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Our Generous Supporters in 2017


In this special issue of our newsletter, we are publishing the names of people and organizations who have supported TAT during 2017. Some people have donated anonymously and many through collections, so we may not know their names, but we are deeply grateful for all of you.


We have a long-term mission that needs committed workers for present and future generations. Our task is to raise a new generation of church leaders to guarantee continuity of this mission work among Estonians. We are still strongly influenced by 50 years of Soviet occupation, a time when Christianity was truly oppressed. We really need prayers and support from our brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world.


We hope you will also be our partner in 2018 and thereinafter. If you were not able to give last year we invite you to pray about a gift in 2018. Your gifts and prayers are what makes it possible for us to accomplish the job God has put before us.

On the next page is a brief summary of the 2017 budget and our budget for the fiscal year of 2018.


It is true for us as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:4: “I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”


God bless you!

Charles & Emily Anderson

John Anderson

Chris Barten

Ken Birst

Daniel & Karen Christ

Linda Cruz

Sue Davidson

Lyle & Amanda Doster

Robert & Dita Dow

Elaine Edmundson

Roberta Elkin

Jim & DeDe Elliott

Edwin H. Engebretson

Diane Enstad

Agu & Tiina Kaia Ets

Brian & Barbara Felt

David & Victoria Fisher

Bonnie Fix



Ken Geiger

David & Anne Gran

Paul & Elaine Gunderson

James R. Hackney

Orlando & Herdis Hash

Motley & Pam Hedges

Marion G. Johnson

Gregg Jorgenson

Tanel Kaur

Harold & Darline Knutson

Chad Kourajian

Arne & Mirjam Lagus

Kjaer & Elin Lauridsen

Robert & Gloria Lee

David & Barbara Lee

Wayne Levang

Curtis & Mary Levang

Audrey Liudahl


Kenton & Laura Lodge

William & Sigrid Ludwig

Richard & Linda Mahlow

Jennifer L. Mahlow

Lori McClaury

Ross McGlasson

Ken & Jacki Meimann

Heather Miller

Don Nordquist

Bob & Patti Nordvall

Gen Olson

Mary Ann Ostlund

Carol Palin

Keith & Linda Perhus

Thomas & Ruth Perin

William & Carolyn Quehl

Donna Rasmusson

Jim & Barbara Rasmusson

Gary & Ruth Reetz



Kent & Lori Reimann

Donald & Mavis Richman

Larry & DL Rinehart

Perry & Judy Ritland

Dennis & Kathy Sandmann

Linda Saveraid

Jerome & Bonita Schanil

J Paul & Marlene Schiotz

Laverne & Mary Severseike

Keith & Ruby Sistad

Terry & Susan Sletto

Jeffrey & Debra Uline

Steven J. Wadle

John Wangen

Duane Wangen

Kathy Wermager

John & Nancy Wissman


All anonymous donors



American Association of Lutheran Churches

Ascension Lutheran Church, Waterloo IA

Bethany Lutheran Church, McCallsburg IA

Bethel Lutheran Church, Holdrege NE

Charity Lutheran Church, Bismarck IA

Christ The King Lutheran Church, Dodge City KS

Dazey Assembly of God, Dazey ND

Estonian Ev. Lutheran Church, NY

Faith Lutheran Church, Harvey ND

Faith Lutheran Church, Hutchinson MN

First Lutheran Church, Washburn ND

Light of Christ Lutheran, Williston ND

Marshall Lutheran Church, Marshall ND

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church Foundation, Excelsior MN

Poplar Lake Lutheran Church, Fosston MN

Reformation Lutheran Church, Fortson GA

Ringkøbing Y’s Men’s Club, Denmark

Salem Lutheran Church, Roland IA

Salol First Lutheran Church, Roseau MN

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Afton MN

Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church, Parker CO

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Howard Lake MN

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Garfield MN

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hondo TX

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Elma NY

TAT Endowment Fund of Charity Lutheran Church, Bismarck ND

TAT Matching Fund

Vernes Lutheran Church, Trail MN

Western Washington Church of The Deaf, Federal Way WA

Financial Overview and Projections


Contributions during December of 2017 helped us to meet almost all our financial commitments. Yet, we finished the year with a shortfall of $6,671 USD. This deficit was carried over into 2018.


