Stuffing the latest GN and Bible Study Course

Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 29, 2008

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today is envelope stuffing day.  This is a process that is done about eight times a year by either Johnnie Lambert or me.  Normally we are alone and do it with one other person.  It is rather complex because we work from 12 databases for mailing the Good News and Bible Study Course to Estonians and the BSC in Russian to seven countries where there are Russian-speaking subscribers. 
Normally, we do all the work here, which includes bringing the databases up to date and printing the labels and stuffing. To speed things up with our party of four, Britt Taylor, Jim Franks, Bev and me, I did a lot of the prep work at home.  It took about a day's work to enter the latest names into the database, print the labels for the 12 databases along with all the return labels.....being careful to keep them properly separated.  In Estonia we pinpoint and track our mail by the database it is  part of.   
We also use two mailing addresses, one in Tallinn and one in Tartu. The reason is that Toomas who lives in Estonia then is able to monitor the mail continually in the northern part of the country.  Since our office is in Tartu, southern Estonia, we also have a PO Box in the South. And, that's where the mailings are made from.  
We have a total of five databases in Estonia.  Two each for the North and South.  One is for the Good News only and the other is a combo of Good News and a Bible Study Course.  And we have another northern data base with a special tracking for a person who helps promote the Good News in the north and we want to follow the subscribers through it. As we do our stuffing we need to be certain to have the right return label. It may be a cumbersome system, but in the end it helps us save mailing costs and helps us track combination Bible Study Course and Good News readers.   
To make the Good News more relevant to people whose first language is Estonian, two of the articles from the GN are translated into Estonian. This is done by Toomas Schvaak. We really appreciate him doing this for us. This entire process was devised by Johnnie Lambert.  There are a total of 320 pieces of mail that go out.  The GN mailing list is 240 for Estonia.  Then the Russian Bible Study lessons.  We do not send them a GN because they know no English.   
Britt and Jim came over at 10 am and we started the final assembly process. It's always so satisfying to see putting together all the pieces of this puzzle.   
Before we stuff the magazines we paste two return labels into each magazine with the Estonian return address.  This is done on the stitch-in response cards.  Into each magazine we also throw in a blow-in card offering the Bible Study Course.  We also insert manually a stitch in response card into the Russian and Estonian Bible Study Course lessons.  Finally all goes in the envelopes: GN, BSC, two Estonian translated articles.  Whew!! 
Some of the Bible Study courses are printed in Ukraine, others are printed at Johnnie Lambert's home on his color laser printer. The quality is great.....the color laser versions look just like the offset printed versions.    
As you can see this has been a monumental effort involving translation, layout, printing, transporting, advertising, travelling.  It's a team effort involving members Carolyn Barker and Jude Sieker in New York State, Bryant Lambert in Atlanta, Basil Kopey in Washington DC and Natasha Weatherhead in Barbados along with Johnnie and Hazel Lambert and Bev and me.   
With four of us stuffing, we got all but the Russian lessons stuffed before lunch which we broke for about 1:30 PM.  We walked about a mile to the Gunpowder Cellar for lunch.  Then we came back to finish the Russian BSC stuffing for the seven countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Moldova, Poland and Russians in Estonia.   
A mystery surfaced about lesson 11 and 12 of the Russian course.  With all the different lessons in different phases of production I had forgotten that lesson 11 and 12 were not here yet.  Lesson 11 is about ready for printing, lesson 12 is right behind, but they were not here.  I did enter them into the database as being ready to stuff.  In my senior moment I had not realized that they were not here. For about an hour I was mystified as to where these lessons were, but eventually the mystery resolved itself.  Johnnie will bring over lesson 11 when he comes later this week to meet us in Sweden. It is being printed as I write this.   
The job was done!  I had allotted a day and a half for it, but we cranked it out in one.  We went to the Georgian restaurant, one of our favorites in town.  Tartu is a great far as I'm concerned a well-hidden secret of interesting places to see and eat in.  At dinner we had  a discussion about the calendar, the history of the Julian, Gregorian and Hebrew calendars.  Jim is quite knowledgeable on the subject and it was interesting to hear what he had to say.  
The city of Tartu has been a wonderful place for a Feast site.  We have really enjoyed having the United Church of God Feast here. We've held it seven times since 1997.   
After dinner we walked around Tartu staying mostly on the famous city square where the Tartu Hansapäevad (the fair) was winding down.  On the stage set up for the evening different bands played and people danced.  The long hours of sunlight keep people having fun for a long time.  It was fun to watch young and old dance.   
We are glad that Britt and Jim are enjoying the Estonian experience.
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