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TARTU ACADEMY OF THEOLOGY

HOME of HOPE--School of Trust

Siimon Haamer, dean of TAT

HOME of HOPE construction site on December 1st of 2018.

HOME of HOPE day by day comes closer to fruition. Two things are happening side by side. On one side, construction work on the project continues daily. On the other side,  information about the center is becoming more and more known in Estonia, in the States and other places in the world.

 

This October I traveled and visited in the States for almost three weeks. I attended the LCMC Annual Gathering in Des Moines, October 7 to 10. I’m thankful to the leadership of LCMC for giving me the privilege to share about HOME of HOPE with all of the delegates. As we need many people to join with us, I hope that this word that I shared reached out and that we will see results of that in the following months.

 

I’m thankful to Brian and Barbara Felt who covered all my airfare costs during my recent trip and Bethany Lutheran Church from McCallsburg, IA, for covering my housing costs during the LCMC conference. I’m also grateful to Bob & Patti Nordvall and Dennis & Kathy Sandmann for taking care of me throughout the trip. All of them and many more people are convinced that HOME of HOPE is on its way to becoming a reality.

 

It may seem a bit crazy to run a project without having all the money pledged. But, at the Academy we teach students to trust the Lord and we can’t act now against our teaching. Moreover, God has given to us strong encouragement and testimony that He is with us--raising the earnest money of $125,000 in just six weeks was a miracle. We can’t be unfaithful; we just have to believe as Israel did as they stood on the bank of the Jordan river during their desert journey. If they would have stayed on the river bank and waited for the flow of water to stop they would never have been able to get to the other side. Once those who bore the ark reached the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark touched the water, the waters flowing from above stood still (Joshua 3:15-16). We have stepped faithfully into the water and we hope that you will join with us in this confession and that you will be like the Israelites who followed the priests and walked to the other side of the river through the empty river bed.

 

Walking through the Jordan was a very meaningful act for Israel. It was testimony that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty (Joshua 4:24). Also, Estonian people need to know and confess the same. HOME of HOPE will be like a landmark that was set up by Joshua from those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan (Joshua 4:20).

 

We have been on a journey quite a long time and God has prepared us. The goal of this preparation has not been for a restful life. We are prepared to be good tools in God’s hand. We pray and hope that we are capable of answering this call. Help us in this, please.

 

 

NB! Visit also Home of Hope page. There are some updates and among other things three videos are added.

Home of Hope site in September of 2018.

Current Financial Situation

 

The situation with our regular funding is not very good. To cover our annual budget we are missing still $57,358. We are of course hopeful and continuing to work in faith. The Facility Fundraising Campaign is clearly cutting into our regular income and the resources gained from our May fundraising banquet in Estonia have been used.

 

We are thankful if you are able, in addition to HOME of HOPE, to donate into our regular operating fund. We are thankful for your continuing partnership in this very interesting and forward-looking period of time. In a cooperative spirit, we will be able to bring these great plans to fruition.

Achievements of TAT During Recent Years

 

In 2013 we entered into co-operation with the Estonian Lutheran Church Seminary. Now together we pass along Bible-based teaching and have experienced growth of the student body.

We train

  • Pastors/ministers
  • Chaplains for prison, the army, hospital and the police
  • Pastoral care givers and counselors
  • Deaconates
  • Church musicians
  • Christian youth workers
  • Christian media specialists
  • And offer many life-long learning courses
  • Graduates during the last three years

20 completed bachelor studies:

  • 7 continued their studies at master’s level to become pastors in the Lutheran Church
  • 4 continued their studies at master’s level to become pastoral care givers
  • 6 graduated from the pastoral care specialty and 3 of them already work as pastoral care givers
  • 1 is preparing for a prison chaplain position
  • 1 is preparing for a hospital chaplain position
  • 1 conducts grief groups in his church

16 completed Master’s studies in Theology:

  • 7 of them are already pastoring in the Lutheran Church
  • 2 are continuing preparations for Lutheran Church pastor positions
  • 3 are working on pastoral care giver positions
  • 1 is pastoring in the Adventist Church
  • 1 is pastoring in the Pentecostal Church
  • 2 are pastoring in the Orthodox Church

10 completed Master’s studies in Christian Culture:

They work in different specialties. The curriculum is created to expand Estonians knowledge of Christianity and its introduction into Estonian and European culture. Education in that field is very poor in Estonia due to 50 years of Soviet Occupation.

3 completed the 2-year church musician course.

1,200 participated life-long learning courses.

Tartu Town Hall Square decorated for Christmas of 2018.

Raili with her daughter Kelli.

Pastoral Care Center at HOME of HOPE

Raili Hollo, coordinator of Pastoral Care Center

 

Establishing the Pastoral Care Center at HOME of HOPE is a very natural development because TAT has already been training pastoral care givers for 25 years. We see in Estonia that people are looking for more and more help in their spiritual quest. At the same time, often people are afraid to go to church with their problems or they just can’t imagine that they could get any help from the church. We want to offer an alternative option for those people.

