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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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Vision -- vɪʒ(ə)n --


The world likes to say a lot about vision, and for good reason.  Here are a few examples;

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." – Joel A Barker

"Where there is no vision, there is no hope." – George Washington Carver

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." – Warren G. Bennis

Let me tell you a story of this past week in Tallinn:

Sunday was a fantastic time of gathering together, seeing Estonians, Russians as well as us Brits, the Dutch and half a dozen other nationalities that it's now common to see amongst us.  This is Tallinn, and the nations are increasingly coming here.  We had a guest speaking, a Russian background believer from another church in the city.  It was great seeing our Estonians get behind this brother's word to us.  
Sunday saw eight folks there for the first time.  These people have come through personal invitations, the church as a whole so outward in their connection to this city we get to live and work in.  Relational connections are strong in a culture like Tallinn, where strangers are left to themselves.  
Still, our welcome team smashed through that cultural hurdle and embraced these visitors as they arrived.  It's wonderful having a welcome team made up of warm hearted folks from different backgrounds, both those raised and living all their lives in Tallinn, and foreigners who've adopted Tallinn as their new home.  Seeing black and white serving side by side, it makes me praise God.
Three people responded to the gospel, one during worship, as a Russian anthem of praise rang out.  We have three native singers that serve us on any one week, Estonian, Russian and English sung from the front.  We've always encouraged everyone to join in, and its great to see the older Estonians and Russians learning the other's language so they can better understand one another.
There is nothing like a love for God to melt away decades of hostility.
It was during a prophetic word that the Russian guy gave his heart to Jesus during the time of worship.  I didn't see what happened at the time, but was told about it after.  The other two responded to the message that was brought.  
That's a dozen responses so far this year.  We're praying for more.
What I love about being part of Hope:Tallinn is stories from the week.  It's never been just about Sundays and that excites me, too.  In the weekly visit to the sheltered housing on Monday night, one of the ladies (who'd given her heart to Jesus the month before) shared her story of transformation with the other people there.  Two more said they wanted to know more, and have signed up for the next Alpha course.  We'll probably host one just for the group coming from this one shelter, as there are a number of people we think would be interested.

In work places too stories keep coming in of people gossiping the gospel. Two church members got to share with colleagues yesterday, they emailed me today to say.  
On Saturday's street team, they got to pray with several sick people.  They even went with one man on his way to the hospital for a check up.  A few people got prayed for at the hospital, too.

It's crazy!

I love being part of such a city reaching church.

Signed – my future self – maybe five, eight or ten years from now.  But this will happen here one day.

I'm a story writer so, sorry, I couldn't resist.  But wouldn't that be a great, normal weekly account of what real church life should be all about?  I thought it would be easier to 'show' instead of 'tell', a regular writing method I try and use in my other life.

We need people who are brave enough (we know the idea of moving abroad might sound scary to some) to read this and in their heart say, "yes, I agree, Tallinn needs that too.  I get to experience this in my normal life here in (insert your own country) at (insert the name of your church), so why should Estonia miss out."

I know there are people reading this, wondering about contacting me, feeling God prodding you again about this (and I'm not talking about the man, you know who you are, who's already contacted me about this very thing!)

You can help make this vision a reality.  Vision without action is a mere dream but I don't want this to remain a dream – help us take action to see this beautiful picture become a reality.

Help change the world.

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