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What's a good way to start building a relationship? How about dance? For Lutheran Hour Ministries' outreach center in Latvia, having a dance party isn't just a good way to start-it's a great way.

"For our ministry, opportunities to share the Gospel come when we build relationships in communities and make friends," says LHM-Latvia Director. "Through the years, we have found that really the best way to get friends with people, with many audiences, is to have fun together. For the kids we work with, having fun means moving-dancing."

Which is why the center sponsors "Laiks dejot"-"Time to Dance," an event that brings children and youth together for a little bit of learning and a little bit of hip-hop dance. A typical lesson with an LHM volunteer from a local dance studio lasts about 45 minutes, during which participants become acquainted with Christian hip-hop artists and music while learning some exciting dance steps. Often in conjunction with Time to Dance, LHM-Latvia will sponsor a movie or seminar for the parents of participating kids.

In early July, LHM-Latvia sponsored a Time to Dance event at Saulkrasti Lutheran Church, in the village of Saulkrasti on the Gulf of Riga. Emils, a dance instructor at the Dance Beat studio in Riga, taught the kids that you can praise the Lord while busting a move to up-tempo Christian hip-hop.

"Youth from the Saulkrasti congregation invited their friends to come-in all, we had 50 participants!" the director exclaims. Now that's relationship-building in the spirit of the Gospel.

Nearly 300 people have been killed and another 2,000 left injured after a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked central Mexico Sept. 19, causing hundreds of buildings to collapse in the capital, Mexico City. With a ministry center located in Mexico City, Lutheran Hour Ministries is uniquely positioned to have its staff and volunteers assist with helping those who have been affected.

"The needs of the earthquake victims will be very great far into the future. We already have begun and will have more opportunities to help those who have suffered because of this earthquake," says Rafael Ruelas, the director of LHM-Mexico. "I have met with leaders of the Lutheran Synod of Mexico, LCMS missionaries, and government officials to begin gathering information about what we can do to be the most helpful as people begin to rebuild their homes and their lives."

In addition to providing basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, and medicine, LHM's response will also include offering spiritual counseling to people in shock. The local team will demonstrate the love of Christ by standing alongside those who are suffering, and by ministering personally and through various print materials that address the questions people facing such loss are asking.

"More than anything, we want to deliver hope to these people, and give them consolation through the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ," says Rev. Dr. Douglas Rutt, LHM's director of international ministries. "While we thank and praise God for His continuing grace and mercy to us in keeping our staff safe, we also ask that you please pray for the people of Mexico, especially those who have lost their jobs, homes, and family members."

Click here to deliver hope to earthquake victims today!

Historic Vyborg, Russia lies about 80 miles northwest of the city of St. Petersburg and just 25 miles south of Russia's border with Finland. Since its founding in the 13th century, Vyborg's spiritual life has been influenced by Swedish Catholic, Finnish Lutheran, and Russian Orthodox Christianity.

Vyborg's Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was established by the city's Finnish residents in the 1790s and was a strong Lutheran presence in the city until Vyborg became part of Soviet Russia after World War 2. When the city's Finns left to escape Soviet Communism, the state repopulated Vyborg with settlers from Russia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. The Soviet government also seized St. Peter and St. Paul Church and transformed it into a dance hall.

Today, in the wake of the fall of Soviet Communism, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is once again an outpost for the Gospel, serving Vyborg's community of "transplanted" families as a congregation of the Ingrian Lutheran Church. The congregation's partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries-Russia is one of the reasons behind its active Gospel outreach.

The youth of St. Peter and St. Paul Church have embraced LHM-Russia's witnessing activities with enthusiasm. In March of this year, the Russia ministry center director presented an Equipping the Saints (ETS) seminar-an evangelism training activity typically reserved for adults-exclusively for the congregation's youth. The topic: "Apologetics as a Tool for Evangelism."

In early June, he returned to Vyborg for a second ETS session with the church's youth.

"We talked about communication as an essential thing for effective evangelization," the director says. "Our presentation featured a method for using dialogue to reach people."

The director, who has an earned PhD degree in biochemistry, has discovered that the origin of life is hot topic for young Russians.

"Comparing the creationist and evolutionist points of view can often lead to a conversation about biblical passages such as Colossians 1:16-17: 'all things have been created through him [Jesus] and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.' The Vyborg youth are excited to learn these things and to be able to use them in various contexts."

Please pray for the resurgent ministry of the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vyborg, Russia, as well as for the growing, dynamic Gospel partnership between this historic congregation and Lutheran Hour Ministries-Russia!

Mount Sinabung is one of the most active volcanoes on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. After 400 years of dormancy, the volcano erupted in August 2010 and has shown periods of increased activity since 2013. This once-bustling farming village that is ideally located on fertile slopes has now turned into an eerie ghost town. Tens of thousands of people abandoned their homes and belongings in these villages after authorities ordered mandatory evacuations to prevent further deaths.

Following the most recent eruption this past spring, LHM-Indonesia staff conducted a holistic program for victims in Berastagi, North Sumatera. These people have been living in tents in refugee camps for the past seven years and most can't go back to their homes to retrieve their belongings. Now they can only rely on the kindness of the government, which sometimes is not able to give the appropriate attention that these refugees need.

In partnership with a local team of doctors and medical workers who have hearts to serve people who are suffering, LHM reached out to children, adults, and the elderly in three different camps over three days. Eight doctors and three medical workers conducted medical exams and provided treatment while LHM staff members offered clean water, good health tips, and spiritual strengthening through a variety of resources such as Bible Correspondence Course materials, films, and activity books for children. Nearly 2,500 people participated in the program and shared their personal information with staff for follow up.

"Outreach programs like this have proven to be an effective way of demonstrating and telling people of the love of Christ," says Gunya Na Thalang, LHM's regional director for Asia. "Most of these people are tired, frustrated, and generally disappointed with life. By offering a message of hope we can have a comprehensive impact in reaching both body and soul."

Somaly lives in a village of the Rolea B'ier District of the Kampong Chhnang Province in central Cambodia. She is just 13, but until recently she was troubled in her soul. The faith in which she had been brought up was not answering her deepest questions.

Sros was Somaly's teacher-but he was something more, too: he was a Bible Correspondence Course volunteer for LHM-Cambodia. And he offered her an answer.

"He told us about Jesus Christ," says Somaly. "He said that Jesus is true God, Who came to earth to save humans by dying on a cross for our sins-and everybody's sins. He said that Jesus loves human beings, including my family."

Through the personal outreach efforts of Sros and their study of LHM-Cambodia's printed outreach materials, Somaly and her family were led to faith in Jesus.

"My grandparents and other older people in my village still cling to their beliefs and sometimes make fun of us. But I want them to be together with us in heaven-please pray for them!"

The faithful support of readers like you helps ministry centers like LHM-Cambodia reach youth like Somaly with the eternal comfort found only in Jesus. Please join us in praying for Somaly and her community!

Read more stories from our ministry centers around the world:

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