Expenses have not been increased for 2018 but because of changes in the US Dollar exchange rate during the last few months it is necessary for us to recalculate with 1 USD = 0.76 EUR instead of 1 USD = 0.80 EUR. (The 2017 budget was calculated with 1 USD=0.85 EUR). This makes a big difference and that’s why our budget has increased according to US dollars. Our actual budgeted items have not increased in terms of the Euro.







Thank you for being a valued partner in our mission! May God reward all of you according to His mercy!


Quick financial report of 2017

Income.............................................$ 212,623

Expenses.........................................$ 219,294

Balance on Dec. 31, 2017............$ -6,671

Budget of 2018

Expenses..........................................$ 239,211

Deficit from fiscal year 2016........$ 6,671

Total 2018 budget.........................$ 245,882

Following is additional information on our income resources and expenditures.

During the last years there has been a decreased proportion of US gifts in our budget and we hope and are attempting to keep that process moving.

Here is the distribution of income resources with the combined Seminary and TAT budgets of 2018. Total expenses are $ 645,110 USD. The proportion attributed to US gifts is 29%.



We are very thankful for all of the TAT Match Fund donors who helped us to meet our financial needs during the last 3 years. The Match Fund commitments ended with the year 2017 and we could not have met our financial obligations without your assistance. You raised through the Match Fund approx. $40,000 in a year.


May 11th, 2018 will take place the first TAT and Seminary fundraising banquet in Estonia. Our goal is to raise at least $10,000 USD. We are looking for matching partners for this event to make it more successful and to encourage Estonian people to give. During the fall LCMC conference, Mount Calvary Lutheran hosted the first annual Friends of Estonia Summit, and many indicated enthusiasm for our upcoming event with several pledging support already.


If you would like to partner with us, please send your donation through the East European Missions Network or Charity Lutheran Church before April 15th, with the designation on the memo line  "TAT Fundraising Match".

2017 annual budget of TAT $ 219,294 USD

$ 163,225 USD


$ 56,069 USD to go

TAT financial update on November 30th, 2017


Are We Confessing Our Membership in God’s Kingdom?

Pastor Siimon Haamer, dean

I forgot to report on our fall admissions in the September newsletter. We are again thankful to God. This year, 28 new students started their studies: 18 Bachelor, 7 Master and 3 Church Musician students.


In the beginning of October I again had a chance to visit the US for two special reasons: on the evening of October 9th we had the first Friends of Estonia Summit at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior MN, and the next day I was one of the keynote panel speakers at the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) Annual Gathering in Minneapolis.


Since the Gathering was celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, presentation topics concerned Lutheran theology. My panel discussion was on Two Kingdoms. It was a great privilege to share with the audience my thoughts and personal experience about the topic based on the Estonian context. During the 2nd half of the 20th century we had Soviet occupation. The authorities tried to do everything to wipe out Christianity from Estonia, but Christians just couldn’t be loyal to their civil leaders. To keep our faith and to be loyal to God’s Kingdom we were

Panel speakers at the LCMC Annual Gathering, October 10th of 2017.

From left: Ken Jones, Siimon Haamer, John Kline, Peri Rasolondraibe.

forced to be in opposition. Pastors were permitted to preach only inside of church buildings. Public media and all other channels were blocked for them. Because of the persecution people were afraid to go to the churches. Basically, this means two generations have been without the Word of God. Today we experience the results of that. The Estonian Lutheran Church membership, which was around 90% of our population in 1937, is only 2,2% today. I hope that churches in the US and other Western countries value their privilege of sharing freely the Word of God and representing Christian values in public. Sometimes it may seem easier not to be dealing with all the hassle that public communication brings, and we need to consider if we aren’t voluntarily doing the same thing Estonian Christians were forced to accept and do during Soviet occupation.


