The Gospel Spreads
The man, a Russian, was bent up in foetal position, like a cornered animal waiting for the final death blow. He was snarling and hissing alternately like a dog and a snake. Pastor Kuusberg was shocked and did not know what to do.
"How long has this man been in your group?" asked Stan, a graven expression on his face.
"Since we started three years ago," said the Pastor, by now very alarmed. "He's a regular attender and one of our most faithful supporters. What's going on??"
The man began to spit out blasphemous sentences against Christ and against Stan and Pastor Kuusberg.
"Be silent in the Name of Yah'shua!" said Stan in a loud but firm voice, and the man stopped speaking but continued to growl and hiss.
"You have had a Satanist in your midst, brother, who has been working to destroy your little congregation. And there's probably a second one though he doesn't seem to be here today."
The Pastor looked shocked, never having dealt with Satanic phenomena before, and didn't know what to do.
"What's the man's name?" asked Stan.
"Yuri," answered the Pastor. " - Yuri Gubarev. He has a friend who comes with him quite regularly called Alexandr Bogoyavlenski but he's ill today and didn't come."
"That's his warlock partner for sure," said Stan even more grimly. "Satanists always work in pairs and try to infiltrate spiritually active Christian congregations to destroy them."
Yuri began to stir as though to get up.
"Remain where you are, in Yah'shua's Name!" shouted Stan at him and he crawled back into the corner.
"What do we do?" asked the Pastor who evidently felt helpless in this situation.
"We have to bind the demons up inside him and ask him if he wants to receive Christ. If he does, we have to work with him to get him cleaned out which will mean two or three days' deliverence ministry and a lot of intercessory prayer. And if he doesn't, you have to throw him out of the congregation and cut off all the avenues of influence that he has on your congregation. If he subsequently gets violent, then you will have to report him to the police. You have a lot to do in terms of spiritual warfare in any case and you will need to determine whether their are witches covens here in Taru and the like. I would be most surprised if there aren't any."
Pastor Kuusberg looked a little scared.
"The Seventh Day Adventists didn't teach you anything about Satanism, did they?" grinned Stan. "You're going to have to take a crash course in deliverance ministry and teach your people how to handle this sort of thing in the future. Today your congregation was baptised in the Spirit and so long as they keep to the Word, they will have the power of discernment which you all lacked before. That places an enormous responsibility on your head, my friend, for you too have to make some pretty important choices in your life if you are to continue in this ministry. But we will talk about this another time."
Stan turned to the Russian who was still cowering in the corner and went nearer him. He snarled at him. Stan lifted his right hand to the square and commanded:
"Demons, in the Name of Yah'shua the Messiah, Jesus Christ, I bind you by the power of the blood of Christ and command you to release Yuri so that he can speak with me."
The man suddenly grew limp and looked up like a lost sheep.
"What's your name?" asked Stan.
"Yuri Gubarev," came the curt reply.
"How many of you are there in Tartu?" demanded Stan.
The man's eyes turned a steely white and he refused to answer.
"In Yah'shua's Name, I command you to answer my question!" barked Stan.
"Twenty-nine," snapped the man.
"How many covens?" demanded Stan again.
"One," was the reluctant answer.
Stan turned to Pastor Kruus. "Do you have a notebook and pencil?" He nodded. "Write all this down."
"You are now going to give me a list of the names of your chief warlock and all the others in your coven," said Stan looking Yuri in the eye.
"No!" he snarled back, and began to curse.
"I command you to name them to me in Yah'shua's Name!" shouted Stan in a voice that commanded authority.
The man began to snap the names out one by one as Pastor Kuusberg wrote them down. He interrogated the man further and discovered that there were only two Satanists in the Kuusberg's congregation. After half an hour's interrogation Stan found out which churches had satanist infiltrators and which positions of responsibility they had in the community. There were two in the local police, a doctor, half a dozen in the local council, and one in the University. The rest all had minor jobs. Pastor Kuusberg was shocked.
"Now, Yuri," said Stan firmly and soberly, "you have to decide whether you want life eternal or whether you want to burn in hell when you die."
