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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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tallinn Update - The snows come (and go) plus more

It's now over two weeks since the crowds came to gather with us in Tallinn from many other places in what became a Baltic's weekend.  I worked out that my darling wife produced forty-four meals for people over the 3 days - and on top of that, she provided cake and drinks for another forty-four!  So once all the visitors have gone, what do you do after that?  Well, with it being half term for Mia, we took three days off and got away (a little - heading about 30 minutes from home, just north of Tallinn!)
And during this time, it snowed!  This is the first time in five winters since leaving the UK that we have had snow in October....it has since melted, so we await winter to really start again.  The cold (it got down to -10.7 degrees C one night) did make all the leaves fall off the trees, so everything, though green again, is looking very bare.  We can even see a road through the trees from our kitchen window that for months we haven't been able to.
It appears the weather caught a lot of people out - the roads near our home became very icy and no one had yet put their winter tyres on - we don't even have any for the car, having been given the car from Spain, it didn't come with it's own spare set of tyres as is usual here.  (I wrote most of this blog three days ago so can now say that today I took the car to have a complete set of wheels fitted on the car, which is great.  A local Estonian friend of ours was able to find the garage that could provide four used but decent tyres, four disks so that in future we can change them ourselves and fit them all for a great price - the exact same amount raised through some extra teaching we've managed to do this week!  See below for details on that.
While away for those three days, there was a Swedish circus set up and we managed to get tickets to what turned out to be their last night (the night the snow came - did they know something we didn't??)  And as is usual now for this life we live in Tallinn, doing something like going to the circus doesn't in any way mean we can just sit there and watch....because, who do they call up to come to the front and take part in one of their pieces - yes, yours truly!  The photos Rachel took, with the light limited, (thankfully!) didn't come out but I was one of four guys who sat on a stool, then each of us put our heads onto the laps of the guy behind us (we were sitting in a square each facing a different direction) - and then they removed all four stools - I'm sure it looked interesting but I did manage not to collapse the group, and though the clown was messing around with my stool so it was the last one to be put back (and I could hear Mia at this point shouting "Give daddy his stool back!) he did eventually do it, we took our bows and returned to our places.  When it was finished, people started to leave, the music played out, and Mia couldn't help but want to dance around - a short video of that is here:

On the Sunday, once back home again, we had another Taste the Nations meal at ours - and saw three visitors come, including an Estonian mother and daughter who live on our street - we first met the daughter in our first month here and only recently bumped into her and her mother again last month.  It was great to once again have two generations from the same family represented at the meal - the third time it's happened in the three meals we've had!

Last Sunday we then had our second Vision Sunday for those that make up the core of the Hope:Tallinn church plant.  This in itself is a meeting that we want to see grow - we gather to build a crowd and from the crowd we know a church will emerge.  As the months go by, we are praying that one or two people will be added to the monthly Vision Sunday's which will give us the strength to plant out when we are big enough.  These might be people moving to Tallinn - called and full of faith for what God wants to do through them in Estonia (there are a few people in this bracket who are working out how to get here - and we are praying for you too!).  Also, as people see something within our relationships with each other, we hope that some already living here, with currently no framework of church or as yet relationship with God, will also one day make up the core of this church plant, as together, we walk with them on their journey.  As in the book of Acts chapter 2, we want to live in such a way that people in Tallinn start asking "What does it mean?" and then, after we have hopefully helped explain things in a clear and relevant way, they follow up that questions by asking "What shall we do?"

But the crowd is growing.  In preparation for my talk on Sunday, we worked out that over the last two months, twenty-two adults and eleven children have come to something the Hope:Tallinn team have put on, whether that was a meal, children's group or even a birthday party.  Those thirty-three represent hundreds of people that they know - and if this is what God has done in two months, then apply that to a year and it's over one-hundred people who represent maybe one-thousand.  And that's the type of crowd that God can call out a glorious church from!  We are believing for big things and though small, we are encouraged by what God has already done among us all.

Personally we've just had family come and stay - my brother and his wife with their two children, plus this week Rachel's folks arrive for a week (and they arrived yesterday already).  
This does mean that this week has been rather interesting and somewhat busy.  Tomorrow, I am travelling to Riga to speak over two days with the church plant there where I am taking four sessions to tell the story of the book of Ruth.  The mini conference is titled "Does God Care" so please pray for everything to do with this weekend, that I would get the time to plan and hear from God (yes, it's now Thursday after 5pm and I still haven't had time to look at my notes!), that it would bless the church plant in Riga, that those that need to be there will be there, and that it will be fun for all!  As well as that teaching, some English teaching also came about for us both, which we've managed to cram between the gaps this week.
Some time ago I had a call from Moscow from a lady whose family owns one of the apartments in our building on the floor below us.  She was saying how they were coming for a week in November, and that she'd like lessons for her, and for her daughter, who is a beginner.  So Rachel is teaching the daughter, and I am teaching the mother.  What was particularly special was that today, having finally got the call about the tyres, and having been paid in cash for each lesson we've been teaching this week, when I went to the envelope to count the money, it was the EXACT amount that the complete set of winter tyres were going to cost!  God has worked in such a way so as to cover our needs before they arise!  Rachel is also teaching English to two other boys from Mia's class as well this week (which is a regular thing now and really helps with our situation here financially).
On Tuesday night we were also at the home of the British Ambassador for a drinks reception he was hosting.  This was our second time in this environment in the last couple of months.  As we've always said, you go with what opens up and say yes to things because you never know where things will lead.
Yesterday at Mia's school they were also having a special day for Father's to mark this Sunday's Fathers Day in Estonia (which will be my third Fathers Day of the year, though I will myself be in Latvia!).  I had signed up to take on the teachers in a special volleyball match with six other dads.....the one limitation against the all female teachers team was that the men all had to wear mittens!  Even so, we still managed to win by two games to nil.  The picture is showing the dads being given our certificates for taking part!
I have actually started playing volleyball every Monday night with a group of Estonian men - it's like being thrown in the deep end in relation to language (I still can't understand them!) and with play (they've played for a long time and I am.....still learning!).  But I'm determined to make up in effort and encouragement whatever I may lack in ability, though on Monday (and about the first compliment I've heard any of them give these last eight weeks!) the organiser did say to me that I learn quickly.

So it really has been quite a week and it's still only Thursday.  This blog has taken three days to finish - I've just had to go back through it all and talk about completed activities instead of, as I had written them originally, future activities....it has been one of those weeks for us!

So I will sign off and maybe start to look over my notes for the four hours of teaching I am doing this weekend - or I might just end up using the four hours on the bus to Riga for that very thing.  Nothing like cutting it fine - I'm so glad it's not all reliant on my strength to do things this weekend - Lord, do have your way in Riga!

So glad to have finally got this finished!  Visitors continue to come to us this month - after this week we have three further times with people staying with us over the next five weeks.  So we'll update you as soon as we can - until then, be blessed!

Contact Details;
Address: Helme 16/2, 39, Tallinn, 10614, Estonia
Email: timinrussia@gmail.com
Facebook Group: God Loves Tallinn
For regular or one off gifts please contact our 
UK base church who are administering this for us: 
For international payments through PayPal use the email timinrussia@gmail.com

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