President Ilves on Estonia

Estonia, Miscellaneous

“For the visitor unfamiliar with Estonia, the smallness and flatness of the country can be deceptive. Like the taciturn and reticent Estonians, the subdued landscape, with its absence of emotionally dramatic vistas and panoramatic heights, recalls in the late 20th century an earlier time, quieter and more spare, where there simply were fewer people in the world, where things were quieter and nature, rather deceptively, more pervasive. Nature in Estonia does not intrude on the consciousness through drama, but through its sheer presence. One does not need a Mont Blanc, a Grand Canyon or the Rhine river valley to be struck by Nature. A quiet meadow, a primeval forest, a spawning island for Baltic Sea seals, all quietly assert the primacy of Nature over human artifice.”

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, quoted in the Regio Road Atlas, 1998.

About Us


Matt and Lea Edminster have been serving together in Estonia since the winter of 1998, when Matt made his first trip to Estonia with Alongside Ministries. The following year, Lea’s church in Viimsi, Estonia asked Alongside to send a short-term missionary to assist with the church’s growing youth ministry. Matt was posted for a 2-year stint in Viimsi, after which he intended to return to the United States to pursue a career in medicine.

Anniversary date 2013 (Spokane, WA)

However, after two years in the field, new panoramas had been opened up and Matt asked to extend his assignment for another two years. Soon after, Matt and Lea began dating and married in May of 2002. The next year, they left to attend seminary at Regent College in Vancouver, BC returning to Estonia in the summers to conduct children’s camps in the countryside. After graduation, Matt was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and the couple embarked on the next phase of their ministry and family life in Estonia.

Kids summer camp in Avispea, 2006

Matt and Lea initially returned to the Viimsi, Church where Matt served as pastor’s assistant from 2007 to 2012 and Lea resumed her work as an English teacher. In 2012, Matt was called to pastor the Evangelical Free Church in Rapla, Estonia and the couple moved with their three kids Kevin, Miriam and Matilda to make a new home and put down roots.

Kevin, Miriam and Matilda