Happy Easter! Siimon 50!

Christ has risen!
The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon! (Luke 24:34)

My name is also Simon and this passage from Luke has been very meaningful to me. I was born 22nd of April 50 years ago on Easter morning. And therefore my parents named me Siimon. For me is very special to know that since my birth I have connection with Jesus Christ.

22nd of April I’m celebrating my 50th birthday with thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Tartu where my grandfather Harri was pastoring during WW II.

I have prepared one special opportunity for you.

Visit to the Southern States

During March 3-13 I made an early spring trip to Carolinas and Georgia and visited several churches in the area. It was great to travel to south. I truly enjoyed warm and sunny weather which was like summer for me. At the same time in Estonia was ground covered with decent amount of snow and temperature below zero.

I had privilege to visit churches in Salisbury and Gastonia (North Carolina), in Cataula and Sharpsburg (Georgia), in Springfield and around Columbia (South Carolina). I’m truly thankful to all my hosts and people who gathered to listen my story about our mission work in Estonia. Your commitment was very encouraging and hopefully these connections will continue.

Looking Back To Youth Conference ‘The Juggler’ 2023

It was a blessing to organise a youth conference for the second year in a row.   It was a two day event where we had around 70 people gathering information or giving advice how to ‘survive’ in such a busy and restless life.   This year we were focusing on resting. Our speakers were pastors, psychologist, entrepreneurs, musicians and also for the second year in a row, our archbishop. They were speaking about their own life experiences, biblical way of looking at resting, time management and psychology behind work stress and what should be the right work pace in order to be the most effective and healthy.   One thing that caught my attention was a point that was made in a panel discussion between archbishop, musician and entrepreneur. As it is everywhere, it’s also really common in Estonia amongst churches to use people in variety of tasks, but there are never enough volunteers to do the tasks so those who are willing to do something end up doing way more, than they are capable. So the question was that why is it so, that when a volunteer is willing to give a finger, the church takes the entire hand… and even more. The answer turned out to be not at all what our planning team imagined it to be. This entrepreneur said all of a sudden, that this is the best way to go. He said that all that he has now, all that he can do now […]

Youth Conference ‘The Juggler’ 2023

On March 3-4 we will organize at Home of Hope a conference ‘The Juggler’ that is meant for young adults. This is already the second time. Last time, in March of 2022, we had our first conference, and it was really well received. Therefore we were encouraged to continue. Also we don’t have many events for this age group in Estonia.

We expect our young people to do so much. Of course, they do it and are committed full heartedly, but they also have so many more obligations and tasks to give their input to. Quite often this kind of behavior, to grab so many tasks, could lead to burnout or any other mental illness or tiredness and because of that they might leave the voluntary work at church behind.

30th Anniversary of Tartu Academy of Theology

Today, 30 years ago, first lessons started at Tartu Academy of Theology with 30 students. A year and a half earlier, Estonia had regained its independence after being 50 years under atheistic Soviet occupation. Pastor Eenok Haamer, founder of Tartu Academy, had witnessed the suffering of the Estonian people who lived decades surrounded by atheistic propaganda. He had a vision for the future. God showed him that once their fervently prayed-for freedom would return, there would be a great need to educate Estonian men and women so that they would be able to carry on God’s work and clearly communicate the principles of the Bible. 30 years ago this vision was realized.

We are very thankful for initial financial support of $10,000 that was raised by a group of American pastors who had visited Estonia in spring of 1992. They opened a door for this great history and remarkable achievements.

Testimony of the Youngest Student of our Bible School

In the end of September we launched a new Bible School course. We started with 30 students but now we have already 37 participants. The total number of Bible School participants during these three years is now about 200. Thankfully there aren’t any COVID restrictions and we are able to meet with people in person. We even made this year’s on-site participation cheaper compared to distance learning in order to motivate people to come and meet each other. Therefore, the majority of students are present at Home of Hope and we enjoy great fellowship.

I’m sharing with you a testimony of Eerik Eensaar. He is 17 years old and currently the youngest participant of our Bible school.

Ukraine Refugees from Occupied Territory

I haven’t shared quite long time information about Ukraine refugees whom we are helping thanks to these donations that we have received to the Ukraine Fund. I will correct my mistake now.

In the middle of August, the Ukraine family who had lived in Home of Hope’s guest apartment since the middle of March, moved to Germany. We decided to welcome one another family in need of help. Since beginning of September is living with us Larysa and her 88-year-old mother Tamara. They are from Severodonetsk, a town occupied by Russia. A residential house where they had a condo was bombed shortly after the war began. They escaped and found shelter in different places in Ukraine and finally in the middle of July came to Estonia and Tartu. At first, they were able to stay in a hotel. The Estonian government funded their living costs until the end of August. After that, they needed to find a place to live.

Pastoral Care is Gaining Popularity

I’m sharing with you a video with Raili Hollo, Coordinator of our Pastoral Care Center. She is sharing about the good and meaningful work we organize at the Pastoral Care Center which is located at Home of Hope.

