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Kulli and Doug Mission Update from Estonia

posted Sep 25, 2017, 2:07 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Feb 4, 2018, 11:01 AM ]
Greetings everyone!
It has been a while since we sent out a newsletter and there is a lot of exciting news to report.

About school:
 In May, members of Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary met with representatives of Asbury Theological Seminary and began serious discussions to launch a joint Masters in Church Planting degree program which could be completed by students at BMTS.
In June, after 3 plus years of hard work, 14 students graduated from Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary.  The graduating class included students from Estonian, Ukraine, Nigeria, and Latvia.     
BMTS just began a new session of school on August 23, 2017.  All told, there are 22 new students which is a larger class than last year. We have students from Estonia, Ukraine, Finland etc. They are a good group. It is always inspiring to meet people who have answered a call for ministry.
Last spring, we did some creative thinking and prepared a cool new admissions materials and a video to introduce seminary to prospective students. The video is in Estonian, but you are welcome to see it here:
About church:
In summer Kulli participated in the Wesley Summer Seminar and spent a few weeks at Asbury Theological Seminary working on an article related to John Wesley’s Eschatology. Külli is also involved with a committee at UMC in Estonia to translate and publish Wesley-s 52 sermons in Estonian language for the first time.  We hope to print by May 2018.
Every year Estonian Methodists come together for a summer conference. This year Doug presented (and Kulli translated) two sessions there. Our theme was Romans 12:1-2, making our lives a living sacrifice. It was a very good conference. Every night there were prayer teams ready to pray with people. We felt refreshed through that event.
Ferry to to Saaremaa to Evangelical College Students Camp

About summer:
Our best summer days were spent camping with the Evangelical College Students who invited Külli to speak to them. We went as a family and took part of the entire experience. It was held on an island of Saaremaa where nature is particularly pure. We enjoyed seeing a variety of plants and picking wild berries, and went swimming in 18C water of the Baltic Sea. Local people were very social and every interaction takes time. It took 30 minutes to buy a postage stamp at Saaremaa! It is easy to get caught in long conversations at a store over a loaf of bread or varieties of fish! The camp was hosted by an Orthodox church. Youth paid their rent in labor. So as part of the program we chopped and piled up wood.
We came across this humorous book Estonians Inside and Out. Under the title What Estonians love the author writes:
“for some unclear reason, an Estonian likes to chop wood and pile it up.” … “Chopping wood is somewhat difficult for those who live in houses with central heating. First, you do not have a place to chop wood. Second, you do not have a place to pile all that wood you have chopped. Finally, you do not need it, because the room is already warm enough. In this situation most Estonians who live in the city have found the solution in the form of a country cottage.” 
So the city folk go to an island to have fun chopping wood. And a lot of fun it was. Working together, not much speaking, but we all bonded well. We are friends forever for we chopped wood together. Our kids were taught how to chop, pile and drive a tractor. What do Estonians do with all that chopped wood? They heat their homes 9 months out of 12 and sometimes even in July. And they also have sauna. And a nice wood pile makes a very good background for a photo. 
Doug operated the heavy duty wood splitter at the youth camp.
Külli chose the old fashioned axe to split wood.
Karl, Kristofer and Kalev helped to load, transport and pile up wood.
About prayer requests:
  • Please pray for Karl, Kristofer and Kalev. For their new year at school and kindergarten.
  • Please pray for stability in Estonia and upcoming elections. During this summer we saw a lot of NATO planes. It was reassuring to us, but also a reminder that we live in a complex world.
  • Please pray and support those who live in hurricane-ridden areas dealing with so much loss.
  • Please pray for and support the important work done by us and other missionaries. We just sent away one of our seminary’s best workers to mission in Brazil. Our dean commented: “For some reason God likes to work that way: we must give away in order for us to receive.”

Greetings and blessings to all,
Kulli and Douglas