Saturday, 30 August 2008

A Few More SW Scotland Pics, August 2008

Stone fire place in an old cabin...Mountain walks...Fighting the British Cavalry. That's my idea of a wilderness trip.
SW Scotland is a great deal more beautiful in the Summer than in the early Spring, though the midges were a massive pain. During the course of our young men's "Wild At Heart" Wilderness Week, we spoke of the journey into manhood. We agreed that many of the men we know are actually boys in big bodies, and that life must be something more than what we are making of it. We also agreed that there are just some things you can't learn about yourself sitting in a classroom or a pew.
Thank God there are still open spaces in this world.

Scotland and Latvia

We've been traveling a bit lately. Most recently, we went to Latvia to see some missionary friends of ours and to scout out a Summer 2009 youth missions trip I am planning. The highlight of the trip was probably The Occupation Museum, where I learned of the Soviet and Nazi tactics used to dominate the Baltic States. I found it interesting that much of the rhetoric used by The Soviets during their occupation of Latvia in the late 1930's is very similar to the rhetoric currently being used by the Russians in Georgia. The Latvians are keenly aware of the similarities.
The first picture is of the Riga skyline. It is an amazingly modern city. I think Americans would enjoy the Riga nightlife, but unfortunately, Latvian currency, called the Lat, is among the strongest in the world (roughly $2.50 to every Lat). So good luck, all you international travelers.
The second photo is me mastering the ropes course at the missionary base, located about 2 hours away from Riga. My outstanding athleticism is unmatched in Eastern Europe. USA! USA! I hope to take the kids from my youth group to this base next Summer for a service project. This missionary base runs outreach projects for kids with disabilities, drug addicts and at-risk people groups, so it might be nice if someone helped them out with the tedious tasks like gardening and painting.
The third picture is a glorious example of Soviet architecture. The square object you see is actually a water tower in a small town in Western Latvia. Examples of this square blockish style can be seen everywhere the Soviets set up shop. I don't know what they were thinking.
The fourth picture was taken prior to our trip to Latvia. In Early August, I traveled to SW Scotland with 6 young men from my church. The stone building is called a "bothy," which I guess is Scottish for "place to get out of the constant rain." The bothy sat in a large valley surrounded by steep Scottish hills, which can be seen in the second photo. More pictures of Scotland to come.