When I was five years old, I often stood by the cot for a long time and watched my little brother Veikko sleep. I understood that Veikko was different from the rest of us, but he was extremely dear to me. While asleep, he seemed so beautiful and fragile. It was easy to think that his guardian angel was standing by the cot. Five years later the presence of the guardian angel became reality for me. I wrote down the events right away, and I can still remember that night as clearly as yesterday.
I was a ten-year-old schoolboy. It was April, and my father had taken the horse into the woods to get a load of firewood. The snow had partly melted, but what was left had frozen into a hard crust. It was easy for the horse to walk and to pull the sleigh. It was evening. Light snowflakes were falling from the sky, and twilight was creeping in.
We were playing outdoors when I heard my mother call: ”Is Veikko there with you?” He was not. We looked for him all round the yard but did not find him. We saw our father’s footprints on the road and on the embankment of the big ditch. Next to his footprints there was a line of smaller prints. Veikko had followed father into the woods. I felt cold with fear. I did not go home but began to run and follow my brother’s footprints.
The ground was partly snowless, but I soon saw that Veikko’s footprints diverged from the track left by the horse’s hooves. It was snowing more heavily now. The snow would soon cover the track, and the night was going to be dark and cold. Veikko would not make it through the night.
I kept running along the footpath with Veikko’s prints, but the path soon ended in a large swamp. It was very hard to see the footprints now, for there was only snow between the hummocks. Quite soon I lost the track. Trembling with fear I began to run in a larger and larger circle but did not find the track.
In the falling dusk I felt completely helpless. I heard my father’s axe from far away. Close to tears, I began to call him for help, but he was so far that he did not hear me. Then I remembered the words of the Bible I had heard in services. I remembered them because I had been wondering what they meant: ”What you pray for in faith, that will be given unto you.”
I knelt down on a hummock. Tears were streaming down my cheeks when called for rescue the Father who is far away but will hear the faintest sighs of His children. It seemed even more difficult to find the track with tears in my eyes, but I had not taken many steps before I found it. At that moment I felt I was not alone. The guardian angel was walking by my side. I folded my fingers in prayer again and said: ”Thank you, dear Father”. I felt safe.
The dusk was deepening. The trees were dark shadows standing by the roadside as I ran past them as quickly as I could. The falling snow made it more and more difficult to see the track. Suddenly I felt like I was running against a wall. There was a stand of big, dark spruce trees with no snow on the ground. I did not even stop, but confidently continued to wind my way between the tall trees. When I came out into more open terrain again, the track continued right before me. I did not need run around to find it. That seemed miraculous.
It was almost completely dark by now. Bending down low I ran through the tangles of shrubbery. My steps were guided so that I never lost sight of Veikko’s footprints, which were hardly visible any more. Luckily they ended up in a ditch with snow, where they were easy to follow. But I strained my eyes in vain to see Veikko. He had already climbed out of the ditch.
The terrain became really difficult. I came to an entangled thicket with no visible footprints. But Veikko had brushed the branches clear of snow where he had gone through. I followed the trail of snowless branches slowly. I could see that the snow had been brushed away quite recently.
I finally got through the thicket. The footprints went directly into a large ditch. I cannot describe in words my feelings when I saw a small, dark figure further along in the ditch. It was my dear little brother! I picked him in my arms and said: “Isn’t Heavenly Father good when he let me find you!”
Veikko was exhausted. I carried him piggyback and began to retrace my steps. It was quite dark, but the sky was light enough, so we were able to steer clear of the trees and keep going.
I was sweating after my run and began to feel cold. Suddenly I realized I had no idea which way I should go to get home. I put my brother down. Desperate I fell down on my knees and prayed: “Dear Father, show us the way home.”
It seemed there was no help available in this situation. Then I felt a soft breeze on my cheek, though it was otherwise calm. It was like the breath of the guardian angel. I remembered that there had been headwind when I came home from school in the afternoon. That helped me choose which way go. We continued walking. I knew we would still have a long way to go, but we suddenly heard distant voices. Someone was calling my name! People had come out to find us. People from the village were helping. I felt unspeakably grateful.
My family were relieved and happy when I came home with Veikko. My experiences in the forest had made such a deep impression on my mind that I could not tell anybody about the details of what had happened. I just told my mother briefly that the guardian angel had helped us.
With the confidence of a little boy I promised to myself that one day I would tell someone what happened to us in the woods that evening. Now have done it and kept my promise.
This is the forest behind my childhood home where Veikko got lost.
Poikkeusolojen vuoksi radion ja netin välityksellä lähetetyt Suviseurat saivat kuulijoiden palautteen perusteella positiivisen vastaanoton. Historiallisten Suviseurojen järjestelyt sujuivat suunnitelmien mukaisesti, eikä suurempia häiriöitä ilmennyt. Seurojen keskeinen sanoma välittyi kaikkialle maailmaan ja seurapuheet käännettiin yhdeksälle kielelle.