Population: 2.2 million (2012)
Official language: Latvian
Major religion: Christianity
IFES Movement: Latvijas Kristīgā Studentu Brālība (LKSB)
Although many Latvians call themselves Christians or believers, only three to five percent of the population are active church members. Christians are not persecuted in Latvia, but many people are suspicious of the church. Students think they can fulfil their dreams and aims if they work hard and maybe cheat a little; God is rarely in the picture.
- 56 state and private tertiary institutions, 7 LKSB groups
- 4 full-time staff workers and 3 volunteer staff, about 50 student volunteers
- about 100 active graduates
- largest group in Riga, 20-30 students
- smallest groups in Ventspils and Jelgava, 4-5 students
The Latvian student movement just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over the years, it has developed a clear structure of Bible studies and yearly camps and seminars that gather Christian and non-Christian university students, high school students and graduates from all over the country. Many students choose to follow Jesus after such camps and then they join the local student groups.
The movement cooperates with various denominations since most of the Latvian churches are very ecumenical. Lately the biggest highlights of LKSB have been the first mission week and the publishing of new Bible study materials.
View from the inside
Kristine Ozolina has been LKSB staff worker since 2006. She writes, ‘Many times we have experienced that a student who came to one camp as a non-Christian, comes to serve in the next camp already as a follower of Jesus. Praise be to God!
‘Nevertheless we have understood that we put too little an effort in proclaiming the gospel publicly in the Universities. So we decided to organize a mission week. The local student team was very encouraged and motivated by the event although the fruit was not so visible afterwards; at least it was not what we expected. But we are planning to have another mission.
‘We are also very thankful to God for finances that we will get through the EU programme “Youth in Action”. This money helps us to reduce the fees for the camps.’
- that God would ignite LKSB students to be courageous and creative, full of love and ready to serve other students and show them the true gospel;
- that God would melt Latvian student hearts and open their eyes to see the truth;
- for future mission weeks, that God will open hearts to himself.