The Republic of Latvia
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One of the three Baltic States, Latvia lies between Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south. For much of its history Latvia has been controlled by foreign powers notably Germans, Poles, Swedes and finally the Russians. Declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 Latvia is now a Republic governed by a single legislative body and an elected president. Latvia is still heavily dependent upon Russia for much of its energy. The official language of Latvia is Lettish and the people are known as the Letts.
Mainly Lutheran with Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic minorities.
The Stone-Campbell Movement is a newcomer to the religious scene of Latvia. The American a cappella Churches of Christ began work in Latvia in 1991 when American Paul Wright and Latvian-American Victor Barviks, visited the capital city of Riga to conduct conversational English classes through the World Bible School for about 75 people. Advertisements were placed in the local papers and 2,000 invitations were sent out for four series of lectures on Christianity. Originally the lectures were held in Riga but have since been conducted in other cities, as well. The church in Colony, Texas has carried out evangelistic work with nearly 3,000 students enrolled in correspondence courses. One successful course has been eleven lessons entitled Let There Be Light! Correspondence courses have been conducted in both Lettish and Russian. In 1994 students from the University of Arkansas conducted a “Let’s Start Talking” campaign. A number of short-term workers have spent time in Latvia.
In 1993 Victor Barviks settled in Riga to plant a church. Victor was born in America to parents who had escaped the Soviet occupation of Latvia. Over 100 people have been baptized since the beginning of the Riga Center Church of Christ, a registered congregation, and a second congregation has begun in Ogre.
The International Churches of Christ planted the Riga church in 1995.
White Fields Evangelism of the American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ has also sponsored work with Victor Barviks in Latvia through evangelists Rick and Della Deighton.
Additional work in the Baltic States and much of Eastern Europe is being done through TCM International’s Haus Edelweis in Austria.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, December 9, 2013
Victor Barviks in the United States
19191 Norwood Terrace
Irvine, CA 92612
Telephone: (949) 854-0615
Maza Nometnu 1-6
Riga, LV-1002 Latvia
Telephone: 371 7619-035
Victor Barviks is sponsored by the Colony, Texas Church of Christ:
Telephone: (972) 625-6655
See TCM International, below