Our goal is to form a network of pastoral care givers around Estonia with HOME of HOPE being the central location for all these activities.

I myself am doing this work because in my life I have felt a great need for spiritual help as well. I spent years in the hospital after the premature birth of my second child because she weighed 1.3 pounds and had many health problems. We needed the strong efforts of doctors and God’s miracle to survive. My daughter had 12 surgeries in her first year of life.

Being in the hospital together with other parents I shared my problems with them and they shared their stories with me. I was glad to listen to others. They were happy that there was someone who had time to listen and who also was capable of understanding their pain and fear. They were grateful to me that I listened and they confessed how important it is to be listened to and understood.

I felt that there was certainly something more that I needed to learn. Later, when I did not need to spend all that time at the hospital, I began studying at the Academy myself. I learned how to better understand people and their spiritual being. I gained understanding about the bigger picture and that, as a Christian, I’m a tool in God’s hand. While I’m wanting to do my best, I can trust that God will take care of the rest. I know now that the biggest support for my hospital mates was my courage to be together with them in their pain and the source of that courage was God.

Now I’m working to create a place where we can share this courage that God has given us.

Building Up New Perspectives

Siimon Haamer, dean of TAT

English Bible Camp team members from US visiting construction site, August of 2018.

The new school year took off at the beginning of September with several new students. We have admitted 17  new students. 12 of them are enrolled in a bachelor program and 5 are in the masters program. This year’s admission of new students is less than last year’s but numbers are not the most important measure. These students really want to work in God’s Kingdom. We are happy to know that they have received a call and have a desire to do God’s work.

Our big challenge this college year is to raise funds for our Home of Hope facility project. We are very thankful to God and our donors that we were able to raise the earnest money to begin this project but much work is ahead of us. From October 2nd until the 19th I’m visiting the States. My main target is to participate at the Annual Gathering of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ in Des Moines, Iowa October 7-10. The afternoon of October 8th I have been given an opportunity to address all of the delegates of the Gathering with a short Home of Hope presentation. October 9th from 5:00-6:00 pm I’m hosting a full presentation in room 105 of the Hy-Vee Hall Convention Center. Everyone who desires and is able to participate is welcome to attend.

We are pleased to report that Estonian businessmen are also supporting our Home of Hope project. The owner of the development of the complex where we are buying our rooms has agreed to allow us private use of the public hallway on the ground floor without any additional cost. Because of this, we are able to build a glass wall in the front of the hallway that makes our rooms more secure. We have a company that will build the electrical system at a much- reduced price. The lawyer who was our adviser throughout the contract preparation process worked voluntarily. This coming Spring I’m again organizing a fundraising banquet and I hope  to raise funds also for Home of Hope.

Also, we have some new developments. Initially, there were plans for the Lutheran Church weekly newspaper editorial office to join with us at our center but that is no longer the plan. Now we plan to use this space as a guest apartment/dorm. The design is made with the perspective that if the editorial office or another Christian ministry desires space at a later date, we would be able to transform the apartment into office space without any additional cost.

As there is a great need among Lutheran pastors for spiritual mentoring we initiated a spiritual mentors training program 1.5 years ago. Sixteen Lutheran pastors participated in the year-long training program. They are now able to mentor pastors, especially younger pastors who are the main target group. They are required to have a mentor for 3 to 5 years after ordination. At this same time in January, 2017 we implemented small group mentoring for our students. Home of Hope will be a place where spiritual mentors are trained and where senior pastors share their faith and experiences with younger colleagues.

This is an inspiring time and exciting things lay ahead for of us. We hope to find many new partners from Estonia, the United States, Denmark and other parts of the world to accomplish together this vision for our country.

Home of Hope future chapel, August of 2018.

Current Financial Situation

 

The Facility Fundraising Campaign is clearly cutting into our regular income but thanks to the very successful May fundraising banquet in Estonia we have been able to keep the school running, although we are in a deficit. The end of the year is going to be a challenge for us because the funds raised from the banquet will be depleted in October. We are thankful for your continuing partnership in this very interesting and forward looking period of time. In a cooperative spirit, we will be able to bring these great plans to fruition.

As of September 30th we had a $14,596 USD deficit.

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

Quick financial update of TAT

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

Income during Jan. 1st–Sept. 30th 2018...................$ 144,564

Budget for Jan. 1st–Sept. 30th 2018.........................$  159,160

Balance on Sept. 30th of 2018.................................$  -14,596

Sandy Miller with Siimon Haamer on the construction site of Home of Hope in August of 2018.

