How to Help a Fox

Tricia Allen

Daire Tiigivee waits expectantly for September.

It's the time of year when more than 2,000 freshmen students in Estonia, a country situated just west of Russia, descend on the University of Tartu for orientation, called Fox Week.

For many years, freshman students have been known as foxes, the origin possibly deriving from the Latin words faex or fux.

As a staff member with Agape Estonia (as Cru is called there), Daire (pronounced DYE-rah) directs Fox Week in partnership with the university. For 10 years, Agape Estonia has helped to organize the event as a way to make the transition easier for new students.

The week also serves as a way to give students spiritual-interest questionnaires.

"Because of former Communist rule in our country, Estonians generally think God is for weak people who can't manage their lives," says Daire.

Though more than 60 percent of Estonia's population is non-religious, on the surveys many students express interest in knowing God personally. Eventually the Agape staff members contact the students and build relationships with them.

Long-Term Results

Seven years ago, Daire was one of those students. Lonely and hoping to make friends, her first contact with Christians was with those running Fox Week.

"I desperately needed to feel love from someone," says Daire. "That's what I found in the people leading Fox Week."

At first, Daire didn't show much interest in Christianity. Instead, she quietly observed the lives of Agape staff members and students.

Later, Daire prayed and received Christ.

Since Fox Week is where Daire first interacted with Christians, placing herself in the students' paths is of great importance.

During one Fox Week, Daire met Age (pronounced AH-jay), who began meeting with Daire soon after to discuss her spiritual interests and prayed and received Christ two months later.

Every fall Daire looks forward to leading Fox Week and helping meet the students' needs, especially the spiritual -- the most important need of all.

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