I am currently in Estonia researching ministry opportunities for possible future mission work. I’m staying with John and Sara Russell, the founders of Street Cry in St. Pete who are now starting a new work in Tallinn. Olga will join me this week before we return to Russia in about 10 days.
A few days ago I visited a Christian camp, Camp Gideon, near the Russian border. We are hoping to be able to send Russian and/or Belorussian orphans to this camp, where American mission teams can meet them and preach the gospel without fear of reprisals by Russian authorities. Camp Gideon is owned by the Estonian Methodist church and has hosted orphans in previous years. We pray that God will speak to the hearts of people to serve orphans in this way.
Estonia is a special place — a mix of Russian and European culture, very welcoming to westerners, and yet a large portion of the population are Russians who were ‘stranded’ here after the USSR collapsed.
This week we hope to visit orphanages and shelters to see how we can begin to help there; already a few missionaries, long-term and short-term, have expressed interest in helping ethnic-Russian orphans who are in Estonian orphanages. It’s an opportunity to help Russian orphans while in a very welcoming and open country.
These pictures were taken at a property that has caught my interest. It’s an old water mill, the New Stone Mill, built in 1823 and a functioning mill until very recently. It’s in southern Estonia, in a very beautiful part of the country. I have a strong feeling that this could be a wonderful ministry center and camp. It sits on 10 acres of land and also has 70 acres of lake, four small islands and two streams. In addition to the three-story mill, there is a house and barn with lots of room to expand. It needs a world of work (but it comes with its own swans). We wonder what the Lord has in store for this place.
Our other work continues: we are preparing for the summer at Elama (our camp in Russia) and I’ll be going to Montenegro to serve with a short-term team in May and again in July. MIR will be sending orphans to the US for our hosting program, and the work in Belarus continues. The work is expanding, and I’m thankful for it.
A friend recently said — if you want to expand your tent pegs, you have to get out of the tent. We’re definitely out of the tent more often these days. Please be praying that we’ll know the heart of the Lord regarding our possible future ministry in Estonia. It’s a land of opportunity and the doors are wide open. We’ve felt very at home here and we see the needs and possibilities.
Yet not our will, but His be done.