Passionate for the Vision of Home of Hope

Sandy Miller

Pastor of First Lutheran Church, Hope MN

Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ Ministry Board member

 

I just had the wonderful privilege of spending eight days this past August serving on the EEMN English Speaking Bible Camp Team in Tartu.  While there, I was also able to share in the excitement of seeing progress being made on the new location for Tartu Academy. What a beautiful and functional facility it’s going to be! Our church has already been supporting this project with our resources and prayers, but seeing it firsthand and hearing the vision directly from both Eenok and Siimon Haamer stirred up an even deeper excitement and desire to support TAT: Home of Hope. Humanly speaking, this project seems beyond reach. But Jesus said in Luke 1:37, “nothing is impossible with God.” Nothing is too big for Him, and I believe in faith that this project is going to come to fruition.

One of the things that I sensed while in Estonia is that “God is on the move.”  The Spirit is moving in the Church and among the people.  I was humbled by the faithfulness and commitment of the many pastors that I met from the area.  I also saw deep and growing faith in not just the older generation, but the younger generation as well.  Young people who are excited about Jesus and seeking to apply Biblical principles to their daily lives.  I sensed that the Church needs to be ready.  Tartu Academy needs to be ready.  Ready to effectively train future pastors and ministry leaders who are equipped to respond to those who are seeking.  Ready to assist in bringing unity to the Church by facilitating gatherings across all denominations.  Ready to be a strong foundation on which to build upon.  Ready to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to Estonia.

I only wish that everyone reading this would have the opportunity to experience the passion of this vision firsthand.  That they would have an opportunity to experience the prayer that is undergirding every effort and every decision being made.  I’m so excited to be a part of what God is doing in Estonia.  And so is our church, First Lutheran Church in Hope, Minnesota.  We are so very grateful to be a ministry partner of Tartu Academy which has given us the opportunity to be an integral part of what God is doing on a global level.  It’s my hope and prayer that many others will catch this vision that began decades ago, and help bring it to fruition. Now is the time!  “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Paavo & Mare Pihlak. Founders of Family Raido.

Christian Radio--Family Radio Founders About Home of Hope Project

 

In 1995, Family Radio began broadcasting a daily program in Tartu. Volunteers from California and Colorado built studios in the summer of 1994 while the first training courses for future workers in Christian radio were being conducted.

October 1, 1995 the first church service was broadcasted. Now, every Sunday six services from various churches in Estonia are broadcasted.

Since 1996, most of Estonia has been covered with our radio broadcast. Studios are located in several places in Estonia. In 2001, a 24/7 program in Russian began to be broadcasted all over the European part of Russia.

Since the very beginning we have had very close co-operation with the Tartu Academy of Theology. We have conducted trainings for TAT students and they have been able to complete their supervised practice in radio. After graduation, several students also began their  professional careers at Family Radio.  That’s why the Home of Hope vision is a natural continuity to our cooperating in a long-term relationship. This facility and its concept is to us a new and fruitful perspective. Currently, we are located in a suburb but this new location would make a great difference. We would offer much better accessibility to our volunteer co-workers and would be located just across the street from St. Paul Lutheran Church from where we broadcast church services every Sunday. St. Paul’s is our long time partner and supporter. Being in such close proximity would create good synergy in the proclamation of the Word of God.

It is amazing how God is planning everything. In the spring of this year we received information from our current landlord that the building where we currently rent our studio rooms will be sold or rebuilt and we need to find another location in about a year. It was really God’s provision that shortly after that TAT presented to us their vision and offered new rooms in the Home of Hope facility.

Soon Family Radio will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and we have to acknowledge that a Christian Radio based mostly on volunteers who are mainly pastors and students is a great miracle of God in Estonia. TAT has been a very essential partner in that throughout these years.

Fundraising Banquet in Estonia--Great Success

Siimon Haamer, dean of TAT

Fundraising banquet in Estonia May 11th, 2018. EEMN video greeting is presented on the screen.

Last fall I began making plans for a fundraising banquet in Estonia. It seemed to us that Estonians were ready to accept the same kind of fundraising format that is very popular in the US. Although many people were very suspicious about this plan, I was willing to take the risk.

I shared this vision with our American friends and they were willing to offer matching funds for this event. In the end, there were $17,150 USD for matching. It was a very good challenge for Estonians and very important to make this event successful.

I understood it is important to give a very clear and specific purpose for these donations. Because of that, we decided to raise the funds specifically for our pastoral care specialty activities.

On May 11th we had a great banquet evening in one of the medieval buildings in the old town of Tallinn. From the attached pictures you can hopefully get some feeling of the atmosphere there. We had 90 guests and really enjoyable 3 hours with good food, motivated people, wonderful piano music and great speakers. As this evening was concentrated on pastoral care work, my brother Naatan was a keynote speaker. I may say that he is a grand old man of pastoral care work in Estonia. We also presented an EEMN video greeting on the screen.

