Well we have arrived in Tallinn!
We'd asked people to pray for our journey and wow did it make a difference! It was probably the easiest journey we've ever done - everything was just so straightforward!
A couple of weeks ago I thought about the first few weeks in Tallinn - and that it would be great to write short entries detailing what happens, if anything, each day. Maybe some of what we go through will be helpful to others.
When a church is a couple of years old and growing, like it is in St Petersburg, it requires certain skill sets and those that join at that point tend to be able to specialise a little. But before that I feel there are two different stages, two different areas that are needed, and that calls for a more general skill set. The first is the pioneering stage, like we are now in again. It's digging out everything from the beginning. What follows that is the church planting stage, when others are now with you, a small crowd has grown and you launch the church and get it through the first few years.
Being at this pioneering stage is a little alarming (if we rely on self that is!). Carving out a life, finding work, making friends, building team. It's about putting all the things in place that years down the line still matter. And you do them all at the same time!
I'm writing this first draft from the kitchen in our new flat - which is so much bigger than our previous one! It's early. Our girls woke up and were playing in their room together (they now share and Anya is no longer in our room!). After playing a little, they came into our room - it was then only 5am! The two hour difference meaning they were wide awake! It's now 6am - we've all been up an hour already.
So, what of our first day? We were picked up from the airport by Brenda Mitchell, the agent and Pastor's wife we'd first met in August. She filmed us as we were walking through customs - our arrival, and into our new life.
We looked around the flat, which with three bedrooms and a lounge, plus kitchen, is a few rooms bigger than where we lived for the previous three and a half years! It was really surreal.
As was going to the Stockmann supermarket that is worryingly close to our flat - the choice and variety! It was overwhelming! Things that we just couldn't buy in Russia are now just there on the shelves! While there we met our first contacts - an Israeli couple who'd just moved here two weeks before to set up a cosmetic company using Dead Sea products. His name was Leo - he gave us his number and said Rachel could have some free stuff!
Having finished shopping, we walked home (it's still surreal saying that). I think we were suffering from culture shock. My body just shut down. I couldn't eat, I needed to lay down and I just felt all strange and jumpy. I still feel a little strange now the following morning. There's a lot we've had to adjust to - I guess it'll just take time.
We hope to sort out Internet access today (actually, hence the late posting, it was a few days later!) - the flat doesn't have it. I'll also get my Estonian Sim card when Barry (the Pastor referred to above) drops it off sometime this afternoon.
There is a lot we have to do. But this is just the start. What today and this next week will bring, who knows. But whatever does happen, we'll record it here.