Can you find Estonia on a map? This Baltic country of 1.4 million people is a former republic of the Soviet Union gaining independence in 1991 and is now part of both the European Union and NATO. It is one of the most successful post-Soviet economies. It is also home to two congregations of the church of Christ due to God’s blessing and the efforts of the McDermott Road congregation.
The church is Estonia is heavily influenced by the history of severe persecution of faith under Soviet rule from 1940-1988. There is a crisis of values as secularism grows and many have a limited Christian belief. In the midst of these challenges the Christian faith in Estonia is most vibrant among younger adults. The church attempts to equip these young believers against the attraction of post-Christian values and help them find the abundant life Jesus offers in a true Christian confession.
The Estonia church was established in 1994. In 1996 missionaries Ron and Judy Warpole moved from Russia to the capital city of Tallinn to help grow the Kingdom of God in that city. It wasn’t long before forty people began worshipping together in Tallinn and in 1997 another congregation was planted in the university city of Tartu. One of those early converts, Nikolai Vasjutin, began training to preach and minister to the local brethren. Our history in Estonia began in 2003 when McDermott Road began full oversight of the Warpoles and their work in Tallinn. Ron and Judy Warpole retired from the work in Estonia in 2011 and worship here at McDermott Road. Nikolai continues to minister to the Tallinn congregation while aiding in the work at Tartu.
While supporting Nikolai Vasjutin and his ongoing work in Tallinn and Tartu, we are also heavily involved in Camp Balchyoca. Camp Balchyoca is an annual summer gathering of nearly 200 people, in which many individuals find themself learning about Christ for the very first time. McDermott Road members attend and support the ongoing work of the camp as well as their fall and spring retreats. We also support summer interns, young men from McDermott Road, who encourage the church and assist with their ongoing evangelistic efforts.
Pray that the unity of the church is a potentially powerful witness to a skeptical population and that all faithful Estonian brethren remain faithful in demonstrating Christ’s love for one another.