Hello from Cheryl!

 

It has been a long time since I  sent out an update like this.  Way too long and for that I apologise.  I will try to give a very brief summary of the past 6 months, and some of the very dramatic events that have happened.  I had planned to do a big update following Thanksgiving, and my computer crashed and it has taken me some time to get another computer and try to recover my info and sort things out.

 

I am presently in Latvia, having returned from my extended trip in the USA.  I would like to say that I am settling in and everything is returning to normal.  But the last month or so have not been normal.  And the future will look different...

 

In case you have not heard, Dec 10th Maris Dzelzs, our YWAM Latvia national leader passed away.  This was very unexpected and a big shock for all of us here and many who knew him.  He was just 48 years old.

 

In a remarkable way, even though I was to return to Latvia only after Christmas, because of legal issues regarding my residence permit in Latvia, I had to return to Latvia for one week, anytime during my 6 month sabbatical.  I picked those dates months before to be in Latvia Dec  4-11th.  So I was in Latvia when this took place.  I was in the Dzelzs home at the time when this occurred, and was only to be one day with them.  I was supposed to fly out to USA the next day, and myself and another leader had planned to meet Maris that Monday morning.  When we went in to wake him up for the morning meeting, we could not revive him.  It was determined that he died from a heart attack.  Well, that day and week was one of the hardest ones that I had to go through in my life.  I lost my good friend.  We had worked together since 1993, and I also spent many years living with the Dzelzs family, and Maris was like a brother to me.  For many years I served as his assistant, and we together with a few others saw the beginnings and the many ups and downs of the development of YWAM Latvia.  We fought many battles together, laughed a lot, and of course there were tears, joys, struggles and triumphs.  For me to be here when this happened, (and not in the USA), was very significant, and I was able to be a support to the family in that first difficult week.  The funeral was Saturday and I stayed in Latvia an extra week before returning to the USA for my planned Christmas time with my family.

 

I will not go into more detail regarding this now, but of course if you are interested to know more, you can contact me.  We also have some info posted on our ywam Latvia web page, at www.ywamlatvia.com   People have written some memories, and if you have anything to add, you are welcome to do that as well.

 

So, now I will backtrack, to the past 6 months, and try to keep it condensed.  I spent July and August at home with my parents and also some of that time my brother from Ohio and brother and family from Australia were around.  This was a special time with them, and for me was restful, as well as preparation for the travels ahead.  I was blessed with a car for this trip, and following a small needed repair at the offset of the journey, I basically drove 8000 miles back and forth across the usa and the had the chance to meet many old friends and supporters, to share in churches and make some new friends as well.  It was a blessing to have been able to do this and I have very good memories from this time.  I ended up traveling alone (the driving part)....but of course, each stop along the way was with people.  I went through mountains, wilderness, desert, and fires (San Diego).   I have stories to tell, and there were some adventures.  Upon return, I also spent thanksgiving with my family and was able to connect with some others in the area.   I did not get to see everyone along the way or even many of my Pennsylvania friends, but I was so glad to see people who I have not seen for many, many years.

 

Well, my early Dec return to Latvia was to be a short stop and as a preparation for my return before the New Year.  So, when everything happened with Maris, it sure was a shock, and also has affected many things.  Because of my past and present involvement in leadership here, I will be quite involved in a process as we make some transitions and adjustments to losing our leader here.  He was a unique man, who carried a unique mantle.  He leaves a big gap and we will greatly miss him. These next few weeks will be key for us, as some of our regional leaders are coming to support, advise and meet with our leaders and staff here.  Please keep YWAM Latvia, our staff, and this whole process in prayer.  We need wisdom, insight, courage, and also some healing in this season of grief and transition.

 

In the meantime, the ministry does not come to a standstill.  Our DTS outreach is already underway here in Latvia, and head off to Ukraine this week.  Our staff and students just finished helping, serving and teaching at an interdenominational missions conf this past week.  Other plans for training and outreach are underway....  Various others have vision and ideas bubbling under the surface and we want to be faithful to continue on with the work that has begun here.  The challenges seem to have increased, but we dont want to be fainthearted or shrink back.

 

I personally am a bit overwhelmed with all that has happened, and of course unsure what is ahead in these coming months.  I especially ask for your prayer and continued support, encouragement and friendship in this time.  I have had some unexpected expenses the past few months---my laptop computer crashed and had to be replaced, then, because of the funeral and changes in my flight schedules, I had to change one ticket and actually buy a new one way ticket for my return.  I need to buy a car, since I sold my other one back in June.  I need to see approximately $2500 extra come in towards this, as the prices for things have dramatically risen as well.  I have been lent a vehicle to use for the next month, but hope to find/buy a car within a months time.  I have seen the Lord to be incredibly faithful over these years, in every way, and as I now step into various challenges of faith.... I believe that it will be no different.

 

I promise, I will be back in more consistant communication in the coming weeks and months.  I will keep you updated on things here as well. 

I also plan start to use my gmail address as the main one  ( serolah@gmail.com ), since it works best for traveling.  I will keep the apollo one too ( charrison@apollo.lv ), but would ask that you change to the gmail one, in your address book.  I am not sure if all of my apollo emails were getting through when I travel outside of Latvia.

 

grace, peace!

Cheryl

 

cheryl harrison

Petera iela 15-11

LV-2015 Jurmala

Latvia

+371-26418210 (cell)

+371-67754307 (a number 6 was added to the begining of this)

emailserolah@gmail.com

skype: serolah