Mission Trip to Poltsamaa, Estonia
In the summer of 2015 and 2016, God sent a team from Youth Journey, to Estonia in Northern Europe on a short-term mission trip. They served as helpers in running a summer English camp week for teenagers of the surrounding area in Poltsamaa (near central Estonia). They worked the camp, and helped lead discussion groups with teens sharing the Gospel and growing in Christ Jesus. They returned safely and truly blessed by the Lord. We can't wait to go back in summer of 2016!
Summer Short Term Mission Trip to Estonia
Teams that come to Eastern Europe to help with summer camps have one primary purpose: to share their lives and the love of Jesus Christ through peer to peer relationships with students that have probably had little or no contact with Christians, the Bible, or the truth of Jesus Christ. In addition to evangelistic opportunities, camps also provide an excellent context in which to work alongside Eastern European youth groups and youth leaders to help model relational evangelism. Many of the Christians in the groups with which we work for the first time have never spent extended time discussing their faith and sharing their lives with nonbelievers. We’ve seen summer camps help transform groups from very small, lifeless, inward-looking groups to growing, exciting, outreach-focused groups that have a passion to reach their non-Christian peers for Christ, in a creative and natural way.
Estonia is the smallest country in Eastern Europe. Among 15 other countries, it became independent on August 20th, 1991. The result of a greater movement, Estonia was the only country that did not have any blood-shed. Estonians sang themselves free. That movement in the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) is known as the Singing Revolution. Today, the country has gained recognition for its economic freedom, its adaptation of new technologies and has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Estonia is also known for inventing Skype. Throughout its history, Estonia has tasted freedom for less than 80 years, and this has had its impact on the spiritual reality. People crave freedom, but as a result of communism, there are very few people who know about God (less than 1% are Christians).
Estonia is about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont together, and has a population of 1.4 million people. As a country, Estonia is like a small boat that navigates quickly and changes the direction fast. Because of the size of the country, it does not take much effort to reach all the people relationally. In 2000, a survey was done that showed that Estonia has one of the highest levels of irreligious individuals in the world, with over 76% of the population stating no specific religious affiliation. The largest (albeit still a small one) religious group in the country is Evangelical Lutheranism; the second most populous religious group is Eastern Orthodox.
Among young people of Estonia, individualistic spiritualism has started to spread (new age movements and self-help books are common). Even though Estonians are by nature observers and slow to respond, they are spiritually hungry and eager to find the real God. Due to years of communist persecution and teaching, most of the older generation (age 30-55) is missing from the church. The result is that the emerging leadership in Estonia is made up of young people with visions of change. They are searching for a clear and compelling direction! Estonia is on the verge of significant transformation. We (a small Josiah Venture team of national missionaries) can see a window of opportunity to reach the whole nation through this next generation, and we do not want to miss it! Take time to pray for your involvement in what Christ and His church are doing in Estonia.
For more information visit: www.youthjourney.org/estonia