OK, so I'm back. I've actually been back for a couple of weeks, it has taken some time to think things through. I was also waiting on a detail or two to work itself out. So now, the answers to the questions I mentioned before are coming. But first, some details of the trip.
My Dad arrived to take me to the airport, and somehow I felt I needed to check on my flights again, so I went online and sure enough, my first flight was cancelled! Four hours before departure, and they cancelled the flight. I quickly called United to find out what is going on, and turns out that Chicago was in the middle of an ice storm. I was supposed to catch my flight to Europe from there. I told the rep at United that I was supposed to catch connecting flights, is there something they could do so I won't miss my flights? After being on hold for 5 min. the rep came back and said that they could offer me the same flight schedule, only one day later. I told them that this option was no good, I had meetings and appointments lined up that I had to be at. I asked if there were any other flights on any other airlines within the Star Alliance (which they are a part of) with which I could get to Estonia on time. The rep said that the supervisor was working on that, and that she would check and see. After another 5 min. on hold, she came back with the words "You must have an angel on your shoulder!" If she only knew! There was one option for me to fly to Washington DC, then to Frankfurt, and then on to Estonia. I would leave at the same time (I now had to hustle to the airport) and I would end up arriving in Estonia an hour ahead of schedule! In the end, everything worked out great. I got a lot of stuff done fast in the first day (having a rental car really helped that out) which left some extra time to catch up with some friends and a lot of family. That was really good. Coming back everything was as per schedule, with no problems. I was able to bring some stuff back that we just couldn't when we moved to Canada, one of the things being my mountain bike (a Kona Blast if anyone cares) which makes me particularly happy.
Some of my impressions? In meeting some of the people that I had worked with in the Estonian Pentecostal Church, I was interested in seeing how things had developed over the past three years. Just as we came to Canada, the leadership of the church was handed over fully from being missionary lead to having totally their own leadership. I don't want this to sound negative in any way, but it has taken them the past three years to shake off that previous mantle and get their own. Not that what happened before was bad, but their own identity had to come our from the influence of those missionaries and become it's own. It was a natural and immensely important step. The church is now forming it's own face, and it is doing it quite well. That was very good to see. It was great to get together with friends and see how they are doing. So many people, so many places. Some changes but for the most part things are the same.
It was so very good to be immersed in Estonian as a language again. It just felt natural and good. The country as a whole seems a little more mature. People don't seem to be worried as much about whether or not they are going to make it. Things seem calmer, which is a good thing. Most of the roads still need some fixing, it still rains a lot, and the beer is still very good.
When I left, there were questions about when we should go back to Estonia, how much longer are we going to be in Canada, and most of all, what does God have for us? Every time people in Estonia asked when we are coming back, I went into this little schpiel I had prepared, and each time the schpiel would change a bit, and through that God began to show me something. When we first came to Canada, we were concerned about what kind of church would we find to attend. The first church I visited was the one we now attend. God impressed on us that He was about to start doing something there, and that we needed to be a part of it. As I related this story, I got the distinct feeling that leaving Canada now would be to go before the going got good. The church has gone through three years of growth and development in preparation for whatever is going to happen. If we return to Estonia now, we would be leaving before this thing actually happens. We feel we need to stay to be a part of this thing. So we talked about it the day I got back, and decided to stay until God says we can go. The next day, our pastor calls, and mentioned that while I was away, they had taken nominations for the board of directors for the church. I had been nominated, would I let my name stand. I prayed about it, and decided to let my name stand. It would be a fleece of sorts to see if God really wants me involved in what is going to happen. If I'm involved, it might as well be right up there with the decision makers! Well, today we had our annual meeting, and the final vote was cast for the two vacant positions. Now I need to explain something, the vote wasn't to see who would be on the board, but just an affirmation of position. There were 18 people nominated, the selection committee took that list and chose 6 names that they felt met the requirements of being a board member according the scripture and the laws of the land. Of those 6 people, two of us allowed our names to stand, and the other was a present board member that was up for reelection. So by default, the vote was to affirm that we would be the new board members. It was unanimous. My first thought was that "Hey, I'm only in because no one else wanted the job." But then the words of the Pastor reminded me of the fleece I had thrown out. I am in this position because of the providence and appointment of God. There was no other option because this is the way it has to be. We are here for a reason, and we are meant to be right in the thick of it!
I realize, that this position comes with a lot of weight, responsibility, pain, sorrow, sweat, and heartache. But these are all things I will gladly bear because of the trust that the church and God has in me to be capable and able to fulfill those duties.
And so, the next chapter begins. I am a deacon, and board member, a person of influence and responsibility. I will accept the office I have been given and will discharge the duties implied therein to the utmost of my ability.
To say the least, this scares the shit out of me.