Posted by: Laura | November 28, 2013

Thankful for Fleas

This morning, I was thinking about Thanksgiving.  It’s easy for me to sit and think, “What am I thankful for?” and list off 10, 20, 30 things that God has blessed me with, big and small.  But God brought this verse to mind, “…give thanks in all circumstances…” (1 Thes. 5:18).  I started to think, what are the things in my life that I’m NOT thankful for?  Shouldn’t I be thankful for these things as well?  Hardship, discouragement, something I’m praying that God fix…I believe God wants me to be thankful for these things as well.  Aren’t the hard times in life – times of discouragement and trouble – when I seek God the most?

And one story that I read came to mind.  It’s a true story of the life of Corrie Ten Boom.  She and her family hid Jews in their home when the Nazis invaded their town.  And when they were caught, they were sent to concentration camps.  The living conditions were unspeakable.  Packed, filthy rooms, little food, poor clothing, and cold.  But Corrie’s sister, Betsy, in spite of it all, chose to be thankful.  She thanked God for everything, even the fleas that infested their bunkers.  And Corrie thought, “How can she be thankful for fleas?!?”  After some time, though, they saw that the guards didn’t bother them while they taught the other prisoners about God and read from the Bible.  Why?  Because the guards didn’t want to get bitten by the fleas!  God used the fleas to further His kingdom!

So what are the fleas in your life?  What are the things that are uncomfortable, discouraging, and troublesome for you, that you can thank God for today?

Posted by: Laura | March 21, 2013

This is a new online course for English speakers to learn Estonian.  I love the little cartoons and animations! Check it out if you’ve ever thought about learning some basic Estonian! 🙂

Posted by: Laura | March 19, 2013

God is in control.

God has once again reminded me that He is in control.  When my plans fall through or don’t work out, I get worried wondering what’s going to happen.  How much better to just trust that God already knew about this, and He has a different plan?

God proved this again to me today.  Our plans didn’t work out, but He showed us once again how He had already gone before and made all the preparations ready to take care of it.  What an amazing God we serve!!

Posted by: Laura | October 15, 2012

The Holy Spirit

One thing God has been reminding me this week is that I can’t be the Holy Spirit in someone’s life.  Something I already knew, yes, but I needed a reminder. 

We have been making appointments and talking to as many people as we can about Josiah Venture and Estonia and the ministry we are called to there.  We need people to come along side us, to support us.  And as much as I wish we could, we can’t make that happen.  We can share the need, but ultimately, it will be God’s Spirit that leads people to give.

As I was thinking about that this week, it hit me.  It’s the same in Estonia.  When we share the gospel with the kids or youth there, we do our part and leave it to the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives.  We can’t do more than our part.  We can’t make them believe.  But we know God is faithful and will bring about the fruit.

It’s very freeing, to live knowing that God is in control.  We have our plans and ideas about how long we will be here.  But ultimately it is God who is in control of that.  He knows when we will get back to Estonia.  And it will be at just the right time. 

So we will do the best we can, and leave the results up to Him.

Posted by: Laura | October 5, 2012

Here we are…

So here we are in America.  We left Estonia two and a half months ago now.  It has been a blessing to be here.  A blessing to see our family and friends.  A blessing to return to Salem Chapel and hear preaching in English.  A blessing to worship in English.  A blessing to be a part of a life group again.

But being here has also it’s been hard.  Hard to be away from our friends and church family in Estonia.  Hard to not have our own place to live.  Hard not knowing when we will be able to return to Estonia…

I think the uncertainty of this season in our lives makes it hard.  Every day, I give our plans and future over to God, acknowledging it is all under His control.  Then it seems, every day, I take them back, to start worrying about them again.  But why would I think that this season of our lives is any more uncertain than others?  I’ve never known with any degree of certainty what the next day will bring.  But there have been times, many times, when I’ve lived with a false sense of security about the future…thinking that I don’t need to trust God so much today, because everything “seems” to be under control.

So God is teaching me.  He’s teaching me to trust.  Not just when times seem “uncertain” to me.  But to trust Him daily, in everything.  He’s teaching me to enjoy His presence.  To take time to be with Him each day.  Not out of duty or obligation.  Just to be with Him because I love Him.  He’s teaching me that His timing for us is perfect.  He knows what the future holds.  He knows when we will finally have the support to go back to Estonia.  And He’s teaching me to be content.  God has us here for this time for a reason.  He’s not surprised or sad that we’re still here.  We are right where He wants us.  Plus, I know once we are back in Estonia, we will miss being here. 🙂

Posted by: Laura | October 3, 2012

Did you know…

Did you know…

That there are 32.5 million youth (ages 15-29) in the countries in Eastern Europe where JV serves.

