Tag Archives: Estonia

The Narva Experience

As a part of our assignment here in Estonia, we recently had the privilege of traveling to the far northeastern portion of the country. Yes, this could be referred to as the Russian border. Our destination for the day was the city of Narva, where there is a small group of Russian-speaking believers (most are dual citizens) that we were to meet with.

Narva is the third largest city in Estonia and is filled with history! Of course, pretty much all of Estonia and the Baltic States cities are filled with history. Our little over three hour drive was wonderful inSillamae, Estonia Municipal Building and of itself. The highway went through beautiful countryside, as well as occasional glimpses of the Baltic Sea. It was another reminder of the beauty of this country. We also took a slight detour to visit the city of Sillamae. I was able to visit there one cold night during our previous term in Estonia, so seeing the city on a warm sunny day was certainly more enjoyable!

Narva CastleThe historical highlight of the day was a brief visit to Narva Castle. The main tower of the castle, “Tall Hermann” serves as the iconic symbol of the city. The beauty and majesty of the grounds were a little overwhelmed by the weekend activities. It seemed that this particular Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that Narva was Ivangorod Fortressplaying host to a Motorcycle Rally. Yes, so the castle grounds were filled with tents, loud music, motorcycles of all sorts and sizes, and of course…bikers! Nevertheless, we did get the chance to peruse the grounds and catch a glimpse of the Ivangorod Fortress of Russia, just across the river.

We quickly left the castle grounds to make our way to an apartment building in the heart of the city. Our destination was the ninth floor of the building, which meant that we would need to take the elevator. Now, for you Americans, please note that European elevators are not similar to the ones we are used to. Oh, the nameplate said, “OTIS”, but it was one of their miniature versions. And just in case you are not aware…Nannette does not like elevators, in fact they may be next to the least liked thing on her list, perhaps only exceeded by her hatred dislike of cats.

Upon realizing we had arrived, our wonderful “I-only-speak-Russian” host and her friend, quickly made their way down to the entry door to let us in and greet us…in Russian! They then ushered us to that little elevator, and the four of us squeezed into the three person capacity elevator. Their Russian chatter, combined with a surprisingly fast elevator, helped my bride to endure the ride.

Our service that evening was wonderful. This group of Holy Ghost filled Russians may have been small in number, but they certainly knew how to worship and pray! And we did a lot of that. Following the conclusion of my message, we moved into a time of focused prayer. We began praying for individual needs, as well as general needs. We wrapped up with praying as those in attendance shared their burden and passion to see a mighty move of the Holy Ghost happen in their city! They have a hunger for genuine REVIVAL!

As we concluded the service, our hosts would not allow us to make our journey back without sharing their supper with us. They brought out a wide variety of ethnic dishes and we enjoyed a time of food and fellowship. It gave us all an opportunity to share information about each other’s lives.

These dear people will forever hold a special place in our hearts. I am thankful for missionaries who are sacrificing their time and resources to journey to this city on the Russian border on a regular basis to help these people grow in their relationship with Christ, as well as teaching and empowering them to reach their city for the Kingdom.

Thank you all who partner with us for allowing us to be just a small part of this group. We look forward to sharing more with you in the days ahead!

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A Busy Month!

It just does not seem possible that we have been in Estonia for four weeks already, and are halfway through this assignment. So much time has been spent getting reconnected with some of our old contacts and friends. And we have made many new ones already.

Sunday services here in the church in Tallinn have been filled with such an awesome presence of the Holy Ghost! A big change from our time here four years ago is the Worship Leading of Bro. Sander Mandre. Every Sunday he has done a magnificent job of leading us into a wonderful time of worship. This past Sunday the weather was quite warm, so we had the windows open in the space we are renting. Even with the presence of a steady rain, I noticed several people stopping outside the building to listen as we worshipped in song.

Recently, we were honored to drive to the far Eastern edge of Estonia (translated: the Russian border), to the city of Narva. Here on the ninth floor of an old Soviet-style apartment building we met with a wonderful group of people who love to spend time in worship and prayer. These people certainly know how to pray! Following the ministry of the Word, we moved into a time of prayer…and it was an intense time of prayer. You could feel God meeting with us in a great way. This group is ready to see Revival in their city! Please join with us in prayer for Narva!

