Text: Suvi Myllymäki
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Often in discussions, presentations and speeches we are encouraged to confess our faith openly. That may seem easy when we sit among believers, but it is not so easy in real everyday life. We are afraid of how other people will react if we tell them about our faith.
As the mother of a large family, I seldom need to confess my faith in so many words. My outward appearance or the number of children that has come up in conversation are enough of a confession.
I have been in situations where my faith has come up in the course of a discussion and I have seen hate and scorn on the other person’s face. At my workplace, where I need to cooperate closely with other people, I have tried to change people views of believers by my own actions. I would like to alleviate negative notions and give people positive experiences of believing people. I have noticed that friendliness and politeness have a positive impact. I hope I have been able to dispel some of people’s prejudices.
I tend to be an open person. I often mention in passing small things that allow others to recognize me as a believer. I remember that, as a child, I wore the green Summer Service sticker on my coat for weeks after the Summer Services. The neighbors’ children wondered about it, but none of them made any negative comments. It is my experience that openness is ultimately a key to good interpersonal relationships.
Negative media publicity makes us scared of talking freely about our faith. When we read such articles, we easily forget that there are many people who respect their believing neighbors, colleagues or acquaintances. They recognize such negative headlines for what they really are: a way to attract readers.
Yet, even in a good working community, one tends to be sensitive to possible critical attitudes after the publication of a negative headline. While expecting our eighth baby, I went to the canteen of my workplace to buy milk. I was heavily pregnant by then. At that time headlines were screaming about believing mothers being ”baby machines”. I remember I was wondering if my colleagues would associate those headlines with me and possibly feel pity for me. I would have liked to tell them that I found those headlines offensive and not applicable to myself, but I did not dare to say anything.
When I went back to work after my maternity leave, there was a new worker at my workplace who spoke very strongly about never wanting to have children. After we had worked together for several months, she asked me if I had many children. She said the way I talked sounded like that. She was really astonished to hear I had eight children and said she was sorry for speaking so negatively about children. We worked well together, although our world views were different. After that discussion it was easy to be open and to work closely with her every day.
In some other situations, people have asked me, genuinely curious, if there will be even more babies in our family. They have been surprised to hear that we will have all the babies that are given to us. The mother of my child’s classmate in primary school even wished me God’s blessing. That made me feel pure, deep joy. If we are open, people begin to understand us better and there will be less prejudice both ways. Even the Bible instructs us to respect our neighbors. That is an important advice to all of us.
I have also thought that we can open up about our life in the social media. We can freely appreciate the things our children say and do or share pictures about believers’ lifestyle. That may well counterbalance the negative publicity.
Vanhustenviikon teemana on tänä vuonna ”Yhdessä luontoon – joka iän oikeus”. Viikon mittaan luontoteemaan syvennytään erilaisista näkökulmista, kuten lähiluonto ja ulkoilu. Esillä on myös muita tärkeitä teemoja ravitsemuksesta kulttuurin merkitykseen. Monen aiheen kohdalla herää kysymys, miten nämä asiat tällä hetkellä toteutuvat ikäihmisten elämässä.
Ekaluokkalaisen Liinun syksyyn mahtuu niin iloja kuin suruja. Kutkuttavaa jännitystä tuo salapoliisitehtävä tädin ja isoveljen kanssa.
Tämän vuoden ajankohtaiskirjassa käsitellään omakohtaista uskoa ja sen vaikutuksia ihmisen elämään ja toimintaan.
Miten selvitä, jos tulee satutetuksi ja jätetyksi?
Voiko seurustelu alkaa ihan noin vain, yllättäen?
Entä mitä tapahtuu siinä välissä?
Kiinnostava matkakertomus seurojen järjestämisestä ja uskovaisten elämästä Afrikassa.
Jännittävä hevoskirja herättelee pohtimaan, minkä varaan elämää kannattaa rakentaa.