The Pastor reacted strongly to the notion of hell because Seventh Day Adventists do not believe in a literal hell. Stan turned to him, detecting his resistance. "Here's your first choice, Pastor, because I do mosly solemnly assure you that there is a hell and that if you continue reject its existence, your ministry will shrivvel up. You are looking at a man who is possessed by devils who come from a literal hell, or Tartarus if you prefer to call it that. It's real, I've seen it, and it's biblical. I don't have time to have a Bible study with you know because this man's need is more urgent. I'll just say this: that when the Old Testament talks about the soul lying asleep in the grave, it's talking about the physical body and not the spirit. Now - you have to choose to believe me on faith or leave this room otherwise when I cast some of these demons out they're going to go straight into you!"
The Pastor began to shake and seemed powerless to speak. Making a snap decision about a doctrine which he had believed in all his life was causing a mental crisis. Yuri began to laugh, sensing the Pastor's dilemma.
"You see," said Stan looking intently at the Pastor, "the devils know, which is why they just laughed at you. You have been lied to and you have ignored the scriptures which contradict the Adventist teaching. It's the same teaching that has bedevilled the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, and the Worldwide Church of God, none of whom have ministries to help demon-possessed people. I need a decision, Pastor. I'm sorry to be so harsh but I don't have much time as far as this man is concerned - and neither does your congregation who have to have their wrong doctrine straightened out. What will you have?"
Pastor Kuusberg looked frightened. "If you can show me conclusively after this is all over that my belief is wrong, using God's Word, then alright! I'll accept your word."
"Good," said Stan, "let's get to work. Now you go into intercessory prayer."
He looked at Yuri in the eyes which were still like flint. "Yuri, do you want to be free from the hell which you're in in your life right now - do you want to have peace and happiness, and a clear conscience before God, and receive life eternal, to receive the blessings of paradise?"
The man nodded, his eyes momentarily softening.
"Then you must accept Yah'shua - Jesus - as your Lord and Saviour. Only He has the power to cast out the devil in your life and protect you," said Stan.
"They'll kill me!" cried Yuri terrified.
"Yes, they might, but equally they might not. It's a question of whether you want to be killed permanently or not by spending eternity alone in the fires of hell."
Yuri began to perspire profusely as Stan went and locked the door and closed the window, going through the process of cleansing the room and preventing demons from entering. He broke down the channels of communication between the demons in Yuri and those in the demonic hierarchy. All the while Pastor Kuusberg prayed furiously. Stan led Yuri through the sinner's prayer and once he had obtained Yuri's confessions as to what he had done as a Satanist, which had included torture and murder, he pled the blood of Christ over him and one by one cast the demons out of him. After an hour and a half Yuri slumped on the floor in a pool of sweat, his clothes soaked through, but now there was a light in his eyes that bespoke peace and freedom. Stan turned to Kuusberg:
"Pastor, do you have any elders who serve with you in your ministry? If so, I want you to call one of them in here to pray over this man and get him cleaned up and showered. Do not let him leave until we have had time to council him as his life will be in grave danger. I need to go outside to bring some order to what's happening."
The Pastor nodded, opened a window, and called one of his helpers called Karl whom he briefed after he had arrived.
As soon as Hanna had gotten outside and started preaching a large crowd had gathered. The several members of the congregation went to speak to the public in small groups to explain what had happened and to invite them to receive Christ. Because of the people, the traffic had come to a standstill and ten minuets later the police had arrived to break up what was technically an unlawful meeting. Well over a hundred people had gathered round.
Elisa and her friends had all been Spirit-filled and were full of the joy of their experience and were speaking to individuals on the street. The police were about to move in with their batons at the ready when Elisa suddenly stood on top of a fire hydrant and began to speak to the whole crowd. She began to preach a simple message of salvation in great power and with fluency of speech causing even the police to stop in their tracks. The motorists, who had been honking their horns, got out of their cars and came to listen too. One or two men, probably reporters, were racing about and one was talking furiously on his mobile 'phone. Within fifteen minutes a crew from the local TV station arrived with camera and microphone and began shooting the scene and recording Elisa. When she had finished after about forty minutes, some of the members went back into the crowd and invited them to receive Christ and further instruction on the Gospel. That was when Stan arrived on the scene and was told by a very excited Hanna what had happened.
