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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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tallinn Summertime Update - Part 2 - Moving into a new phase

 It's been longer than I hoped since the last short update, but here is another.
One thing that surprised us when we first moved to Russia nearly 4 years ago now was getting to March time and there being no Spring!  We'd prepared for the dark and the cold of Winter, but it hadn't occurred to us that other season's might be effected (all we knew was how it was in England - human nature tells you that this is therefore normal for all!)  Ha ha.  We laugh now about it.  Tallinn has an almost identical climate to St Petersburg, though thankfully maybe just a little less damp atmosphere which really makes it hard in cold, and hot weather.  So in Tallinn, the flowers are still out, and because of the great sunshine we've had, helped by the long nights, things really do come alive at this time of year.  The streets are busy, we've always noticed a healthy outdoors attitude by many that get to call Tallinn home - and this is certainly something we want to get into too!  Mia (pictured left) loves smelling and exploring the various flowers on show around the many parks here.

A new phase - What is really exciting is to be on the brink of a new phase to the church plant, which is of course the sole reason we've moved our family from Russia to the capital of Estonia.  Phase 0 was always making the move, settling into our permanent home, starting to learn language, getting schooling sorted, and because of our belief in team, seeing people move here to join us before we started any 'official' church plant activity.  Most of you will know that Mia has been accepted into school, and starts on 1st September.  We've started with language (though have a looong was to go as it's a really hard one!).  This month we will move into our permanent home, which we know will be a great base for all that God will do through us in this part of the world.  And also, on the 27th July, Arnoud & Elisabeth move with their family to join us here in Tallinn.  They are Dutch, and lived in the UK for about 5 and a half years before moving to Valga, southern Estonia, two and a half years ago.  They have three children, the oldest being the same age as Mia.  We are very excited to have them join us and so thankful by how God has started to answer prayers about team.  A Russian girl who is joining us from Hope Church also appears to have an offer for work here in September, so please do pray for her documents to come through (she needs a visa to live here) as well as for Arnoud & Elisabeth's move to be a smooth and easy one.
In Phase 1, which is now just a month or so away, we'll see this small team gathering, praying, seeking God together, while growing in relationship and community and looking to bring others along into that.  We'll be living out the values we want the church to have right from the beginning with the small group that will meet in our flat.  So it's really exciting.

And when God spoke to me about Tallinn, He talked about connecting with the other capital city church plants nearby - and it's exciting to see things growing in relationship in those areas - last night I spoke for a long time with Kevin Jones, who's family are moving to Helsinki, probably early next year, and they are coming for a month in August to explore the city.  He will come over to Tallinn for a day in August and we'll hang out, chat and see what God will do. And tomorrow, Matt Medd from Riga is coming up to stay with us for two nights.  We are really looking forward to spending this time with him, for talking together, encouraging one another and we hope learning from one another.  And this we know is just the start.  I'm planning to go back to St Petersburg in September for a church weekend away, that David Devenish is coming to speak at - I'll need to sort out another visa, but that's the plan.  

We've been really encouraged as well to hear from an American family who have moved to Tallinn for two years.  I met with the guy last night - they have been part of a New Frontiers church in Mexico and it seems want to get involved with us here too.  There have been a few others too looking in.

But life is never dull here!  The other day, just at the junction by our flat, we saw water flooding the street, and people stopping to take photo's.  I went out to investigate and there was already a camera crew there from a local TV news station when I arrived. A huge section of, I'm guessing, the main water main had clearly broken underground somewhere, so that, in many places, the water was pushing up hard and flooding the street.  Pavement and road were just being washed away.  Cars and buses were (usually!) slowly working their way around the worst of it.

And we were recently reminded of the extent to Tallinn being a WiFi city - exploring the beach area near to our new flat, I took a photo of one of the many signs you see, telling you how to get free WiFi, even while sitting on the beach!  How great is that!  ....that might be useful for sermon prep in the years to come...!

Visitors - It's been amazing how many visitors we've had already after just over 4 months - in fact, more than all our time in Russia.  The combination of cheaper flights and no visa certainly being a factor.  Each visitor brings something different - news from St Petersburg, encouragement for the work here, catch up with friends, help with the children.  It's great being part of such a global family of churches.
By the end of August we'd had have 60 days with visitors with us in Tallinn - a pattern of things to come?

And finally, we've mentioned this a while ago but not updated people since - when we arrived in Tallinn, we were contacted by the US TV show House Hunters International.  Well, now plans are more final, and they are coming to film us for one of their episodes on the 4th - 7th August.  We can't say much more now about this, having signed all their release forms, but it's going to be an interesting start to August!

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