Sunbeam Has Been Aproved for a Grant!

We are VERY happy to announce that Sunbeam has received a grant for €40,000 ($52,000). In addition, donors from American recently gave $12,000 (€9,250) for the completion of renovations on one group room. Based upon these funds, we hope to have children in the program on Dec 1.

There is still a lot of work to do on the building (2nd group room, offices, kitchen, guest flat, outside work, etc), but this will allow us to open the first group room and staff up.

This grant is from the Estonian National Foundation of Civil Society (NFCS). It is for the development and launch of Sunbeam’s program of providing day care service for children with disabilities. Sunbeam applied for the grant in cooperation with the Estonian Council of Churches.

Here is some more information about the grant: Continue reading

Now THIS is fun!

Over the past several months, I’ve often said that ‘I may have some good news about Estonia soon’. Well, today I have some good news about our work in Estonia.

For over a year now, Stoneworks has been partnering with several people in the US and Estonia to help establish a day center for children with disabilities. There are over 100 children with disabilities in that area and they have no access to services; they are at home, quite isolated from the world. They need help, and we are called to help them.

An American donor is giving a significant amount to help start the program, and in the process we’ve opened an Estonian charity named Päikesekiiir (Sunbeam) to run the program. But we didn’t have a building. Until yesterday.

The city of Jõhvi has given us use of a great building in the city center. And here it is:

sompa 5a spring 1 Sunbeam    The Beginning

We have it for 30 years at no cost! We have the keys and will start renovation soon.The building is in better shape than it may appear. It has a new roof and new high efficiency windows, it has a new security system and recently had firewalls and fire doors installed.

Pastor Artur Põld, architect Andres Toome and myself are the founding board members of the Estonian charity Sunbeam. Stoneworks represents the US side of the project, and also involved are Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans and Brits.

 Sunbeam    The BeginningIn addition to housing the center for children with disabilities, the building is large enough to house many more activities. It has a great assembly hall, conference rooms, we’ll build housing for mission teams, and host other events there. It’s in a great location, right in the middle of town.

Currently a youth center and kindergarten use a few of the rooms. They will pay rent to help offset operating expenses. There is much more room for expansion. And there is a smaller building on the lot that we hope to turn into a wood-working shop.

entrance Sunbeam    The BeginningThere is much to be done to prepare the building for the ministry. Though some parts of the building are in good shape, we need to renovate several rooms, build two wheelchair accessible bathrooms, reconfigure and rebuild the entrance (ramps, roof, doors) and offices, upgrade the heating system, renovate the kitchen, build a fence, and much more. Here are the initial designs for the first floor, where Sunbeam will be housed.

So, now that we have the building, much more is needed: mission teams to do construction, funds for equipment and operations, people to help train volunteers, and on and on.

sompa 5a spring 6 Sunbeam    The Beginning

We hope to open Sunbeam on June 1 — International Childrens’ Day.The next four months will be quite full and quite fun! And I’ll be posting more news as we move along.

You can read more and see more pictures and videos here.

Donations to support the center can be made here.

Soli Deo Gloria — To God alone be the glory. He has put this in our hearts, and He is bringing all the resources needed to help these children. We thank Him for guiding us.

A Postcard from Estonia — Moving Ahead

Olga and I have spent some time in Estonia recently. Dave Hulley (seated at left, below), the board chair of Stoneworks International, was here to learn about our new work. It was good to introduce him to our many new friends in Estonia; Dave then spent time Russia visiting with folks there. This weekend leaders from a ministry in the UK will meet us in Estonia to learn more about our projects and how we partner together.

We are in a planning stage for a few upcoming projects in Estonia. I met with Artur Põld (seated in front, below) to discuss the center for disabled children we plan to start in Jõhvi, Estonia. The original lot we hoped for is not available, but we looked at other properties and talked about various aspects of the project. In addition to discussions about the building and legal issues, I’m helping coordinate experts in the USA who will help plan programs for the children, and the architect has begun preliminary planning. I’ll meet with the architect on Monday.

We also visited Camp Gideon (above, note the beautiful Gulf of Finland in the background) and spoke about short-term evangelical mission teams that will serve there in July and August.

The very best part of the trip has been the deepening of relationships. We had a very good time of prayer with several members of the church (below). It is very good to walk with people and see how God is working in their lives. Most of all, we’re thankful for the good relationships God is giving us.