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Latvian Adventist runners challenge, “Don’t follow me, follow Jesus”


Jun 05, 2017
Riga, Latvia

Latvian Adventist runners challenge, “Don’t follow me, follow Jesus”

[photo courtesy of the Riga 1st Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Trans-European Division]

Coming together from across Latvia, over one hundred Adventist runners, aged 4 to an astonishing 93 years old, took part in the 27th Lattelecom Riga Marathon on May 14. They had one purpose: witness!

Standing out boldly in bright blue T-shirts, the Adventist runners made a special impression with the slogan on their backs, ‘Don’t Follow Me, Follow Jesus’. That was the primary purpose of their presence, for people to notice Jesus.

Riga, Latvia’s capital, is a beautiful city. Being a sunny day, it meant the marathon gave citizens a fine excuse to get outdoors and enjoy the city, traffic-free, while running a distance of their choosing, 6, 10, 21 or 42 km. Throughout the race, they found the message of Jesus reinforced.

“We believe that other runners noticed this sentence and only God knows how these hearts will be changed with this thought: what it means to follow Jesus,” Andis Āriņš, outreach co-ordinator for the Riga 1st Adventist Church says. It is his department that took the lead in arranging the Adventist participation in the race. The T-shirts also advertised the church website, giving opportunity for more follow-up.
This marathon will also be memorable for the Adventist members in Latvia for another reason, they worked together and started the race together as one team. “I’d never taken part in a marathon before,” confessed Mārtińš Subatovičs, an assistant pastor at the Riga 1st Church. “I hadn’t run for quite a while. I’m not a keen runner, but I took part because this is an outreach project.”

With Adventist Health principles in mind, Daumants Kleimanis, youth director for the Seventh-day Adventist church in Latvian, saw this as not only promoting the holistic Adventist lifestyle, but following Jesus principle to be visible, like a city set on a hill. Other tired runners confessed afterwards that they enjoyed the exercise, but also the special sense of unity and joy that came with running together for Jesus.

See a selection of photos of the day on the Latvian Church website. 


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