Greetings from a sunnier and lighter Finland! The days are now getting longer, the sun shines more, the snow and ice are gone… we are really looking forward to the summer that is starting to peak from around the corner! Just yesterday we noticed the first tiny leaves in the birch trees.
After four months here, everything is still fresh and new, we definitely consider ourselves still in the process of adaptation. We miss Costa Rica very much even though we have seen God open doors here and feel we are where we are supposed to be.
We have found a church community where the whole family feels they want to be in. That should not be taken for granted. We are getting to know people there and finding our place to serve in the church.
A month ago we moved again. We found an apartment that has one more room, so now we have three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We live in a complex of two buildings with almost 50 apartments and many families with children in them. Nikkis has many friends to play with in the surrounding fields. We are making an effort to get to know and build relationships with the neighbors. The kids are finding their way to our place more and more often. Friends in Costa Rica helped us to sell Diego’s old drums and some other friends helped some more and now we have a beautiful electric drum set in our living room. Diego and the kids get to play and grow in their skills.
We feel very proud of our children as we have watched them bravely facing the challenges of a new culture, a totally different school environment and new relationships. It has not been easy – for the whole family it has been emotionally draining. However they have shown maturity, courage and trust in God in their every day walk. Academically all of them surprise their teachers and us; there is a lot to learn and catch up with, but they are doing great. All the new subjects that they have never had before make school exciting and fun. They have made friends, but finding their place is still very much in process.
DIEGO has been diligently studying the language, attending a course every day. Handling every day situations in Finnish becomes easier and more natural day by day. In February-March Diego was invited to Costa Rica by one outreach team going there. He was able to drive, translate, help around the base, distribute Bibles and see people. He wants to continue supporting the base in Guanacaste, travel when needed and be part of the continuation of the ministry.
After our support suffered a major drop we felt peace about Diego continuing as a ywam missionary and me looking for a job. I was preparing myself to do any kind of work, just to get an income for the family, but God opened a door that we had not even wished for. I got a paid job in a Finnish missions organization that has a large local ministry in Finland, but focuses on sending missionaries to the nations, especially the 10-40 window. They have 70 missionaries in 13 different countries. I went for an interview for a different position, but I ended up being offered and accepting a position as a fundraising developer for the organization. They have been praying for the right person for a while, because they want to shift the mentality and the organizational culture to be more relational and faith-based. So pretty much my job description is to teach, share and put into practice what I have been living for the past 17 years. I feel God designed all this and want to do this as service to Him and a continuation of walking in obedience and by faith. But what a privilege to be able to continue being involved in missions instead of spending my days doing something else! However my long days away from home are quite a change for the whole family. I am also continuing with university courses on International Relations.
AS A FAMILY we continue striving for the things that God has brought us to Finland for. We don’t want to stop the lifestyle of asking God, listening and obeying to serve and to reach out. We feel that God has brought us here to live out our faith and testimony among the Finns, to be an example of a Christ-centered family to the youth and other families. We feel we are here to do our part to rise a wave of young missionaries from Finland.
King’s Kids is one of the largest ministries of YWAM Finland. Next week we will be attending a national KK camp to see how involved we will be with this ministry. The defining factor will be our children and how involved God leads them to be. This was such a big part of their lives in Costa Rica that now they are having difficulty just switching to the same involvement in a different country with different people. Julia will be attending a mini-DTS organized by KK this summer; three weeks of teaching, discipleship and an outreach to northern Norway.
We are already having the first opportunities to challenge Finns to missions. On Easter we were able to speak to a full church in Kangasala. This weekend we are speaking in another church. Next Tuesday we are hosting a meeting in our home where our co-workers from Costa Rica and a staff member, who has been in the Middle East, are coming to share and encourage people. In May we have a public event in Tampere to share more specifically about missions in Central America and challenge people to participate.