In March 2018 we opened a consignment store in Rapla together with the company Sõbralt Sõbrale (Friend to Friend). Sõbralt Sõbrale now has 17 stores around Estonia and uses revenues from their sales to promote a number of good will campaigns for children, the disabled and needy throughout Estonia. When the opportunity to open the store came up in discussion in 2017, it was clearly an answer to a longstanding prayer for new ways to minister to the Rapla area.
The store in Rapla has been designed from the start with the idea that, in addition to demonstrating the love of Christ in a business environment, it could also become a space for welcoming, befriending, connecting, encouraging and discipling our customers. The showroom sits behind 18 meters of floor to ceiling picture windows overlooking one of the central squares in Rapla. Our vision is to equip an adjoining kiosk included in our rent as a coffee shop and juice bar. The coffee shop will use a selection of the furniture for sale in the shop for limited seating. After store hours, the shop can be converted into a cosy cafe with an open-mic stage for evening soirees and outreach.
When we moved to Rapla we had in mind not only a home for our kids to grow up in but also a space for hospitality. After 8 years of ministry here and a steady stream of visitors, ministry teams, guest speakers, and summer interns, there is no doubt that a space like this could regularly be put to good use well into the future. Additionally, the refugee crisis years ago and the fallout from pandemic this year has called to mind the time-honored practice of extending hospitality to the stranger, a vision that we find compelling even in its practical complexity.
In light of these things, we began sketching out the possibilities of replacing our shed/sauna into a guesthouse which would include all the elements of the present structure but reorganized and upgraded for the purpose of offering a peaceful place for guests and teams to stay during their time in Rapla. In addition to a garage and storage space, the guesthouse is divided into a self-contained studio apartment on the ground floor, sleeping spaces on the second floor and a separate sauna and washroom accessible to residents of either space.
Hiring such a project out is prohibitive based on our own resources, but we know that our ministry network includes many builders motivated to contribute time and energy to mission. You can help us work toward this goal by contributing toward the project financially or helping us in person when we start construction, hopefully beginning in the summer of 2019.
Update! – January 16th, 2021
Given that our old structure was beginning to crumble in dangerous places and after consulting supporters in January of 2020 we decided to take down the old structure in the summer of 2020 and begin construction of the new structure in the Spring. We had a line up of volunteer builders ready to fly over to help us with the project and arranged a loan that would cover the cost of permitting general construction materials.
And then, Corona-19 hit and took with it all of our helpers. Nothing to do but bite-down and crank it out!
We’ve been slowly building since the summer and have the structure weather-proofed now. 2021 will afford a fresh opportunity to welcome helpers from outside of Estonia so if you would like to contribute financially or with your own energy, please let me know and I’ll begin to block out the Spring and Summer accordingly!