The Friends of Estonia Summit was a success. We had about 60 participants and hopefully it was some kind of energizer for all of us. We are most thankful for our hosts from Mount Calvary Lutheran Church and their great gift of hospitality in preparing a room and meal for everyone. The Summit was recorded and this video is available on Youtube at the following link https://youtu.be/FA331GbHkP8. This is an excellent resource for getting to know us better.


Our plan is to organize a second Friends of Estonia Summit in Des Moines (US, Iowa) on October 8th or 9th, 2018. The date will be finalised after the program of the LCMC Gathering in 2018 is made available.


God is good all the time!



This Autumn we have a great deficit again. We need $56,039 USD to meet our annual budget needs for 2017. At the same time, we are of course very happy and grateful for God's blessing. We have so many good friends who share in the importance of our mission.


If you are able, please consider sending an extra gift of support to Tartu Academy of Theology before December 31, 2017. There are several options for making a donation. To find them go to To Donate subpage. Different project funding options are available on Projects subpage.


Thank you for your continued kind support, encouragement, and faithful prayers. May all of you be rewarded by God according to His mercy.

Volli Nugis with his family.

Student Voices: Volli



I have been involved with church since 1992 when I was baptized after catechesis and I became a member of the church. For a long time, I was the coordinator of the ALPHA course and a board member in my church. Due to changes in my life I became a member of Nõmme Rahu Congregation of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tallinn, the capital city. It was there that I decided to study theology as I saw my calling to serve the Lutheran church in becoming a clergyman.


Today I have acquired a Bachelor degree from the Lutheran Church Seminary and I continue my studies in the Master’s program as it is a precondition to becoming a pastor. During my studies I intend to focus on exploring faith as a concept and passing this knowledge on to the members of my congregation as well as fellow students and, if possible, even beyond. In my opinion Christian faith cannot be a theoretical affirmation of uncertainty, it has to be the appreciation of something that exceeds the ordinary. I have touched upon this topic in my

Bachelor’s thesis: “Faith above faith. The concept of faith in the texts of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich”, and I am deeply interested in continuing my work on this matter. Relationship between a man and a God is dependent on faith, the importance which is impossible to overestimate.


I believe that in our society, which is constantly drifting away from its roots, it is extremely important to study, understand and explain the essence of Christianity. Faith is, after all, one of the main foundations of being Christian and therefore I intend to study, understand and pass on the basic knowledge of theology.


My dream is to be a pastor in some small church in South-Estonia or if things go differently – part-time vicar in a bigger church in the city. More than a few of my friends have assured me that one day I will make a very good clergyman and even my lecturer stated that my spiritual talent should be used for the benefit of ecclesiastical work because: “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few“ Lk 10:2.

The Friends of Estonia Summit in Excelsior, MN, October 9, 2017.

Summit–Result of a Good Partnership

Linda Saveraid

Member of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church Foundation board


Over the past several years Mount Calvary Lutheran Church Foundation from Excelsior, Minnesota, has presented grants to the Tartu Academy of Theology in Estonia.  We are excited about the work the Academy is doing and the progress it has made since our first hearing of it.


Siimon Haamer visited Minneapolis last May and stopped by for a brief visit to update us on what is happening. Financial struggles continue to plague the mission and after a conversation we discussed having a first ever Summit of churches in the United States who lend support to Estonia. We agreed to provide the space in Minneapolis at our church and to arrange for a meal for participants. About 60 people attended and a second summit is planned for next year.

Mount Calvary is a church community devoted to proclaiming the power of the Spirit and reveling in the love of Christ. Our mission is to make, build up and send faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We welcome with open arms all those who seek to realize the eternal truths of God’s story. As a foundation board we know how important the work is in Estonia and we’re happy to support such a worthy project. Participants from several states were present to hear about the work being done. In the past we have provided monies for scholarships and a special children’s book project. Both were very successful.


Our church was delighted to host this summit. Expanding the network of people who want to support and help TAT is important work. We look forward to next year.

