The e-mail in part read: "Several months ago my wife on I-net found your site and made order of some literature. Since we got first parcel from you, many things, good things, have happened and changed in our life, and in life of believers in church where I'm pastor. We have rather small congregation, about 25-35 people attend Sunday (still Sunday, but will become Sabbath) meeting."
I wrote back to him and later gave him my Skype mail and invited him to contact me through that means. This time he responded with his phone number and city. He lives just south of the Estonian border and is 100 miles from Tartu, Estonia, where I travel often.
He contacted me via Skype in mid-July. We talked for 45 minutes. He had talked previously to elder Johnnie Lambert who was still in Estonia. They talked for about half an hour.
What an interesting story he had to tell! I am very cautious about international contacts that purport to believe what we do and want contact with us, because often the motives are not as genuine as we hope. The contacts turn out to be a fishing expedition for U.S. connections. But the longer I talked with this gentleman, the more I was impressed with what I heard.
He is a volunteer pastor. His paid occupation is working as a timber salesman. He has many dealings with Americans, thus his English is good. He had been a food importer and had been to the United States as well. He and his wife have four children ranging in age from 12 to 17.
He told me they started ordering UCG booklets, but found the two-month turnaround time to be too slow. So, they started downloading our online literature. From this he would read, translate and preach. This started more than a year ago. He did not want to contact us before because he wanted to understand as much as he could about us before making contact.
He told me that our literature is wonderful. It is written in a straightforward style, easy to understand and is backed up with Scripture.
He wants to join us in Tartu, Estonia, for a part of the Feast of Tabernacles. While he still meets with his congregation on Sunday for now, he and his family keep the Sabbath and make it a family day.
I introduced him to the United Church of God more and explained about the Church's work in Scandinavia, the Baltic Republics and Eastern Europe. He had already known quite a bit by finding out as much as could on the Internet.
He invited my wife and me to visit him, and I look forward to doing that the next time I'm in the Baltic Republics. UN