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(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, August 4, 2010)

Well, we arrived home safely this past Friday night and are still recovering from a 9 hour time difference and the sadness of leaving so many very close friends. Its Wednesday now and I’m back in my office at the Calgary Church of Christ having a hard time not thinking about all of said friends so I thought I’d take a moment and give you a summary of how everything went in the end. I’ll try to sum up the trip as best I can.

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

God’s blessing on Talis’ baptism in the form of a beautiful sunset. (View from the private top floor hotel pool we rented for the baptism)

Talis waiting for Peter to quit preaching :)

Dayna in one of her many reading sessions. This is how we spent up to 9 hours/day while in Tartu.

Chelsey during one of her reading sessions

Our Second Party – Olympics Theme (July 22nd)

Our Final Party – Talent Show (July 28)

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!

http://www.zshare.net/video/78997935036c2fe9/

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Tartu Pictures

(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, July 20, 2010)

Here are a couple pictures from our first 10 days in Tartu. We arrived in Tartu the day after camp on Saturday, July 10th and had two information meetings where we signed up 52 readers. On Sunday we got settled, spent time with the Tartu Church members and participated in their worship service with them. We began reading one on one with our 52 readers on Monday, July 12th.  We have pictures of reading sessions as well but they are on everyones cameras right now which I don’t have access to. We’ll post some of them soon. Please feel free to leave comments or encouragements for the team. We would love to hear from you!

The whole team. We had just arrived in Tartu on July 10th. Picture was taken at the Church apartment as we anxiously awaited the beginning of our first information meeting.
A collage of pictures from our first party with our readers and the Church members. There were 36 people there. It was a Canada themed party and was a lot of fun!

Eating lunch with some of the Tartu Church members after service on Sunday, July 18.

– Peter

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Camp Pictures

(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, July 20, 2010)

Here are some pictures of our first week in Estonia helping with an amazing Bible Camp. Was so good. There were 180 people there and many from Tartu. Some of which we are now reading with. The team was pretty overwhelmed at first with all the new faces and languages but by the end of the week we had all made many new life long friends.

Peter
Our team with everyone at a Bible camp in Estonia July 4-9 2010

With Merlin at camp (Our Tartu Church Site Host)

Family wearing camp shirts. Kids loved the camp and everyone LOVED the kids!

Dayna in her cabin having devo I think (Dayna, Stefi, and Everett each were counselors of their own cabin for the week)

Getting some help from a couple Russian men to lead a song in Russian. I was ok reading Estonian but the Russian alphabet had me struggling.

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End of Reading Week #1

(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, July 17, 2010)

A message from Peter…

Well, I just finished spending 30 minutes writing a very long blog describing our past week and as I went to publish it, the internet disconnected and I lost it all. I’ll try to repeat most of what I had written but am short on time now. Thursday night marked the end of our first week of reading sessions. We capped the week off with a party for all our readers and the Church members. The purpose of these parties is to help us build relationships with our readers in a different environment than reading sessions and more importantly, to help connect our readers to the Church members. Dayna and Stefani planned the entire party on their own and were in charge for the night running the whole show. This is now my third LST trip so i’ve planned and been to many of these parties and I have to say that it was an amazing party on Thursday. We had 26 readers come which is a very good percentage and as the party ended that night around 9pm, I could hardly take the smile off my face i was so proud of our team and blown away by how much was accomplished during our first week. There have actually been many times in these past two weeks where I’ve had the privelidge of watching these 3 young people(Dayna, Stefi, and Everett) and had to hold back tears because of how amazing they are doing and how well they are stretching themselves and growing. I wish I had time to share all of the stories. Just picture Everett teaching a cabin full of boys an action song about the love of Jesus and leading their performance of it on a stage in front of 180 people. I’m currently sitting up at the Church apartment on my own preparing a Bible class, Worship, and Sermon for Church tomorrow and I became suddenly overwhelmed by the impact we have had already on so many lives and we still have two weeks of opportunity to deepen that impact. I want to thank all of you so much for all of your support for us to be here right now. We are only here because of all your prayers, encouragement, and financial help. We begin week 2 of reading sessions tomorrow evening. Our full days of reading run from 10am-9pm Monday-Thursday. On an average day last week we had 27 people in and out of this Church apartment reading the Gospel of Luke and discussing it with us one on one. Most of which know very little about the Christian faith and the incredible message of Jesus. Please keep us in your prayers this week!

Peter

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Quick Update

(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, July 12, 2010)

We’re in the middle of our first day of reading right now. We had our information meetings here in Tartu on Saturday and Sunday and now have 52 readers signed up. We are going to be very busy which is great! Things are going very well! We already know that we’ve had a huge impact just from camp and the incredible new friendships we have with so many young people and its only the middle of the first day of reading. 3 more weeks of reading. Our team has definitely been impacted in a huge way as well. In a way that is hard to write about really but i’m sure those of you who know us well will see it in us when we get home. We love all of you. We want to thank so many of you again for your support and participation in this with us!!!!!! Got to go. I’m on my hour of watching the kids while Chelsey reads. You can see a video of our week at camp here… http://www.facebook.com/?tid=1359764954231&sk=messages#!/group.php?gid=210702323769&ref=ts

Peter

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In Estonia!

(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com July 3, 2010)

In Tallinn, Estonia. Kids flew really well. Team doing well. Starting to sleep more at night already. Very excited to be here and already feel like our presence is an encouragement. Going to camp tomorrow. Will be in Tartu on Saturday. Going to sleep now as its midnight and the computer screen is beginning to become more and more blurry.

Peter

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OLD

I realize I dont post very often and when I do I only post a video or a quick update on how life is going. I never write blogs about anything interesting or thought provoking as Chelsey usually does. I dont remember the last time I put some deep thought into a blog and really poured my heart out. I’ve had many times where i’ve thought about doing so, but havent had the time.  Well today is no different. Sorry but i’ve got nothing at the moment. I did, however, want to share with you the equivelent of a thought provoking blog in the form of a sermon I preached this past Sunday here in Victoria. You can find it by clicking HERE!  

Oh and here’s a sweet family picture from my birthday tuesday. We had a few friends over and Chelsey baked me a cake in the shape of a retro Canucks jersey.  I dont feel any older but the kids in my youth group here would tell you otherwise. Im wondering if they forgot my actual name as they seem to keep reffering to me as “Old”.

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