Approximately sixty invited guests attended a special event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Lutheran Hour Ministries in Latvia on Friday afternoon. The activities began with a concert and poetry reading by Mr. Goran Gora (www.gorangora.com), a talented young musician who performed several of his own compositions. Between each composition he read a poem from the well-known Latvian poet, Imants Ziedonis. Ziedonis is not known particularly for his religious poetry, however in fact he wrote several poems that reflect a Christian perspective, and which grabs the attention of many Latvians.
After the concert, I was asked to bring greetings to the assembly on behalf of Lutheran Hour Ministries. I spoke of the events that led up to the establishment of our ministry in Latvia from the perspective of an American who was totally surprised by the way in which God worked in the late 1980s to the early 1990s to open doors for the proclamation of the gospel in the former Soviet bloc countries. For Lutheran Hour Ministries, the ministry in Latvia was the beginning of the volunteer movement, and resulted in the creation of Orphan Grain Train, which would grow to become an important partner in our ministries around the world. LHM—Latvia also provided the springboard from which our ministries would launch out into Russia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, and other European countries.
I was able to give a brief overview of The Lutheran Hour in the United States and the international ministries sponsored in more than thirty nations around the world. I then presented a plaque from Lutheran Hour Ministries in St. Louis, thanking God for the twenty years of ministry of “Misija Luteranu Stunda,” for the twenty years of faithful ministry.
During his comments, Archbishop Vanags reflected on all that has happened during the past twenty years, the re-emergence of the Lutheran Church in Latvia, the challenges that have been faced, but the bright future of Christianity as the church continues to experience growth. He thanked Lutheran Hour Ministries for our partnership in the Gospel.