An Uplifting News… Fourth Generation

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.

Third Generation

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.

Second Generation

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.

First Generation

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.

An Uplifting News… Coming Soon

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.

Youth Work Is Launched

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.

Home of Hope Bible School is Sold Out!!!

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!

Rejoicing About God’s Work in Estonia

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. 

24/7 Pastoral Care Telephone Line Launched

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.

Several Good News But Help is Needed

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.

Loan Payment is Postponed

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. …

This Corona Crisis Caught Us

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.

Still Missing

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.

Almost There

Pastors meeting

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.

During Christmas and New Year I spent some extra time with my family and rested a bit after extremely busy Autumn. Beginning of 2020 has been again pretty intensive as we are starting new life at Home of Hope. In addition to our regular study work we are hosting different trainings and Home of Hope is a place for regular pastors meetings. It takes of course much more time until everything works as planned… and even more.

Updates and Happy New Year

I pray God’s protection and blessing with you throughout 2020. 

I just want to share briefly our current fundraising situation. At the moment we are still missing $27,787 of the first Home of Hope loan payment. Fortunately we have still some extra time because we can make the payment without penalty until January 20th.

Sharing a Great Testimony of God’s Providence

I want to share with you a very special and encouraging message that I received from major donors of ours who set up $100,000 for a matching fund this summer.

They wrote:

“In June of 2019, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to send money to the Home of Hope.  I ignored it for a while, but I finally mentioned it to my wife.  She replied that she had the same feeling.  We decided that the Holy Spirit wanted us to trust God and make a sacrificial gift.  We pledged $100,000 in matching funds for the Home of Hope.