Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We had a great christmas service. There were probably around 130 people. Very many of them were there for the first time which was great. Atmosphere, music, environment - everything was really cool!
It was also the first time that we met in Atlantis, the conference center in downtown Tartu.

Here is picture that we took after the service under the christmas tree.

May you experience God's love in a very genuine way this Christmas. And let the year of 2008 be filled with true encounters with Jesus.

With Love,
Peep, Anna & Emma

Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator;
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.

Source unknown

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hope that goes through death

We are just visitors and wanderers here on earth, our home is in heaven...

Two hours ago i received news that my uncle Tarmo had died in a car wreck.

He had been playing violin in a funeral in Tallinn and was hurrying to play in a concert in Tartu with his band while he was in a fatal car accident with 4 cars and 3 deaths on the highway. He died on the way to the hospital.

Tarmos life was lived on the purpose to serve God through music. He is now with his heavenly father!

Please pray for their family. 7 kids will be missing their father. Jakob, the youngest son, has his 15-th birthday tomorrow.

Monday, December 3, 2007

National Prayer Breakfast

In the last days and weeks our team has been busy preparing for the national prayer breakfast. Once a year the council of churches invites the parliament members, the president and the government members to come and share a breakfast and be encouraged and prayed for by the churches. This years theme was "Today and tomorrow" which was about the youth in Estonia. Going up, as a youth organization was asked to be part of planning the morning.

Today the day was here. To summerize things in short - everything went great and God was really at work.
It was amazing to see the leaders of the country wiping tears from their eyes while Märt was giving a talk. His talk was followed by a video testimony of 2 guys, that have went through a life change because of what God has done in their life, and that was another great homerun.

After the official part was over then there were many people that came up to us and thanked for a great morning. But it wasn't really us that had to be thanked. Throughout the morning it was clear that God was there and was working in peoples hearts. I am sure that one big reason for that was also the worship and prayer nights that took place all over Estonia this weekend where people specially prayed for today morning. The youth of Tartu gathered acutally in Risttee and you can see pictured of that here.

As a leader it is always great to see your team excel in what they do. Today it was once again one of those times - our videoteam that had produced 2,5 video pieces, Märt who was speaking and Joonas who was drawing a painting on the stage during the breakfast. I am grateful for all of you guys!

Now back to Tartu where my sweet girls are waiting for me to return (and fix the car that decided to break down again).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

1 picture = 1000 words

hey everyone,
just wanted to let you all know that i put up the pictures from our U.S trip yesterday. even thought every othe picture is of emma, i still hope you have a chance to look through them, there might even be one of you in there!
it was such a great time for us, thank you for making it such an enjoyable trip!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nomadic church II (updates)

In the last couple of days we have been in contact with our land lords trying to figure out what has cause the current situation, are there any potential ways for us to continue renting the facility and if not then can we postpone the deadline of moving out.

So far we have got that far:
1. What is the reason why they want to kick us out? They really haven't explained it to us. The most that i heard from them has been "We just dont want to have you as renters any more. We are tired of telling you all the time what you can and what you can't do in this facility".
2. Right now it really seems that there isn't any way for us to continue renting the building. A good example of it was also the fact that the building crew continued working on installing a new heating system to the building on Sunday during our worship service. The working noise was so bad that it was even hard to hear the sermon. And to make things worse, the land lord himself was working together with the builders, so it wasn't like he didnt know about it.
3. We will hear by the end of the week if there is a possibility for us to postpone the deadline of moving out. Right now we have to be out by the 1st of December. That would mean that we would only have one more Sunday here. And it is HARD to find any place to be in that short of a time.

So thats the current update.
At the same time we feel peace in our hearts and know that it is time for us to move on from here and God is leading us that way. He really must have a much better place in mind for us, we just have to find it. So you can continue praying for the whole situation.

Actually, tomorrow we will go and see one place that has opened up for rent. It is an old night club in the center of the city. We dont know more about it but just that the location is much better than the one we currently have. Maybe that's the next place for Risttee church?

Nomadic church I

It was our last morning in US. Anna and I were all excited about returning to the ministry in Estonia with the new insight from the conferences and encouragement from our friends when I received this letter from my brother describing a new situation with our land lords (many of you already have seen that email):
Dear fellow brothers,

Dima, our landlord just came into our (Risttee and GU) office with an
official paper that we will be kicked out as a church in 2 weeks. He asked me to
sign under it, but i didnt. He insisted that decision has been
made already.

