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‘Go Therefore’ to Estonia

On Monday, 13 of us depart for Viljandi, Estonia. Estonia is a Baltic state on Russia’s western border with Latvia to its south. The Gulf of Finland is its northern border while the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga sit to the west.

As I’ve prepared for the trip, I thought it would be good to share some interesting facts on demography, religion and politics. This information is taken from Operation World, a book more valuable than silver & gold with regards to praying for the nations. For those who are not into details, I’ve underlined the facts that I believe will interest you.

estonia

PEOPLES
Finno-Ugric – 69.8%
Slavic – 29.2%
Other – 1.2%
Official language is Estonian, while Russian is still a common language. Estonian and Russian are two very separate languages.

ECONOMY
Movement to a capitalist free market society and joining the European Union (EU) has attracted foreign investment and sustained significant economic growth. One of the most successful of the post-Soviet economies.
Human Development Index (HDI) Rank – 40th of 182
Public Debt – 4.8% of Gross Domestic Products (GDP)
Income/person $17,532 (37% of USA)

POLITICS
Long dominated by surrounding nations. Independent from 1918-1940 until the Soviet invasion in 1940. This invasion brought deportation to Siberian prison camps and murder of many Estonians. Many Estonians continue to hold a deep resentment against Russia. Estonia once again gained independence as a multiparty democracy in by 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990. 2004 entry to the EU and NATO reflects increasing Western orientation.

RELIGION
There was widespread and severe persecution of all faiths under the Soviet occupation from 1940-1988. There is freedom of religion with no state religion since its independence.
Non-religious – 54%
Christian – 45.3%

Of the Christians:
Protestant – 14.85%
Catholic – 0.38%
Orthodox – 14.67%
Independent – 1%
Unaffiliated – 13.54%

HOW TO PRAY
1. Estonia is a former-Soviet success story. However, poverty is not vanquished, and materialism’s influence grows. Pray for righteousness and biblical values to be modeled by a wise and upright government.

2. Religious freedom is an open door to Christian ministry BUT also to theological error. Pray for the truth and light of Christ to be established in this new marketplace of religious options.

3. Despite a Protestant heritage, genuine faith in Estonia is rare. Young people have little to equip them against the predations of post-Christian values. Pray for a new vision for evangelism and revival to reawaken the nominal majority.

4. Unity in the Church is a potentially powerful witness to this cynical population. Pray that the faithful in Christ would demonstrate His love for one another.

5. Christian education and formation remain essential. Pray for the preparation of believers, both clergy and laity.

6. Ministry to minorities. Specific outreach is needed for the Russian population, with whom reconciliation is still a point of prayer. Pray also for the gospel to be shared with the Tatar Muslim, the Jews and the growing minority groups in Estonia.

7. Student ministry continues to grow. Pray for outreach to the 50,000 university students; training Christians to ably share their faith is a need.

Above all, pray that the gospel would be proclaimed and heard while we are there.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”’ Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)

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  1. July 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

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