This past weekend, following our Sunday service, we drove down south to Tartu, Estonia to celebrate Nannette’s birthday and our 35th Anniversary. This was another great opportunity to see more of this beautiful country and to learn more of its history. We were thankful for this short, but exciting time exploring a new city.

I shared with the church on Sunday that I can feel some breaking in the spirit world happening, especially in the immediate vicinity of the Culture Center where we are currently meeting. The evidence was seen as the people stopped to listen to our worship. I shared with Missionary Turner that continued revival is going to happen in this city and in this country!

Please continue to pray for this work here, as well as the country of Estonia. All of us are aware of the current headlines and this can be the source of a great deal of anxiety for a people who have spent so much of their long and storied history being occupied by other nations. We are believing in a mighty Holy Ghost Outpouring to continue to happen in the Baltic States!

And We Are Here!

We have arrived on location in Tallinn, Estonia! We have spent the past couple of days getting through the rigors of jet lag as well as beginning the process of reacquainting ourselves with the city.

Our journey to Tallinn allowed for a multi-hour layover in Oslo, Nannette and Rachel in OsloNorway. We took advantage of this to go into the city and see some of the sights. This was enhanced by being able to meet up with Rachel Zehm, a former team member from our work in Latvia who is currently serving in the city of Oslo.

As we flew into Norway, it was breathtaking to see the beauty of this country below us. Snow-covered mountains gave way to lush, green, rolling hills and farmland, with innumerable lakes scattered throughout. Oslo was no less beautiful, especially as we made our way to the main harbor area of the city. Oslo Opera HouseOslo Harbor From The Opera House

Oslo and Norway are experiencing an awakening of revival! Rachel shared with us some wondrous accounts of how God is miraculously opening doors of opportunity to reach souls who are hungry for something more in their life. While there is much natural beauty in this land, it certainly does not compare to the beauty of people who have a true relationship with Christ! That is the heartbeat of every missionary…regardless of which one of the 200+ countries of this sphere called Earth that we might occupy at any given time: to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

Check out our facebook page for more pictures from our brief stop in Norway. We will share thoughts from our first few days in Tallinn soon! Thank you for your continued prayers, support and encouragement!

Outpourings of love come in many sizes…

Yesterday…I cried.

I received two sweet pictures via text that made me re-think the enormity, the power, and yet the simplicity, of prayer. IMG_1643 This is Mason and Gentry. They are brothers, preachers kids, but they are also prayer warriors in Oklahoma! Their mother, Kim, my life-long friend, sent me the pictures to tell me they had prayed for us today and for our journey to Estonia. Their church has supported us financially from our first trip to Tallinn four years ago. They pray for us faithfully. But yesterday was a little different. Take a look: IMG_1642

Mason and Gentry are pointing to Estonia! They put a name to a spot on the globe, zeroed in and prayed with knowledge of the situation! They put some “Ummph” behind their prayers and asked God to protect us and give us favor in that country.

I was moved to tears. To think they thought of us, as so many of you have, is overwhelming. And to see their smiling faces was even more encouraging. We can do this, we are NOT ALONE! See, friend, we cannot do it alone, God never intended for us to. He will equip us for every situation, every battle, every good thing. “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 And the icing on the cake? Take a closer look at their shirts! IMG_1643

 “I might be little but I pray real big!”  

No need to feel inadequate in the Kingdom of God! Prayer is powerful, no matter how old you are! He will answer YOUR prayer just as faithfully as a minister of the Gospel! Thank you again, Mason and Gentry for your prayers. We are encouraged and ready to go!

Be encouraged today…God is faithful. He loves to hear us call on His Name, the Name above EVERY Name, Jesus!

We are close to our budget goal required to stay in Estonia for the full two months. (You can read our first post about our mission here!)We appreciate everyone who has given, it has meant so much since Doug has lost his job recently and our personal funds are “depleted”. If you would still like to give, just hit that DONATE button to the right of the page. It’s fast and easy and we know God will bless you. God always makes it come together for the Kingdom’s sake!

Doug and Nannette

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We are packing!

