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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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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tallinn Update - The Praise God Issue

Wow - it's been a massive few weeks with much answered prayer - I'm still walking with a limp, so that's something we'll keep praying into, but to bring you up to date on what else is happening, here we go:

Anya has a kindergarten place!
The waiting lists for kindergartens (nursery for our UK friends) are long in Tallinn - when we finally found out Anya's position on the list of our local choice, we knew the waiting would be long - she was number 306 on the list (bearing in mind each year there are about 30 places freed up per kindergarten!)  As most families have their children down for three kindergartens, even if the list jumped down by 60 each year as places are filled, we'd be looking at years rather than months.
Well, not long after Anya started praying herself about a place, with her parents fully away of the issues with that, Rachel got a call.  Another local kindergarten was opening a new class - and though the rest of the place was Russian, the new class would be Estonian.  We went there that same day (a week last Thursday), and because of the Russian element, could speak with the Director and understand everything.  The kindergarten we did have Anya on the list for was all Estonian (we want Anya to learn Estonian).  The issue for us would be communication with the teachers.  
Well, praise God, that is not an issue with this one.  We were told there are places, were given a form, and having handed that in, have been told she has a place - and can actually start next week!  We have a parents evening on Friday afternoon there, and we think we'll start Anya there on Friday, March 1st! (Got so delayed in sending this out that we've had the parents evening - which was all in Estonian so we didn't understand a word!  Thankfully afterwards, with a mixture of a little English and some Russian, we found out what we needed to know).  And Anya will be starting this coming Friday!
This is a major answer to prayer - and also a small milestone for us, as our 'baby' starts in her very own kindergarten, which will be totally in Estonian.  What's funny, thinking about how far we've come in this last 4 and a half years, is that at the parents evening, they will be doing it in Estonian and translating it into Russian for our benefit! (Erm, well, as you can see, this is what we had been told would happen :-))

Estonian Lessons
What's also new this year, and so far slipped through the net in regards us sharing with folks, is that Rachel and I have started proper Estonian lessons with a local teacher.  These are happening every week now, for about the last 5 weeks.  Progress is encouraging, and is supplimented by other online courses.  There has been some advantage having learnt Russian - with some natural overlap as well as grammar similarities, as well as the process of learning a language.  That said, Estonian is a whole nother level in difficulty, so we have a very long way to go.  With life getting busier by the week, we didn't want to get to the stage where language learning has not progressed enough to be able to speak Estonian with Estonian's in five years time (or maybe make that ten years!)

Business Links
They say that Estonia is in the top twenty places in all the world for ease of doing business.  And having had a week where in six days I literally went from not knowing the process at all, to signing the papers founding the company at the notary, I have to agree.  I have since been told I did it the longer way - it could have been done in minutes through my ID card.  Oh well, maybe next time...
Now obviously there is a long way to go before the business is actually doing anything - even longer before I can take any, if any, money from it.  The first option for that, should the case exist, would be well into 2015 when the annual reports first need to be published.
But what it has done now is open relational doors for me.  Just being in business has allowed me to meet with a number of people - Mia's school Director, the Director of the British Council in Estonia as well as a businessman parent of one of Mia's classmates, who was amazingly helpful to me in the process, even coming as my translator at the notary.  I'm due to meet with another dad next week sometime again because of the business.
So please pray for God's hand to be on me as I press on with this business idea.  If you want to know what the business is, it's called Tim Heath Language Agency OÜ and you can find the website here.

Team Growth...?
One of our fervent prayers over the last two weeks has been in relation to labourers in God's harvest field here in Tallinn.  We've been praying about a number of giftings which we need to join us.
And this week, we've had some great encouragements along those lines, though it is too early to say exact details for sure, but here is something in general.
I chatted for a long time on Skype with an young Estonian/American couple.  They are super gifted people and prophesied some spot on stuff over me even during our 90 minute chat!  Over the last 10 days (ha, sense the timing 'coincidence here') they have suddenly felt that their immediate future is not to be in the USA but back in Tallinn, where the wife is from.  So it's highly possible that they will move to Tallinn this Autumn and join the church plant team!
That alone would be a fab answer to prayer, and we pray it's just the start of people hearing the call to join us.
Later that same day, an English young lady who I'd met with on her last trip to Tallinn in October, wrote to me and stated that she is seriously looking at options to come to Tallinn this summer, and when asked, she confirmed it would be to join the church plant.  She has a real heart for children.
So we are encouraged in our praying and will pray all the more!  But praise God for these folks already.
A Russian girl from Hope Church in St Petersburg, who has always had the desire to join us, also commented that she is looking into a study option that would potentially allow her to join us this summer too.
And finally, another young guy who is based in the UK is making a three week trip to Tallinn in May/June with the view to moving here as well at some point (I guess on the back of how successful the visit goes!) to join the church plant.
God is the God who answers prayer.  And we know this is just the beginning.  The Tallinn church plant will also be getting some profile coverage at this years Mobilise conference in April and the Catalyst Festival in May.
So if you are going to either of these, be sure to listen out for the church plant there.

Continuing to Gather
As a church plant we are continuing to gather together every week.  At our meal event last Sunday, we had seven different countries represented, including our first Iranian visitor!  It was a great success.
We've also been continuing to build strong friendships with the other churches in Tallinn.  Before the meal on Sunday we were able to visit a church called Praise Chapel, having got to know the couple leading the church well over this last year.  They have also asked me to speak at their church on Easter Sunday, which is a great honour and something I am really looking forward to.

Estonian Indepence Day
Having not got round to publishing this update until now, we can share about the celebration of Estonia's 95th Anniversary of their original independence from 1918.  In Freedom Square, which has a permanent memorial to this event, there were over 1100 troops marching, followed by a convoy of military vehicles and then a fly-by of various aeroplanes, helicopters and fighter jets.
It was the final festival that we had yet to celebrate, and maybe Estonian's most precious.  This coming Friday marks our own year anniversary since moving to Tallinn. 
One big festival that we are yet to see, which only happens every five years in Tallinn and is happening in summer 2014, is the Song Festival, which gathers around 100,000 people and, on the worlds biggest stage area, has up to 15,000 singers at some points.  So we look forward to experiencing that, in time.  Before that, we have a lot more adventures to have!
Thanks for reading.  We love your comments and emails, but even without them, we know that many people are praying with us for breakthrough in this most spiritually needy country.

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