FINLAND SURVEY TRIP UPDATE
Holding forth the word of life;
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called,
and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12
God graciously allowed two of my children and me to visit Finland from 26 April to 4 May 2004. Not until four days before our departure did I realize that we would be in Finland for “May Day.” (Since a 2000 radio news report on May Day in Finland is what first broke my heart about the spiritual need of that nation, it was exciting to realize that God had worked out the details of our trip so that we could witness firsthand the very things that I’d heard about four years earlier.) Finland greatly needs the pure words of God. As we visited the country’s state churches, we discovered time and again that although they had hymn books and missals, they didn’t have Bibles. In bookstores and hotels we occasionally found copies of the perverted version of the Finnish scriptures, but even they were difficult to find. (In 1933 Satan began stealing the true words of God from the Finns; by 2004 he had all but succeeded, barely leaving even copies of the perverted scriptures. Such a sad fate awaits the world’s English-speaking peoples if they do not read, believe, obey, honor, and keep the words of the Authorized Version.) Even in Europe’s largest bookstore (Helsinki’s Academic Bookstore), we could find copies of the A V 1611 but no copies of the Finnish “Piplia” of 1642. Nearly one-third of Finland’s population reads the weekly Aku Ankka (Donald Duck) magazine. Finns have ready access to Donald Duck, but they need ready access to the written words of God!
Even in the midst of a nation whose spiritual condition is so typical of that of Europe in general, God still has a witness. On our way back to our hotel on the evening of 29 April we discovered a copy of the Finnish version of “This W as Your Life” in a Turku phone booth-and it was not a copy that we had distributed. There was no name, address, or phone number on that tract, but it thrilled us that in Finland’s fourth largest city, someone else was passing out Chick tracts! In Turku Cathedral (Finland’s national shrine) we found an alms box with an English sign: “TO FOREIGN MISSIONS” (a sign that made me think of Hebrews 5:12-14). And during the May Day celebrations in the heart of downtown Helsinki, we noticed a bit of public testimony: a sign that said “I © Jesus.” (It may not have been much of a witness-and it may have been in English-but it was still a witness.) In order to devote myself “full-time” to preparations to leave the U.S. and to minister in Finland, I have resigned my position with the Mississippi Department of Corrections and begun what is popularly known as “deputation.” Although I have little peace about calling strangers to wrangle invitations to churches, I have fewer qualms about contacting pastors whom I know and pastors who are on this mailing list-men who know me and/or my work. After making such contacts, I’ll try to wait upon the Lord to provide invitations, opportunities, and financial support through his people.
Some of you I have already contacted; others I hope to contact in the weeks ahead. Please be assured that I do not desire to “pressure” you to do anything for us (although my family and I do greatly covet your prayers for this undertaking). If offered the opportunity, we will gratefully present our calling, our ministry, and our burden to any church that asks us to do so. But if we aren’t offered the opportunity, I have no intention of forcing my way into any church or of forcing myself upon any church. If the Lord lays it on anyone’s heart to pray for us or to help us in some other way, then praise His name; and if He doesn’t, then praise His name anyway. I know that He will get us to Finland on His timetable, and we intend to serve Him and prepare in the meantime. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf.
“Looking for that blessed hope,”
P .S. I have a new email address for missions-related correspondence:
Correspondence for other purposes can still be directed to: