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.

So that you stay connected, getting every new update, please add your email address to receive all updates directly, or follow the RSS feed.

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

Some want to help in practical ways:

Follow by Email

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Late Spring Update: Healing, Progress and a Royal Encounter

It's been quite a few weeks since we last sent something out.  A weekend in Stockholm, a visit from Prince Harry, a successful Easter event and a team weekend away are just some of the things that have taken place.

Summer arrived early too. Shade temperatures in the low 30's has Tallinn feeling rather warm and beautiful, if not a little close at times. Town Hall Square, in the picture here, has the outside seating areas packed out already. The first of the cruise ships have already docked - tourist season is also upon us!

Headlines for this update:

  • News from the Easter Event
  • Getting more than we thought from Stockholm Weekend
  • July 'Missions' Week Update
  • Prince Harry Visits Tallinn
  • Team Weekend Away
  • Visitors and Team Growth?
Toddler Group Families Easter Event

Last time we mentioned that as a church plant we were putting on an event for the families from the toddler group. It happened on the Easter Saturday and gave the team a chance to meet with more parents from the weekly group. In total there were 15 adult visitors and 16 children.  The venue served us really well, all the children heard the Easter story as well as doing other traditional things.
For many of the dads that came along, it was the first time any of us had met them. Among them included a politician as well as a professional basketball player!

The day before this, Good Friday, we'd driven 90 minutes south to the small town of Võhma, where we'd been invited to a BBQ. We'd done this last year - it's funny how traditions form so easily.  We were blessed with the warmest day of the year (so far, at that point!) and it was wonderful to spend time with the family there (a British family who've lived in Estonia for about 11 years) as well as met friends coming up from Latvia to join us all.

Last time we also mentioned how we are continuing with the Christianity Explored course on a personal basis each week.  Elisabeth, part of the team here, is meeting with an Estonian lady once a week to go through the material. Please pray for her as she continues with this.

Reign in Life - Stockholm Weekend

At the beginning of May, I got to go away with Rachel to a two night conference in Stockholm, hosted by Grace Church.  Terry Virgo was coming across for it, and spent two evenings talking about a subject he knows so well - Grace.  It was a brilliant time.  We were able to connect with folks up from Riga, as well as across from Helsinki, the UK and of course our friends in Stockholm. Flic even came across from St Petersburg.
During the day on the Saturday, there was an additional time for leaders, and Terry spoke about the filling of the Holy Spirit.  We'd got a chance to speak with him a little, which was lovely. He is such a humble man, with time for everyone - on the Saturday night, having spoken 5 times over the two days, he was praying for people for well over an hour.  He's not a young man anymore, but his passion remains the same!
And having gone forward, with about 11 others, for prayer for back issues, something quite extraordinary was about to happen.  Sitting down at our feet, he gently lifted our legs.  One leg was shorter than the other - a common reason for back pain, and 80% of the time the main reason.  Mine too were different lengths.  He prayed a simple prayer - and without feeling anything, without him pulling either leg, or me moving, the legs became equal.  Just like that.  And it was the same for all of us.  This was no hype, no show.  This was not for the cameras. It was simply Jesus healing people through the power of the Holy Spirit - just like the Bible tells us.
I stood up, walking to one side as he continued to pray for others.  I hadn't felt anything change, but was able to touch my toes without pain within minutes.  I even did it in front of everybody.
Since then, as my body has adjusted, there were some days when it felt bad. But I know I was healed.  Yes, I continue to do my strengthening exercises - it's for my own good for the long term.  But today, writing this, there is a huge difference.  Massive.  It's been 18 months of pain and difficulty.  One prayer and the power was broken. Healing has come.
So I'm going from strength to strength.  I'll keep you all informed.

Let me just say something at this point.  Healing is central to who God is. Healing makes what is done in faith, ie belief in a living God, come into reality.  After all, if God is real, wouldn't he still be able to do the things the Bible tells us he did all those years ago while on earth.  And He did.  I'm a man of faith, but my life has been scattered with times when these things happen.  Praying for sick people and they recover.  I've been on the receiving end enough times to know that God is alive.  And here is something more - if you are sick, and want to come to Jesus for healing, He is more than able to make you well also.  If you want to find out more, let me know.

