There are many things that being here means we have to get used to - another is the fact that we don't have a car. Initially this made us think a little on the negative - walking to the shop to buy food, walking takes longer (compared to doing the same journey in the car), going to friends or to eat out and then having to walk back at the end of the night. But in reality things aren't as bad as they seem. For starters we wouldn't want the hassle of having to drive around this city because city centre driving is so different to driving in the suburbs. Its also much nicer, now we are used to things, to be able to walk to places that in the UK we'd have had to drive to.
We also are able to walk our daughter to her kindergarten, and though this will be a challenge in the middle of the very cold winters they have here, being on foot does add that homely feel to the situation.
So I am glad that we don't have a car - I'd always be a little worried while driving anyway in case I'd be stopped by the police. They seem to be at most junctions and stop anyone at will, and because of being a foreigner, there's always the chance that a 'fine' (or bribe!) will have to be paid.....No thanks.
And in truth, with a metro station about 20 minutes away and trolley buses everywhere, not to mention other forms of transport, we don't need a car anyway.
One thing about cars though that's different to England is that here cars rule! And they have things that look like a zebra crossing in the UK but here the pedestrian waits for there to be a gap in the traffic, the cars just keep rolling through! There are light controlled crossings as well so when its green you can walk, even when traffic is turning towards you. If you stop someone rushing behind you is likely to bump into you so you just have to walk in faith, knowing you can walk and just believing that the cars turning towards you are indeed going to stop as well. And I think (like the USA but unlike England) you can only cross a road at certain points.
Moving on from cars though, having been here a month now it is encouraging to see how our language has come on. The reality is, of course, is that we are always learning. And because these things do not change, once you learn something in a new language, and it gets committed to memory so that you don't forget it, you don't need to learn that again. So over time layers of understanding form and our knowledge grows. I guess lots of things are like this in life, but certainly its like this for us with Russian.
One final thing for this post that we need to keep doing, and an encouragement I'll leave with anyone in our situation, is that we need to remember to keep lifting our heads up and remembering the big vision, the big picture of what we are here to do. City life, foreign culture, language learning - all these things can make you look down, feel so small, see your goals (God's plans!) so impossible and make you shrink back and away from the task. By daily reminding ourselves of why we are here and how we got here is so important. Getting out to see the city is also important. From our apartment we can get to a bridge over the Neva in about 5 minutes and from the centre of the bridge suddenly our perspective changes and we realise afresh it isn't a road or neighbourhood that we want to reach but a whole city of 6 million people!
And beyond the city is a nation!
The theme of our second small group meeting for this church plant was what are our dreams for the city (through the church we plant). There are just 5 of us (at the moment!) who make up the St Pete's church plant - how can we shake a city? Well, on our own be can't. But with God and by working in team, we know we can because we know that God can. So we are here to pioneer on. What it'll look like in a years time, or two years or ten years only God knows now and in time we'll see a little more clearly.
But we're here to reach a city. And that doesn't start when we have a church of 10,000 or 1,000 or 100 but with individuals who lay down their own plans, careers and choices and say Yes to God and what plans He has for us. So we're here now. May God's will be done in this city....
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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