Tere (Hello in Estonian) from Tallinn, Estonia! We have finally arrived, after a long travel day which started at 8:30 AM on Thursday morning in Colorado Springs and ended at 12:30 PM on Thursday afternoon in Tallinn, about 21 hours and three flights later. God blessed us with safe travels and all of our luggage arriving along with us in Tallinn. The first day in Tallinn was a short one but seemed very long, since many of us got little to no sleep on the flights over. Our Estonian hosts met us with open arms at the airport and took us to our home for the week. Although exhausted, many of us dragged our feet out the door to get a short run in and get acquainted with our new surroundings. We were able to see how amazing a city Tallinn is for running, with a variety of trails in many different settings around the city.
Saturday morning we were awoken by the sun (which started to rise about 3:00 in the morning) and started with a run and breakfast. We also enjoyed some much needed coffee from our borrowed coffee maker, an answered prayer for many. After breakfast we kicked off our busy day with a short devotional from God’s word by Coach Schochler. We looked at Matthew 14:22-33, which is the miracle of Jesus walking on water. Coach Schochler encouraged us to put ourselves in the place of Peter. Saturday was also our opportunity to see the Old Town portion of Tallinn, which is the historic district of the city, and familiarize ourselves with the history of Estonia. Our Estonian hosts did an amazing job showing us around and being our tour guides for the day. All of us even climbed 258 steep steps to get a 360 degree view of the city from the top of St. Olaf’s Church. We enjoyed learning about the history of Estonia as well as how God has been at work in the church of Estonia throughout its history.
Sunday morning began with a run for some of us, followed by a special breakfast. Kathie, one of the members of the team who is also half Estonian, was celebrating a birthday. So in addition to the other breakfast foods we were able to try some sweets which our Estonian hosts brought for her birthday. Everyone signed a card and sang happy birthday to her as well. After hearing a brief devotional from Allika, our teammate, we headed off to church.
At church we were greeted by the pastor before the service, who was also a runner having completed four marathons. During the service we were all asked to introduce ourselves and tell where we are from. Afterwards two pastors from the church prayed over us and our time here in the coming weeks. It was powerful to see how fellow brothers and sisters in Estonia we supporting our efforts and in prayer alongside us to reach the people here. We were also blessed to be able to sing praise songs along with the Estonian church. We were able to recognize some of the songs and sing along in English. It was so encouraging to know that although we travelled many hours to get here to Estonia and that we may sing in a different language we still sing to the same almighty God who sent His son to die for all of our sins. Next three of our own shared with the church. Nick shared about the overall mission of the trip, how we hope to use our passion for running to connect with other runners with the goal of connecting spiritually and sharing the hope we have in Christ. Kevin shared a personal testimony of his own about the importance of Christian fellowship and how God has used that in his own life to strengthen his relationship with Him. Kaden was the last to speak and he talked about how our identity can be rooted in Christ and His work on the cross for us and not on our success in our sport or our circumstances.
Overall things are going really well in Estonia. We have seen all that God has done before us and we are excited to see how God uses us in the coming weeks. We are eagerly anticipating the clinics which will be taking place this week in Tallinn. As we prepare for the clinics please be in prayer for our team, that God would go before us and open the hearts of those we will meet.
Prayer Requests: That we would rest well as we adjust to the new time zone. That God would connect us to many people who we can show love to and point to Jesus Praise for our safe travels For strength and boldness in our ministry That God would give us faith in the midst of any fears
-Kaden and Jordan, for the Team