Finland churchWe’ve really had an interesting time. Yesterday (as I mentioned) we got a tour of Tampere. It was great (though cold/wet/blowy and I was tragically underdressed!). Got back to the house for a couple of hours (nap, add clothing layers) and then back out. Took the bus downtown. Ate dinner (kabobs!). Then to the library for a couple of hours of computer work.

On the library steps, we met “Tapani” who drove us to his apartment on the other side of the city. There we met his wife “Manni” and a friend “Saska.” Fascinating. Tapani is a pianist/composer/producer/actor who seems to be in some demand in the artistic community here in Tampere and beyond. Their (very) small apartment was dominated by a baby Grand piano. They were so eager to welcome us and to talk about matters they obviously have little outlet for.

They wanted to talk about faith. They were “faith hungry” you might say. In some ways, their appetite was a bit more “sugary” than I am accustomed to: they had just been to see an exhibition of the Shroud of Turin (for instance) and were fascinated by that story. But they also had a story to tell about their own journeys to faith … and were eager to hear ours. They could not imagine a culture where church buildings are packed with people on Sundays (theirs are empty) or a church structure that encouraged meetings in homes for Bible study and prayer (something definitely not encouraged here!).

They wanted us to participate with them in a time of worship. Tampani opened the piano and we sang three songs: one in Finnish, one in English (Sibelius’ Finlandia, of course!), and one in Hebrew. What an odd but inspiring experience! Then we shared the Supper together—simple, personal, confessional. Then shared some testimony about God’s work in our lives. It was wonderful. We were all deeply moved and very glad to be present.

After coffee and sweets (and 3 hours later!), Steve and I headed back into the night to return to our sleeping quarters. It was a great night.

Anyway, I’ve got to go. I’m sitting in a mall, piggybacking on their free wifi to send this. Steve and I have lunch with one of the leaders of the house church movement here in Tampere. I’m anticipating a good meeting.

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