(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, August 4, 2010)
Where should I start? When Chelsey and I decided we wanted to recruit a team and go to Tartu over a year ago, we had no idea what was in store. We had no idea of the amazing team that would come together and we had no idea of how powerfully God would use us to encourage the Christians in Tartu and share Christ with so many new people. I had high expectations for the amount of impact we would have on the Church there and on our readers but as I reflected on our experience throughout the last week, I soon became overwhelmed and amazed at how much bigger an impact we had then what I anticipated.
The best way I can sum up this impact is that we ended up having 54 people sign up to read the Gospel with us. We read the story of Jesus with these people for an average of 26 hours per day as a team. Had around 25 readers who we’d say we made a really strong connection too and who came to all our parties. Maybe 10-15 of these responded well and had hearts open to conversation about Jesus and I believe the seeds planted in them are already growing rapidly and who knows where God will take that. Out of these 10-15 we had 5 or 6 readers who actually made a good connection with the Church members through our parties and one through attending the baptism of a Church member/reader. 3 of these readers are actually very interested now in attending services and will hopefully be connected to the Church in some form or another. In addition to these 3, I read with one young guy who was connected to the Church before we came through his Sister and had attended the Church often for years but was not a Christian. We studied Acts as he had read Luke and knew it well. He decided during our last weekend there that he was ready to choose Christ and let God use him in big ways. He was baptized on Tuesday, July 27th with all the Church members, some friends of his, our whole team, and one reader who knew nothing about Jesus before we came, in attendance.
The experience of God using me and our team in this way and seeing him at work in the hearts of others has definitely had a huge impact on my relationship with God and deepened my faith in Him and His Spirit. I am much more confident now in my ability through God’s Spirit. This is just a small glimpse of how I was impacted as a result of going to Estonia on LST this summer. What an incredible experience that I was so blessed to be a part of. Thank you to the Tartu Church of Christ for everything you did to make our time there so incredible. We couldn’t have come without all of your help. I hope you all realize how much you encouraged and blessed each of us! You are amazing! And once more I must thank all of you who supported us in going whether it be financially, in prayer, or simply through your kind words. I hope you all realize how big a role you played in what our team was able to accomplish in Estonia this summer! The thought that kept running through my head during the last week was “WHAT IF WE HAD NEVER COME?!?!” Because we came, many lives were impacted and changed, and we never would have gone without all of your help. THANK YOU!
Peter and the team
On Fridays and Saturdays we got to spend time with the Church members and our readers. This day we travelled with some of the Church members to a 13th century castle in Rakvere, Estonia.
And here is a link to a video made by one of the Church members of our final party. Most of the above pictures were also taken by her. Thanks Merlin!