Estonia April 2019 Day 3
Andy and I visited the Põltsamaa church youth group with Josiah Venture (JV) staff to promote the summer English camp. We were there as Americans...to show how fun camp was with Americans?!!? Haha.
Our initial impression was holy cow- no resources - a building that looked like it was abandoned and a tired volunteer youth pastor. But oh, how he loved those kids, and how they loved him. There were about 15-20 kids that night that he kept out of trouble by his effort. No parents dropped them off or picked them up, even when we ran well past 9pm. Ants (pronounced Unz, the youth pastor) said they walk home in the dark or he gives as many a ride as he can.
The kids were desperate to be noticed, to be shown someone cared, that someone would listen to them and would talk to them. They didn’t care that we couldn’t begin to replicate what their names sounded like. 😊 Just like American youth, they enjoyed throwing sarcasm around and being goofy and playing games. But there was a desperation we saw and a willingness to be real and authentic - fast. We loved that.
We taught them the game “Fish Bowl”, which forced them to work on their English skills and had us all laughing. They were such awesome kids so it was hard to leave, even though we were exhausted and had a 2 hour drive back to the city of Tallinn at 930 pm. We already love these kids!
Their need for leaders and adults is huge. Most youth leaders are older teenagers. Ants had a helper named Sam who was 17, and he was amazing. It won’t be long until he is running his own youth group as a volunteer with little resources. But as we keep seeing, the Estonians are doing much to bring youth to Christ with hardly anything...but their hearts.