I put the question mark in the title for a very specific reason - words like pioneer, missionary, & church planter are words that get described about someone but don't always sit well with me. Maybe the church planter is best and most descriptive in our regard as in time this is what we are going to be part of doing - setting up a new church here. But a Missionary and Pioneer, like great men such as Hudson Taylor mean that it seems too big a 'title' for what we are doing? No? I don't know either way. What ever life we are now living, whatever ministry and work we see established, it certainly isn't some glamorous life that does it, as you'll see in time.
I guess what I'm saying in these confused sentences is that I'm well aware of my own smallness, my own inability. Thanks be for the grace of God for what He has commissioned. So maybe I shouldn't belittle this, my own life, because God has worked hard to get us here. Anyway, all this aside, what I want to write about from now on is a series on the realities of mission, the life-on-the-ground side of the story.
What does if feel like to be here? What are the new challenges that we are facing? I'll keep (most) of the faith elements and adventures for the Adventures of Faith series (4 of which have already been written) but here I want to start writing about the daily realities of mission.
I've said for some time that mission is not just defined by going to another nation and serving God there. Mission is a state of mind, an openness for God to use you everyday where ever you are. You can be at home, in your every day life and be on mission, just as you can go to another nation, language, culture and NOT do mission (perish the thought!)
But I write this to encourage, and that if our experiences, encounters and adventures can stir you into mission where you are, just because you are reading about someone who has gone overseas, then may God get all the glory and may you serve Him with your whole heart.
One thing we'll have to put aside (and I think I'll find this easier than most, I don't know) is our own nationality and culture. I mean the kind of thing that says "that's not how WE do it in England..."
For us, now, we are Russian? If not by our passport or birth but in order to reach the Russians in years to come. Unless we think like a Russian and more so accepted by Russians we will not have much of an impact on the people, which is what we ultimately came to do - to reach men and women with the saving message of the gospel of Jesus.
But its fun throwing ourselves into something new. I'll have to, for example, remember to START queueing again once I'm back in England!
Another important point that I think I already came here with is that other cultures are different - but different isn't wrong. In time, once we've understood them, I hope we'll come to really enjoy and appreciate these differences.
One thing that we do have to go through and grow in is that we hit this country as infants - in language, understanding, everything. And while our understanding and experience can grow in time as were learn how things are done, our language keeps us as a two-year-old because for a while it will be so basic and we just cannot make ourselves understood.
So far I've already made some funny mistakes. Early on, I was well proud of myself that I'd said to someone "My Name is Tim" until Rachel pointed out I said it in French not Russian! (about the only French I know as well!)
Also, while trying to find a certain DVD in a big shop, I worked out what I needed to say in Russian and said it for the man to reply "I don't speak English, sorry!" I don't know what he thought I said but I thought I was speaking Russian!
This, I'm sure, will be our biggest test and will take the longest to break through.
I write this having been in Russia for just over a month now. Our furniture only arrived yesterday and our daughters room is only being built as I type (we say room but its a door being constructed onto the end of the kitchen here so as to give our daughter her own room). It has taken some effort to get to this point but now we know, we feel, God has allowed us to get to know the area first, otherwise had things arrived two weeks ago we may have hid inside sorting things out! Now we can't as be have language studies starting much more this week and our daughter at kindergarten full time.
So we feel God knew best - yes, we had a 40 day wait for our stuff to arrive since leaving our home in July, but today we are no worse for it. We came by the will of God and we'll keep in with his timing and plans for us.
I'm sure we'll have many more funny experiences and situations to write about - these will be the things that probably will teach us the most as we go forward. Only time will tell.
But I am glad that I'm here. I'm glad that I took God seriously enough to follow what he said - in his timing.
I've chosen the Royal Way - in time, I'll see what it all leads to here in Russia.
Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!
I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.
I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.
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I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)
For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.
Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com
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