As we drove into Estonia, the bright blue sky seemed to herald the coming of spring. It was shockingly cold when we left Latvia early that morning after several days of meetings with pastors and leaders from every denomination. I had come to complete the seeding of Extraordinary in the Russian language to leaders in the Baltic nations and to strategize for the Relentless curriculum project that will follow later this year. Preparation is essential to ensure that we maximize on the potential impact, opening doors and establishing distribution channels for physical resources, electronic downloads, and viral replication.
While the journey was icy, the welcome here in Estonia was anything but cold. We stopped at a number of churches as we drove further into the country. This one, built in 1777, we found in the holds of what appeared to be a deep freeze, yet the pastor received us with a grateful heart and a warm greeting.
It has been the same everywhere I have been these last few days. The messages that have been entrusted to Messenger International have impacted a nation. I can say it no other way. I stand amazed at the manner in which the Estonian Christians have been touched and transformed by the teachings we have sent them.
Determined As Ever
For many years, Estonia and the surrounding nations were dominated by the Nazis and the Soviet Red Army. During the Second World War alone, over a quarter of Estonia’s entire population was killed or deported to labor camps, never to return.
From 1939 to 1988—nearly fifty years—the country was ruled by foreign powers, and believers were persecuted and oppressed. Those who kept the faith had nothing but their belief in God to sustain them. Bibles were more valuable than gold. I heard the story of one pastor who traded his entire farm for a single copy of God’s Word! Now we are privileged to come to this free nation and distribute resources that strengthen and encourage Christians who are desperately hungry for truth.
In those former times of persecution, Bibles and Christian literature given to churches were immediately distributed. This eliminated the risk of a warehouse where books could be seized en masse by the Soviet authorities. The best way to hide things was to distribute them—and quickly. Today, the urgency to spread resources among God’s people remains.