Estonia Conference[b]Margaret Brown[/b]Margaret Brown
Tallinn, Estonia,
October 6-9th 2011

Approximately 55 women, mainly from the Baltic countries, but including others from our member countries, gathered in the Olumpia Hotel, Tallinn for this event. There was a good mixture of age ranges amongst those who attended. The Estonian women worked very hard beforehand to ensure that we had a good venue and that everything required was in place.

The theme for the Conference was ‘Spiritual Balance’, the key Scripture taken from Habakkuk 3:19 ‘The Sovereign Lord is my strength’, reminding us that occasionally we can become unbalanced in various areas of our lives, but when we focus on the Lord, He is our strength and enables us to have everything in perspective, even when trials and difficulties enter our lives.
The Estonian women welcomed everyone to Tallinn and to the Conference, then Meego Remmel, Estonian Baptist Union President brought a word of encouragement. Spiritual Balance is something we learn over and over again. He used the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’ which means so much more than just ‘peace’; it’s also balance, health, wholeness, integrity, satisfaction, perfection. If we have the ‘shalom’ of God we are in balance, we are healthy. When our relationship with God is right, we are right with others and we are in balance.

Mari VahermagiMari Vahermagi

The keynote speakers were Mari Vahermagi and Janice Viinalass who spoke on ‘Spiritual Balance’ and ‘the Church in Balance’ respectively. Both had challenging things to say for us to take note of, and to put into practice in our daily lives. Mari began by saying that balance begins from within (Proverbs 4:23). There is nothing so deceptive as the human heart; we need to ask God, as David did, to search our hearts. Mari shared a very personal testimony of how God worked in her life and heart. Jesus did not come to take away our lives but to give us abundant life so that our cup overflows (John 7:38). Jesus can turn our misery into blessing with the most balancing factor being love. Habakkuk 3:16&17 enables us to keep our balance so we can go on the heights with God. Janice speaking on ‘the Church in Balance’ posed the question: are we sleep masks or reflectors? The church is a called out assembly of believers (Matthew 28:18&19) whose most important element is love. Are our eyes closed to the needs around us, or are we reflecting the love of God in our communities? Janice shared about some of the practical ways the church in Estonia is reaching into the community.

Janice ViinalassJanice Viinalass

There were also a choice of four seminars relating to our theme – Communication Skills (AnikoUjvari, Hungary and Margun Warem, Norway); Depression (Elisabeth Vekas, Romania and Inese Dreska, Latvia); Healthy Balance of Work & Family (Mari Vahermagi, Estonia); Treating Trials on Track (Wies Dijkstra, Netherlands and Margaret Brown, Scotland). These seminars were conducted twice giving the participants the opportunity to attend two seminars. As far as I know from the conversation they were all well received and helpful to the participants. The seminar I was involved in was very meaningful and encouraging for the women who attended as they were encouraged to ‘cast all (their) anxiety on Him because He cares for (them)’ (1Peter5:7). Stones were used to represent the women’s burdens which were picked up and held in their hands. Prayerfully they carried their ‘burdens’ to the cross, which was on the wall, and flung them into a basket at the foot of the cross, symbolic of casting their burdens onto the Lord. Then a golden marble was picked up to keep, to remind the women that the Lord held their burdens and He would deal with them. The marble is round and gold is precious signifying our completeness in Christ and how precious we are to Him. Also included in the Conference were times of sharing of the women’s work in various European countries. There were times of worship, prayer, meditation and testimony, as well as private conversations in little groups at meal times, coffee breaks, etc.

The Estonians arranged for us to have a guided tour of the old city of Tallinn which was very informative and interesting; the old town has some lovely old buildings, narrow cobbled streets and quite a history. The atmosphere was special and our guide was very well informed, answering all our questions patiently.


On the Saturday afternoon we attended, for a short time, the Women’s International ‘Fall (Autumn) Day’ in Oleviste Church in the old city. Many women had come from the surrounding area for a day of worship, teaching and fellowship.

In the evening we were treated to an evening of Estonian culture of music and dance. A mother and daughter came dressed in their national costume, very bright and colourful. They explained that music, song and dance are all part of Estonian life. The daughter played the flute. Another two girls entertained us with a variety of musical instruments and song. It was very relaxing for us. Later they encouraged us to join them in dancing which we did and had great fun.

Sunday morning was a very special time. We joined in a prayer walk in the conference room. It was a time of silent prayer, using the prayer requests which had been written down; these were shared among us and at the end of the time were laid down at the foot of the cross which was laid on the floor. Each woman then picked up a small wooden cross (made by a Swedish pastor) to keep for herself. We then celebrated the Lord’s Supper together. Following a time of worship in praise Toivo & Einike Pilli and Helle Liht, all Estonians gave short devotional messages from Scripture.

Einike spoke from John 4:5-29 – when we come to the well we might meet people we don’t expect to meet; they may be so different to us we wonder if we can speak with them. The woman went back to her village and spoke of what had happened, spoke of Jesus. As we gather at the well, may we be filled and enabled to go back home and tell of what happened here, of how the Lord met us and what he did for us here.

Helle spoke from Matthew 5:13 – women like to cook and salt is needed for cooking. Salt is a commodity of great value. Cooking is just a minor thing compared to other uses, eg in wounds to purify and heal, in agreements to make a covenant, in the Roman army to pay wages, and in days without refrigerators to preserve. Jesus sends us out as salt.


Toivo spoke from Luke 9: 28-40 – the three disciples experienced something wonderful, then once down from the mountain they met a real life challenge. We like to stay on the mountain with Jesus, but after the mountain, He calls us to return to the real world where the need is. We must drink in all that Jesus gives us, then go to the hurting people with His words, His healing. To fulfil our mission we need to face real life issues; we need to grow in the presence of God so we can be of use to the needy.


We then celebrated the Lord’s Supper together as Toivo then led us in Communion. There was a real sense of the Lord’s presence in the stillness as we went forward to receive the Bread and the Wine and to be blessed with anointing. God was at work among us throughout the Conference, and we praise His name for being at work in our lives, moving us on in our walk with Him, teaching us how to keep our lives in balance as we were reminded from His Word that ‘the Sovereign Lord is my strength’. And so we left Tallinn, each one of us going in the strength of the Lord, to whatever He has for us to do.