As the Lord built up the Church in Estonia, He prepared future leaders across the country for service. Sergei Tšekmarjov became religious in his early teens, but he later felt far from God. In 1996 he overheard a preacher in the Pärnu market ask anyone who wanted to follow Christ to raise their hand. Tšekmarjov didn’t dare raise his hand, although he felt like Peter denying Christ. “My heart was like a rock,” Tšekmarjov recalled. “Something hard and cold.”
At the time, Hiie Tikk, a young widow in Tartu, met two sister missionaries who came to her door. Although she considered religious people a little strange, she let them in. “It wasn’t by chance the missionaries knocked on my door just then, because Heavenly Father saw my distress,” Tikk recalled. “Thanks to them I got closer to God.” She worried the missionaries would be upset when she made it clear that she didn’t want to join a church, but instead they hugged her and said, “No matter how much time passes, know that God is waiting for you with open arms.”
A decade later, missionaries knocked on Sergei Tšekmarjov’s door and gave him the Book of Mormon. While telling his wife about the visit, he heard another knock, but no one was at the door. A scripture came to his mind: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man … open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). That night, Tšekmarjov began reading the Book of Mormon. Around the same time, Hiie Tikk saw two discouraged-looking elders on the street. “Poor missionaries,” she thought. “Their life isn’t easy.” She soon began meeting with the missionaries again and decided to be baptized, despite opposition from her family.
In 2009 Tšekmarjov was baptized in Pärnu, and Tikk was baptized in Tartu. Tšekmarjov became a strong member of the Pärnu Branch. “I have decided to follow our Savior’s example,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how hard it is. I turned away from faith once and I never want to do that again.” Tikk has also served faithfully, ministering to members and friends of the Church in their times of need, just as the Lord reached out to her in her distress.