Dear Friends of Estonia,
You have been part of the great story of the establishment of Home of Hope that is actually part of a much longer story of generations of continuity. I believe many people have thought that Home of Hope is a project exceeding our capabilities. Without hope and faith in the Lord that certainly would be the case. Our history and life experiences throughout four generations have given us affirmation that “with my God I can scale a wall” (Psalm 18:29).
We are calling you to share in our hope and trust that is the assurance of our achievements. We are joyful we have many good friends who share this and want to be part of great things that are happening in Estonia. They have set up the Home of Hope Challenge Fund and have already made sacrificial gifts of $113,500. The goal is to raise $750,000 in order to erase half of the Home of Hope mortgage loan. Below and from tatest.org/campaign you will find more information about the Bringing HOPE TO ESTONIA Campaign.
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.
We are sharing testimony of Robert Bunder, a 22-year-old member of the Bible School organizing team.
Click “read more” to watch Siimon Haamer’s Christmas greeting.
I’m giving a testimony about God’s distinguished and continuing blessing that we are chosen to experience.
Three generations of Lutheran pastors were grown up from our family despite of persecution and very challenging history while after WW II Estonia was 50 years under aggressive atheistic Soviet occupation. When Estonia regained independence my father Eenok established Christian college Tartu Academy of Theology in 1992. 28 years later we have trained hundreds of Christian leaders for Estonia and a year ago we established Christian outreach center Home of Hope.
I was working 15 years side by side with my father until 7 years ago he turned leadership over to me. Today I’m sharing that this amazing family story is continuing. Fourth generation has grown up. Mattias Haamer, son of my older brother Markus, has joined with our team and is working side by side with me as my assistant. I’m very thankful for the energy and new ideas that he is bringing in. Mattias is very devoted Christian and Christian youth work is especially in his heart.
Please watch this video to get to know more.
I’m sharing with you a family story of three generations of pastors. The third generation.
I have two older brothers, Naatan and Markus and a younger sister Maarja. We all are grown up under pressure of Soviet occupation. And this may seem really strange that all of us three brothers made the same choice: after high school graduation we started to study theology. At the time there wasn’t any great perspective on this field. Pastor family was basically excluded from the society. Becoming a pastor didn’t give any opportunity for a great career or well-paid job. It was serving with knowing that your award is waiting for you in heaven but most probably it takes much time until you will get there.
We were lucky. Estonia regained its independence in 1991. Being independent again also meant oppression towards Christians was finished. Since that time, we can speak and work freely without any fear. But the big problem is that during 50 years of aggressive atheistic propaganda our Christian identity was badly damaged. Now we need to work hard in order to heal our country, and it takes a lot of effort to do so.
I’m sharing with you a family story of three generations of pastors. The second generation.
My father Eenok Haamer was born 1935 in a pastor family. World War II broke his childhood. Christians experienced serious persecution in Estonia after we were occupied by Soviet Union in 1940. When my grandfather was arrested and sent to Siberia the rest of his family needed to escape from their home because Russian authorities wanted to deport them to Siberia as well. A result of that was that my father hid 6 years in the forest and 4 years of that time lived in an underground bunker. He was 13 years old when his dangerous journey started with his mother and brother.
God gifted him life and it’s clear that this gift was given on purpose. Hardships in the bunker were preparations for the future. In 1964 Eenok became an ordained Lutheran pastor.
I’m sharing with you a family story of three generations of pastors. The first generation.
My grandfather Harri Haamer was born in 1906. Right after graduating high school he started to study theology. Harri was ordained in 1929 and four years later he became a pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Tartu. Just across the street where Home of Hope outreach center is located today. At that time there was about 90% of Estonian population involved with Lutheran Church. But this began to change rapidly after the start of World War II and occupation by Soviet Union since 1940. This cruel atheistic regime killed, captured and deported pastors and Christians. My grandfather Harri wasn’t exception. He was arrested in 1948 and spent almost eight years in slave labor camp in Siberia. He was accused of organizing youth work at the church. God was merciful and he returned home and was pastoring 32 more years in a small rural parish until he died in 1987. He got to see how his son Eenok became a Lutheran pastor and he was also blessed to serve in altar with his grandsons: my brothers Naatan and Markus.
Opening of Home of Hope last December brought along significant changes to the work and life of Tartu Academy of Theology. We have shared recently about the Bible School that is fully sold out and about different youth activities but one great news is still coming. Soon we are able to share an exciting moment that has connection with our history and also future. But first we would like to explain background and a special meaning of this uplifting news.
Here below you’ll find a video that is a first introduction to the original news. We’ll share some more information throughout coming week and a half. Please share this information with your friends and congregation and follow us on our Facebook page Simon VS Goliath.
In September we started regular youth events. Every month in the evening of last Sunday we are having a youth evening with prayer, singing, playing and discussion. That is meant for secondary and high school students. Since October every third Wednesday is a Worship evening which target group are college students. And every second Sunday in month we are having game and film evening.
We are so grateful for God that the launch of Home of Hope’s Bible school has gotten such warm welcome!
There are 80 people signed up and this is 4 times more than we were expecting. We are more than happy to announce that this year’s Bible school is fully sold out.
Demand and hunger for Bible school course in Tartu is over our head and there are people on the waiting list. This makes us to be devoted to work out more ways to reach out to Estonians and share the knowledge of the Bible!
School at the end of September, 2020. The originator of the idea and coordinator of the Bible School is Pastor Marek Roots. He is one of our alumni and has been pastoring in the Lutheran Church for 17 years. You can read his testimony.
In 2006 Bob had his first experience in Estonia when he (along with Karen, his first wife) came to teach at Tartu Academy. While it may be said that those weeks teaching were life-changing, it was of much greater significance that we could be introduced to Eenok Haamer and his wife, Eha! And, of course, it began a fifteen- year friendship with Siimon and his family! Over the years it has been such a joy and inspiration to see how TAT has grown, and now in its own place, Home of Hope.
When we read the news letters we are encouraged and challenged in our own faith. In June newsletter, Pastor Marek shares his testimony and a vision he has also had for several years related to TAT. Now we see new fruit born from that cooperative work between Marek and Siimon, and a new Bible school being established for people wanting to grow in God’s Word. What an open door this is for the expansion of Christian education at the family level!
Our hearts are bursting with joy right not! Recently we received word that one of our former Estonia Mission Team members feels led to bring forth a gift of $10,000 for TAT, and was wondering if it could be established as a Match Fund helping balance TAT’s annual budget.
The Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs decided to finance and launch 24/7 pastoral care via telephone. Because the Academy has trained pastoral care givers for approximately 30 years, the Ministry asked us to initiate and run this operation. Initially, financing is offered through December 31, 2020.
Siimon Haamer is the coordinator of this helpline project which has increased his working hours to 16 a day for the last few weeks. The pastoral care telephone line started June 17 at noon. The information was very well presented through many Estonian media channels and in the evening on the main Estonian TV news program.
Dear friends, I’m sharing with you some good and some not so good news.
First, the good news.
My father and founder of Tartu Acadmey of Theology, Pastor Eenok Haamer, celebrated his 85th birthday on May 17. We praise the Lord that He has given him and his wife Eha strength to continue to serve daily three congregations in Estonia.
We were able to get an agreement with our creditor to postpone the loan payment for five more months. The next payment is due October 15th, 2020.
Second, not so good news.
We have a really big deficit in our annual budget. In order to balance our fiscal year we need to raise $56,953 by June 30th.
As we were not able to raise enough funds for the loan payment we asked our creditor to postpone the payment for 5 more months. We are thankful our application was approved. The next payment is due October 15th, 2020. Our journey continues. We are moving forward with TAT annual budget funding but we still need some good efforts to get this balanced. We need your help. …
Although we have fallen into a deep crisis with TAT and Home of Hope financing because of the Corona virus we see also new opportunities opening for us in our society. We know that this challenging situation is just temporary and we need to be ready to do follow up work with people affected by the crisis. We need very much your help currently to overcome this crisis.
First of all I hope you all are safe and sound and taking care of yourself during this very unpredictable time. As the Covid-19 virus is basically everywhere in the world, it’s of course also in Estonia. In Estonia life has stopped. Schools and businesses are closed, and also, nothing is happening at Home of Hope. I’m just alone when I am here.
This is amazing! First step of our five-year-loan-journey is made. Today we paid final part of the first loan payment. Thank you to all of you, our donors!
We are so thankful to God for the blessing that we have experienced. Home of Hope is becoming more and more filled with different activities.
I’m sharing with you our current status. During last two weeks fundraising situation didn’t change much and we are still missing $6,861 for a loan payment. We are thankful that our creditor has been so far patient because we have paid most of the first loan payment but it’s clear that they won’t be patient for very long.
We continue to keep our work in prayers. February 8th we will have again 24 hour prayer chain. You are very welcome to join with us throughout a day whenever it’s suitable for you. Here are also some prayer topics: