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I’ve probably known about Martins – or rather, the Urdza family – all my life. Gita and I know each other well because her ministry in northern England was very important to our family, especially to John’s parents, who were not only Aldonis and Gita’s parishioners, but also friends. Gita’s deep, eirenic faith and ministry was also an inspiration to all of us and gave us comfort in the last days of John’s parents and also in their departure. And I recognised much of that in Martina when we finally met here in Latvia, where we had come each in our own way. His peaceful smile, genuine humility and practical faith were the epitome of sincerity.
A very characteristic story was from the Deaconess Centre in Liepaja, which Martins had told for an unpublished publication on the formation of diakonia and its foundations in the Bible (to be published by interdiac). It was a respectful account of how, in group conversations, the people of Liepaja used Bible stories to look into themselves and their situation, so that they could grow in faith and cooperate better in helping one another.
Martin was a man of principle, but even when we disagreed, his attitude was never aggressive, but he knew how to stand his ground, even at the fateful moment when the Cross Church left the LELB and a long conflict and litigation began.
“His master said to him: ‘Well done, my worthy and faithful servant! You have been faithful in small things, I will put you in charge of big things. Enter into your master’s joy!” (Matthew 25.21)
Martin, you are greatly missed. Sit tibi terra levis.
Jāna un Jānis