And it occurred to me this morning - this is what church planting really is. It's taking each day, one day, at a time. No one can plant a church in one go. No one is skilled enough to really get their head around it. But what you do do is take every single day, every encounter, and after a while, you've got a whole network of friends and contacts - you've met other churches, you've asked them how they do it. You've started to understand the local culture and city - and if you've moved abroad, you've started to pick up the language too. And as the months go by, you realise that things are starting to happen. And you end up at that point because from day one you say Yes to everything that comes up, because you have no way of knowing where that will lead.
And what has happened so far, as well as what I'm about to share, is further example of that.
On Friday night Rachel was at a ladies meeting and made good contact with an Estonian lady named Kai. What was particularly encouraging is that this lady has two daughters who are a similar age to ours, and this lady also home schools them. Rachel starts home schooling Mia tomorrow, so it's great timing that she has met this lady and we pray that a friendship will develop.
On Saturday we went to the local shop again, as there is a play room on the 5th floor for the girls. I sat with them and soon Mia came over to tell me that there were some people speaking English - she's getting into things well! So leading me over, I went in and after a few minutes, started chatting with them. The guy was Scottish, but living in London. He was playing with his 2 year old boy and his partner (it was unclear on their situation), an Estonian lady was also there. He comes over every two weekends, I assume to see the boy. We got talking about church, she said how there are churches here, and many call themselves Lutheran - she confessed she was also Lutheran but didn't go to church (Mia, on hearing them mention God, started loudly whispering in my ear "daddy, do they know Jesus?" - a little embarrassing, but she's a real evangelist already!). The guy seemed interested in general - it was hard to gauge exactly where he stood, but he did say that people actively promoting Atheism as an option 'really bothered' him so was supportive of a new church being planted. He actually was the one who asked for my email address, stating that he's back nearly every two weeks, so we'll see what happens with that one - we'll make sure to pop back into that shop in two weeks just in case!
We then came home, as after lunch we were having an Estonian lady around to get to know her - we'd been connected to each other before our arrival, but this was the first face to face. We really didn't know where she was at - was she already in a local church or did she want to meet us because she wasn't involved anywhere. After a few minutes talking, it's clear that she is very well connected in the city, and has a show on the Christian radio station as well. She's also a translator. Coming to Tallinn from the islands off the west coast of Estonia, which is her home church, it was when she stated that she didn't have a local home church in Tallinn that we started to wonder. We clearly first need more time with her, getting to know each other more, but we did talk about what the future church plant might look like and asked her to pray to see if God would speak to her about being involved. So we'll be praying too! She'd certainly be a great blessing to the team, but she is busy and is involved in a lot within the Christian world in Tallinn, so we'll see what the next six months bring.
Approaching the evening, we thought maybe things would stop - until I got a text from Leo, my new Israeli friend, asking if I wanted to go out for a drink. Like I said above, at this stage of things, it's just good to say yes, so I went out to somewhere nearby. We had a fun evening - and at the end of it I'd picked up some teaching classes - English for two of his employees as well as him wanting me (or maybe Rachel) to teach his lady, Shani, and himself, some basic Russian! This next week I'm setting out to look for teaching jobs, but yet again, like in St Petersburg, it appears God is already ahead of me on that one - and it came about, why? Just saying Yes! One thing of interest that he told me, referring to when we first bumped into them on our first night, was that it was Shani who nudged him as she saw Rachel, because "she was just beaming, like an angel". The big challenge for Shani since moving from South Africa is, in comparison for her, how unfriendly people seem! So it was a smile (from my angelic Rachel!) that opened up this whole connection!
So that's your second point for church planting - 1 - say Yes all the time 2 - wear a smile!
We were back at EVK this morning, the same church we went to last week. And here too I've picked up two more potential students!
What I love about this last week is how fun it all is following God's lead and just going with the things He opens up. It's not like we are going up to people or chasing people down. It's just we are going about our everyday life and seeing where God is working.....
This next week marks a big shift in our time here - Rachel starts home schooling Mia in the mornings (so I'm out and about with Anya) and I will be starting the hunt for teaching jobs - both online and on foot. And maybe I'll be starting to teach those new students as well already.
What ever does happen, knowing something certainly will, I'll be sure to write about it shortly, as I continue this topic of Breaking New Ground, focusing specifically on this first month and recording all that happens, even if only for our records, but maybe to encourage others out there looking to also reach their own community or city.