The Chastains December 2012 Newsletter. Big News!!

Tallinn Prayer Retreat Center Update – December 2012

This past summer, when we first announced the project to build a prayer retreat center here in Estonia, we identified as our goal for 2012 finding and acquiring a piece of property near Tallinn on which the center would be built. After four months, several meetings, and many hours spent in prayer together, we are rejoicing this Christmas season to realize the fulfillment of this commitment, though not exactly as we’d imagined!

In September, just a couple of weeks after our announcement of this project, Miki was introduced to a dear sister in Christ, Mari Vahermägi, who is the director of Scripture Union Estonia. Within minutes of meeting one another, the two ladies were discussing the incredible depth and darkness of the spiritual battles pastors and Christian workers throughout Eastern Europe – including Russia – face on a regular basis.

They agreed almost immediately that one of the most pressing issues for the church in Eastern Europe is the need for pastoral care and healing ministry for Christian pastors, leaders, and volunteers. They each described their own experiences with brothers and sisters who are doing incredible ministries in various areas, including prisons, orphanages, hospitals, and churches. However, the great majority of these workers are going into these battles with almost no training, pastoral care, or spiritual support at all. In some cases throughout Russia, for example, there are individuals serving as the only Christian leader of a village, physically separated by miles and miles of Russian forest from any other Christian accountability or support at all.

As a result, so many of these people have found themselves in a deep state of extreme burnout. After years of very intense spiritual battle with no time for spiritual retreat or personal healing for themselves, these dear people are experiencing symptoms that include isolation, depression, hopelessness, rage, and even recurring physical illness.

In less than 30 minutes after meeting one another, Miki and Mari realized that the Lord had given them both a passion to serve these Christian pastors and workers throughout this region. Further, they came to realize that specifically, they had both been given a very similar vision to build a retreat center near Tallinn that would be a place dedicated to providing spiritual retreat and healing prayer ministry and training to Christians serving throughout the post-Soviet community. In fact, in 2009 Scripture Union Estonia purchased a 10-acre piece of property 80 kilometers outside of Tallinn for just that purpose.

Mari and Miki, along with another Estonian sister who is dedicated to prayer and spiritual healing in Christ, began meeting and praying together. They sat for hours praying and quietly reflecting in the presence of the Lord, and shared the things they felt the Lord was showing them relative to developing a healing prayer ministry in this region, and specifically on what a Prayer Retreat Center should look like in this culture. Finally, after weeks of going to the Lord together, it was agreed that a trip should be made out to the Scripture Union property for a visit and prayer walk.

So this past Monday, Miki bundled up in her winter clothes and boots and rode out with Mari to the property. Together they walked the 3-mile trek through the snowy woods to get an idea of the land and to spend time there praying and listening for the guidance of the Lord.

Since purchasing the property in 2009, the Scripture Union has not had the resources or opportunities necessary to construct any buildings. However, during the summers, they have held some tent camping christian youth camps there. As a result, there are currently three structures on the entire property: an outhouse, a wooden teepee, and a cross erected near the fire pit, which designates the site of the current “prayer chapel” for the grounds.

The time out there this week was amazing, and we have decided to move forward together with the Scripture Union in combined effort and desire to see the prayer retreat center built on this property. After these years of waiting and praying, the Scripture Union expects to receive final approval from the local authorities in the first weeks of 2013 to begin construction of a more manageable road into the grounds and buildings. They have plans to start the first phase of construction this coming Spring, once the snow has melted and the ground has thawed.

Of course, there are many, many details left to be worked through, both regarding the physical plans and construction on the site, and the exact nature of our partnership with the Scripture Union. We have meetings planned in the first months of 2013 with the Scripture Union, our sending agency, The Mission Society, and several of our spiritual mentors in Eastern Europe and the U.S. to pray with us and to help us discern the best path going forward into this project. We appreciate very much your continued remembrance of all of us and this project in your thoughts and prayers.

Throughout all of this, Miki has continued in her ministry of healing prayer with many individuals from various places in Russia and Eastern Europe. During this time she has seen the Lord bring great healing through forgiveness, deliverance, and reconciliation of relationships. Recently, after a prayer session with a young Christian lady in Tallinn, the lady asked Miki, “Why are you not afraid to share so openly the things you feel God is showing you?”

Miki thought a minute about this question, and answered, “I think the main reason is that I am no longer afraid of being wrong.”

Of course, as one seeks to discern the voice of God, whether in the details of a healing prayer meeting, or in the planning of a prayer retreat center, confirmation from the christian community is absolutely essential. But it seems that far too often, it is our fear of being told we are wrong, of looking foolish in the eyes of our brothers and sisters, that stops us from stepping out when we hear the voice of God at all. Our question should not be so much, “Am I right about what I’m hearing?” or even “Will what I’m doing really make sense and win the approval of everyone in the community?” But the greatest question as we are navigating our journey as followers of Christ should be, “Am I being obedient?”

As we follow the Lord, there is always the likelihood that we will not hear Him correctly, and that we will make fools of ourselves. Let us trust that His grace is sufficient, and that His will shall be done. His infinite glory shall be revealed.

Thank you so for keeping up with this project, and for your prayer, emotional, and financial support! We are so blessed to be able to be here and to see the Lord make this vision a reality after so many years and so many prayers from so many brothers and sisters in Christ!

May the Lord’s peace fill your days this Christmas season! Charlie, Miki, Isabel, Jasper and Celia

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FUNDING UPDATE

As you may have seen on our December 11th update, we have entered into a negative balance in our support account for the first time since joining TMS.

We are so thankful for the encouragement and prayers lifted up on our behalf during this season of challenges.

During this time, especially as we embark on this most needed prayer center project, would you join us in praying for sufficient funding to continue this Kingdom work?

If you feel the Lord is leading you to begin to financially support the work we’re doing in Russia and Estonia, please see the options below.

Ways to donate to this ministry:

To make a donation by check:

– send a check to the following address, noting “Chastain/Russia 322” in the memo:

The Mission Society

6234 Crooked Creek Road Norcross, GA 30092

To make a donation by credit card or debit:

– go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and click

on “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

To make a monthly pledge:

Either contact us via email or phone (678-436-3016) so that we can send you the appropriate documentation, or go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and click on

“Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.

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