Ungars Gulbis

The Reluctant Publisher – from Latvia

BY llewis | 12 September 2013 |

Publishers are enthusiasts. So why assist a ‘reluctant’ publisher?

Ungars Gulbis

Ungars Gulbis

Ungars Gulbis, a Latvian preacher and church planter, is not hesitant about God’s Word:
‘My passion is to share the Word of God. When you know that God will work through his Word, it gives you a confidence and joy and hope … Latvia is a hard place to minister. It has become very secular, postmodern and materialistic. But we have found that when God’s word is presented and explained, people respond!’

He has no doubt about the power of biblical preaching:
‘Does preaching have an impact? Of course. In God’s purposes faith comes by hearing the Word. But we cannot easily measure or quantify the unseen things … We have a simple ministry, no trendy stuff, yet even our two congregations have grown from single figures to around 150. Nothing spectacular, but steady and stable growth, remaining focused on the Word. Lives have been turned around.’

And he has not been slow to understand how effectively books can multiply the ministry of a gifted Bible teacher:
‘I need to read and I love to read. Books have blessed my soul and my preaching. They have played a major role in my growth in Christ … good books are an indispensible part of the mix that brings God’s word to us. The impact of publishing reaches way beyond the limits of your personal influence, sometimes beyond your wildest dreams!’

BUT publishing is intensive and lonely work:
‘We really have something in our hands when we stand behind the Word, and we have seen all kinds of people ‘open up’ through its teaching.  Good books are a major part of this … What I don’t particularly enjoy, are all the aspects of producing books: translation, editing, design, book production, selling, and so on. I do it, reluctantly, because we must have the books.’

What does Ungars publish?
‘At the higher levels of study, Latvians read and use English.  But the majority of believers don’t and there are very few resources in Latvian. We look for key books that communicate and teach about God, His purposes, what is required of us – how to read and understand the Bible, books which will bless preachers as well as lay people…

‘The most popular title has been Knowing God by Packer. We sold out in half the expected time and had to reprint. It is even being used in churches for discipleship classes. This book was such a heart project for me because I can trace back major changes in my spiritual life and ministry to the day I first read it. It changed my life.

‘We also receive many heartfelt thanks for Putting the Amazing Back Into Grace by M Horton. And we are busy launching The Unfolding Mystery by Ed Clowney. There is so little, and people are so hungry for these wonderful treasures…’

It is a privilege for Langham Literature to assist Ungars and his publishing colleagues at Portala Gramatas. Pray for daily courage, suitable resources and God’s BLESSING, beyond their wildest dreams!

by Colin Macpherson, Langham Literature