At the Schultz's

Trip Start Dec 16, 2007
Trip End Jan 11, 2008

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Flag of Latvia  ,
Monday, December 24, 2007

We were expecting a typical European continental breakfast. Not here at the Westbahnof Hotel! We had a fabulous breakfast included with our room cost. Bev and I then headed across the street for the train station to catch the bus to the airport. Our extra 45 pound suitcase with Bible Study Courses is an extra burden...if we can just get it up to Estonia with no hassle!

As we entered the airport the first place to check in was Baltic Air. How convenient. They took all the questions about weight. We're home free! I was expecting to pay as much as $100 or so for extra weight and this is a blessing. We quickly notice a sign with a red line through Austria which says: There are no kangaroos in Austria!

We fly on Carpatair....must be a kind of subsidiary of Baltic Air. When I boarded the plane I asked twice if it was going to Riga, Latvia...just didn't trust it.

I received an email from our hosts Robert and Elita Schultz that they will now come all the way into Riga to pick us up. Originally his sons were going to come by bus to the airport, wait for us and guide us back. This is nice. It's about 100 miles back to Smiltene from Riga.

Robert Schultz (spelled Sulcs in Latvian) is a Baptist pastor who has come to keep the Saturday Sabbath. Also, he is keeping the Holy Days with his congregation. We are spending December 24 and 25th with him, but it's no problem. He has not kept Xmas in ten years.

The weather is cloudy and grim but our conversation and spirits are anything but that. I enjoy seeing the Latvian countryside outside Riga. I've been to Riga a number of times.

We arrive at the Schults'z home in Smiltene, a town in the north east part of Latvia 40 minutes south of Estonia and 50 miles west of Russia. They built a new that they moved into in 2005. They give us "grandma's room" where she stays when visits.

Our conversation continues non-stop for five to six hours as we exchange a lot of personal stories, observations about life and discussion about doctrine and Jesus Christ.

He shows me a number of books about Christian leadership that I find very interesting. He had doubles on two of them and he gives them to me as a gift. Tomorrow he wants to bring a few of his members over for lunch so we can talk more.

Robert Schultz also works in the lumber business. He had traveled often to Belarus where some of the lumber is cut. His wife Elita works for a competing lumber company in sales. At one time Robert worked with Kraft Foods when they had a distributorship in Latvia. They don't know. He traveled to Chicago for his work at one time.

It is very easy talking to both the Schultz's and we admire them for their courage in making some of the decisions they have. It's not been easy and the entire town is talking about the Baptist minister who has gone to keeping the Sabbath.

We decided that we would try to make it to Tartu by tomorrow night so that we can get a good start on a lot of work that has to be finished before the weekend in Estonia.
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Where I stayed
Westbanhof Hotel
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