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