(Reposted from http://teamtartu.wordpress.com, July 26, 2010)
It has been a while since I’ve written anything here! Life in Tartu has been very busy with meeting with readers, church members and taking care of two small children!
We have just started our last week here in Tartu. I thought I’d take a minute to share with you about my readers:
Linda – Linda is a 60 year old woman who works very hard in her garden! She has two grown children and is retired. Linda comes to read every day. For the first two weeks, she made sure to let me know at every reading session that she thinks this is a fairy tale or that she does not believe this is true. Lately, she has been responding more to the lesson and saying things like “If I saw this (Jesus healing the paralyzed man), I would believe.” Her English is limited but she is determined, so we discuss our lesson slowly!
Ragne – Ragne is a 16 year old girl who had her first encounter with God last summer at Camp Balchyoca. I met her this summer at Camp Balchyoca and I felt that we had an instant connection. I was so happy to learn that she was from Tartu and would come to read with me! We meet every day at 2PM and we usually go sit outside in the park. We always have such deep conversations about our lives and our faith. Ragne said that this is the first time she has ever read through the whole story about Jesus. I can see her growing in her faith so much already!
Kai – Kai is a reader who has not been able to come every day as she works at the University of Tartu. She used to teach Estonian but now she works in administration and is quite happy to be there! I like reading with her a lot because she has great English skills and we have had really good conversations about the book of Luke. On her second reading session, she really identified with Elizabeth, as Kai is wanting to have her first baby but feels she is getting a bit past her childbearing years.
Liive – Liive is just the sweetest. She is an older woman who can speak Estonian, Russian, Finnish, and now English. I think she may speak German too! English is still a bit new for her and so sometimes when she cannot find the words in English, she will just speak to me in one of her many languages. I think it is very cute. We have had some great conversations about Jesus. She is also an artist, and has invited me to see her studio. I hope that I will have time to get there before we leave!
Tuuli – Tuuli is a friend of Merlin’s (our host) from college. She is around my age and her English is quite good, even though she says it isn’t! Estonians are so hard on themselves when it comes to their English skills! Tuuli and I have connected on many different levels and I have really enjoyed getting to know her in the last week.
Riina – Riina started meeting with me last week, so we have only met one time so far. She is a committed Christian and knows her bible very well. Our first 45 minute session flew by as we shared about our lives and our faith.
So there is a little glimpse into my new friends here in Tartu. When I am with the kids, we have been meeting with various church members and sharing our stories with one another, to build one another up. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone so much better this time.
Please continue to pray for us as we read this week, meet with church members, and prepare to say goodbye to a place filled with people that we love so much.