It has been our dream that Tartu Academy of Theology could offer activities for youth. The first 27 years we worked with very limited space and did not have enough human resources to organize youth work. But Home of Hope has changed basically everything. With this crucial step we have stepped into what looks like a different world. Now everyone in Tartu knows where we are located as we are almost downtown and next to the main street of Tartu with a big lit-up sign telling about us.
In today’s world young people are looking for a welcoming and attractive environment. Home of Hope definitely offers that.
In September and October of 2020, we began offering regular youth events and in total we have 70 plus participants in different youth events. For most this is the only opportunity to be part of Christian youth work because they don’t have youth groups at their local church. Around 10% are not yet connected with any church. We are already considering the plan to develop a Bible School specifically for youth coming fall.
YOUTH EVENTS AT HOME OF HOPE
"Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17
COORDINATOR OF YOUTH WORK
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT OF TARTU ACADEMY OF THEOLOGY
TESTIMONY OF MATTIAS
I was born to a strong Christian family. I have had ancestors of pastors for three generations – my father is a pastor, grandfather is a pastor, great-grandfather was a pastor and even my two uncles are pastors. If that’s not a strong foundation, I don’t know what is.
It is also a privilege, that I have had this environment to grow up in, because I was born after the Soviet occupation, that had done a devastating job to the Christian community. There weren’t many kids, who got to hear about God or Jesus or any religion when they were growing up and even when they heard something about it, it was rather negative. They were taught not to think about this subject.
At a very young age, I came to the startling realization that my peers were reacting negatively to my faith without even knowing what this Christianity means. It started to look to me like there was some kind of brick wall actually stopping them from thinking about faith in their lives. The more I met people, the more I saw it. It became a problem to me, that people not only have misconceptions about Christians, but that they are not even willing to think about Christianity or religion at all. In my opinion, this way of living and not thinking about existential questions has put many people through rough times. They have had mental issues, broken families or just feel emptiness in their hearts. By not seeing beyond their lives and living without feeling loved, it is easy to get caught up in mixed feelings and emotions. Now, it is true, that there are exceptions on both ends, but the overall view is like previously mentioned.
It has been in my heart to break that brick wall in people’s heart. I try to do that by getting to know them and show that I’m a normal person, and then, after a while, “shocking their world” by saying that actually I’m a Christian. That way they might be more open to discussing repressed topics.
I have always admired my father’s and grandfather’s work as pastors and have put a lot of thought into going to study theology, but at least for now I don’t feel that it is the right time for me. This is the decision I cannot make without God’s push. Right now, I feel that I can help out more with youth work and supporting activities in Christian work. Hopefully, I can bring some young people to know Jesus so that they can break the not-knowing-Jesus pattern that is very common among Estonian families. And they could start the talking-about-Jesus pattern with their children.
Watch also video that explains special background of Mattias.