ’94

By Charles Kelley, Founder and President

Hope ’94: In the early years, I often wore Latvian ties when I preached

In the 90’s, Almers Ludviks and I organized four major evangelistic outreach campaigns. Hope ’91 was in Riga in the Sports Arena featuring evangelist Steve Russo. Hope ’92 was also in Riga in the Congress Hall (former Communist Party headquarters) and both Bob Cryder and I preached the Gospel. Several of my distant relatives came to Christ. The largest was Hope ’99 with Luis Palau and ten other evangelists who shared the gospel in Riga and 32 other cities… More than 2,000 took public steps toward Christ.

But let’s not forget Hope ’94, which took place in the Baltic Sea city of Ventspils, Almers’ hometown.

Bob Cryder preached the Gospel with passion and clarity.

Cryder was the evangelist, but the week featured much more. We held a mini-school of Christian leadership offering a broad variety of interesting topics. Carole Wille taught on children’s ministry as Bob Sweeney taught on doing business from a Christian perspective. Mike and Stephanie Parker led a youth ministry workshop. Erin Gehler did personal evangelism training. My late mentor, Ingemar Martinson, lectured on Latvians in Missions, and my own course focused on organization and leadership in the local church. People were exceedingly responsive. As I recall Hope ’94, I also lovingly remember Cryder, Sweeney and Ingemar, who have since passed away.

A moment of peaceful reflection with Ingemar, Mike, Stephanie, and a mystery man with dark hair. 

As, I look back and reflect now, I realize what an important week this was. God was at work.

Numerous Latvians gave their lives to Christ and some other people indicated that they want to be missionaries from Latvia to Russian speaking republics of the former Soviet Union.


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