A Need for Balance

There is a gate on the lane leading to the little cabin where we stay in Finland. One of Valerie’s chores, assigned a couple of days ago, is to open the gate when we come and go. She enjoys it, and she’s almost a perfect counterweight for the counterweight . . . .

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She actually gets some air time:

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A Drive Near Hauho

In case you haven’t heard, the ministry I direct, Stoneworks International, has a new partner in Montenegro. The R.A.E ministry in Montenegro serves the Roma & Ashkali/Egyptian population in Podgorica.

Roma and Ashkali refugees from Kosovo live in ‘temporary’ housing that was built many years ago. The refugee camp is built on the site of an old dump.

I’m very happy to be working more closely with Siniša Nadaždin, the leader of the ministry, and I am very grateful to the Lord Jesus for allowing me to participate in the fruit of these good relationships He’s given us.

We’re in Finland for a few days enjoying the little cabin called Koppero. I have a simple ‘office’ here so I’m able to work, and it’s nice to sit by a beautiful lake and enjoy the autumn weather, for the summer has passed; the days are cool though the leaves have not yet started to turn. It’s nice to enjoy a fire during the cool evenings.

We’ll go to Russia in a few days, spend about a week there and then plan to head south to Montenegro. Once again we’ll drive all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Podgorica, Montenegro. Valerie and I have made a list of all the countries we’ll visit on this trip. She’s drawn all the flags and will check them off as we cross borders. If all goes as planned, we’ll be in 15 countries in the next few weeks!

I also plan to visit a potential new ministry partner in Moldova with a stop or two in Romania. More about that later . . . .

Here is one of my favorite drives in Finland, a small road between Hämeenlinna and Hauho —

Familiana: at Koppero

a view of the main cabin from the sauna

We just returned from a nice visit to Finland. A friend has a small log cabin that we can visit just about any time we want. (Thank you, Juhani!) We’ve been going there for quite a few years now. The weather was great – cool and sunny – though the leaves aren’t out yet.

The cabin is called Koppero, the Finnish word for ‘Hovel’. It has no running water but it has a lot of heart.

In addition to some good family time at Koppero, we also visited our friend Riitta. She owns a Finnish estate, Hovinkartano, on the same lake. It’s always good to get caught up with her.

Visiting Finland feels like visiting an old friend. We really like it there. I was able to get some work done in a make-shift office thanks to modern wireless internet technology.

And Valerie made a friend:

When Val asked ‘can I kiss him?’ many thoughts ran through my mind. The primary being, ‘if Olga were standing here I’d probably say no, but since it’s just Daddy here I’ll say yes’.

Now we start to move into the very busy part of the year. Soon I’ll be in Montenegro with a mission team, then we’ll welcome teams in Russia and Estonia. In between we’ll be at dacha (a summer house in Russia). I’m helping coordinate several projects in various countries (visit the Stoneworks Ministry Map to see where we work), so there is always something interesting happening. You can see updates at the Stoneworks site.

Here are a few more pictures:

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A Postcard from Finland

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A few times in the last week I’ve spoken with people about one of God’s characteristics: he is able to do more than we can ask or even imagine. Not too many years ago I would not have imagined enjoying time in a little, primitive cabin in Finland. Now it’s a source of great joy. In all our planning, we try to leave at least one blank spot for the thing we can’t imagine, and it may be that very thing into which God is going to call us. This helps us hold our lives loosely, trusting that God is a REALLY good shepherd, and He will lead the way. He’s led us to Finland, and that’s very good.

There’s a certain joy in visiting Finland. We love it here. I’m in Finland on my own this time. Olga and I have bank accounts in the US, Estonia, Russia and Finland. I needed to come to Finland to take care of some banking and visit friends, and a few days opened up for me to do that.

I stay at a little cabin call Koppero, next to the lake Pyhäjärvi. A friend owns the cabin and lets us stay here whenever we want. As you can see, the lake is still quite frozen. The temperature inside the cabin was the same as the lake; it took several hours to warm it up. Koppero has no running water though it does have electricity and I have a wireless internet connection. So, for a few days this little cabin is the European office of Stoneworks International (see my executive office below).

I’ve also just had a very nice visit with our friend Riitta Tarvainen. Riitta owns an old Finnish estate, Hovinkartano, and we’re very glad that we’ve become friends with her. She told me today how her local church, in the small village of Hauho, has supported missionaries around the world. It’s encouraging: God is at work in every culture, and once He begins a good work He continues it all the way to the end.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

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Snapshots from Finland

Before getting to the pictures, I wanted to add a couple of links about recent ministry in Belarus and Russia.

I’ve been in Finland for a few days, staying at a little cabin called Koppero. The weather has been great, and I’ve been tucked away working. It’s a mix of high-tech and low-tech: no running water but an internet connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshots from Finland

Mary Walsh and her daughter Sarah arrived yesterday. I met them in Helsinki and then we drove up to Koppero. It’s good to have them here. We return to Russia tomorrow and then go on to Estonia on Sunday.

We went looking for mushrooms and ended up with berries:

Valerie enjoys the lake:

And as always the sunsets are beautiful over Pühajärve:

A Drive in Finland

We are in Finland for a few days. It’s lovely here. Two friends from the US (Mary and Sarah Walsh) will arrive in Finland on Monday and spend a couple of days with us before we all drive back into Russia. Yesterday I made a video of my drive through the country. (The Finnish voice at the beginning of the video is a radio station.)