Estonia 2019: We're here!

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

Estonia 2019: Training Camp


June 10th, the day we had all been waiting for had finally come. The team arrived from all corners of the country to convene in Colorado Springs for training camp with great anticipation and excitement. We began to see that God has put together a team to accomplish His purposes in Estonia.

Each day of training camp has been busy yet exciting. We have started our days enjoying God’s creation with a run in the beautiful scenery and thin air of Colorado Springs. Then we would dive into a discussions of the five principle of AIA. These principles have helped us see how our faith and our sport intersect. Throughout training camp we are also learning tools to equip us for our ministry in Estonia. One of these tools is learning how to have an effective testimony which will allow us to share about the hope of Christ we have in our own lives to those we meet in Estonia. Another tool we learned was how to clearly display the Gospel message, so that we will be prepared to share how we can know God personally.

Training camp has also consisted of learning more about the Estonian culture and the opportunity God has presented for us here. We have talked about the history of the country, the food (of course), and how Estonians interact with one another. All of us are very grateful that God has opened a door to minister to the running community and combine both our passion for running and our passion for the Lord.

Tomorrow we will begin our long journey to Estonia. As we are traveling be in prayer that God would grant us safe and smooth travel. Also, be in prayer that God would open many doors for us to share His gospel to those we meet in Estonia.

- Jordan, for the team

June 12th, 2019

Estonia 2019: Training begins!

Our team is off and running with our activities in Tallinn! After a few days of getting acclimated to a new country and culture we have finally began some of the training we have had planned. Monday we were blessed with the opportunity to run a club practice for two youth track clubs in Tallinn. The kids we were coaching were anywhere from 14 to 19 years old and they competed in a variety of events. At first everyone was a little timid as we led them through some warm up drills and strides. Then we moved into the sprint worked we had planned for them. It consisted of four 150 meter sprints and four 75 meter sprints. As we started the workout the kids started to lighten up, and we were able to encourage them as they were doing the workout. Many of the kids commented that the workout was much harder than what they expected from Americans. After the workout as the kids cooled down and were getting water, we were able to start many conversations with them. It was fun to connect with them on a more personal level. Some of our team members were able to have spiritual conversations, so be in prayer that God works in the hearts of those athletes. As we were leaving the coaches invited us back for training on Friday morning. All of the team is very excited to return and meet up with those we connected with on Monday. Be in prayer that our team would be able to have more spiritual conversations and that God would touch the hearts of many athletes there.

On Tuesday the three day training clinic began. This clinic is for coaches, recreational runner, or professional runners who are looking to develop as runners. The clinic is focusing on the body, mind, and soul of a runner. On Tuesday Coach Misch began the “body” portion of the clinic by introducing some of his training principles and drills. We were even able to get out on the track to try out some of these drills. Some of us even made an appearance on Estonian national television. (You can even check it out here: https://sport.err.ee/953902/usa-treener-doha-mm-on-tiidrek-nurmele-suureparane-voimalus) On Wednesday the focus was the “mind” portion of the clinic. Coach Mark and Tiidrek explained the importance of being a mentally strong runner. For the practical portion Tiidrek showed some simple stretching techniques. Thursday will be the “soul” portion of the clinic. Be in prayer that this part of the clinic would open up opportunities for us to use our sport to share our faith in Christ and the hope we have.

Not only have we been busy with trainings, but we have also been getting to know each other on the team. We have been sharing our “I am from” poems to get to know each other more on a personal level. We have also been growing spiritually while we have been in Estonia. Each day a different member of the team gives a short devotional. This has been encouraging to hear from the Word each morning. Ben has been doing a stellar job leading us in a worship song each morning. Pray that God would grow the unity on our team and that it would be used to share the hope that we have with other.

Thank you so much for everyone who has been supporting and praying for this team. God has blessed us so far and we pray much more is still to come.

-Jordan for the team

Estonia 2019: Off to Tartu!

Greetings from Tartu, Estonia. This is the second stop on our team’s tour of Estonia. But first let me catch you up on all that has happened in our last few days. As I mentioned in the last post Thursday was the last day of our clinic in Tallinn. This was the day we talked about the “soul” portion of the clinic. Coach Mark and Tiidrek both explained why the spiritual aspect of being a competitor is so important and they also shared about their testimony. During this night of the clinic there was a short athlete panel in which some of the members of the team answered some questions. Those of us who spoke talked about how we place our value and worth in things that are greater than our sport and how we can find satisfaction outside of our success and failures in running. After the theoretical talk we headed outside for a short hill workout.

Friday the team was given the opportunity to go back to the track and meet with the club we met with on Monday. It was a beautiful sunny day and the kids had a great time and got a good workout in. It was great to get to connect one more time with these kids.