He said that he will put it into our mailbox and they still have their
decision made.

I tried to understand whats the problem or why they decided so. He didnt
give a clear answer, but said that its the people here. What exactly, i
hope he will tell to Peep when he comes back.

We have 2 weeks to figure out is it God who is moving us again, or is it
just a problem, that we must be able to solve. One thing is sure, we
have to start praying and those who have skills, starting interacting
more with Diima.

Have a life-changing day!
Märt Saar

Making the shift

Estonia sure seems to be grey and dark this season of the year. Specially if you make the transition from a hot and clear skies sunny Sothern California. It took us 29 hours to travel from door to door, but it went surprisingly smoothly inspite of travelling with a enormous amount of baggage and a 8-month old baby. We didn't loose our luggage but the airlines broke the stroller that we had bought just one week before we flew to the states.
Last night Emma was up and crying for 4 hours straight. And when the baby doesn't sleep then the parents are up also (at least mommy is!).
But it is good to be back.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

30 years

Today is my birthday.
30 years.
Thats what i call entering the Jesus-age. Which means that it is time to live in a way that leaves a mark in the world.

It is weird to think that if i live for another 30 years then im already 60 years old. But which is even more weird to think is that Emma will be then 30 years old of a woman.

Day 19: Traffic and Exponential

I have spent almost 3,5 hourst today in traffic. Its awful. I dont think i am strong enough of a christian to live in LA. I would be experiencing road rage every time i'm on the road.

Appart from the traffic the Exponential conference that is about creating a culture of generousity in your church has been really stretching for me personally. That is something that I really want to see in my own life, in our family and in Risttee church! I'm ready for God to continue his work in me also tomorrow. Besides im very excited to hear for the first time in my life Rick Warren and Joel Ortberg talking.

Out of everything in the conference today the thing that talked to me the most was the video of Malawii Miracle - the project that WACC church did to raise money for building an hospital in Malawii.

Day 18: I'm not a whiner

I'm very proud of myself. Today we were in the outlets shopping for 5 hours and my duty was to babysit Emma during all that time. But i did not WHINE! Learn from me guys!

PS Of course there are guys like Rodney Brown, Rich Richardson and Joel Thomas who actually enjoy shopping and consider it a great way to spend time. I dont even pretend to be on their level.

Day 17: My personal record!

I went to church 5 times today. Do they give some type of an award for that? Thats my personal record i'm sure. If you add to that also a church service on saturday evening, then thats even more.
WACC has 4 services over the weekend and I was able to give a short greeting in all of the services. I think it went quite well. WACC church continues to model to me and our church generosity in ways that we have not seen before. In september when i saw Bill (the pastor of WACC) then i mentioned to him that we lost our camera after the summer english camps. As a church they decided to give us a great new Sony HD camera + Final Cut studio for Mac. Once again I am blown away how much people believe in us and the ministry in Estonia!

One thing that is great for all the churches in LA is that they can have the cafeterias and reception areas outside all throughout the year. In the pic: WACC church

Since I was already in LA then there are 2 churches that i have wanted to visit for a long time:
Mosaic church that gathers in downtown LA in a Mayan theater. And the Rock Harbor church, which is the "cool" church for the college students and single adults.

I went to the 7pm service in Mosaic. Lets say that it was a different experience. Mosaic gathers in a theater that is filled with all these sculptures and decorations that are mayan cultural and spiritual symbols. The people that had gathered (maybe 300 people) were different than the average people. I guess the best i could describe them would be multicultural urban artistic types. I did not feel that i am the target group. The worship was rocky-edgy-hard-indie. I didn't recognize any of the songs. Speaker was quite ok. Too bad that Erwin McManus himself wasnt there.

Rock Harbor gathered for the last time at 9pm. It took me an hour to get there from Mosaic. Although the service was so late at night, it was totally packed probably 1000+ people. And that was the 5th service over the weekend. The Rock definitely was much more main stream. There were the typical american college student type people unlike in the Mosaic. By that time i was already quite tired, so i spaced out couple of times in the the 1hour and 40minutes long service. Some things that were very cool - they had a great dance in the service and it even had a point that was very creatively communicated and tied into the sermon. And from the announcements i remember that the Rock sent over 2000 people to short term trips this last summer! Thats awsome. They want to live out the servants dna of a missional church.

