Baltic Capitals Trip – Part One, Estonia

 

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The Estonian flag flying from Tall Herman tower.

11 June 2017

To be perfectly honest, I really didn’t want to come on this trip to the Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  I had plenty to do at home, and I had other, more personal reasons for not wanting to go.  But the Lord told me that He had called me to collaborate with Operation Capitals of Europe (OCE).  So in obedience, I went.  And I found that God had several personal reasons for me to be there.  He also had prayer work for me to do that went beyond OCE.  In the end, I’m glad I went.

I got roundtrip tickets to Riga because I had friends to visit there after OCE was finished.  But OCE was starting in Tallinn.  I got a bus ticket online to go from Riga to Tallinn.  My arrival in Riga was at midnight.  And my bus was at three in the morning.  I took a taxi from the airport to the bus station and waited there for my bus.  It wasn’t a bad place to wait, since I could wait inside the building, which had a big guard on duty all night.  Because of the lights and people occasionally moving about, there was no danger of falling asleep and missing my bus.  But once on the bus I fell deeply asleep, only waking at seven as we were pulling into the bus station in Tallinn[1].

Kiki, an American missionary, was supposed to meet me, but my bus arrived a bit early.  So I got a coffee and waited for her to show up.  When she did, we took the tram to Old Town and I checked into my hostel there.  She had some time that morning, so she took me on a brief walking tour, ending at the place where she had to leave me to go for her next appointment.

I finished the morning walking around Tallinn and then buying groceries for supper and the next day’s breakfast.  I arrived a full day before most of the others would arrive.  But Angela arrived before me.  She was already out exploring the city when I had checked into the hostel.  Angela is a supernaturally gifted scout.  And by scout I mean that like a scout, she checks out places before us.  She is exceptionally gifted at orienteering, but more than that, she always finds things that we wouldn’t normally find without her going before us like she does.

Tallinn

Our first meeting was at the YWAM headquarters, also known as Penny’s apartment.  There I met the teammates from South Africa: Justine, Samantha, Bridget, and Virgil.  They had joined OCE for previous trips, but this was while I was in the US for my annual Thanksgiving and Christmas visit.  The South African team came super-prepared.  In the twelve weeks leading up to the trip they prayed, journaled, and collected all their visions, dreams, answers, impressions, etc. in the form of a book, which they published and brought copies to share with each of the rest of us.  All of this really streamlined the initial time of both getting to know each other and getting to know Tallinn and how to pray for it.

Penny put on a video for us to watch called The Singing Revolution[2].  The astounding thing is that Estonia won its freedom from Communist oppression by singing.  Since the singing revolution the country gathers each year to sing.  And a universal favorite is a moving song called Prayer.  The annual sing-in brings over 30,000 singers and an audience of over 500,000.  They hand out songbooks and audience sings along.  They also formed a human chain with the other Baltic countries, linking hands in a protest called The Baltic Way.  The human chain reached from Tallinn to Vilnius—419.7 miles.

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The Singing Revolution singing place.

We went to the singing place to call the country to revival.  One problem that I became aware of was that Virgil had been suffering from the flu since the day of his arrival in Europe (about a week ago).  In fact, I didn’t know that Virgil was sick until he didn’t show up for the second day of prayer walking, when we went to the singing place.  At the singing place there is a big shell like the Hollywood Bowl.  It has concrete risers all the way to the top, and extending to both sides, so the place is clearly made exclusively for choirs to sing and no other purpose.  The shell faces a vast slope with paths that is clearly made for audiences to sit in the grass and enjoy the program or to stand and sing along.

Since the singing event is once a year, you might wonder what they do with the thing the rest of the year.  We found out.  As we approached from the back of the shell we could see a few people wearing climbing equipment (helmets, ropes, etc.) scaling the shell.  We went about halfway up the risers in the shell, gazing out onto the hillside to pray.  As we began to pray we heard a scream and a woman in climbing gear swooped in front of us on a rope, swinging and screaming the whole time.  We continued to pray as we watched her swinging slow enough for her “catcher” to catch the end of the rope dangling below her.  He pulled her to a stop and helped her get out of the rope harness that was around her hips and legs.  Once she was freed he signaled to someone atop the shell who pulled the rope up again.  So as we prayed every ten minutes or so someone would swoop in front of us, swinging on the rope.  Only the first and one other woman screamed.