Christmas Greetings

Pastor Eenok Haamer, president


Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:18


My heart rejoices about all good things that God has done and will do for us every day. Especially before Christmas we want to notice and recognize all the good that He has done.


Our treasure is Jesus Christ. Without Him we can’t understand all of God’s mercies. Jesus is teaching us to see other people around us. He is opening our eyes to see outwards beyond of our home and loved ones. Today I’m reminding you of what you have done. You are looking beyond the border of your country and are noticing one small country and nation, Estonia.


I pray that God’s rich blessing would fill your hearts every day in your life and especially during the coming Christmas time.

Challenging Time for the Estonian Lutheran Church in Training Pastors

Ove Sander, rector of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Seminary



We are thankful to God for the fruitful co-operation of Tartu Academy of Theology with the Estonian Lutheran Church Seminary, now going on 5 years. We all feel the same heartbeat that binds us together, valuing Scripture and a personal relationship with God.


Support that has been given to TAT from our brothers and sisters in Christ has not only been very significant for the Seminary and TAT, but evidently also to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church. I know there are very many prayers in addition to these donations and we have felt the special blessing that comes through faithful prayers.


The Seminary has seen good developments in co-operation with TAT during these 5 years, but much more is ahead of us. We have a long-term mission that needs committed work during future generations. Our task is to raise a new generation of church leaders to guarantee continuity of mission work among Estonians. TAT is a good example: Pastor Eenok Haamer started TAT 25 years ago and today his son, Siimon, continues in the mission.


Obviously our work isn’t without problems and obstacles. We are still strongly influenced by 50 years of Soviet occupation when Christians underwent strong pressure. Today the Estonian Lutheran Church, the largest Christian denomination in Estonia, is struggling with decreasing numbers of church members. As a result of this, we have a situation where the Church no longer has sufficient funds for pastors training in the Seminary. Usually one third ($125,000 USD) of the Seminary’s budget has been covered by the Estonian Lutheran Church, but according to the budget for next year it will be only $82,000 USD. This creates a $43,000 USD shortfall. Church leaders are of course aware of the importance of pastors training for the Church, while at the same time parish pastors struggle with their daily income.


To fill that gap, the Seminary along with TAT is organizing a fundraising banquet in the spring of 2018. These kinds of events are not common in Estonia but we are trying something new and hope to raise at least $10,000 USD. We are looking for a matching partner for this event to make it more successful and to make a strong start with a new tradition in Estonian society.


If someone would like to help us with this shortfall a donation can be sent through the same channels as you send to TAT, just write the designation as  “TAT–Seminary”. It is of course very important that stable financing of TAT also continues.


We feel deeply that the work in our hands is God’s given call and mission. It isn’t just a job or an option for us. Thus, we should boldly go on with the ministry of training and equipping pastors and workers for His name and Kingdom sake. Together with the Lord of the Harvest and our good partners we can complete this mission. Jesus’ encouraging promise is still true, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last” John 15:16.



Rector Ove Sander celebrating Holy Communion with students.

Current Financial Situation


During the 3rd quarter of the year our deficit almost doubled and on September 30th it reached $28,849. We are very thankful for everyone’s support. Now it is possible to donate to specific projects of the mission of TAT. Please visit Projects subpage for more information. We would be especially happy to see commitments for at least a 1-year period. That gives us more stability and encouragement to go on with our mission.


The TAT Matching Fund Program continues through 2017. It is the 3rd year of that program. Please consider partnering with us in this program! More information is available under To Donate.


Thank you for being a valued partner in our mission! May God reward all of you according to His mercy!


