5 September 2016 | Rezekne, Latvia [Alla Nõmmik] Rising at 6:30 am each day, sitting through lectures and practical exercises, then heading for an early night might not be your idea of a holiday, but for twenty people from the Baltic Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, plus a couple from Finland, this was their regime for four weeks of health evangelism training.
Sound tough? Maybe, but nobody complained. They joined in the music and singing in the twice daily worships, prayed and supported each other, laughed and cried together, and learnt both theory and the many practical aspects of how to share a positive message of health.
“It motivated and inspired me,” one participant wrote in their evaluation form. Another commented how much their own health had improved while others committed to starting cooking classes back home, operating a health club, or running a health Expo. One summed it up by stating, “I want to focus more on people – to love them.”
With the help of Linda Horner from LIGHT, a lay-led institute for global health training, Jana and Ansis from Latvia, worked with their team to find a suitable venue and provide all the logistics needed for the event that ran during July and August. Young people and some ‘young at heart’ made their way to Rezekne, a river valley in Eastern Latvia. Marko and Ruut from Finland soon made friends with others from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while they all developed a respect for wild and fluffy Riki, who made sure no-one entered the campsite without his consent!
Lectures were given by LIGHT trainers, local health professionals from the Baltic Union, together with Dr Fred Hardinge, Health director at Adventist World Church headquarters, and Dr Torben Bergland from the Trans-European Division.
It wasn’t just students that learnt. Two public lectures made an impression on the population of Rezekne, as did two health expos where students put their new found skills into practice.
The end of the four weeks saw big smiles on many faces, both for the deep friendships made, the practical skills gained in massage, hydrotherapy, vegetarian cooking, and organising Health Expo’s, and for the certificates they could take home with them.
For Külli from Estonia there was an added bonus. She wanted to go on a pilgrimage, but being a mum with a young child, this was not possible. “Yet, the time spent in the camp can be called a pilgrimage. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this gave me more opportunities for prayer, reading and thinking about life,” she said. “It helped me to see things that need changing in my life. It seems like my wish has come true. God knew what I needed. Apart from personal growth, I also learned about nutrition, hydrotherapy, health mission, Bible prophesies and, of course, about different common diseases and their prevention.”
Külli now hopes to share those skills with others. She has taken on Dr Hardinge’s words that “we can do mission work only if we love people from our whole heart, and would like to be their friends and help them.” That way Külli can introduce her greatest Friend to them. She says, “Thank God for this camp and for all the people, who came to support each other and grow!” [tedNEWS]
For a full report please visit the Baltic Union website.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, director; Esti Pujic, editor
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