Tiistai 20.2.2018
Peseytykää, puhdistautukaa, tehkää loppu pahoista töistänne, ne ovat aina silmissäni. Lakatkaa tekemästä pahaa. Jes. 1:16

Greetings of peace were heard at services in France

in English 15.11.2017 06:45 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
Eero Nuolioja and I made a trip to Saint Louis, France, to hold services. We flew to Basel airport, which is located in France but serves Switzerland, France, and Germany. It was only a few kilometers from the airport to Anne and Patrik Michel’s home, where the services were held.
We went to their home for supper Friday evening. They had put a white tablecloth and vases with tulips on the table. Eero and I realized the family earnestly awaited the services when the youngest of the family, Felix, asked us:

“Will you speakers wear ties tomorrow?”

After spending the night at a nearby hotel, we returned to the Michels’ home, where about twenty people had gathered. Felix eagerly awaited us; he was wearing a suit and a tie. Gathered there were young people who were working or studying in Central Europe, families who had arrived from Switzerland and France, and even someone from the Czech Republic. For all of them it was important to gather to hear the word of God, discuss about the endeavor of faith, and exchange news.

First we held Sunday school for everyone. The topic was Jesus appearing to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee. Both the adults and children participated in the Sunday school. The children listened carefully and answered the teacher’s questions.

After a break Eero kept a sermon. The topic was Jesus appearing to His disciples who were hiding behind locked doors. He noted that the disciples were witnesses of the Resurrection. Only after the Resurrection did they understand that the prophecies of the Bible had now come true. Jesus brought greetings of peace behind those locked doors and gave His disciples the office of the forgiveness of sins.

In my sermon I reminded the listeners of how great a love the heavenly Father has shown toward us in that he has taken us and protected us as His children. He has also promised His children a wonderful portion in heaven.
During the breaks we took note of the efficiency of the service arrangement. Some of the service guests had brought pastries with them. The host family purchased and prepared the meals. Nearly all the guests took part in the practical arrangements by turn in their own way.

It was striking to notice how even the children quieted down to listen during the sermons, Sunday school, and introduction. However, during the breaks there was quite a bit of noisy talk. Although there were no more than about 30 people present at most, they resoundingly sang hymns and songs of Zion.

At the end of the service day Eero kept an introduction on the topic Why it is worth believing. After the introduction we discussed, first in groups and then everyone together. The discussion was lively and interesting.

The theme of Sunday’s services was the Good Shepherd. Both speakers preached from texts related to this theme. It was a beautiful summer day, and as we sang a summer hymn we felt that this was a truly festive occasion, “France’s summer services”, as Eero mentioned in his sermon.

There was a wistful feeling during the closing hymn, yet thankfulness for being able to own the portion of a child of God. We both felt that these services were awaited and truly important to the children of God living here and there in Central Europe.

Text: Pentti Eskola
Translation: K.K.

Julkaistu englanninkielisessä numerossa 15.11.2017

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