"I can't believe it, I can't believe it!" she kept crying. "The revival has started and we're right in then middle of it."
The police then began to disperse the crowd and those interested in learning more about Christ began moving towards the nearby park in Ropka. There Pastor Kuusberg's congregation assembled with all their investigators and Stan began to speak to them in Estonian, having first sent one of the deacons to inform the Pastor where they were and to make sure the Elder remained with Yuri until the impromptu meeting was at an end.
The cameras followed the crowd as it assembled in the park and began to film Stan but nothing was aired on local TV at all that evening or on any subsequent evenings. That day Pastor Kuusberg's Church quadrupled in size forcing them to hire premises for their meetings thereafter. For the remainder of Stan's stay in Tartu and on every evening and weekend Stan was invited to teach and preach, so Elisa's two Wednesday evening Bible classes were cancelled and joined in Pastor Kuusberg's group.
Yuri's conversion soon came to be known by the local Satanists who immediately found themselves under prayer assault and their demonic powers considerably reduced. Stan's ability to speak in Estonian disappeared after the meeting in the park but returned each evening when he preached or taught, requiring Hanna to have an interpretor, though she was able to follow much of what was said! And when he finally left Estonia the gift disappeared entirely. And though Hanna found she was able to speak in Estonian and even some other languages, she could not understand what was being said back to her!
News of what had happened in Kuusberg's group soon spread to the other churches in Tartu and many investigators came along to his meeting. Within a short while a spirit of animosity arose amongst the denominations accusing Kuusberg of "sheep-stealing". Though there had been over a hundred witnesses all told of the tongue speaking, practically no-one else in the local community believed the story. Moreover, the film made by the local TV station mysteriously disappeared so that nothing could ultimately be proved, save the changed lives of those who had received Christ. And such, it would seem, was the way the Lord wanted it to be.
It was not long before the larger Churches began to group together to accuse Kuusberg's group of being a dangerous cult and threats began to be received by members from both so-called "Christians" and unbelievers. And the more opposition that band of about seventy people received, the stronger they became, though many fell away, unwilling to endure the hardship of unpopularity and persecution.
Stan sat with Pastor Kuusberg that same evening and gave a lecture to him, his elders, and any others interested, on the Biblical teaching about the soul.
"If I could prove to you that Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, had a soul, would that be enough to clinch the matter for you?" asked Stan.
Pastor Kuusberg's eyes reacted in disbelief. "I should like to see that!" he said, and looked around at his elders, most of whom were also former Adventists. Since Adventists believed that the soul was mortal, a Scripture showing that God has a soul would make Him mortal too, and so demolish the entire doctrinal foundation.
"Fine, But to convince you, I will need a Hebrew lexicon so that you know I'm not making it up," said Stan, smiling. Pastor Kuusberg had one in his hand and looked nervously at Stan.
"Before I start," said Stan, "I just want to say that the truth hurts no-one. Throughout my life as a minister I have had to change my position on one or more doctrines at least once a year! The Lord has more light and truth to reveal through His Word on an almost continual basis. A test of discipleship is a willingness to discard what is false when we find it."
He opened his Bible and invited everyone to turn to Isaiah 1:14 and then invited Pastor Kuusberg to read it aloud:
"Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates..." (NIV).
The ex-Adventists stared at the text in disbelief and began saying amongst themselves, "That must be a mistranslation!" Pastor Kuusberg opened his lexicon and his face went red with embarrassment.
"Perhaps I can help you," said Stan kindly. "Your lexicon will tell you that the word for 'soul' in this passage is nefesh which is correctly translated in my version at any rate. Now let us look at another passage just to show how the word is used in relation to people. Please turn to the Song of Solomon 1:7..."
There was a rustling of pages from many Bibles.
"Tell me, O thou whom my soul [nefesh] loveth..." (KJV), read Pastor Kuusberg.
