Warm greetings from Estonia this fall! Our goal in sending these regular newsletters is to give a general overview of the work that God is doing in this region. But first I want to share a “little story” of our days here – one of the happenings over the course of our lives working, meeting with churches, and attending school and seminary:
Many of you may not realize that we are still quite involved in the support of at-risk children in our region. Last year, we managed to connect an Estonian charity, which works to support foster families in Estonia, with our daughter’s 1st grade class at her public school here in Tallinn. It took some time (and a lot of prayer), but the parents of our daughter’s class agreed to collect clothing, food and other supplies to send out to one foster family we have come to know in Estonia.
The mother of this family used to be the director of an orphanage in Estonia, until she decided that the orphanage system was not the place for children to be raised. At that point she dedicated her life and home to fostering. She currently fosters 5 children, ages 3 – 8 years, in her home in a small village just off the main the road to Russia. Keeping these children in winter clothing and school supplies through the years is no easy task for one retired woman. So last Spring, our daughter’s class collected supplies and clothing for this family, which we passed onto the charity who delivered them to the foster home.
Then, a few weeks ago, when school came back into session after summer break, a few of the girls in Isabel’s class asked her if we would be visiting that family again this year. In fact, I was planning to take some supplies to that very foster home in September. So when I drove out to visit this family, my daughter and one of her girlfriends from class joined me. We are making plans for our next visit in November, and another girl from Isabel’s class is planning to join us on that day.
These girls in my daughter’s class are not from Christian homes. (Estonia is one of the least-religious countries in Europe) The open-ness of their parents to let them to collect supplies and spend time visiting with this foster family is a beautiful opportunity for them to be exposed to the love and grace of our Father in heaven – and has become a very sweet part of our family’s normal routine here in Estonia.
The privilege of the continuing work of prayer ministry in this region is a source of great blessing for me and our family. In September I traveled to the Methodist Church in Võru, Estonia for 2 days of prayer and to speak at their Sunday service. Our oldest daughter Isabel joined me. Along with great times of teaching and prayer, we were able to spend time together with the pastor’s family visiting the beautiful countryside of southern Estonia – even praying for this region from the highest point in the country! From where we were standing and praying, we could literally see Russia and Latvia. It was a precious time in the Lord!
Earlier in October, I joined a team of English and Estonian prayer ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania. There we spent time with local leaders and members of the Lithuanian Methodist Church, teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit and praying for His work of healing and freedom in the Lithuanian Church and in the lives of the people there.
Of all of the great work of the Holy Spirit that weekend, one of the most powerful things for me to witness was how He moved amongst the members of the team to create a wonderful sense of unity – with a depth I have never experienced before. There seemed to be no sense of competition or defensiveness that sometimes comes when different groups come together for ministry. Each person there, including the Lithuanians, seemed to have a clear sense of his or her gifting and role, as well as the humility and peace to recognize the gifting of others in the group.
There was a true joy for all of the team when God worked through each of us, as well as when we were able to just sit back and watch the great work of God through others. The Holy Spirit led us together into wonderful times of praise and worship, healing and rejoicing as we saw others begin to walk more freely in the authority and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives.
In recent weeks I have been quite blessed to see first-hand some of the impact Charlie’s work is having in this region. During a meeting with local Christian leaders in September, I was sharing with some folks new to the area about the work I and my husband are doing here. As I was speaking about Charlie’s work with local musicians, another leader, who has been working in the church here for several years, chimed into the conversation and said, “I have never met Charlie, but I have been hearing his work a lot lately. This past year the biggest Christian records coming out of Estonia have been produced by him. He’s really doing a lot of good work here.”
As I visit with churches throughout the area, I am hearing more and more of the music Charlie has produced being played during times of prayer, praise and worship. Last week, when I arrived by bus for the weekend of prayer ministry in Lithuania, I was picked up by some of the prayer team who were also assisting in the weekend. What a blessing for me to get into their van and immediately hear one of Charlie’s guitar performances on the recent record he produced with local Estonian worship leader Elo Toodo-Jakobs! They had the CD playing and the music turned up – all singing along and praising God in the Estonian language – as we were driving to the church in Vilnius.
Along with the great ways God is using Charlie’s work in the Church here, it has also become a secondary source of financial support for our family. While Charlie’s first priority is to support the local Christian community, his work has also opened doors for him to do some projects with other local professional musicians. The money he has earned from these different jobs paid for our road-trip throughout Europe this past summer, during which we visited several churches, and spent time praying and ministering with them (see July’s newsletter). God has also used Charlie’s work to provide needed funds for our children’s school supplies, winter clothes, insurance for our car, and several other necessary expenses.
For this provision from God through the work we are doing, we feel very privileged and grateful. Many of you have encouraged and supported Charlie these past few years to pursue his passion for music composition and production here in this region, and we are seeing the fruit of that wisdom in so may ways.
However, we are still dependent on the support from you all, our brothers and sisters in the U.S., for our basic needs including: rent and utilities, groceries, etc. And we have come to see that this connection with you all is also a part of God’s good plan for our lives together in this work.
The support you give to us – financially, emotionally, and spiritually – is a great source of encouragement and faith-building for us and for all of the Church. We remember the prayer of Jesus Christ for the Church in John 17: “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” It is not God’s intention that any of us should enter into His kingdom work independently, without the help and support of the Body. It is His passion that we be one in Him, that we work together; that we love and support one another, and that through our love for one another His glory will be revealed through us to the world.
So we ask you to continue to remember us – and continue to ask the Lord how He may be leading you to be involved in the work here:
– Maybe you could consider supporting the prayer ministry, and our continued vision to develop a Christian prayer retreat center here?
– Or maybe you would consider supporting our goal to purchase a new van for the music and prayer ministry here by the end of the year?
– Or maybe you would like to consider just supporting our family, maybe committing to give an amount each month to help us cover our rent and groceries, and all of the other expenses that are just a part of the life of raising a family of five!
We sincerely thank you for all you are doing here and around the world, and we always give thanks and praise to God for each of you, and for His faithfulness to all of us.
Many blessings in the Lord,
Miki, Charlie, Isabel, Jasper and Celia
Slowly, but steadily we are seeing a rise in our project funding for a new vehicle, as well as for the prayer ministry. We continue to need assistance with our general monthly support as well. If you’ve ever considered supporting this ministry, please take a look at the opportunities below to get involved! If you are a current supporter, consider telling others about the things happening here in Eastern Europe and Russia – and ask them to join as well. Thanks!
Ways to donate to this ministry:
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
By Credit/Debit Card: Go to our website: http://www.actsofadvocacy.org and clickon “Give” to go to the Mission Society “donations” page.
For general support, please note “Chastain/Russia 322”
For vehicle project, please note “Chastain/Russia 322 Vehicle”
For prayer ministry, please note “Chastain/Russia 322 SPJ”
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.