Doug and NannetteFriends, we are just a few days away until our departure for Eastern Europe. We are beyond excited to be able to return to this beautiful part of the world and minister to wonderful people! Our time in Tallinn, Estonia will be spent as “relief” ministry for the resident missionaries there.

We will be conducting church services, home Bible studies, prayer walks, personal one-on-one ministry and outreach efforts as well.

There are also several other “works” around the country of Estonia that we will visit to encourage and help if needed. We sincerely covet your prayers for our safe travels and most of all for anointing in ministry. We do not intend to go over there and sit or just sight-see! Having lived in Tallinn for three months in 2010, we know the area and should be able to jump right back in to the culture…thankfully a majority of the people do speak English! Our fundraising efforts for this endeavor are still ongoing. We need to be able to stay a full eight weeks if the funds allow. If you would like to partner with us and be a part of this mission, it’s easy! Just click on the DONATE button to your right on the sidebar, you can be finished in two minutes via Paypal! Obviously it is the quickest at this point but there is still time to send snail-mail! If you wish to send a check our address is below. Keep in mind we do leave Tuesday of next week, the 24th. If you desire a tax deduction, contact Doug at dje9759@gmail.com.

Douglas and Nannette Elkins
2790 Crabapple Circle
Bloomington, IN 47401

What a blessing many of you have been to this ministry! We cannot do it without you and we realize it takes the Body of Christ, all of its members working together, to win souls for the Kingdom. Thank you for partnering with us for eternal rewards. Stay tuned to Faith Journey and Nannette’s blog, Hope in the Healing, for steady updates while we are gone!

For the Kingdom,

Doug and Nannette

 

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Don’t Pass by Nikolai…

We are winding down our time in preparation to return to Estonia! Less than two weeks to go until we arrive in Tallinn, where we will minister the rest of the summer. You can still partner with us and help be a part of the journey! Donating is easy with the button on the sidebar. Be blessed!

Nannette is sharing a story about our time in Tallinn in 2010. We met a wonderful man who made a “forever” impact on our lives. We hope his story will do the same for you!

“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”                               ~E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

We arrived in Tallinn, Estonia in the middle of September, 2010. A stranger in a foreign land, my feet had never even left the good ‘ole USA, let alone touch down three hours from the Russian border! But I was too busy taking in the sights of Old Town Tallinn to be worried about the KGB. Thankfully the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had been out from under Soviet occupation since 1991, they were free, and nowhere was it more evident than in Tallinn.

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We quickly settled in our quaint, historic hotel right in the hustle and bustle of Old Town. Well goodness, everything was historic in Old Town! The Danish rule of Tallinn had begun in the year of 1219! They had a pharmacy that had been in operation for over 900 years, absolutely mind-boggling. We just couldn’t take it all in. We stood in the city square and stared in awe. The cobblestone streets, the brightly colored buildings, the beautiful spires and steeples, it was all just breathtaking. My poor little camera was getting quite the workout but I knew my friends and family would probably never get the opportunity to see what I was experiencing and I didn’t want them to miss anything!

Eastern Europeans are not like Americans, nor would we ever want them to be. They are a very friendly and kind people but mostly quiet and reserved when you first meet them. But once you have won their trust then they are your friend for life.

We finally found an apartment building a few blocks from Old Town, close to a market and the bus stops. Upon entering our apartment building we had a security guard that sat in a little cubicle by himself all day watching a monitor and assuring that only those who lived or worked in the building were permitted in. There were two gentlemen, one in the morning, and one at night. Both of them were older, early sixties, and both were Russian.

Every time The Sweetheart and I would come or go we would always wave and speak the one or two words we knew in Russian, smile real big and then go on our way. The first time they just kind of stared at us with a surprised look on their faces, but eventually they started responding back with a smile and a wave in return. This continued for several weeks with nothing unusual, until late one afternoon.081

We came in to find the day security guard in his cubicle as usual but he had a lady visitor and as soon as he saw us come in he jumped up and ran out talking loudly in Russian and waving his arms. He kept talking to his friend and to us and smiling and bowing and then he kissed ME on both cheeks! We were all laughing and so flustered that we could not communicate! While I was recovering from my kiss he grabs The Sweetheart and kisses HIM on both cheeks! This was no small feat because The Sweetheart is over six feet tall and this man is about my height and I am just barely over five feet! All the while he is jabbering away and smiling and bowing and clasping his hands together. I knew he was trying to tell his friend something about us but couldn’t quite make it all out.