"Here you will see in these two passages that Yahweh uses nefesh about Himself in exactly the same way that He uses nefesh about people. In that respect the soul of God and the soul of man are therefore the same.
"The Adventists, Witnesses and others all say that a soul (nefesh) is the ruach or spirit plus the physical body. They teach that when a soul or nefesh dies that the ruach goes back to God as an impersonal energy and the physical body dies. They say that a human soul or nefesh is the impersonal ruach or spirit of God, which they compare to electricity, and a physical body. Thus when the ruach or spirit leaves the body, the whole soul is dead and ceases to exist, a doctrine popularly known as "soul-sleeping". They say the dead person has no conscious life whatsoever but remains in the memory of God, awaiting its recreation in a resurrected physical body.
"If God has a soul, as the Scripture clearly proves, then He is made up of ruach and a physical body just like man is. But I don't think anyohe here really believes that.
"To make matters worse, the Bible uses the word nefesh to mean a DEAD BODY as well," said Stan.
"No!" said one of the elders in disbelief.
"I'm afraid so. Turn with me to Leviticus 19:28 where it reads: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead..." (KJV)" said Stan.
The pages rustled in anticipation again.
"What the Lord is telling the Israelites here is that they should not mutilate their bodies [basar] for a dead person [nefesh]. A dead person is therefore a nefesh. There are other exampels also of where a dead body is called a nefesh - check them out in Numbers 6:6 and Haggai 2:13.
"Brethren and sisters, churches like the Adventists, Christadelphians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others oversimplify and try to use Hebrew words in too literal and limited a fashion sometimes. The problem with ancient Hebrew is that it had a small vocabulary so that a single word often had multiple meanings. The word nefesh means at least six different things: physical appetite, feelings, will and moral determination, an individual or a person, the self, or a dead body. Add to that the fact that Yahweh Himself is said to have nefesh or soul.
"The trouble with many of the more recent cults and other groups is that they oversimplify matters and arrive at many erroneous doctrines, ignoring the Bible scholarship of the centuries. The Bible is an unfolding revelation about man and God. Not everything that was known latterly in New Testament times was known in earlier times. The Hebrews had very little idea about the afterlife not because they were willfully ignorant but because Yahweh chose not to reveal it to them at that time.
"When it comes to concepts like 'hell' we have similar problems because as a place it was not described in the Bible until Yah'shua (Jesus) described it. The Hebrews had a mental picture of hell which they compared to the rubbish dump outside Jerusalem where the dead bodies of criminals were thrown for incineration along with all the garbage, which is how hell came to be called Gehenna, which was the name of the valley where the dump was located. Similarly, they viewed death in a similar light, so the grave was a perfect symbol of hell for them. Hebrew was, and is, a poetic language, where Yahweh is described as having feathers, breasts, and many other human- or animal-like attributes. This does not mean that He literally has feathers, wings, breasts, seven eyes, or any of the other symbolic terms used to describe His powers and attributes.
"There is a detailed study on this subject on our Church's website for those who wish to investigate it further. Suffice to say that man is conscious after death and that there is a literal hell. I've met many people who have seen it and I have seen it myself."
From that moment on Stan's apostolic authority was largely accepted by Pastor Kuusberg's group who, after consulting his congregation, asked for association with the apostolic ministry Stan was involved with, and named themselves the Tartu New Covenant Fellowship. Stan began helping Andrus Kuusberg organise his fellowship according to the pattern which has been revealed to the Apostolate and would be followed up later by visits from other apostles from Scandinavia. Within a year of Stan and Hanna's visit small congregations consisting of between three and a dozen souls were planted in Võru, Pärnu, Viljandi, Põltsamaa, Happsalu, Narva, Kohtle-Järve and Tallinn, with headquarters in Tartu, and in total, nearly two hundred nefesh or souls!
Throughout the days that followed Elisa and the other girls very much took a back seat and were content merely to observe and learn. Stan had been impressed by Elisa's boldness in preaching on the fellowship's pentecostal-type endowment and immediately saw in her a potential minister en par with Andreea.