Saturday was a travel day. We had a relaxed morning and then drove two and a half hours to Tartu. After we arrived we met Herman & Kristel who lead a college ministry called Agape. Herman & Kristel then took us to the Song Festival which only happens once every four years. It was incredible! Estonian people love singing, and it also has historical significance to them. So, to celebrate they hold a massive concert with hundreds of people on stage singing. It was amazing to be a part of a major holiday here in Estonia.

Sunday was church as usual. This week we attended Tiidrek’s home church Kolgata Baptist. The pastor gave us the opportunity to share about our ministry and how faithful God has been to us. After we shared the church prayed for us as a team. Sunday was also the longest day of the year, here the sun rose at 4am and set close to 11pm. We celebrated with the Church family in the traditional way of a massive bonfire. It was the biggest fire I have ever seen.

Monday was a relaxed day, we spent the day walking around Tartu and planning out the upcoming week.

Tuesday was the first day of the Children’s camp and Coaching Clinic. The morning started at 9:30am and the kids arrived at 10am. We played games, did drills, ran relays and shared a bible story with the kids. It was a lot of fun and most importantly no one got hurt! In the evening we had the first Coaching Clinic is Tartu and it was a big success! We had about 20 people show up. In Tallinn we met in a Sports Clinic and the environment was much more academic. This time in Tartu we are meeting in a Café so the environment is much more relaxed. This meant great conversations long after the clinic was over.

Wednesday and Thursday will be the same as Tuesday, kids camp in the morning and Coaching Clinic in the evening.

Thanks for reading and following along! Please pray for energy as a lot of the team is starting to get a little tired. God Bless!

-Kevin for the team

Estonia 2019: The Final Stretch in Tartu!

Greetings once again from Tallinn. Our time as a team is Estonia is quickly drawing to a close. Just over two weeks ago we entered Estonia for the first time, now we are sad we have to leave so soon. We have seen God work in so many ways in our short two weeks in this beautiful country. We have been blessed to spend time with Estonian believers as well as form relationships with not-yet-Christians.

Our last few days in Tartu were quite busy. As mentioned in the earlier blog we had a Bible and sports camp for kids ages 5 to 12 in the mornings for three days and we held a training clinic for distance runners and coaches during the evenings. The kids camp was very successful. We had about 40-50 children there each day. We would start our time with a song, in Estonian, so we attempted to sing along and do the hand motions which accompanied the song. After the song our group led a Bible story and skit. For the last two days we did the stories of David and Goliath and also the story of friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus. In both of these stories we were able to keep the kids entertained and able to present a Biblical truth to them. For some of them this might have been the first time they have ever heard a Bible story or about Jesus. After the Bible story we would go outside for some drills and games. Wednesday we were able to run relay races in the ruins of a cathedral. On Thursday we were trapped inside due to rain so we did the best we could and made stations of games for the kids to play. At the end of the week it was hard to say goodbye to the campers.

In the afternoon each day we would try to catch our breath a bit before the training clinic began that evening. The training clinic in Tartu had less people attending it, but we held it in a cafe which was much more confined area which provided more opportunities for interaction. Also in Tartu many of those who attended were college aged, so that gave us younger team members many opportunities to interact with the athletes. On Thursday the spiritual aspect of training was covered as we did in Tallinn. So this provided us an opportunity to talk about how our faith in Christ gives us value and hope outside of our sport. Tiidrek finished the clinic by giving his testimony which was powerful for us Americans, but we pray it also resonated with the people from his own country. After a short hill workout people stayed and talked in the cafe until 11 PM, about two hours after the structured clinic was over. Pray that God would bless the conversations we had and that many seeds would grow from our time at the clinic and the camp.

On Friday we had a much needed rest morning. Some of us ran with a new friend we met from the clinic. However Friday evening was very exciting. We were able to experience two Estonian traditions with some of our Estonian family. The first was a sauna boat. This is exactly what is sounds like, a boat with a sauna on it. We would alternate from cold lake to hot sauna, which seemed more like a punishment to me, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Next we tried out an Estonian swing found at the local park. It looked like it belonged at an amusement park not your local park.

We are beginning our journey home in the coming days and we will debrief the trip on Sunday. Be in prayer for safe travel for all our team members as we return home. Also be in prayer that God would work in the hearts of those we came in contact with in Estonia. Many of those we connected with had never been exposed to spiritual ideas. Some were interested and others were not, but be in prayer that God would reveal Himself in both situations. Thank you so much for your support before, during, and after our trip. We have felt your prayers and support from halfway across the world. Our whole team is so thankful to have been apart of this trip. We hope that this trip lays the groundwork for future trips and future spread of the Gospel to the people in Estonia. We have faith that our God is a mighty and able God to do a great work here!

-Jordan, for the team