Only 1% are Christians.

Posted by: Laura | March 28, 2012

March Update

Wow, so, it’s been a little while since we’ve updated our blog.  The past couple months have been so busy with new things starting and some old things resuming.  Here’s a little bit about what’s been going on with us:

Game Night

We had taken a break from Game Night for the past couple months.  We had been doing it every week for 2 years or so, and we felt like we needed a break and needed to make some changes to make it better.  So at the beginning of March, we started back again, and it has been great.  We really missed having more time to spend with the youth, so it has been good to start back.  For those who don’t know what Game Night is, we open our home to the youth in Valga, to hang out, play games, and have some snacks.  It’s a chance for us to practice our Estonian, and for them to practice their English, but most of all, it’s just a cool time to get to know each other better and build relationships.

Youth Night

We’ve been very encouraged to see 10 to 12 youth consistently coming to youth nights on Fridays.  Chris teaches, and we have two amazing translators, Kerli and Vaike, who alternate weeks translating.  We pray that these youth really take the message of the gospel into their hearts, that they believe it and that God will transform their lives through it.  We have faith that He is working in each of their hearts to bring them to salvation.  Please join us in praying for them!

Kid’s Bible Study

Kerli has started a new Bible study with some of the older kids from Children’s Church.  These are kids who don’t just attend Children’s Church, but have started coming early to be helpers with us in Children’s Church.  The idea of the study is to really pour into them, get to know them, pray with them, answer their questions, and grow and learn together.  These kids are not from Christian homes.  They have little knowledge of what we would call the “basics” of the Bible.  So each week, we are meeting with them to teach and to learn.  Laura has been helping Kerli (as much as possible with her limited Estonian skills!).  Pray for us as we lead them, and pray that their hearts would continue to be open and soft toward God.

Alpha Course

Alpha course is an introduction to Christianity for non-churchgoers, answering some basic questions like, “Who is Jesus?”, “Why did Jesus have to die?” and “Why should I pray?”  The church here in Valga has begun its 3rd Alpha course – starting last night!  Those attending will share a nice meal together, listen to a short talk, and then have time to discuss the talk with those at their table.  We are helping on one of the teams to cook food for the course.  Please pray for good discussions, and for those attending, that their hearts would be open to hear about God!


The past two and a half years, we have been incredibly blessed by our home church, Salem Chapel.  They have supported us with cards, packages, prayers, and finances.  As our financial support from Salem Chapel comes to an end this fall, we’ve been praying that God would show us what direction to take.  Does He want us to leave Estonia?  We really feel the answer is no, He still wants us here.  After a lot of prayer and exploring some different ideas, God has led us to a missions organization called Josiah Venture.  We are moving toward joining their team here in Estonia, and raising support through them.  Please pray for us, as many decisions still need to be made and we also have a few obstacles to overcome.


We have really been trying to learn and practice more Estonian, but it is still difficult for us.  We understand some and can speak some, but we still have a long way to go!  Kerli has been doing Estonian lessons with us each week to keep us accountable to studying, and it has really helped.  She encourages us to practice as much as we can. And the kids and youth help us too!  They have learned to correct us when we say something wrong so we can improve. 🙂

And life here goes on.  The snow is continuing to melt (it’s almost all gone!), the sun has been coming out more, and the days are getting longer.  We’re both looking forward to warmer weather! 

So that’s what’s happening with us.  Please continue to pray for us and the ministry here.  Thanks for all your support and prayers!


Posted by: Laura | January 18, 2012

Free Cookies!

Last night, we spent 3 hours helping to give away free cookies to kids in Valga!

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The church got a truck load of gingerbread cookies at a couple weeks ago from Norway.  So we advertised that for three hours on Tuesday night, kids could come get free cookies at the church.  And we gave each kid a LOT of cookies!  Margus used the opportunity to tell the kids and their parents about the Children’s Church we have every Saturday.  We showed pictures and told a little about what we do here.  So we hope they will be back.

Here are some pictures of the happy faces we saw.  It’s fun to make kids smile.

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Posted by: Laura | January 4, 2012

New Pictures

We have some new pictures posted on the Children’s Church flickr site.  Check them out here:

Posted by: Chris | December 19, 2011

Children’s Church 2011

This past weekend we had our Children’s Church Christmas party.  We had around 100 kids there and about 30 parents.  It was a great time to share with the kids and their parents.  This is a video that we put together to show them.  These are pictures from Children’s Church events over the last year. 

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