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Chaplain and author Liena Apsukrapsa is not a medical healer, but she is a healer nevertheless, with wisdom and a much wider experience in life and death than many people much older than herself. But then, she began ministering to others when she was just 14.

She grew up in Bukaisi, a rural village in the European nation of Latvia. Liena’s father died when she was just seven, leaving her mom to raise her, and run the family farm.

Her faith sprouted during the time of oppression and religious persecution, and she was part of the great spiritual awakening in Latvia in the 1990s after the nation regained its freedom from 50 years of Russian occupation, when there was no freedom of religion or speech.

She felt called to ministry from an early age, even though it was illegal at the time, and began serving others, watching the witness of the underground church her widowed mother agreed to host in their home, which actually met in Liena’s own bedroom.

She was greatly influenced by the example of her mother, a nurse who functioned as the village’s medical specialist. Though Liena experienced a life of harshness and hard work, it was one that valued and modeled helping others in sickness and even in their final illnesses up to their deaths.

Later Liena received her bachelor’s degree in Theology from Christian Academy in Latvia and came to America in the late 1990’s to continue her education. She completed her master’s degree at Denver Theological Seminary. Liena is an ordained minister, chaplain, and spiritual director in Colorado. “I believe that authentic spirituality is rooted not just in asking God to bless our work, but to pay close attention to what God is doing already and join Him in his efforts to accomplish something of deep significance and everlasting value on this earth,” she writes. Liena still spends time in Latvia and the house church she and her mother hosted which still meets on their property, but in a larger building. She remains committed to the property which has a long legacy of serving and sheltering others, as its original owners had even sheltered war refugees and persecuted Jews during World War II. When her father came to the home as a boarder he instead found family, and became an adopted son. When Liena was born, the 80-year-old owner gave her family the house, and she became Liena’s nanny and adopted grandmother.   Her vision today is to create a retreat center on that property to provide respite, hospice and other care for the hurting and ill.   Advent to Epiphany: Engaging the Heart of Christmas, is Liena’s first book and was written with co-author Jacqueline Hullaby.   More about Co- Author Jacqueline Hullaby: Jacqueline, a high school French teacher, grew up in a Marine Corps family. Living on both coasts and in Hawaii ignited her love of the ocean. She has been a Christian since she was a small child, and says God has been her constant companion on a journey through family hardships and joys, professional trials and triumphs, breast cancer, and the delight of becoming a mother later in life. She makes her home in Iowa.