Thankfully, a young lady walked in and we asked her if she would interpret for us. Reluctantly, she agreed, and we discovered his name was Nikolai. Again, he starts chattering away. When he finished, the young lady interprets, “He says you are his friends.” I said, “That’s it?! He said all of that just to say we are his friends?!” She wasn’t into this at all and was obviously in a hurry, but we could tell there was more to this story and Nikolai was still talking ninety miles an hour. Finally, our interpreter tells us everything he is saying and our lives are forever changed. I hope yours is too.

“Every day since you came to live in my building, not one day do you come or go that you do not stop and wave and smile at me. I have worked here many, many years. No one ever speaks to me. No one ever waves at me. No one ever smiles at me. I do not exist. But you people are my friends. You show me you like me, you show me love, you are my friends, you are my friends.”

By then the young lady is smiling, she doesn’t quite know how to get out of the awkward situation, so we ask her to tell him that he is our friend too, we tell him our names and we talk back and forth a couple of minutes and then we thank her for helping us and she runs toward the elevator. We are still “talking” to Nikolai but of course the interpreter is gone so we cannot understand one another but it doesn’t matter because “love” has taken over in that place and we are all amazed by what has happened.

You see it wasn’t me. It wasn’t The Sweetheart. Most of us have that kind of friendly habits in our nature. We touch people’s lives every day without realizing it and thank God we do! Most of the time we do it because we were taught good manners, we had good parents, we went to Sunday School, we learned the Golden Rule. It does matter how we act, what we say, and how we react every day. The love of Christ will shine through us….or not.

We had the wonderful opportunity to connect Nikolai with the missionary there before we left Estonia. We also had this picture framed and gave it to him before we left and he cried, which broke our hearts, and he proudly displayed it on his desk in the cubicle. We continue to pray for him and would love to be able to meet him again someday. I am grateful for the life lesson he taught us.

It does matter how I act, how I treat people, because they are watching me and I want to be an example of the love of Christ.017

Your ministry begins when you walk OUTSIDE the doors of your church, not when you step INSIDE.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew5:16.

 

 

Tallinn Awaits!

Tallinn Awaits Us!

Over the past few days the details have all begun to fall into place for the next phase of our Faith Journey travels! We will be returning to Tallinn, EstoniaTallinn, Estonia in late June to serve as replacement missionaries for Bro. Nate and Sis. Ingunn Turner and their sons as they return to the States for a short time of fund raising. Tallinn has always held such a special place in our hearts as this is the city where Faith Journey first took wings nearly four years ago! The plans are for us to be in Estonia for two months, where we will oversee the work and church in Tallinn, as well as other ministry points across the country.

We are very excited and thrilled at this opportunity to reconnect with good friends not only in Tallinn, but in other parts of Estonia as well. As details of our journey become solidified, we will keep you informed. We invite you to connect to us on Facebook or Twitter for more updates as well.

The Need Is Great…

We are so very thankful for those of you who have continued to partner with us financially on a monthly basis. Were it not for your continued support, even thinking about this journey would beNikolai impossible. However, our financial base is not adequate to cover the need of the extended time necessary to complete this journey. We have stepped out in faith to commit to this time frame, knowing that God will provide for the remaining financial need.

Several of you have blessed us in the past with a “one-time” offering to help us get to the field, or extend our time once there. We are asking that you prayerfully consider partnering with us for this need once again. We need to raise at least $2500 to make this journey feasible, and to be able to stay the amount of time that the Turner’s need us to stay.

There are several ways that you can partner with us. There is an easy PayPal link to the right side of this website. You may also find other options for making a donation on the Support Page of this website. We need these funds secured by June 1 if at all possible in order to finalize our schedule. (But of course we will ALWAYS receive an offering!)

Thank you for your consideration in this matter! God is going to pour out mighty blessings!