Stuffing Mail / Visiting Valdur in Prison

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Tartu, Estonia
We all know of the worldwide economic crisis, but one bright spot is that the dollar is doing better against foreign currencies than it's been in a while. When travelling to this part of the world everything seemed so terribly expensive. It really wasn't. It was the weakness of the dollar. The Estonian Kroon had fallen to below 9 to a dollar. Today it is over 12. Good for us, bad for the Estonians.
In the morning we worked on the much bigger than previous mailings. We are mailing out close to 600 pieces of mail. But, that's just part of the story. A piece of mail can have the Good News, two translated articles (either in Russian or Estonian) a Bible Study Course lesson and up several booklets. We've just had a run up of literature requests from the former CIS countries and our mailing on this trip is more than twice what the last one was. 
Today is my day to visit Valdur Vesingi at the foreboding Vangla prison in Tartu. I'm really glad I've figured out an easy way to have a cell phone and German the Russian Estonian cab driver. I call German the Russian to pick me up and off we go the Vangla.
It's a gray winter day. There are only four visitors in my group today to see inmates. That's very low for a prison that has 1000 inmates. It's the lowest number that I've been involved in. We go through the security and screening. The prison guard lady handling me was pleasant...she seemed to vaguely remember me from former visits.  
Off to the visiting area. Valdur enters and we are happy to see each other for this one hour visit which went very quickly. We talk about his health and well-being. He still has 12 years to serve of a 20 year sentence. He would be 65 when he would be released. On former visits he seemed resigned to be imprisoned for the rest of his life. Now, he seemed more hopeful of not only being free, but possibly having his sentence shortened.
He is translating the booklet Jesus Christ - The Real Story into Estonian. He only has two two hour sessions at a computer available to him all week long, so he works with these constraints. But, he says that the work is going well.
Before I knew it, the visit was over. Will see him again on June visit to Estonia. He commented about how much he appreciated all the letters that have come to him since we posted him on my Prison Page at He particularly commented his contacts with Paul Dzing, another family in Arizona and Tasmania, Australia.
No problem coming home from the prison. Gave German the Russian a call and he showed up quickly. On the drive back into town he talked about how eBAY and how he just bought a laptop computer using PayPal and cool that was. I gave German a copy of the Good News and the translated articles both in Estonian and Russian. I told him it would be good to subscribe to them. He seemed appreciative.
Tonight we had to really hit the stuffing of envelopes hard. So, we went at it with a no nonsense attitude and worked about five hours straight. We made tremendous progress. It felt good going to bed being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  
We watched TV on SlingBox all evening. This device sends our cable TV channels through the Internet to my laptop. So, we watched Fox News while we stuffed. 
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Why is Valdur in jail?
I am interested in his story.

Louise Brown
TravelPod Community Manager


Re: Why is Valdur in jail?
Hi Louise,

He was involved in a robbery that resulted in a taxi driver was killed. He was given 20 years. You can read more about him at my Prison Page at

If you have any further questions please ask. You can reach me at