Through a series of events, including a trip to Russia in June of 2006, God has led us to Estonia, formerly a part of the Soviet Union. We are sent by Woodcrest Baptist Church in Fridley, Minnesota.
With great anticipation, we began deputation in the fall of 2006. By the end of 2008, God had met all of our support needs, and we arrived in Estonia with our daughter, RoseLynn, on January 14, 2009. Since that time, we have been adjusting to life in Estonia and intensely studying the Estonian language. Our son, Ryland, was born in Estonia on April 17, 2009. We are still convinced that the most effective way to impact Estonia with the Gospel is through church planting. However, we also realize that the road to reaching that level of impact runs through the realm of relationship building, becoming a part of the local community, and taking advantage of open doors for presenting the Gospel. When in the midst of such a seemingly cold and secular people like the Estonians, we must simply be real to them and show them how God is so real to us.
Population: 1.3 million
People: 68% Estonian, 25% Russian, 7% other
Religion: 69% non-religious, 15% Lutheran, 14% Russian Orthodox
*Only 16% of Estonians say that religion in an important part of their daily life, making them the least religious nation in the world (http://www.gallup.com/poll/142727/Religiosity-Highest-World-Poorest-Nations.aspx).
Estonia has joined the European Union as well as NATO and, due to its small size, has westernized faster than any other former Soviet nation. Estonia is slightly smaller than Vermont and New Hampshire combined.
Our Goals for Estonia:
1. Evangelize by showing the love of Christ in personal contacts and relationships as well as by taking advantage of open doors for presenting the Gospel.
2. Disciple new converts through Bible studies and establishing a local church in Estonia.
3. Train national leadership in order to empower the Estonians to take upon themselves the responsibility of world evangelism.
With nearly 70% of Estonians being non-religious, the need for the Gospel in Estonia is very great. What would God have you to do for the lost of Estonia?
I put my faith in Jesus Christ at the age of five. My parents decided to wait until I was seven years old to be baptized. At the age of fourteen I surrendered to God’s call to full-time missions. After graduating high school, I enrolled in Pensacola Christian College to earn a bachelor’s degree in missions. I stayed another three years to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Pensacola Theological Seminary. After my first year in seminary I married Angela, who also has a heart for missions and is a crown to her husband.
I grew up in a Christian home and went to church all of my life. I believe that I was saved at the age of four. However, because I was so young at the time I prayed to receive Christ, I had struggles with assurance of my salvation through my years growing up. I cannot remember praying as a 4-year old to be saved (that is what my parents tell me), but I can recall praying many times in the years following that if I was not saved I wanted God to save me. The summer before eighth grade, after a preaching service at Northland Camp, I prayed again for God to save me. I knew I was saved then. Even after that time though, God had to show me that it was not my prayer that saved, it was Jesus Christ; even the faith that I had to believe was a gift from Him (Eph. 2:8-9). Now through confidence in the promises of God, I can say that I am saved (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:13; II Peter 1:9-10).