What a Friday in Tartu!

Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Friday, June 22, 2007

I took a stroll around Tartu for an hour and a half between 11:15 and 12:45 PM.  I have been in this city countless times but never has the weather been as glorious and perfect as it is today. For old times sake I walked down the Emajõe River.  The picturesque town of Tartu could not be more beautiful. 
What is most noticeable to me is the congested traffic. Cars everywhere. And, not one Russian car. They are all Fords, VW's Beemers, Audies and all the Japanese models. Few if any French models.  Riia Street in front of the hotel is stop and go.  Today is Friday before the big holiday that I mentioned in my last post, but it is still amazing how this street has turned from a "car here and there" street to modern congestion.
As I walked around this university town I stopped by the college bookstore to buy a Russina Bible for Natasha Weatherhead in Barbados.  I asked a student on the street where I could find a bookstore and she walked me right to it.  Natasha wanted a Bible with a more readable font.  At the bookstore, they didn't know if they had any Bibles, but one of the employees knew where they were on the second floor on a secluded bookshelf.  There were a few choices and I got what I think Natasha would like.  It was nestled right next to the Koran translated into Estonian.
When I walked across the city square workers were setting up decorations and accoutrements for St. John's Day.  I was surprised at one evergreen display that looked just like a Xmas tree.  
As I came closer to the hotel I ran into Helga Mägi!  She is an amazing 71 year-old member barely walking with a cane. We were so happy to see each other. She'll be over to Johnny's apartment tonight.
At the hotel I waited for Johnny to come and he came by and we talked a bit and then walked over to the big shopping center across the street to buy groceries for us for the apartment and for the dinner tonight.  I got the the things for the fruit and vegetable plates.  Johnny got the salmon and other things. 
Johnny and I are made of the same stuff. We're actually not good for each other as we independently ended up with the same things in our shopping carts that our wives would make a face at.  We both bought several containers of pickled herring.  And the same nuts...and other things.  We love all the same bad stuff.  We bought too much and had to make some adjustments.  Johnny is going to sauté salmon for dinner tonight. I'm going to make hors d'oeuvres plates with vegetables and fruits.  I've seen Bev making these things for years, but now the weight of that responsibility on my shoulders.  I called Bev on Skype to get advice.  My results are shown in living color.
We still have a glitch to deal with.  Johnny's luggage has not arrived yet from the United States and he had to leave by cab for the bus station to pick it up.  While my trip over couldn't have gone better, his couldn't have gone worse. Fortunately the luggage was there.
Johnny and I then scurried  to prepare dinner for the Estonian brethren who are coming over at 6:00 PM. 
The dinner couldn't  have gone better.  I got my two platters all put together.  Johnny got the salmon done. The brethren came.  It was so good to see them.  First, Helga came.  Then Toomas, then Andrus, then Katrin.  Finally, a new interested party came who wanted to get acquainted with us. 
Helga, who moves amazing well considering her age and disability brought Johnny and me gifts of pottery from her region of the country.  I got a big ceramic flower pot that I'm going to have figure how to get back to Indy without breaking.  Johnny got a ceramic pitcher and 20 eggs. How in the world did she carry all that stuff?  She also brought over many photos and gave us copies to take back and show our wives.

We all sat around for about an hour and talked.  The interested party was very intense with his questions and started his socializing with us with the question: "What Church is this?" That led to extensive discussion.  Then another big question; 'What is the history of your church?"  He was very intense and was very intent on receiving detailed answers.  
We had our hors d'oeuvres which I was very pleased with.  All my arranged vegetables were eaten! 
Then we served dinner and really enjoyed an evening of conversation that lasted past 11 pm. 
We discussed Bible questions asked mostly by Andrus.  Then tomorrow's sermon. Because no one was here for Pentecost, I thought that we'd cover Pentecost one month late. Originally, I was going to give a sermon about Ruth (that I gave a month ago) in Russian and instantly translate myself into English.  The sermon follows a narrative of Ruth 1-4, so the people would read the Estonian in their Bibles. I would keep the exchange between the languages going quickly and hopefully the process would move quickly and not be distracting.  But, in discussion with everyone tonight, I'll do the sermon in English with Estonian translation by Toomas.  It will be a bit easier on me that way. 
Then discussion about the Feast to be held in Tartu this fall.
Note:  If you come to the Feast in Estonia this year, you wil have an unforgettable experience. There is plenty of room.  I guarantee that you will enjoy it!  Contact me at estonia@kubik.org for more information.  Check out this link for Feast information and the history of our Feast at www.kubik.org/estonia.
We were saddened that Helgi Luts was not here. She's been going through chemo. She had had surgery for her cancer and has been very weak.  We've had a prayer request for her at www.kubik.org/prayer/luts.htm
We broke up 11:30 Friday night. I'm writing the blog, getting my sermon together and thinking about all my family and friends back in the USA. 
Thanks for following our trip! 
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