A Village of Hope

Past couple of days have been full of many exciting things! Let’s see, I’ll start with Tallin. The city of Tallin is the capital here in Estonia, and it is absolutely beautiful. It has that Estonian feel to it that I didn’t even know I’d ever be able to recognize.

And, of course, it is also one of Estonia’s most popular attraction for tourists. Famous for its medieval atmosphere, they sure live up to it. And they don’t mess around, everything is medieval looking, they have the castles, the small shops, the market place, the wooden thingy majigies, the brick roads and all the other good stuff!

 

Obviously I bought something from the market. A super adorable hat with a HUGE pom pom on it! (What? I had to!)

 

I mean just look how fluffy it is! It’s so cuuuuuute! I can’t even!

   

Marina and I took another little bike ride (this is becoming a necessary tradition)! It was ummmm, something else on these brick roads… But still worth experiencing. ☺️

 

Anyways, back on track: we went to a church in Tallin. The first service was in Estonian so, literally I have no words except, “thank God for the translating ear phones!” Their church operates a little more differently than I’m used to but nonetheless it was a great service! They sang songs from Hillsong’s Young and Free album…. In ESTONIAN!!!! It’s amazing because even though they were speaking a language I’ve never spoken, I was able to worship with them fully in sync!

 

This is what it’s all about right here. These moments. When you’re just watching someone else get lost in giving their praise to God!

 

On top of that, we made it to the first Sunday of the month. Which means, COMMUNION! Not tryna brag or anything… but have you ever taken communion in an Estonian church?

Second service was in Russian/English. And obviously, fabulous worship in all three languages. Russian, English, and Estonian!

 

After the service they called all of us up and gave us gifts, it was the sweetest thing ever! And of course our pastor Yohannes shared a message with them. Check out the little gift bag! Chocolate, stickers, A PEN! Oh… AND…

 

FOOOOOOOOOODDDD!!!! SOOOO MUCH FOOOD! They literally fed us all day every day! (So much for that diet).

 

Rehab

So I’m going to have to move on for the sake of sparing you from meaningless reading. Just the other day we had the privilege of going to a rehabilitation center called A Village of Hope.

 

By far thee most beautiful rehab center I have ever laid eyes on!

 

It’s literally in the middle of a forest!

Check out more info about them here.

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The main director there was a man by the name of William. He was actually one of the patients six years ago at the Village of Hope rehab center and it changed his life so completely that he and his wife have dedicated everything they have to keep this place running.

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This here is Ivan and he got to share his testimony with us as well. His life was filled with bad habits that began when his parents divorced; but he really hit rock bottom after his girlfriend broke up with him. After his break up he took heroin every day for FOUR years! He got to the point where he killed someone and was arrested. He was given the option of several years in jail or staying at this very rehab facility he is currently in. He never expected to change the way he did. But he experienced God and ever since then he has been a different man. If you look at pictures of him that mark his arrival to Village of Hope, you wouldn’t recognize him. The very light in his eyes changed!

First of all, Praise God for his mercy and grace! I can’t say I’m perfect, but I can say that like Ivan, God showed his grace to me too! And now, we both have that desire and thirst for God, to seek Him and serve Him! Hallelujah!

 

The men here (about 16 in number) spend their time relearning life values and morals that most of them never even had to begin with (family, love, fantasy, hallucinations, and then God). They have prayer every morning, followed by class time, work, and then evening services. William really emphasized that they try not to force religion down their throats because, “It has to be something they openly accept into their lives because they chose to.” We got a tour of their whole site and…

   

And the place is surrounded by wild berries!!! Everywhere!!!

Village of Hope takes in these men that no one wants anymore. When their family and their friends have all given up on them, the Village of Hope gives them a second chance at life. It’s beautiful to see really. I can’t explain it! It’s all in their eyes! You see the hurt, the betrayal, the confusion, and then you see the hope, all in their eyes.

We performed the Lifehouse skit for them (watch it here if you’re curious), it had them crying! They were really able to connect with it.

 

This little trailer here is for the rookies. Whenever they get someone who is seriously hooked on something, they lock them in here for a few days as they go through withdrawls. Doors only to be opened for food and such (or that’s what the guys told me)…

Such an awesome place to visit. I feel like I would come out there just to enjoy the scenery and eat their berries! Plus, I wouldn’t mind hearing all those men’s testimonies again! They’re so encouraging! I heard 3 or 4 maybe for the time that I was there, and each one had me on the verge of tears!

And last but not least, a surprise trip to the BALTIC SEA from our dearly beloved Yohannes and Kristina!

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The overview just left me in awe!

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This would be Pastor Paul Bondaruk, j-chillen after all the hard work he’s put into our team! Huge thank you to the Big Man!
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Oooooh and the flower crown that was ever so carefully put together by Judith from Germany!

Below you will seeeee……

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…the ladies gettin’ a photo (Kristina, Vik, Emma, Sara, and lil’ ol’ me!)

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…the photographers, behind the scenes edition…

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…the other ladies enjoying their evening (Angie, Marina, Evelyn, and Vyvy)

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…and first step near the water! There was no way I was gonna swim in that water after sun down! However, still a very beautiful experience!

Thanks for reading! Love you guys!

-XoXo-

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