Excellent news is that since August this year Tartu city government is funding all together 100 meetings for Tartu citizens with pastoral care giver every month. Tartu is the second biggest city in Estonia and we hope this will be a good role model to other Estonian cities as well.

‘We Shall Live in Heaven’ is Published in Amazon

My grandfather Pastor Harri Haamer wrote down his experiences in a Soviet slave labor camp in Siberia. Harri was a lutheran pastor and didn’t follow orders of Soviet authorities when they prohibited to organize any kind of Christian youth work. He spent in prison almost eight years after he was arrested 1948.

His book We Shall Live in Heaven is a strong testimony of faith and also encouragement for Christians as we find ourselves also today in a world that is often hostile to the Gospel.

I have a good message to share–English version of We Shall Live in Heaven is now available on Amazon. You can buy either paperback or Kindle version.

Need Help for New Printing of Harri Haamer’s Book

As you probably know my grandfather Pastor Harri Haamer wrote a book We Shall Live in Heaven. In this book he is telling a story about his journey to a Soviet slave labor camp in Siberia which lasted almost eight years.

Printed versions are not any more available in English and Estonian. As people keep asking we need to make new printing. I’m planning US trip in the end of September this year and would be really good to have new edition in English printed by this time.

Unfortunately we don’t have funds for this purpose at the moment and we need financial help in order to print new books. To make minimum print-run on both languages costs at least $5,000.

Ukraine Refugees Whom We Have Helped

I’m sharing with you information about Ukraine refugees whom we have helped with your donations.

We are very thankful to all people and congregations who have donated Ukraine refugees through Tartu Academy of Theology. Until now we have received $51,328 to the Ukraine fund. We are cooperating with the Estonian Lutheran Church congregations and because of this, your donations reach different locations in Estonia where refugees are hosted. Pastors and church members are not only offering them housing, they are helping them also to settle in this new country, to ovecome the bureaucratic obstacles and to solve the economic problems.

Although the battles in Ukraine take place approximately 1,000 miles from Estonia we are facing new challenges here. Since the end of February, Estonia has faced an unprecedented influx of refugees, mostly women and children. Estonia has hosted around 45,000 refugees over a couple of months. The shortage of housing is enormous and hundreds of refugees are still forced to live on empty cruise ships or other temporary places.

Back Home

Our US trip with Mattias is over. We had very tight schedule with many meetings. It was really enjoyable to see old friends and make new acquaintances. We are very thankful for your warm welcome and for all the opportunities we had. Here is short video to wrap up our trip.

We are very thankful to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior as they recorded our presentation there. If you would like to listen or share our story then you just need to share with them this YouTube link https://youtu.be/q_S4j1t0PKQ.

Friends of Estonia Summit

Our US trip with Mattias is in full mode. Although we won’t be able to visit all places we’ll give you an opportunity to be part of one of our presentations where we will be sharing recent updates about Tartu Academy and Home of Hope and also about challenges we face due to war in Ukraine.

If you won’t be able to attend physically then you are welcome to watch Friends of Estonia Summit online live streaming from this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I26gz_mYKnI.

Friends of Estonia Summit takes place on Monday April 25th at 2:00 pm in Mount Calvary Lutheran Church (301 County Road 19, Excelsior, MN).

Starting US Visit – Come and Meet Us

After 2,5 years of pause I’m visiting US again. This time with my assistant Mattias. We are starting on April 19 from Bismarck ND and finishing on May 3 in Denver. On the way down we visit many places also in Minnesota and Iowa.

Hereby I’m sharing with you our itinerary. You are welcome to meet us in these places. We will be sharing recent updates about Tartu Academy and Home of Hope and also about challenges we face due to war in Ukraine.

Helping Ukraine refugees – Update

We are very thankful to all of you for your generous donations and willingness to help Ukraine refugees. In one month, we have received $41,000 in designated donations.

First of all I want to point out that this crisis might last quite a long time and our goal is to use those funds wisely, looking ahead at least for a one year period. We are thankful for your continuing help because need for help is huge and I will be implementing ways how to share this donation directly to the people who are in need.

Since March 16 we have hosted seven people at Home of Hope’s small 430 sq ft apartment. Before receiving them we replaced some furniture and bought a TV, washing machine, bedding etc. Our guests are mother (Jana) and father (Oleksandr) with two children (Adeline 3 months and Arina 6 years) and three sisters (Tatjana, Ljuba and Natalja) of Oleksandr’s. All are in the picture below. They escaped in the very beginning of the war as they live in Sarny which is close to the Belorussian border and military base is located at their town.

Helping Ukraine Refugees

It’s hard to find words about Russian aggression in Ukraine. It’s hard to describe sadness that we feel towards Ukraine people. Although Estonia is currently not under attack and we are members of NATO we have to be alert as well.

At the moment is our duty to help Ukrainians. Refugees from Ukraine are already arriving to Estonia. I offered Home of Hope guest apartment for their accommodation. Probably soon our apartment will temporary home for war refugees. I promised that Tartu Academy will cover all their costs and guarantee their daily needs. For their more convenient stay we need to change some furniture in the apartment. At the moment it’s furnished for shorter accommodations.