While biking from Europe through Asia, I have met thousands of people from tens of countries. There have been children, adolescents, elders, believers, atheists, men, and women. I have often been the first foreigner ever to visit a small village. Most of these meetings have been short, just a couple of minutes. Sometimes I have spent a few days with the same people, occasionally even a week.
Few of the people I have met have spoken English. I have usually tried to learn a few useful words and phrases in the local language. Our communication has mostly been about ordering food, asking about where I could pitch my tent, or presenting myself. Discussions have consisted of simple repetition of single words, listening and guessing, with smiles and gestures to help. Google translator has sometimes made things easier, but it has seldom helped us to reach a deeper level where we could have discussed opinions, politics, or religion.
I have sometimes thought that, for most of the people I have met, I am probably the only Conservative Laestadian Christian they will ever meet in their lives. The Bible compares faith to a candle that shines in darkness and believers to sowers who sow the seed of God’s word. The winds of the world may be so strong that they threaten to blow out the candle of faith. How can a weak believer like myself be a sower? I seem to have so little faith that there is nothing to sow.
While alone far from other believers and live services, I have gained strength from listening to online and archived services and songs of Zion. But since I am always on the road, it is not always possible to listen to online services. I meet believers seldom, and I mostly need to concentrate on practical matters, such as finding a place where I can have a meal and spend the night or, in the long run, to travel within visa constraints and also have time for rest. My thoughts are mostly strictly focused on everyday matters, and I almost seem to forget about faith. I often feel I am losing my faith like the prodigal son, and I have many doubts and temptations. Could I help anybody to find the treasure of faith?
But when I look back at my journey, I clearly see God’s guidance. The nature around me has often been so beautiful that I have been touched by the splendor of God’s creation.
I could not have managed this journey without the help of many people. Various problems have been solved in most miraculous ways. I have been led to meet people who have helped me to make progress on my way. Maybe they have also been led to meet me, a weak child of God.
In these thoughts, I have often been silently singing these words of a song of Zion.
Tending the Master’s vineyard, my labor has been weak: I’ve often held the sickle while I’ve been sowing seed. Oh, that one sheaf would ripen, be taken into heaven
to glorify the Lord.
Text: Markus Kauhanen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original Finnish blog post here.
Jumala ei ole jättänyt luomakuntaa oman onnensa nojaan. Näin todettiin Suomen Rauhanyhdistysten Keskusyhdistyksen (SRK) vuodenvaihteen puhujienkokouksessa Jyväskylän rauhanyhdistyksellä. Luottamus Jumalan johdatukseen nousi esille monessa puheenvuorossa. Keskustelun johdannoksi kuultiin Esa Koukkarin pitämä alustus aiheesta Jumala on luomakunnan Herra.