GBGM missionary the Rev. Doug Childress shares update from Estonia
October 27, 2015 / By the Rev. Douglas R. Childress
Greetings from Estonia! Kulli and I wanted to send out a news update on happenings related to our work as missionaries. To begin with, we arrived in Estonia a little over a month ago and have been busy with mundane tasks, such as getting our children registered for school, dealing with customs related to our recently arrived belongings, and applying for my living permit (an Estonian “Green Card”), which is in process. The children are adapting well to Estonian school and kindergarten, and are grateful that some children their age speak English. However, the first two weeks, when Karl was in a sandbox, he started digging a big hole, informing us that he was trying to dig back to America!
From Sept. 24-27, we attended a conference entitled Called2Serve, hosted by the Nordic and Baltic area of The United Methodist Church’s Northern Europe and Central Eurasia Conference. The event took place at the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary, where we work. More than 300 pastors, laity, and other participants came from nine countries to worship, fellowship, and learn various ways to better serve within local congregations and communities. Translation was offered in seven languages. It was amazing to hear about how church is done in other countries.
Kulli and I are just beginning to work. We have begun sitting in staff meetings and learning more deeply about our job descriptions and duties. Kulli began teaching a class on the introduction to theology. I will begin instruction on church history in January 2016. I also had a meeting with the Estonian district superintendent and discussed the possibility of starting an English-speaking extension ministry connected with the Tallinn UMC.
Of course, there have been challenges – dealing with customs agents, adapting to new schools, living in a country where most of us do not speak the language, and adapting to new jobs – but we are very grateful for the ministry God has given us here in Estonia and look forward to what comes next.
The Rev. Douglas R. Childress, an elder in the Upper New York Conference, and his wife, Dr. Kulli Toniste, are missionaries for the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Childress serves as pastor of international ministry in Tallinn, Estonia, and lecturer in church history and practical theology at Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary. The couple has three young children: Karl Robert, born in 2008; Kristofer Martin, 2010; and Kalev Douglas, 2012.