When we finished our prayers in the shell we climbed the hillside and prayed from the audience perspective.  Bridget saw that I had brought an Estonian flag, so she asked to borrow it.  She had a plan to walk down the hill to the shell, dribbling oil and thus anointing this place while wearing the Estonian flag around her shoulders.  And so she did.  All in all this was a pretty amazing place to pray.  Some places are easier to pray in than others, and this singing place was one of the easiest.  Prayers flowed and it felt like all of Heaven was listening.

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Bridget anoints the singing place while wearing the Estonian flag.

That afternoon we had some free time.  I took advantage of a chance to rest, while Angela did some scouting.  She returned to the hostel late in the afternoon and told me: “I got into several museums because today is the one day in the year when all the museums are free entry.”  Then she mentioned a place where she wanted to go: the Television Tower.  The Television Tower is one of the key places in the Singing Revolution.  The Estonians peacefully occupied the Television Tower until the Soviets withdrew from the country.  So, since it was open museum day, Angela wanted to go see the Television Tower.  “Do you want to go with me?” she asked.  Of course I said yes.  So we took a bus to the Television Tower and found a woman at the door with a clipboard in her hand.  She asked if we had reserved places.  We said no.  So she told us to wait and see if there were any no-shows.  Others without reservations came, too, but none of them had the patience to wait and see if they could get in.  Angela and I prayed for two no-shows, and that is exactly what we got.  When the group came out after their half hour was up, she began letting in those with reservations for the next group.  There were exactly two people who hadn’t shown up.

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Just like my Rapture dream!

We took the elevator up to the top of the tower, and I suddenly realized that this was just like my first Rapture dream.  In that dream I lived in a tall tower like the Seattle Space Needle or Toronto’s CN Tower, and the Rapture part was when I went up in the elevator.  At the top there was a video monitor where you could watch and learn about Estonia’s greatest contribution to the modern world: Skype.  I hadn’t known that Skype was invented in Estonia.

There were Plexiglas portholes about the size of manhole covers looking straight down through the floor—perhaps six of them scattered around the observation deck.  Some were equipped with a button for covering or revealing the window.  Although I don’t like heights, I did challenge myself to stand on one, looking straight down about 1000 feet with nothing but Plexiglas between me and the ground far below.  Spectacular.  Spectacularly frightening, too.

Our last day in Tallinn we prayed in the Estonian Parliament building.  Virgil was healed and feeling good again, almost 100 percent.

We felt like things had gone gloriously well.  And when I saw Angela start jumping for joy (joy that I was also feeling), I knew that we had accomplished our task.  Angela is very serious about prayer work, and doesn’t bust out like that, so it was a real sign.

Then that night we got a chance to encourage a group of local believers by prophesying over them (see Trained Circus Poodles).  The Lord had many encouraging words for them as a group, individually, and for Estonia.  It was a wonderful time.  One word that God gave me for a young woman there went something like this:

God has chosen you to make you His Secret Weapon.  You are a Secret Weapon because the forces of the defeated enemy won’t believe that you could possibly be a threat to his kingdom.  Thus, you will fly under the radar of the defeated enemy’s forces, and they will never see you coming.

You will do real damage to the defeated enemy’s kingdom and set back his plans in many places.  Do not fear, though He leads you into some scary places.  God will be with you all the way, leading you, showing you where to go and teaching you how to pray.

The really surprising thing about that word is that it turned out to be a word to me, too.  I am also God’s Secret Weapon.  But that’s a story for another post.  Stay tuned!  God is good!

[1] If you were under the impression that I live a jet-setting lifestyle, I hope that now you understand that’s not how it is at all.

[2] The link is not the movie we saw, but it tells the story briefly and well.

3 thoughts on “Baltic Capitals Trip – Part One, Estonia

  1. Pingback: Baltic Capitals Trip – Part Two, Latvia | Walking By Faith in Europe

  2. Pingback: After OCE Riga | Walking By Faith in Europe

  3. Pingback: Praying for Revival in Leipzig | Walking By Faith in Europe

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