Quick financial update of TAT

Total budget for 2017...................................$ 219,294

Income during Jan.1st – Sept. 30th ...........$ 135,497

Budget for Jan. 1st–Sept. 30th ..................$  164,346

Balance on September 30th.....................$ -28,849


Alumni Voices: Aivo


At the time in 1991 when Estonia was becoming free from Soviet occupation many people found their way to church. I was at the time in my last year high school and my parents suggested I go with some classmates to confirmation. I was not baptized and everything connected with church was very unfamiliar to me. Never the less,  I found a good contact, Pastor Eenok Haamer who was leading the confirmation classes. His speech touched my heart and after confirmation I continued to go to Sunday services. In the beginning I was sitting alone, but it wasn’t very long before Pastor Eenok called me to be a member of the church council. Because of his invitation I decided to go and study at the Academy.


Even when taking the entrance examinations, I didn't realize that I go to college. I just wanted to know more about religion and faith. I didn't think at all about a call to be a pastor. Today I can say that one step prepared the next for me. I believe that all of this has been God's plan for me.


I have very good memories from my college years. I remember with thankfulness, distinguished professors with whom it was good to talk about theological topics. Friendships that were formed during studies continue to be important today. My schoolmates are working in different congregations all over Estonia but we still find ways to grow together in friendship. Special fellowship between students of the Academy was developed with daily prayer meetings, common church services and summer sessions. We didn't receive only academical education but we also learned to pray and trust God together.


Now I have been working more than 10 years as a pastor in the same rural parish where I was baptized and confirmed. Already during my college years Pastor Eenok encouraged me to serve next to him. With support of my schoolmates I started a Sunday school in my congregation. Today my wife, who is also alumni of the Academy, is a Sunday school teacher and also the organist.


I'm thankful I had chance to learn at this school, to grow in faith and to find lifelong fellowship of Christians.


EEMN English Bible Camps Welcome New Short Term Missionaries

Bob and Patti Nordvall


Through the partnership between East European Missions Network (EEMN) and Estonian Lutherans, we were privileged to facilitate two Friendship English Language Bible Camps, one hosted by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Tartu, and the other by St. Lawrence Lutheran Church in Kuressaree, on the Island of Saaremaa. Working together with Tartu Academy of Theology, thirteen friends from CO, CA, WA, IA, and ND joined in a Team to provide worship and teaching centered around the life experiences of Joseph. In each camp participants were placed in classes according to their level of English (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced), while children were divided by age level (Elementary, Middle School and Sr. High).


Since the wall came down in 1989, EEMN (which began in 1991) has held Language Camps in several countries in E Europe and Russia. This was the 12th year of Camp in Estonia, and it has been a joy to welcome many people, some who have been coming most of those years. Each day opens and closes with much robust singing and some sharing of testimonies by Team members, while the children put on skits. The daily schedule includes two class periods for teaching and a break time for snacks. Language lessons assist people with their conversational English and we use Bible stories based on characters as the curriculum base.


Over the years many friendships have been developed, and we have seen people move into different levels with their English and deeper levels in faith. Since the education system in Estonia includes learning English from elementary levels, many have found it helpful to have opportunity to practice speaking English with those whose primary language is English. Through the sharing and learning in classes there is much joy and laughter as we work together!


Team members each commit a time of about 12 days for one camp (about 18 days 2 camps), and each raises the money needed for travel and expenses (this year about $2400). Training and preparation is provided through EEMN, and we make use of Skype or Zoom conferences to get to know each other. Team Leaders, Pastor Bob and Patti Nordvall, can be contacted if you are interested in being part of the Estonia Team in 2018. You can also contact Director, Pastor David and Angela Breidenbach, EEMN, regarding one of the other Camp options for serving. We would love to visit with you!


Contacts: Bob and Patti 701-391-0182  pastorbob(at)eemn.org

                   David and Angela  505-321-2820  pastordavid(at)eemn.org

                   For more information go to www.eemn.org

Youth are presenting Joseph’s story in the English Bible Camp.

Pastor Bob Nordvall

TAT representative in U.S.

National Field Coordinator of

East European Missions Network


cell: +1 701-391-0182

Skype: pastorbobnordvall

email: pastorbob(at)eemn.org

Pastor Siimon Haamer

Dean of Tartu Academy of Theology



cell: +372 515-9127

Skype: siimon7

email: siimon.haamer(at)teoloogia.ee