For the 2nd straight year, God sent a team from Youth Journey, to Estonia in Northern Europe on a short-term mission trip. We once again served as helpers in running a summer English camp week for teenagers of the surrounding area in Poltsamaa (near central Estonia). We worked the camp, and helped lead discussion groups with teens sharing the Gospel and growing in Christ Jesus.|
LIVE UPDATES! Join our Estonia Mission Facebook Group Page (CLICK HERE!) and stay in touch with our family over there in Estonia, and meet the youth! There were 22 campers at the camp, 11 non-Christian, and 6 of them accepted Jesus Christ for the very first time! Just an amazing blessing from the Lord.
OUR 2016 ESTONIA SHORT TERM MISSION TEAM: Chris Jahng (Team Lead/Camp Speaker), Brooke Barnard (Social Media), Emilee Barnard (Prayer), Milan Vu (Interruption), Alec Burkett (Emcee), Victor Ponce (Worship), Pia Shah (Fundraising), Sara Phi (Fundraising), Kalister Harmon (Worship/Video), Jennifer Matthys (Fundraising), Scott Burkett (Fundraising), Rick Kushon (Fundraising/Camp Speaker)
* US SUPPORT TEAM:Ernesto & Marylin Astorga (Global Mission Ministry Team), Todd Nygren (Liason from PLT), Joyce Kushon (Administration/Fundraising), Liina & Lydia Nygren (Prayer)
Josiah Venture is our partner and overseeing organization. They partner to plant and serve churches throughout northern Europe running English camps, football (soccer) camps, music camps and support individual and family missionaries throughout the region. They are our hosts, and guides, and inspiration. We will go as their guests, as well as guests of a new local church in the village of Poltsamaa helping to use this English camp to build momentum for the local ministry under Christ.
* For full details on Josiah Venture - CLICK HERE!
Chris Jahng - Youth Director of Journey South Bay Church
CLICK HERE TO READ CHRIS' SUPPORT LETTER!
* Trip dates: June 24th-July 2nd, 2016.
* Camp dates: June 26th-June 30th, 2016.
* Location details: Estonia. Specific town is Poltsamaa, and it's a new area for the English camps. Central part of Estonia.
* Trip Calendar:
Departure - 24th, Arrival on 24th (late)/25th (early)
Training - June 25th
Camp - June 26th-June 30th
Campers come - June 26th in the evening
Camp ends - June 30th
Debrief - July 1st in Tallinn (Capital)
Return - July 2nd
* Cost details:
Approximately $870 per person for the camp. We will also need to arrange airfare and that could run anywhere from $1,000-$1,500 per person.
10% by end March. $87 each.
50% by end of April. $435 total.
Airline tickets purchased by end of April.
100% by 1st of June. $870 total.
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.
TEAM MEMBER SELECTION:
A trip such as this requires a deeper screening process. As Josiah Ventures seeks to fill the camp with saved volunteer servants, not everyone can simply go as part of the team. Requirements include:
1. Belief in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior
2. Belief in the absolute authority of the Bible
3. An active and consistent membership in Journey South Bay/Youth Journey, or another church.
4. Written recommendation by local pastor or youth pastor if not a member of Youth Journey.
5. Parental consent
6. Completion of application process
7. Interview and prayer with trip leader/Conversation and prayer including trip leader and parents
8. Must be entering or already in High School, or a youth ministry leader at Youth Journey.
9. Must be able to commit to meetings for training, and all fundraising plans.
10. Failure to comply during the process of preparation, can cause an individual to lose his or her spot on the team. This will be determined by the team leader under prayer.
Mission is to disciple with leadership training
Plant seeds for long term missions and ministry service
Develop real life business and ministry skills
Test and develop personal faith for evangelism
Test and develop personal faith for apologetics
Test and develop personal faith for active “use”
Test and develop personal faith for future application
* Long Term – Establish a permanent global mission ministry with support for JSB missionary families and individuals all around the globe.
* “Short” Term – Create, develop and maintain an attitude, mission, vision and active participation in global missions ministry as a church
Team formation has begun. All individuals seeking to join this team, must request an application. Contact me directly via email.
QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION WITH CHRIS WILES (Josiah Venture lead in Estonia):
What is the Spiritual climate in Estonia?
The spiritual climate in Estonia has been changing over the last few years. Since the fall of communism, church has been looked on as a place for old ladies, weak people and even a place that brainwashes those that attend. Many people in the early to mid 90's were burned by the health, wealth and prosperity gospel churches that came in. Many Estonians trusted these that came and gave them money and then these churches left. With them leaving, it left the churches that were spreading the Gospel in a though situation. As we are there today, we are helping to change the way church is viewed and tell people about a God who loves them. Students are beginning to be more open about the message of the Gospel and God because they see people who are coming in from America and are influenced by this. They are more open to Christianity, but they are also open to other religions that come in as well.
Safety concern for missionaries/ tourists in Estonia?
As far as crime and persecution, Estonia is a relatively safe country. There is crime, but it is not like a lot of the violent crimes that we see on the news here. There is mostly smaller petty crimes and things like that. In the 5 plus years that we have lived there, we have felt very safe.
Weather during summer camps?
During the camp season, the weather is usually pretty moderate. The temperatures are in the middle to high 80's with little to no humidity. Shorts are normally worn at camp and in the evening it might get a little cooler. We will be giving out camp hoodies at the camp, so in the evening you will have the opportunity to use these.
A day at camp?
A day at camp looks something like this. We will have a team meeting first thing in the morning, usually around 7 to 7:30 and this meeting will take us to breakfast time. We have breakfast and then after that we have our first camp talk time of the day. After the talk, we will then break up into our small groups and spend some time talking about what we just heard and discussing a few questions. After this we will go into our English Environments. We have two environments per day and these run back to back with a 10-15 minute break between. Next comes our lunch time with free time following that. We will have a few organized games during free time, but you can choose to do those, go to the local shop or just hang out. After free time we will then have supper followed by our evening talk time/small groups. In the evening we will have an open cafe where there will be snacks, board games and card games to play. Then we go to sleep and wake up and do it all over again. :)
Small groups at camp?
Small groups are co-led by one Estonian Christian and one person from the American team. Some groups will have more non-christians than others, but it is a time to talk openly about the subjects shared in that talk. If someone in the group believes differently than you do, it is not a time to try and condemn them and make them feel bad but allow them to share and then spend some one on one time with them during free time or cafe. Many of these students have never heard the Gospel before, so it will be new and it takes time for them to hear, process and accept what is being said. They take into account that they could lose friends and family by becoming a Christian.
Ideal missionary candidates?
We like to have people who are grounded in their faith. Ready to serve the students of Estonia and share how God has changed them and impacted their life. We will have a lot of fun at English Camp, but it is not a vacation. During your time their, you will probably be stretched out of your comfort zone and see God move in many ways.
Overall mission of Josiah Venture in Estonia?
Our mission in Estonia is to equip young leaders to fulfill Christ's commission through the local church. We want these future leaders of Estonia to know that God loves them and plug them into the local churches around them. There they can continue to be equipped and discipled in their faith.