A few posting back I mentioned a surprise that I wanted to share with you. Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook Wall so it is a repeat for you.
It is always interesting to see how God can really surprise and bless us in some interesting or unexpected ways.
Since December 2009, I have been writing articles for a Christian Men's magazine in Finland called Tosimies. ("Tosimies" translates as "Real Men".) The series of articles are called "Leaving a Legacy". Each article offers step-by-step ideas of how men can minister to and encourage their children.
Every writer wants to see his work published. It helps validate the time you spend working at your craft. When this opportunity came I was understandably excited and knew that God had arranged it. I also understood that it came with a responsibility.
First, to pray and seek God on how and what He wanted me to write. Second, to write with clarity since they are translated into the Finnish language. Cliches and idioms in American English do not translate well in other languages. And third, the ultimate goal was to be a blessing to the Finnish people so they and their children can have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
My First Time
I was excited to visit Finland for the first time this past April. A couple of other guys and I went there to minister. Two of the meetings were for men only and the third was a regular Sunday service. For the first time, I was going to meet the very people that I had been writing the articles for and it was exciting. The meetings went great. The Finnish people were wonderful.
After I returned to Bonn, the publisher of Tosimies, Kimmo Janas, emailed me the June issue of the magazine cover. To my surprise I was on it. Kimmo has a sense of humor and I thought it was just a mock up or a joke. But having fun with it I sent it off to my sons Shawn and William with a funny comment from me. William emailed me back asking if it was real. I actually did not know. I really thought it was joke. But I decided to email Kimmo and ask him if it was or not. Kimmo quickly replied that if I gave him permission, it would be the real cover for the June issue. WOW! Honestly I was shocked and pleased and surprised and... I didn't know what to think. I gave Kimmo permission and emailed Shawn and William that the cover was real.The boys seemed to think it was cool too.
The Finnish Parliament
It has been a blessing to write these articles. But if that was not enough, I had another unexpected surprise. Kimmo told me that copies of magazine are sent to all 200 members of the Finnish Parliament. My hope is that they will read it and bless their children too.
The Cover Pic
A few weeks ago my hard copy of the magazine came in the mail. Kimmo had done a story about the ministry that happened that April weekend. It featured the team and the churches that we visited.
It reconfirms that God can really do some interesting things for us. He can get things done instantly, when we may struggle with for years trying to accomplish.
This also did something else. For Shawn, William, my grand kids and my close friends in America, it helped confirm the last eight years as a missionary living 5,000 miles away from them
The Story Behind the Cover Picture
In the picture, at the very bottom you see a little girl with her hands up. This happened during my last meeting. I was nearly at the end of my message when this little girl and her little brother ran up the center aisle from the very back of the church and started dancing around in the front.
The little boy quickly jumped on the "kneeler" and then up on the stage. I was caught off guard but was more surprised because after about five minutes nobody did anything to come and get them. Okay seizing the moment, I mentioned again, to the congregation, about our responsibility to cultivate the "gifts and callings" in our children. I told the audience that obviously the little boy was a future preacher and the little girl a worship leader.The congregation enjoyed that comment. Eventually the kids were retrieved by the parents and the service finished. God sometimes works in mysterious ways. And God is always for us.
Rev. Lawrence Blakeslee
Missionary to Europe and Asia
Tosimies Magazine www.tosimies-lehti.fi