By the time I got home it was close to midnight and i sneaked to bed so that i wouldn't wake up Anna and Emma.

Day 16: Atl - LA

Today we started the last leg of our trip - the plane from Atl to Los Angeles left in the morning. Emma was quite good on the 5 hour flight. If you want to learn coordination then i have an exercise for you - try to change extremely poopy diaper in the airplane restroom where the ceiling is too low for you to stand up even.
It still amazes me how different the cities of Atlanta and LA are. Even from the plane you can tell what a difference there is. Atlanta from the air is all green, full of trees. Just two strips of concrete are in Buchkead area and downtown. Flying in to LA is a different deal all the way. You are flying in the desert for 2 hours and then starts the city but that is only concrete and stones. No sign of green almost at all. One thing is similar in both cities though - traffic is horrendeous in both!

Day 15: Fall

Yesterday we visited the largest house in United States - the Biltmore Estate. Thats one big house. Built in the style of European mansions/castels but only 120 years old. The house was decorated with for christmas and it was really beautiful, even the sceptic that i am liked it. There was also a choire that kept singing in the big lobby for all the guests. They were awful though.

Today we are driving back from the Cove. Fall can be so beautiful. Too bad that in estonia we dont have that many sugar maple trees as here in Pennsylvania, North Carolina or even Atlanta. I love about travelling that sometimes you get to travel in time also - fall in Estonia seems a long time ago but here it is just getting here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 14: The Cove

Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove - thats where we are with all the international partners of NP.
In spite of the fact the average visitor here seems to be a southern baptist couple in their 70s, this place truely has a different feel to it. Everything here is so peaceful, calm and beautiful. Great place to connect with God.

Surrouned by beautiful forests

The foyer of the training center

Praying around the globe

Two things that make me smile here:
1. There are bibles everywhere. Even in mens bathroom. I guess if you got to spend more time there you might as well read some chapters.
2. All the waitresses/ladies in the restaurant (most of them are in their 60s i guess) wear a ankle-length blue jean dress. The last time i saw those things was in the beginning of 90s when we got the first second hand clothing packages to Estonia...

Day 13: Friends

Our time in Atlanta is already so filled that we just can`t find time to meet all our friends. What a shame. Next time we just have to plan for couple of more days here.
What a miracle it is to think that just 3 years ago we did not know anyone from Atlanta and now we have so many great friends here!

Emma with her new best friend

Besides being the most popular bachelor in Atlanta, Rich is also known for his sense of style

Jim - the king of Polo

Day 11/12: Move conference

55 people from 15 different countries all over the world (from Indonesia to Brazil) have gathered to Atlante for North Point partnerns conference. Hospitality and kindness is such a characteristic to everyone from NP church that i have come to contact!

It has been great to get to know some of these people and hear about their struggles and celebration stories in planting churches in the cultures that are so different from each other. And of course sessions with Andy are a treat.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 10: Buckhead experience

After leaving at 5am toward Pittsburgh aiport we made it to Atlanta without any problems. It is great to be back here. Atlanta is probably my favourite city in US (since NY is such a different place then that doesnt count). Wilkins family is hosting us again this year and it is great to be with our "Atlanta family" and spend time in their awsome home.

Have you ever seen a polo game? As of today i can say that i have. How hard can be riding on a horse and trying to hit a small ball with a long stick? Seems real complicated to me.

Buckhead church is amazing. It really fits the culture of the part of the city that it is located at. We were able to visit the 6pm service. Amazing production and great sermon from Andy. One of the highlights for me of the service was when the video picture of Andy froze on the middle screen just in the peak of the sermon. I guess it proves again that noone is protected from unpredictable technical errors.

Griswold family hosted a desert party for us tonite. It was so great to get together with many of our good friends that we havent seen for a long time. We got to share what has been going on in Risttee and Going UP during this last year. Thank you guys for believing in us and being a part of the ministry in Estonia during all these years!

Tomorrow starts the Move conference. Time to hit the bed because it has been an exhausting day

Day 9: Congrats John and Beth

Mr. and Mrs. John Viinalass - i find it very strange to call the couples like that but oh well, since it is a custom here then why not.

