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Estonia Mission - Newsletter

posted Dec 29, 2018, 12:13 PM by Bowmansville UMC

Greetings!

It has been awhile since our last newsletter. The sunny warmth of summer has turned into the cold dampness and deep northern darkness of winter!
We welcome the adventDarkness is overturned when the One True Light enters the world.  

 

Baby Jesus in a manger. Seminary's Christmas play set. 

 

In August, Kulli began here tenure as rector/president of the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary. As the semester began, over twenty new students were greeted hailing from Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Ghana, Nigeria, the United States, and, of course, Estonia. 

Our kids also began a new year at school. Kristofer began first grade and his teacher tells us he is doing well. It is amazing how energized he is to go to school and is excited to learn his lessons. His Estonian is not perfect, but he pushes himself to learn! Karl is now in the fourth grade (Estonian schools start children one year later than American schools) and is doing well. He continues to be very active in Estonian dance and cannot get enough of building projects with Legos and Minecraft. Kalev started his final year of kindergarden. He has continued to practice Judo which is popular among young children in Estonia.

Kulli with some of her 2nd year  theology students: Olga, Julia and Viktoria are wearing Ukrainian festive clothing and our son Kristofer at seminary Christmas party.


Doug continues to work with a tutor on his Estonian. It is taking longer than he would like to learn, but he is making progress. He can understand some conversation. Estonian has some similarities to the Finnish language and both are considered difficult to learn. One of the new students from Finland shared an old joke with him about how Finnish is the language of heaven because it takes an eternity to learn, adding that we know that it is the language of heaven because of Jesus’s final words, “It is Finnish(ed).” 


In September, Kulli organized and Doug taught at a preaching seminar for the Methodist preachers and students preparing for pastoral ministry. The event was well attended with 44 participants. The theme of the seminar was What Would Wesley Preach in honor of the recent publishing of John Wesley’s Standard 52 Sermons into Estonian for the first time. Doug researched and did a presentation on early Methodist preaching and also preached a contemporary sermon based on Wesley’s sermon on The Marks of the New Birth. The seminar has a follow up where pastors get to present their sermons. It is hoped other ministers will also choose one of Wesley’s sermons and write a contemporary sermon based on its content and that we hope to publish these new messages for the greater Estonian UMC.
 
In October, we traveled to Berlin for a gathering of GBGM missionaries from around all Europe. There we were able to connect with other people serving in Europe and share our challenges and experiences as well as learn about how GBGM is preparing to lead in the future.
 

 

In November, we celebrated American Thanksgiving with some faculty and staff at the seminary. Doug shared various recipes with faculty members who all contributed to the feast. It was a good time of bonding and giving thanks for a busy but productive year together. We are thankful for our talented and dedicated coworkers.
The seminary Christmas party 2018

 

In December, the fall semester came to a close. We marked the semesters end with a Christmas party with students, faculty and staff. Celebration included food, games, singing, and a drama involving the Wise Men's visit to the baby in manger  acted by faculty/staff! Kulli thanked the students for a great semester sharing with them that part of her job as rector is to inspire the students, however, they were the ones who inspired her!

The students definitely are amazing. One of the leading ministers in Estonia whom was visiting the student chapel commented that the worship andstudents had “the smell of real faith”. We see and feel this too. It is a curious, active and spectacular group of students!

This is a sketch of what we have been up to (aside from our usual duties of teaching, English Speaking ministry, etc.) since last time we wrote. We thank you for your prayers, your gifts, and your good will.

WE Wish YOU a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Doug and Kulli

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