Reflections from My Estonia Trip
Dr. Jody Ray

I am on a plane on my way home from Estonia back to Atlanta. My heart is full, and there are stories to be told of God’s greatness that I am so honored to share. I witnessed God do some amazing things on this trip and met some true leaders of the Christian faith. It became evident to me what God is doing in Estonia, but more than that, what Mt. Bethel’s involvement is.

 Fifty years after World War II, Estonia was entirely occupied by the Soviet Union. The communist regime prohibited any theological or pastoral training. I had the opportunity to talk to a true giant of the Christian faith, Olav Parnaments. He led the Methodist Church in Estonia while it was a part of the Soviet Union. It is incredible to be in the presence of Olav because he is a true testament to standing up for the Gospel and the church, even though it was not accepted then. Olav had a true vision to birth the Baltic Methodist Seminary.

Mt. Bethel was the first church to donate money to the seminary from the U.S. Not only that, we helped sponsor Wes and Joy Griffin on their endeavors to fend for the Christian faith. Estonia needed churches and ministers to help spread the love of Jesus in a place that had been repressed for so long. It excites me to see our church’s impact on Estonia and the creation of so many churches because of it. 

In the future, I hope to continue developing further partnerships with Estonia, especially as many of their local churches are disaffiliating from the Methodist church. We must strengthen them as they continually work to share the Gospel within a secularized society. We have some special time planned in September here at Mt. Bethel to host a meeting that will include our friends from Estonia.

If you are interested in learning more about these Mt. Bethel missions partners and so many more around the globe, I invite you to save the dates now for the ON MISSION Conference at Mt. Bethel Church, October 22-29. Details will be provided later this summer. but it will be an opportunity our entire church family simply won’t want to miss.