The wedding was beautiful. I really like the ceremony. It was also the first time for me to be a groomsmen so that was quite special. After the ceremony it was time for the reception. John and Beth had asked me to be the host for that and to put together an Estonian style reception. So we had couple of games and skits and songs there + traditional american dancing and toasts and cutting of the cake.

When everything was over then it was already late in the evening. Inspite of that all the canadian family and estonian crew + some other closest friends crashed in one hotel room for last bonding time before leaving Youngstown early next morning. We are sure gonna miss you all!

Day 8: Rehearsal dinner

I think Pennsylvania is probably one of the most beautiful parts of US that i have been to, specially in the fall when all the hills are just covered with red and yellow maple trees. I love driving around on the country roads here.

Today we had the rehearsal for the wedding. Since i am one of the groomsman, i had to be there also. Everything went well except the fact that the best man and the wedding musician got there 1,5 hours late (they just were not able to find the church). Tomorrow is the wedding and it is time to start planning the wedding reception...

Emma is tired of waiting and is searching through aunt Melissas purse

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 7: Cradle of civilization

Today I had finally the honor to see with my own eyes the cradle of the civilization, the source of happiness for all mankind, the birthplace of heroes that have changed the face of the world - YOUNGSTOWN, OH.
At least thats how my best friend Craig has described his hometown.

We are here for the wedding of my brother in law - John and his fiancee Beth. All the family from Estonia, USA and Canada has gathered in a little farm near Youngstown for a time of crazy jollyness and gayful cheering before the wedding ceremony.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 6: 98 years of age

Emmas great-great grandmother celebrated today her 98th b-day. She is still in such a good health. Strange to think of what would the world look like in 98 years from today, if Emma would live to be also that old.

By the way, it is pretty intimidating to be thrown into the room with 50 other people that all seem to know your name but you have just a slight idea that you have seen them somewhere sometime...

Day 5: Beating from the elderly ladies

Today I played golf for the first time.
Do you know what hurts? Get badly beaten by a bunch of 90 year old ladies in a game of golf. They were hardly able to walk but they hit that ball like there is no tomorrow! Awful feeling and very humbling experience! :)
Daniel showing his style

Ladies who beat us bad

Today was also trick-or-treat night. Emma got to dress up for the first time in her life and she was just adorable. Little chick from Estonia! As you can imagine, we just had to push her in the strolly to the doors and the candy kept flowing in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 4: Leopard and bottomless pancakes

Yesterday morning we had breakfast with our great friends Nelson and Mandy. Mandy has had many colorful experiences in Estonia (including the first Teemeister adventure game) but Nelli hasn't been to our wonderful country yet. Anyways, what I wanted to say was that instead of free refills on drinks, I had free refills on pancakes! Of course the problem was that since there was so much food on the original serving, then i couldn't even finish those 3 pancakes. Not to mention asking for more.

The other highlight of the day for sure was buying an iPhone and playing around with it. I know i dont need one of those, but it just is so tempting. I still think that i wont keep it when i get back to Estonia but sell it. It was also quite an adventrue working through the manual to open it to all networks. Is hacking an iPhone a sin i wonder?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 3: Highlights

Here are some highlights from Sunday, our 3rd full day in US.
- Matt Hamer and I both installed Second Life into our computers to play with it some. So yesterday my avatar, named Tyyp Proto, went to church in Second Life. Lifechurch.tv has a huge campus there. Since I was there 45 minutes early i didn't get to take part of the service but just hanged out there, which was a lot of fun. On the same island XXXChurch has their little campus also.
- 5 (Free) refills of cherry coce in Max and Ermas (too bad that most places dont have Dr.Pepper)
- Daniel Viinalass giving greetins in NW bible church and handing Pastor Harrel a jar of dirt

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 2: Congrats Mrs. and Mr. Bob Hart

Today was the wedding of our great friends Tara Harrell and Bob Hart.