There were actually many more people who contacted me prior to the banquet and expressed their regret that their time was already booked. They still wanted to make a donation.

We raised a total of $25,600 USD. This means we exceeded the challenge and covered all match funds. The total income of the banquet was $42,750 USD!

I have received so much very, very positive feedback from the people who participated. They said it was professionally organized and conducted and they are waiting for the next banquet. 20 participants marked, on their feedback cards, that they are willing to call their friends and invite them to the next banquet. Soon I will set a date for the 2019 banquet. We will need to get a much bigger room.

Praise to the Lord this event was an absolute success. It may become an attitude breaking event in Estonia. Information on this type of fund raising will spread. The majority of the participants were business people, also politicians and representatives of various other professions. Many of them are not members of any church. This is very encouraging that people do care about our work and are willing to give support.

We will hold the next fundraising banquet in April or May of 2019 and we would be very thankful if we could again get match funds for this event.

We are very thankful to all donors of matching fund:

Bob & Patti Nordvall

Gen Olson

Gloria Erickson

Agu & Tiina Kaia Ets

Bethel Lutheran Church, Holdrege, NE

Ken Birst

Bill & Carolyn Quehl

Ken & Connie Geiger

 

Lord bless you for your love toward Estonia!

Siimon Haamer

Current Financial Situation

 

Income through the first five months of the year has been very encouraging. After a long period of time our running budget is balanced even though we now have our ambitious facility campaign. One main reason is the succesful fundraising banquet that we had in Estonia on May 11th. The money we raised will be distributed throughout the year and that’s why the full amount will not be presented in the accounting of our first five months. As of May 31st we had a $120 USD surplus.

Our sincere appeal is not for you to substitute current giving with funding for the facility project because our most important task is to continue our everyday work so that the new building can be put to good use in the future.

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

Quick financial update of TAT

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

Income during Jan. 1st – May 31st 2018.................$   92,087

Budget for Jan. 1st – May 31st 2018.......................$   91,967

Balance on May 31st of 2018.................................$        120

The construction site as it is currently.

In front--a lot where the building which includes TAT rooms will be built, on the back next door--a building that looks like our future building.

Current Status of Facility Fundraising Campaign

 

On April 28th we launched the TAT Facility Capital Campaign at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, MN. There was a great group of very dedicated people gathered. We experienced God’s provision during this event and we have been blessed by God’s guidance continually during the last month.

In two weeks we raised $77,708 USD. That was very encouraging and we decided to go on with this project because such an excellent start for a campaign was again proof of God’s provision.

Another proof is the of the owner of that development. When we started planning in March he offered to make architectural drawings of our rooms without any cost. After we announced to him May 15th that we will purchase this facility we have been in very active communication in considering all details of the project. Already today, construction details are being made according to our room plans, even though we have not signed any contract with the developer and we have not paid one cent down. He is just trusting our word. As far as we know, this is unusual in the business world. We have been honest with the owner in explaining to him that we do not have all of the money yet. Because of all these good signs, we are convinced that we will have the necessary amount when it’s needed. Now we have to prove that Christians really are reliable and they won’t back off from the given promises.

As of June 5th, we have raised $84,929 USD and we are still short $54,781 USD of the down payment that needs to be made by June 15th. We need your help in this most difficult phase of our campaign! The final result is still far away and seems like a dream but we hope that you are as convinced as we are that this is God’s plan and is meant to become reality. We just need God’s ambassadors to show up.

We are very thankful to all donors so far. This is a pretty big group of people and congregations. You may find them on our website www.tat.news/facility.html#donors.

You are welcome to find more information about our facility plans and capital campaign from our website

www.tat.news/facility.html.

 

If you are planning to donate or you have any questions, contact with Siimon Haamer siimon.haamer@teoloogia.ee, please.

 

You can make your tax deductible donation toward the purchase of our facility through

Charity Lutheran Church (Tax deductible)

120 Aspen Ave.

Bismarck, ND 58503

It is very important to mark the donation designation “TAT Facility” in the memo portion.

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop Joel Luhamets About Facility Project

 

The site, where Tartu Academy is planning to purchase rooms, is a remarkable development. In addition to the extraordinary architecture this will bring many new people into an area where there are different acitivities, restaurants, hostels, etc. An important landmark just across the street is St. Paul Lutheran Church which is newly renovated and has an active congregation. It would be hard to find a better place for a theological school that  incorporates different ministries to proclaim the Word of God. Ministries that will be situated in this well-developing area will become very visible to the public.

Planting new congregations is important but expanding a training center where pastors, workers for various church ministries, and lay leaders will be trained is even more future-focused action. In addition, this work is in harmony with Jesus’ Word: The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Luke 10:2).

Tartu Academy in this new development will be like a town built on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).

I pray God's blessing into this endeavor.

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

Help to establish HOME of HOPE in Estonia