Warm greetings from Tallinn, Estonia! We hope this letter finds you at peace and healthy as we enter into this fall season. A chill is already in the air here – and before long the snow will return to our lives.
Road trip to Albania – Refugee Ministry Opportunity
Next month, our family will be driving down to Albania, where we will attend the Africa-Asia-Europe Regional Gathering with the Mission Society. This trip has been on our calendar for many months, but now we see more of God’s hand in the timing. We have come to see this trip as an opportunity to provide assistance to some of the many ministries who are working among the thousands of refugees currently making their way from the Middle East and North Africa into the European Union. The plan is to spend three weeks attending the gathering and serving throughout the Balkans.
Specifically, we are in communication with ministries serving the homeless, in-transit refugees traveling through Hungary, Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro – which are all along the major migration routes currently being used by those seeking asylum in northern European nations. We plan to fill our van with humanitarian supplies which can be easily carried by the refugee families. As resources allow, we will continue to fill our van as many times as possible to distribute to those we encounter along our journey.
We are currently collecting winter clothing items – hats, gloves, scarves, warm socks, shoes – as we are seeing temperatures here in Estonia already dipping down into the 40s. We also hope to carry sleeping bags and small tents, as well as small strollers for those who are traveling the very long journey, often on foot, with infants and toddlers.
If you or your congregation would like to support this effort, please send donations through the Mission Society: Go to https://themissionsociety.org/give, look for the square that says, “Give to a Partner or Project” and in the Partner/Project Name, just put “Chastain Special Projects”.
Prayer Room Opening in Tallinn
After months and months of prayer, relationship-building and your unrelenting support, we finally saw the opening of an official prayer room in Tallinn in August! We have given the prayer room ministry the name “More than Enough”.
The prayer room is a rented space inside Vineyard Tallinn Church, which is located in the Mustamäe district of Tallinn. Miki has been busy meeting people in the neighborhood, who have come by the building and asked who we are and what we are doing there.
In September, the prayer room has begun to hold regular hours, during which the doors are open to receive individuals seeking quiet time alone in prayer, or those desiring to pray with a prayer minister.
Last week Miki hosted a prayer and coffee gathering at the prayer room, which was attended by local Christian leaders from various denominations and ministries in Tallinn. This meeting was a “vision” session, and the people came together to learn more about Miki’s vision for the prayer ministry, and to discuss appropriate direction and next steps.
Among the issues discussed, which are a part of our long-term vision for the ministry of the prayer room, were human trafficking in Estonia, the refugee crisis in Europe, at-risk children, and the building up of unity among the denominations of the Church in Estonia. All acknowledged these immediate and growing challenges in this part of the world, and believe that the Church needs to serve in a significant way – and agreed that it could only succeed through robust and dedicated prayer.
Miki continues to work on a weekly basis in prayer ministry alongside local Methodist, Lutheran, and Vineyard churches. She also served through teaching and prayer ministry at the Estonian Methodist Annual Conference earlier this summer, as well as at a prayer gathering held in Pärnu at the Agape Methodist Church last week.
Miki will be assisting as a prayer minister during the upcoming International Congregational Development conference being held in Tallinn later in September, and will be teaching and ministering at another UMC prayer conference, which will be held in Tallinn late in October, after we return from Albania.
In July, Charlie traveled to Western Europe, where he was able to work with friends on several music projects in the works.
In France, Charlie spent time in pre-production on a record he will be producing with an French-American artist coming to Tallinn this fall, as well as planning for an audio production course he will be teaching in Paris in September. The audio course will be hosted by la Fonderie and le pave d’Orsay – an organization and art space dedicated to serving the Christian arts community of France. Also while in Paris, Charlie had the great pleasure to join a Brazilian percussionist friend with his guitar on the streets in Montmartre, where they played and entertained passers-by underneath the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. This opportunity was so sweet for Charlie, really the fulfillment of a child-hood dream. As a result, it now appears that an album is in the works to capture the creative spark from that street performance. More news on that in the future.
After an extra-hot bus ride from Paris to Mons, Belgium, Charlie did some production work on a gospel record, which will ultimately be released in 7 different languages. From there, he traveled by train on to Düsseldorf, Germany, where he was able to spend time with the Mosaic Church, and where he found and purchased a Volkswagen van for our family!* He then drove the van back to Tallinn after finishing his work there.
Throughout the summer, Charlie continued to work on various Estonian projects, including one with 2014’s Estonian Artist of the Year. He has plans to begin 2 new Estonian records this fall, both with young, local Christian artists.
Charlie has also begun production on some of his own material (mostly inspired by our work over the years with at-risk kids), working with a group of local musicians, all of whom are not only respected artists, but are also valued friends. The plans is to finish production on the tracks, with the hope of submitting them for application to be a performing participant in next year’s Tallinn Music Week.
We ask for you prayers for this project. Artists who participate in Tallinn Music Week each year come from Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Finland, and many other countries throughout this region. Charlie’s participation in this event would be a great opportunity to continue the building of relationships and experience within the artistic community here. Plus, the particular music he would be performing would serve as another opportunity to advocate for the people we are called to serve.
We appreciate your continued prayers throughout these hectic days, and particularly during the last few days of September, when Charlie will be returning from his work in France, while we begin packing up the van for our journey to Albania, departing around the 2nd of October!
Many of you have known about our need to purchase a more reliable vehicle, for which we have been saving for almost 2 years. Several of you have given over the months to help us make that purchase, which Charlie was able to do while in Germany in July. We are so blessed with our van, and to be able to use it to carry our family and humanitarian aid down to Albania in October. Thank you!
We hope to give updates on our journey through the Balkans along the way. So look for us online! As always, thank you so much for your love and support – and let us know how we can serve you!
Blessings and Love,
Miki, Charlie, Isabel, Jasper and Celia
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: https://themissionsociety.org/give
In the box noting: “Give to a Missionary”, fill in the amount and 0322 for the “Four-digit Missionary ID#”