Hello from Latvia! As spring has come and gone and now summer is upon us, we look back over the last few months and it's clear that a lot has happened. We've had a cafe makeover, a successful round of employment with our sewing partnership, a baptism, a new patio for the Women's Center, and have set a date of the first official graduation for the ladies at the Center.
The Ministry Cafe
This spring, our ministry cafe in Riga had a makeover. Thanks to a small team that was volunteering along with a couple of staff and interns, the cafe has a cozy, new look with a fresh coat of paint, new chairs, and some other lovely decorative touches. We are grateful for a beautiful space to invite women; where bowls of delicious soup can be served, conversations had, and hearts can be challenged and given hope. We look forward to many more evenings spent in our cozy cafe.
As we've mentioned before, part of our dream and prayer has been to see the Latvian body of Christ taking increasing ownership of the cafe. For the first time, we currently do not have full time staff in Riga and our local volunteers have taken on more responsibility, including leading the outreach nights. We are excited to see God at work as we transition into this new season and to see the beauty of each person playing their part in the running of the cafe.
In January, a team from The Simple Kind came to Latvia to lay the groundwork for a new partnership with Freedom61. Since then, one woman from the center has developed extraordinary sewing skills and completed over thirty dresses for The Simple Kind's summer line. She is a hard worker and a talented seamstress and says that while she used to dislike sewing, she now enjoys and even misses it because her first production run is done. The partnership is not over though, she will continue to work with The Simple Kind as they prepare for their next season.
As we continue to navigate what it looks like to partner with businesses and offer employment options for women at the center, we are delighted to celebrate the beginnings and look forward to the continuation of partnerships at the center. To learn more about The Simple Kind and their beautiful dresses, please visit their website: The Simple Kind
On Easter Sunday as we celebrated Jesus' death and resurrection, we also celebrated another representation of death and new life as one of the women from the center was baptized. She said that after she was baptized, she was able to recognize God's voice more clearly than she had before. It was beautiful to witness and was a special day for her and for us.
Recently we hosted a Dutch team who blessed us with a beautiful, new patio for the center. It is a wonderful space to enjoy time together around the table, to host summer parties, and to just have a peaceful place to soak up the sun. It is a great addition and will undoubtedly get lots of use. We are very grateful for the Dutch team's hard work!
Also, the current women entered their last phase of the program at the Center, focusing on preparation for leaving the center. They are attending classes where they are learning to write CVs, taking aptitude tests, and looking into employment options. It is an exciting time as they look forward and decide their next steps.
In other exciting news, we have an official graduation date for the Women's Center, September 10th! There are three women graduating and they will be the very first to complete the full program at the Women's Center. These women have grown, changed, and fought hard for truth over this past year. They have become our community and we are honored and grateful to have shared in a small piece of their journey. We are so excited to see them graduate and for what God has next for them. It will definitely be strange to not have these quality women so close, but we also look forward to continued support and connection with them.
The fall will be quite the transition for everyone as we all move into new seasons with the women graduating and some upcoming changes in staff roles. We are so thankful looking back on all God has done in this last season and are looking forward in anticipation for the season ahead!
Pray With Us
For the women graduating from the center as they transition and seek their next steps.
For the transitions that will be happening among staff and within the ministry in the fall.
For new interns and full time staff, both in Riga and at the Women’s Center.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers,
we are so grateful for you!
-Much love, the Freedom61 team