The days passed so quickly in ministering to Kuusberg's fellowship that there had been little time to focus on the main reason for Stan's visit to Tartu and Stan began to feel a little guilty for spending so little time with his hosts. About four days before he was to return to Sweden, after they arrived home in Elisa's little house and were about to sit down in the living room, Stan took Elisa's left hand in both of his and said:
"Elisa, I feel terribly guilty not having spent more time with you and the others answering your questions about patriarchal marriage, which is why you invited us here in the first place. You have been a marvellous support and I wanted to thank you...."
Before Stan could finish what he was saying, Elisa interrupted him:
"You don't have to apologise, Stan - not at all. Quite the opposite. We've learned almost all we want to know, and we've discovered the most important thing of all - that the Lord spiritually anoints and blesses polygamists as well as monogamists! You've always said that polygamy is a servant to the greater cause which is spreading the Gospel, and that's what we've witnessed. We've found out for real that polygamy is blessed of God."
The other four were outside looking at the flowers in the last of the evening light. Elisa kept holding Stan's hands, though now she was stroking them with both hers and looked deeply into his eyes.
"I love you," she said and just kept looking at him, not sure what to say next.
"I love you too," replied Stan, "and would like to ask you to become my wife and the sister-wife to my other nine wives."
Elisa's face seemed to melt. They hadn't turned the lights on and do the golden-red rays of the sunset created a surreal effect. Stan bent down and kissed her lightly on the lips and she held him tightly. The couple stood motionless for a while, absorbed in each other's closeness.
"Can I ask you how long you've felt this way?" she asked Stan.
"From the day I arrived," answered Stan.
"Oh, I'm fogetting myself," said Elise in surprise at her own negligence. "There's another lady who wants to talk to you but I'm afraid she's a bit embarassed and you'll have to help her ... that is, if you've been told the same thing as she and I have," she said, smiling, and slipped out into the garden to fetch Salme. Stan was sitting on the sofa when they returned two minutes later.
"Would you like me to leave?" asked Elisa, unsure whether her presence would get in the way with Salme's feelings.
"No, I don't think so, my dear," he said. Salme glanced at Elisa at Stan's use of a term of endearment and asked the two women to come and sit on either side of him. He took Elisa's hand and turned to Salme.
"I have asked Elisa to be my wife and join my family and she has accepted, just a few minutes ago. I want you to know, Salme, that if you have similar feelings to her for me and the Lord has prompted you in the same way as she has felt, that should at any time you want to join my family and be my wife that I would consider it a great honour and privilege."
Salme was too embarrassed to say anything but just nodded her head vigorously and smiled. Stan offered his hand and she took it, looking into his eyes with happiness. Finally she plucked up the courage to speak.
"I just want to tell you that I love you, Stan, and that I love you too, Elisa, and that I very much want to be a part of your family...."
Elisa took over where Salme had left off.
"Salme and I have been talking a lot about this over the last ten days or so and we have been in complete harmony, and we agreed that if you accepetd us that we would like to be married to you at the same time ... if that's alright."
Stan smiled, and drew the two women close to him in tight embrace with each arm. Elisa and Salme held each other's spare hand in deep affection for one another.
"Now I have to consult with my other wives and if they are all agreed, then we can make arrangements for dedication," he said.
"Oh, I do feel guilty about Hilda and Silvia," said Salme suddenly.
"You're so sweet, Salme, always thinking of the others, but you should not feel guilty about doing what is right and in the Lord's will," said Elisa. "Neither of them feel called into Stan's family and that's how everybody feels. They won't resent our marrying Stan."
"Have you two discussed this with them already?" asked Stan incredulously.
"They've only said that they don't feel called to get married polygamously yet and don't feel anything more that strong sisterly affection for you, Stan," said Elisa.
"Well, my darlings, "said Stan, "I think I have to call Hanna in and discuss this with her. But it won't come as any surprise to her as we've already thoroughly discussed it and I know she'll be thrilled to bits."
