Restoration and Church History
Sharing the Gospel in Estonia and Russia
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Sharing the Gospel in Estonia and Russia

Estonia: Tallinn Branch

Estonian Saints from the Tallinn Branch, April 1990

In 1989, as the Soviet Union began to ease travel restrictions, Finnish Saints played a role in sharing the gospel in Estonia and Russia. Valtteri Rötsä, who was visiting from Estonia, attended the Hyvinkää Branch and joined the Church in July 1989. Later that year, a Church member named Pekka Uusitupa traveled to Estonia for business and shared his testimony with a group that had started studying the gospel together at the apartment of Enn Lembit, Rötsä’s son-in-law.

Other Finnish Saints shared the gospel with Russians. At Christmas, Raija Kemppainen gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to a woman from St. Petersburg who was visiting Helsinki; the woman later joined the Church. Nellie Jäkkö, a champion table tennis player, shared her faith with Russian women from Vyborg as she traveled to the Soviet Union to participate in matches. Nellie and her husband also befriended a Russian doctor from Vyborg on a canoe trip. Their friendship then led to opportunities to share the gospel with him. He and others became the first Church members in Vyborg.

In November 1989, five Finnish couples—the Kemppainens, Jäkkös, Laitenens, Kirsis, and Lammintaus—were called as missionaries to support investigators and converts from Estonia and Russia. Through friendship and example, they and other Finnish Saints helped establish a foundation for the Church in their neighboring countries.