A Week in Tallinn this July

Colin Baron was recently in Tallinn - he shared at our Vision Sunday and we had a day together before he flew back to Manchester.  In July, he is bringing a group of students over from his home church, about 12 in total.  There are a few others coming along too - Adrian Horner and two or more from Open Door Church in Kettering and one or two others as well. From Friday 18th July to Friday 25th, most of these will be in Tallinn. The plans are coming together.  We are still praying for the right venue to use as a base for the team in the week, so please stand with us in that area.
As part of the week, we'll be running a three day kids camp in a local school. We'll also be looking to do quite a bit outside - and have at least two BBQ's in the forest/beach near us!
Please be praying for the team coming over.  For most of them, this will be their first time in Estonia.  Pray for our planning of this event as well, that we find what we need to find and have enough translators etc for the week.  We'll be having two Vision Sunday's in a row - one with the team here, and one when Adrian Horner and his wife are still in town after the week.

Last Sunday, as mentioned above, was a Vision Sunday.  These are once a month (at the moment) meetings where we run more of a church meeting, talking vision out as we do things, we trust.  And though not all came that we invited, for the first time to this event, we did have a visitor with us, who came with her two children.  So praise God for that!
Please pray this meeting starts to grow over the next few months (well in Autumn really, besides the two in July).

Team Weekend Away

The two nights before Colin arrived, we managed to get away as a team to a lovely venue around 90 minutes east of Tallinn.  The aim was to build relationships by spending more time together, as well as worship God, soaking in his presence without the time restraints we normally face.  I also talked for one session on Vision & Values, which went down really well.
Each of the 8 adults and 5 children that now make up the growing core team are an answer to prayer.  It's great to see the outworking of God's plan for us all in Tallinn.  Because of the stunning weather, which started just before that weekend and has continued since, we were able to do worship outside in the covered BBQ area.  I even did my talk on a hillside, looking up to the rest of the team.  Can't say I've ever done that before!
From Right to Left - Arnoud & Elisabeth with Anna-Ruth, Ketlin
& Stephen, Enrico, Rachel with Mia & Anya, Rebekah, me,
Mattias & Vera

But Before The Weekend....

I left Tallinn on the Friday at about 5, with Enrico, Stephen & Ketlin in the car with me, heading east.  It was to be a 90 minute drive through stunning Estonian countryside.  Rachel, Rebekah and Mia & Anya were coming on by train - actually a quicker journey at just 60 minutes, but they were leaving later.  Before that, they had a small matter of visiting Freedom Square (with hundreds of others) trying to get a glimpse of Prince Harry, who was due there at about 17:15.  Their train was due at 17:45 I think, so it was cutting it fine to say the least!
Many of you will know already what happened next, but for those that haven't seen, or who just want to relive it, here is the video Rachel was recording when Harry turned around....

Needless to say, when I picked them up from the station at the other end, flags still waving, they were all rather excited. I'd not had any contact, so had no idea exactly what had happened.
With limited internet option at this retreat centre (at least for me), we were not really able to process all that took place until after we got home.
A reporter from The Sun newspaper in the UK had interviewed Rachel and Mia straight after Harry spoke with them, though it failed to make it into the Saturday edition.  There were many videos on YouTube from the day, Rachel and the girls appearing in some.  Maybe the best picture that got shared was the one on the right - we only saw it because friends shared it with us stating they knew the little girl in the photo!
It's a photo shared on Facebook that shows the moment Prince Harry took Mia's hand.  And the guy who shared it - Toomas Hendrik Ilves - who is only the President of Estonia!

Visitors & Praying for Team Growth

Rachel's mum and dad were with us at the end of April for a week.  My mum comes over in about two weeks as well for a week.  We had Colin with us for a night, and Sveta, from St Petersburg, has been in town for about a week. She is praying about Tallinn and what that might mean for her, so please pray that she knows the way forward.
As a family we've been very close to Sveta during our time in Russia, and since. Our girls are both very fond of her.  If God was to make it clear to her to join us, she'd be a great blessing to us all.

And since writing this, another friend has confirmed they will be joining us in July for the mission week.

Prayer Points

  • Thank God for an amazing team, for time away, and what that means for our future together in Tallinn
  • Pray for more growth - we are asking God for a core team of twelve, to give us the strength to launch well.
  • Pray for July - for all those coming across, and for the planning on our side, as well as finding a venue to use for the base.
  • Pray for our summer events.  The changing season means doing things a little different.  We have a Summer BBQ at the Beach on 1st June.  Pray for a huge crowd (and the BBQ's to feed them all!)
Thanks everyone!  It's been quite a few weeks.  Princes, Presidents, Healing... The next weeks couldn't possibly top that, could they..?!