Two weeks just flew by! Yeah, it’s been a little tough, but nothing God couldn’t pull us through.
We spent this last week really trying to reach out to the locals here in Maardu, and now we’re heading out to Finland!
But before Finland, let’s recap a little bit from this week. We haven’t been having as many people come out, as we expected to have. Everyday only about 1 or 2, maybe 3 new comers would show up. But then, after lots of advertising for our big events we held outdoors, it seems like we got quite the show of people!
We served free food, we had several kid’s sports, arts and crafts, balloon animals, and face painting to keep the kiddos entertained. And of course, we prepared some worship songs for them. We also invited some local celebrities and then finally we finished off the evening with a short service.
Mark had to improvise without his cajon. Whatever works, right?
Larisa and Jane (our Germany folks) made some bomb balloon animals.
Alex was our main attraction ;P
What Breaks My Heart
Here’s what you need to know:
- I’ve met young ladies here (I’m talkin’ 12-16 year olds) that sell themselves to men so they can have a little extra money for drugs and alcohol!
- Girls can’t walk unattended at night because there are SO many drunk men wandering the streets that could take advantage of you.
- Happy hour is all day long. Whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening, there are drunk men wandering the streets!
- A good chunk of the people we’ve evangelized to were either atheists or Orthodox, and the rest were convinced that we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and refused to talk to us.
When I say that they’re open about their corruption, I really mean it. So if you have a broken heart reading this, then please, just send a short prayer for God to really make a revival take place here in Maardu.
I’d say that we did as much as we could do for the people here, we definitely planted the seed! God will do the rest even after we leave here. It’s incredible how much more plain and obvious the need for God is in these small towns. There isn’t much you can hide in such a small town, so everyone is very open about their sin and destruction. Which is why, I’ve learned that the only way to really reach out to them is to actually connect with them…
Connecting with the Locals…
I do actually want to mention a few people. This grandma, here with me and the girls, is actually one of the ladies we connected with here. After evangelizing to her, we learned that her name is Galina (she goes by Anna), and that she was a woman of old age and many health disadvantages. She has problems with her back, her knees, and her neck. And this poor old woman has to walk up 5 flights of stairs every day! (No elevators in Maardu).
We ended up walking her home, and she invited us into her house, where we met her son (he had his leg amputated after the war, and had horrible eye sight). She could barely take care of herself, let alone her crippled son! We prayed over her and her son, and she said the pain eased up a bit. But the thing that touched me most about this woman is the connection she made with all of us! She literally started crying at one point and said that, “She would never forget [us]. [We] are like [her] own daughters!” Oh my gosh, this woman had all of us in tears! She managed her way toward one of her old photos, and gave it to us as a token of her appreciation for us, so that we would remember her forever too!
Here is another instance, I didn’t witness this one myself, but we actually got it on video. During one of our kids festivals, Angela (one of our girls) spoke to one of the ladies walking by. For about three years (give or take), her right arm didn’t function properly. She couldn’t open or close it, and it caused her a lot of pain (it was something like arthritis). After a few minutes of prayer, she received complete healing and later came to our evening service with one of her friends! How cool is that!?!?! Man, that fired me up! Praise God!
Anyways, very BIG thank you to all the Estonians who have been working with us and helping us get around! And thank you to Estonia for such a warm welcome! I will definitely come back! As hard as it was, I actually think that at some point, it started to feel like home here 🙂
Hüvasti Estonia, till next time! You will always be in my prayers.