Stan arose and aksed if Hanna would join them in the house. The others guessed what it was about and were content to chatter outside in the last minutes of daylight. Hanna was wild was enthusiasm and threw herself on Elisa and Salme, congratulating them.
"Oh, it's going to be so wonderful having you as sister-wives," she said squealing with delight. "And I know the others are going to be thrilled to."
"I'm going to 'phone them as soon as I've told Hilda and Silvia," said Stan who went out into the garden. The other women were thrilled at the news, congratulated Stan, and then went into the house to congratulate the Elisa and Salme too. Stan called home on his mobile 'phone and broke the news to the family. It was I who took the 'phone and then shared it with Sarah-Jane and Kasia who were with me in my room. As our Bible hour was only a quarter-of-an-hour away Stan signed off and called us back three-quarters-of-an-hour later for our immediate reaction, though he had already spoken to us briefly twice since arriving in Estonia and had told us he felt that two of his hosts would be joining the family.
There was excited discussion amongst the sister-wives.
"What does Hanna feel about all this?" asked Andreea, concerned because everything was so new for her still.
"Oh, she sounded over the moon!" I said. "I've never heard her so alive before. It seems the Lord has really been doing some marvelous things in Tartu."
There was excited discussion about the revival that was taking place in Tartu and we all wished that we had been there and hoped that the same blessings would come back with Stan to Sweden. It was agreed between us that Stan should go ahead with the dedication and we could then, after we had got to know the two women better, share our feelings about taking it further to betrothal. I was called to be spokeswoman for everyone when we telephoned back.
"We're all agreed about the dedication and wish to give you are blessings, darling," I said to him, and started for the first time to really miss not having him near me. "And please tell Elisa and Salme that we're so much looking forward to meeting them. When might they be coming to Kadesh.-Naphtali?"
"The plan is for them to visit this Hanukkah but how it will work out after that is in the Lord's hands," replied Stan. "There is no doubt that we have to return to Tartu to minister to the new congregation and to help spread the Word. Brother Kuusberg has his hands rather full now! Anyway, I will discuss everything with you all when Hanna and I return on Friday."
That same evening Elisa and Salme were dedicated to Stan in the presence of Hanna, Hilda and Silvia and rejoiced in God's goodness to them.
"If you could do anything you wanted to right now, what would that be, Stan dear?" asked Elisa, curious to get to know Stan's personality in a more intimate way.
He gave a broad smile and looked upwards: "To join in a giant choir of Yahweh's angels and of the redeemed and to sing praises to the Most High!"
"What then?" asked Salme, joining in the bandwagon.
"Then I would preach the Word throughout Estonia and wherever the Lord sends me, training up evangelists and pastors to plant new congregations everywhere throughout your land and thence into other countries.
"And then?" asked Hanna, curious to see how his thinking would unfold.
"Then I would go home to be with my wives and children and celebrate Yahweh's goodness to us, and invite all my precious brothers and sisters to join with us and feast together. And then I would spend time with each of my wives and children individually."'
"I believe," said Elisa, who was feeling the quickening of the Spirit in her, "that Yahweh will grant your wish. That from now on you will be able to praise Yahweh with the angel throngs whenever you are in worship, that you will become the apostle to Estonia and other nations, and that you will be granted all the time you need with your family so that their and your needs can be met. From now on until the end of your days you will spend half of your life in the missionary field and half at home with your family. The Lord will bless your ministry and your home, and we shall all rejoice together for the souls that are being saved. This is what the Spirit is telling me to tell you."
Stan looked up at his new wife-to-be, with tears in his eyes. He seemed to be searching her soul and was in deep thought. "And you, my darling, are also to be given a ministry which the Most High will reveal to you more fully after I have gone."
Salme looked at Stan, wondering and hoping that the Lord might have a word for her. He turned to her. "I want you to be a support and strength to your sister-wife Elisa to-be while I am gone because she will need you. Great pressure will be placed upon her and she will increasingly depend on you for for prayer and ministry support. Will you do that for me?"
Salme nodded vigorously and took Elisa's hand. "I will take care of her to the best of my ability." she promised.
Elisa looked at her: "We will take care of one another...."
