2021 didn’t begin in a very good mode for us. COVID19 is quite serious in Estonia and we have not been able to organize any events at Home of Hope since the beginning of December and we don’t know when we will be able to return into normal life. All are studying using distance learning capabilities. Only the Bible School classes are onsite at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church sanctuary which is located across the street. In choosing the location for Home of Hope we had in mind that being close to St. Paul’s Church would give great opportunities for cooperation. We couldn’t have foreseen the COVID19 pandemic but today we understand how right our decisions have been under God’s guidance.
This pandemic is seriously affecting our income as we are not able to host any seminars or conferences at Home of Hope. We are surely hopeful that the future will be better. We had a shortfall of $28,567 USD at the end of 2020 and now we have to make serious changes in our plans for this year. We are very thankful if you will be helping us to meet our needs also during 2021.
From a positive side we are very thankful to our loan provider, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, who last year gave us an opportunity to take a 6 month break from our quarterly payments without any interest payments. By virtue of our loyal donors, we were able to make our payment in October. The next scheduled payment was January 15, 2021. At the time we were short $57,000 USD. We asked again for a mortgage holiday of 6 months until July 15th, 2021. This time also interest will be counted but we don’t have to pay it during the break time.
It’s important to note that the Home of Hope loan interest doesn’t go into the banker’s pocket but is used to purchase new church hymnals and to fund mission and youth organization activities of the Lutheran Church.
This all doesn’t mean we are in a hopeless situation. We have so many good friends, and based on their enthusiasm and God’s blessing, we are moving forward and soon we will share some good news and ask you to join with us in one great new initiative.
In the middle of uncertainty, we are glad to have many devoted co-workers who are helping run different activities at Home of Hope. I’d like to share with you the testimony of Robert Bunder, a 22-year-old member of the Bible School organizing team. Here is a video with his testimony and below it is the written text.
Keep us in your prayers, please!
President of Tartu Academy of Theology
Testimony of Robert
My name is Robert Bunder and today I have the opportunity to share the story how God found me.
I was born in 1998 to a non-Christian family. I was raised by my mother. I have never met my father. When I grew up I did not have any connections with God or church. I did not go to Sunday school and I did not have a single Christian friend.
I first encountered Christianity when I started reading history books by the age of 10. I was back then and I still am very interested in history. But my impression of Christianity was that it is something agressive, bad and wrong.
I was a very troublesome boy at school. I had lots of problems. I bullied other students, I did not obey orders and I had bad friends. They way I see it right now everything was going downhill for me.
But at one point things changed for me. I do not remember what was the exact breaking point but I started to pay more attention in school and I lost my bad friends. The teachers noticed that I was good at history and they channelled my interests. I won competitions and by the end of primary school I was one of the best students of my school.
And I felt that this change, all these good things, I did not do it alone. It was not only my skills and ability. Someone was helping me. Someone closed all the wrong roads and guided my steps. I started looking for that misterious helper. I visited different churches and got interested in the Bible and God.
At one point, I felt that now I have to make a choice. Do I give my life to the Lord? It was not a conversion experience, more like a inner voice inside me. I decided to follow the Lord. Then started an amazing journey which still continues. I met my wife at church and we are now married for 2 and a half years. We have a beautiful daugther. I also recognized that the Lord is calling me for the ministry. Right now I am studing theology to become a pastor in the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church. It has also been a blessing to be part of the team that organizes the Bible School in Pastoraat in Tartu. But most important, although I have never met my biological father, I now have a Heavenly Father who loves me very much.
My story is about someone who was very far from God, who did not know anything about God, but who the Lord still found. God bless you all!