Our minstry flat in Estonia

Here’s some news about our flat in Estonia. For a while I’d been thinking about finding a ministry flat in Johvi. Olga, Valerie and I will spend more time in Estonia over the coming year or two (as we build the center for disabled children), and I thought it would be good to have a home base in Johvi. I’ve also wanted to find a place where Christian workers in Russia can take a retreat.

I found a place earlier this year. I’ve only been inside it once. I looked at it before returning to Russia (and coming to the US) and then worked out a deal with the owner, an Estonian lady who now lives in the UK. She is willing to rent it to us for just the cost of utilities. I offered to remodel the bathroom, since it was in pretty bad shape.

Members of the church recently finished remodeling the bathroom, so it’s like new now. The flat is within walking distance from the bus station; it’s important to have easy access for people coming from Russia. It has one bedroom and a living room. The kitchen and bedroom had already been remodeled. It has a washing machine (which is nice), new windows and new heating. We just had WiFi internet installed. The living room needs some work, and so that’s next on the list of things to fix up.

A few people in Russia have already expressed interest in staying there. This is perhaps the first step toward my hope to have a Christian guest house in Estonia. I hope this flat will become a sanctuary, a place of rest and retreat.

here’s the way the bathroom looked before:

English in Our Flat

Olga has been teaching English on Monday nights for quite a while. And now Valerie is helping!

The young man is Kostya Protasov. He was a heroin addict who lived as a thief and extortionist before becoming a pagan who sacrificed to the gods of the forest; as a result of his drug use he contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. He ended up at a Christian rehab center but got sick of it. This is what happened as he fled the center, waiting for a train to go to the city:

As I waited, the pictures of my empty past and dreary future filled my mind, and I heard a voice in my heart saying: “Go back to the center lest you die!” Going back to the center was 8 kilometers through the forest and my bag that I had to carry [was heavy], but somehow I made a decision to go back.

I went through the forest and felt the presence of God! His mercy, His tremendous love overwhelmed me! I thought of many of my friends who in their “search of truth” and trying different things in life did not reach the most important – Jesus and His Word that really sets free.

One of the center workers told me: when a man takes one step towards God, God takes ten steps towards him! The hunger to know Jesus burnt in my heart, the desire to live in fellowship with Him. He met me in so many ways and the things that were impossible for me before became possible! I once was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in and set me free from the chains of addictions!”

You can read his full story here, (scroll down the page a little).

A View from Our Flat

Thanksgiving Day, 2010 — winter has arrived:

We live on the 5th floor of a flat in the city center. This is a view of the двор (courtyard). All of our windows face south and look over this courtyard.