"And don't forget we'll be here too!" laughed Hilda, putting her arm around Sylvia. "I think we four will have a lot to do in the new fellowship!"
"But I have one question," asked Silvia. "How and when are we going to break the news of polygamy to the fellowship? It could cause a terrible split and Satan might crush this revival that has started. I really think you have to tell them as soon as possible as there are only four days left before to go."
Stan nodded, thinking. "It is necessary that you have back-up ministry as soon as possible. You know that problems always start when apostles move on to other places!" and grinned, hoping they would remember all the problems that Paul had. "I'm going to 'phone Björn and tell him to pack his bags and get ready to travel down here as soon as possible."
"Don't you you think someone should travel down here with him?" Hanna reminded Stan that missionaries were always supposed to travel two-by-two, especially as Satan was now alerted to the threat we posed to his kingdom in Estonia.
"Yes, I know. And I would have suggested Misha but her baby is too small for her to bring another little bundle with her." Stan stroked his chin.
"What about Suszana?" said Hanna.
"Mmmm. This is not easy. I am sure Suszana would come but really missionary companions shouldn't ideally consist of couples who are not married to one another," said Stan seriously. "Otherwise it gives unbelievers grounds for evil gossip."
"But Paul had several women missionary companions, didn't he?" she insisted, convinced she was right.
"Yes," replied Stan, "but they travelled in a group of many, not two, and Paul always had a male companion with him. The women took care of his temporal needs whilst traveling." He thought hard, a deep frown forming on his forehead.
"The only solution I can think of is that I return here with Björn in about a month's time. In the meantime, I need to get the Tartu Fellowship more fully organised with female ministry. As an apostle it is my responsibility to set apart the Pastor and the Elders. The whole congregation has to be rebaptised into the covenant and to make a fresh start. I am going to appoint you," he said looking at Elisa, "as a special apostolic pleinopotentiary, a Teacher-Deaconess to teach all that you know concerning patriarchy.
"But first we need to organise a mass baptism. What's the water like in the River Emajõgi, ladies? Is it clean and safe for a baptism?"
The women looked at one another.
"I think it's safe just beyond Turu Street in the wooded area. We could ask Pastor Kuusberg," suggested Hilda.
Stan was on the 'phone and said that he needed to urgently talk with him and his congregation about a mass baptism and a reorganisation of the ministry along New Covenant lines.
Everyone met up with Pastor Kuusberg and his congregation the following evening and Stan explained what needed to be done before he returned to Sweden.
"Have the authorities granted us permission to use the river?" asked Stan, turning to the Pastor.
"Yes, that's no problem. I have checked out the river and found a place which I think is suitable - it's the bend that goes through the forrested area by Kalda Road and to the east of the bridge," said Andrus Kuusberg.
Stan then proceeded to explain that the baptism that would be administered was not into Christ but a baptism into the New Covenant itself, something which had not been done since the New Testament Church went into apostacy centuries ago.
"And can you all come to the river tomorrow evening for baptism?" asked Stan, facing the large congregation, and asked for a show of hands. Everyone was in agreement.
"That's wonderful. Then I, and another minister, shall return, in order to teach you all more of how God's end-time Church is to be organised. My hope is that many of you will be ready for the ordinance of Chrism (Confirmation) and then we shall be instituting the Lord's Supper amongst you. At that time Pastor Kuusberg shall start calling for Sub-Deacons and Sub-Deaconesses from amongst you to prepare for greater ministerial service. These we shall start training. At the same time we shall start calling for Elders and Eldresses so that I hope Pastor Kuusberg will have a Pastress to work alongside him under his authority, together with a Pastoral Council of two Elders and Eldresses, making up your Pastorate.
"In my absence, Elisa Reifman will be my apostolic representative or pleinopotentiary, and will be ordained a Deaconess. She has been under instruction from Church headquarters in Sweden now for nearly two years. She will work with you under Pastor Kuusberg's authority until she finally moves to Sweden.
"I am very anxious to speak to you all in the remaining two evenings following the baptism tomorrow before I have to leave you. I hope you will all be there."