The history of church Estonia
Three women in Tallinn were baptised in 1897 by Gerhard Perk, who had come because Henriette Drosdovski, a cleaning woman in St Petersburg, had written a letter to the Adventists, asking them to visit Tallinn. On 5 September 1897 Perk organised the first Seventh-day Adventist Church in Estonia.
The first Adventists in Estonia were Lilly Sander, who lived to celebrate 80 years of church membership, Annette Wachtel and Julia Volga. Here, as in many other places, women tended to be the first to accept the message, usually against strong opposition from family and friends. Eventually these mothers of the faith passed on the torch of truth to their children.
In 1898 the Adventist leaders in St Petersburg sent a missionary, the Estonian mechanic Jacob Juricson to his home country, first to Tallinn. Later on, he organised a church in Paide, where he was imprisoned several times since Adventist preaching was forbidden in Russia, to which Estonia belonged from 1721 until the Republic of Estonia was founded in 1918. He appealed to the authorities in St Petersburg who, in 1904, granted him and by precedent all other Adventists in Russia, permission to do missionary work. A year later the Tsar even issued decree allowing Orthodox Church members to leave their Church and join some other faith, and as early as 1906 Adventists received recognition. They were now allowed to keep registers of births and deaths in the Adventist churches, just like some other Christian denominations.
The history of church in Latvia
The first Adventist church in Latvia was established in 1896 in Riga by L R Conradi, when he visited Gerhard Perk (1859-1930), a literature-evangelist and lifelong pioneer. Jere, as in many other places, Perk was a first-comer to territories not yet entered by Adventists.
Riga, (with a present population of 800,000) one of the earliest European centres of trade and a beautiful cosmopolitan city, has always been a strong centre of Adventist church. In 1907, it was chosen as the headquarters of the ‘Russian Union’. Membership in Riga grew to 300 by 1912, reached 800 by 1927; and in 1932 more than a thousand Adventists worshipped in seven locations in the city, including churches for Russian and German minorities.
The history of church in Lithuania
Wilhelm Strohl, a young German-speaking Latvian from Jelgava will be remembered as a pioneer. Invited by a small group of Adventists in Zagare near the Latvian border, he earned his living by teaching English and bookkeeping, and did evangelistic work in his free time, preaching in Russian, which was translated into Lithuanian by a local church elder.
After two years of study in Fridensau Missionary School, Strohl started to work in Siauliai. In 1925 a church with seventeen members was organised there. At that time there were more than 130 Adventists in the country, and evangelism had started in Kaunas, the capital city during the years of freedom.