Since we can't find the cord for the camera I can only share with you right now the pictures done with my phone.
Anyways, Bob and Tara, all of your Estonian friends are wishing you all the best and rich blessings on that day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Phone number

In case you need to get hold of us during the next couple of weeks, our phone number in the States is 614-586 5665

Day 2: Some highlights

Some highlights from our second day of travels (note: these highlights are highly subjective and don't claim to be absolute truths):
1. Emma crawled yesterday for the first time. We were visiting Anna's friend Danielle who has a dog named Donkey. Emmas love for dogs is huge, and Donkey was the sole inspiration for Emma to crawl towards him.
2. I have am a Leopard-user. New era has begun in my Mac life. Some higlights from the op.system that I sepcially like:
- Time machine
- ToDo lists and Rss reader in Mail
- Quicklook in Finder
- Spaces and less glutter on desktop
- Coverflow in Finder
3. The leaves are just changing the colors in Columbus and it is beautiful to drive around here
4. Last but not least - last night at Roosters I had 6 (FREE!) refills of cherry coce. I was not feeling good afterwards.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 1: Planes and travels

Location: Tallinn-Amseterdam-Detroit-Columbus-Strive event in Northwest church

The day had a really hectic start. Emma still had a fever and did not sleep well so Anna got maybe just couple of hours sleep. Our plane was scheduled to departure from Tallinn at 7am, so we wanted to be there shortly after 5 to give time for all the procedures. Specially since we still had to buy the infant tickets for Emma. Well, it took us over an hour to do that since the KLM online system was down for that and the poor lady in the office had not done anything like that before. For a while both Anna and I got the feeling that we wont make it out of Estonia that day. They had to keep the check-in open specially for us as we were the very last people they were waiting on. Then they escorted us through the security and passport control without any delays so that we wouldnt make the plane more late than it already was.

Amsterday Schipold airport is nice. If you ever happen to travel there with the baby, then make sure to check out the Baby lounge. Nice beds, leather seats, microwave, sinks, led lightning and nice music - and all that is free. From Amsterdam to Detroit we are flying with a new Airbus 330, with video-on demand systems in all the seats, power plugs for laptops. Nice! Emma had still the fever and wasn't feeling good. It was up to 40C (103F) and in the last part of the flight she decided to vomit twice. After cleaning the seats, the floor and her clothes i was smelling all the way to Columbus like a barf-guy.

We didnt have any problems in Detroit and we made it to Columbus where Matt, Lisa, Brenton, Carrie and Kyli. Man, it was good to see those familiar loving faces.

In the evening I went to the Northwest singles event called Strive. Corrie, Chris and all the other guys that are putting the event on are doing a great job! I am sure that God wants to use them and their desire to change lives in Columbus OH. I was really tired and had the hardest time not falling asleep.
I dont understand how Anna is not tired. It is 9pm and im just waisted. We are watching just the episode of Office with Matt after which i will hit the bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Emma got the visa

Today morning when we called the US embassy we heard that the visa for Emma was issued. When i went to pick it up i found out that they had issued it only for 6 months. Well, at least we are able to travel this time, but for sure it is really a lot of unconvenience for the future.

So now we have the visa for Emma. All that there is left to do is to buy her the plane tickets from the airport when we do the check-in. Hopefully that will go smoothly...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I year anniversary

Risttee church is 1 year old. Yeah!
Today we celebrated our anniversary with an awsome church service.
  • We heard video greetings from out friends acrosse the world
  • The choir sang. They were great. Choir is the best outreach tool that we have, seriously!
  • Triin and Helena gave their testimonies of what God has been doing in their life this last year
  • The band rocked
  • We watched a cool video of the pictures from the first year
  • I spoke on Acts 1:8 - a new season that is starting for Risttee, and Mt 16:18 - that Jesus will always be the center of Risttee church
  • And last but not least - we ate a huge birthday cake!
My friend Martin said before the service "We have had one heck of the year!". And thats true. God has brought us through the good times and harder times. We are praying for a breakthrough year.
"Church for others, home for everyone" - that's us, the Risttee church!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why the move

Here we are - the Saar family has found a new web home.
Why did we move from the old address (www.tagahoov.ee/peepanna)?

There were 2 main reasons for that:
1. The power of a Blogger blogging engine is quite appealing compared to the selfmanaged wordpress installation on our server.
2. I have found that my name "Peep" is not a good one to use in the web. It turns out that it has too strong connections to the adult sites so that many filters ban the access to any website that has my name spelled out. So as a result some of our friends have not been able to read our blog.

And for sure you can pray for me so that the move to the new platform would also mean more frequent posts!