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Vieraskieliset / In-english

The lit­t­le old lady with dough­nuts in her back­pack

Vieraskieliset / In-english
5.4.2019 14.29

Mart­ta Kois­ti­na­ho (1918–2008) li­ved in a small vil­la­ge in nort­hern Fin­land. For ye­ars and ye­ars she hel­ped her friends and neigh­bors in many dif­fe­rent ways.

Mart­ta and her fa­mi­ly li­ved in the vil­la­ge school­hou­se, where she al­so wor­ked. She ser­ved the vil­la­ge pe­op­le for 30 ye­ars as the school’s cook and ca­re­ta­ker. Those who went to pri­ma­ry school in the ear­ly 1950s still re­mem­ber the de­li­ci­ous ber­ry por­rid­ge she coo­ked.

At that time Sun­day was cle­ar­ly dif­fe­rent from the busy week­da­ys. Sun­day ser­vi­ce in the lo­cal church was es­pe­ci­al­ly im­por­tant for Mart­ta. If she did not have a ride, she wal­ked the 5 ki­lo­me­ters from her vil­la­ge to the church.

La­es­ta­di­an ser­vi­ces have been ar­ran­ged in Mart­ta’s home vil­la­ge sin­ce the late 19th cen­tu­ry. When the num­ber of be­lie­vers inc­re­a­sed, vil­la­ge com­mu­ni­ties be­gan to ap­point ser­vi­ce com­mit­tees to fa­ci­li­ta­te ar­ran­ge­ments. Mart­ta was ap­poin­ted a mem­ber of this com­mit­tee in the 1930s. She was al­so a mem­ber of the lo­cal La­es­ta­di­an cong­re­ga­ti­on’s bo­ard for ne­ar­ly 30 ye­ars.

A friend re­mi­nis­ces about the lo­cal mid­sum­mer ser­vi­ces: ”They were al­wa­ys so busy. Their cheeks glo­wed in the heat of the wood-bur­ning stove which they used to make cof­fee. And how they tal­ked! Mart­ta was a very cheer­ful per­son, al­wa­ys smi­ling.”

Ser­vi­ce gu­ests were usu­al­ly tre­a­ted to cof­fee, and Mart­ta would bring some ba­king with her. For tens of ye­ars she al­wa­ys came to ser­vi­ces with fresh­ly ba­ked dough­nuts in her back­pack.

Child­ren at ser­vi­ces would keep an eye on Mart­ta’s black hand­bag, where she had can­dy for them.

Mart­ta al­so ser­ved as a Sun­day School te­ac­her for 50 ye­ars. She exp­lai­ned the Bib­le sto­ries in a li­ve­ly way that grip­ped child­ren’s at­ten­ti­on. She la­ter al­so wor­ked with Day Circ­le and Bib­le Class.

She par­ti­ci­pa­ted in a buil­ding crew when the new rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys buil­ding was being const­ruc­ted and al­so did wood­work as a hob­by. She made the fur­ni­tu­re for her small hou­se and va­ri­ous uten­sils for her kitc­hen. She even built a pla­y­hou­se and a slide for child­ren on her yard.

As Mart­ta aged, she re­ti­red from work but con­ti­nu­ed to be ac­ti­ve in many ways. She still ba­ked de­li­ci­ous bread for the cong­re­ga­ti­on’s bake sa­les. She al­so had more time for her grandc­hild­ren. She went to help her daugh­ter Kat­ri’s gro­wing fa­mi­ly al­most dai­ly.

Over the ye­ars Mart­ta vi­si­ted many ho­mes in the vil­la­ge. She li­ked to dis­cuss faith and al­so tem­po­ral mat­ters. She was ne­ver bit­ter about her own life but li­ked to point out the hu­mo­rous as­pects of her ex­pe­rien­ces. Her po­si­ti­ve at­ti­tu­de and sen­se of hu­mor shed a spe­ci­al light on those near to her.

Her friends and neigh­bors re­mem­ber that she ne­ver coun­ted the hours when hel­ping ot­hers. She did things vo­lun­ta­ri­ly and wil­ling­ly, wit­hout as­king anyt­hing in re­turn. Ac­ti­ve­ly and cheer­ful­ly she ser­ved both vil­la­ge pe­op­le of all ages and ser­vi­ce gu­estss.

Text: Rai­ja Lo­hi­lah­ti

The text is an ab­rid­ged ver­si­on of an ar­tic­le tit­led “Koko ky­län Mart­ta” (Mart­ta of the whole vil­la­ge) in the book Nai­set vies­tin­vie­ji­nä (Wo­men as mes­sen­gers, SRK, 2017). Trans­la­ti­on: S-L.L.

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä tam­mi­kuus­sa 2019

27.2.2020

Jee­sus sa­noo: "Kun paas­to­at­te, äl­kää ol­ko syn­kän nä­köi­siä niin kuin te­ko­py­hät. He muut­ta­vat muo­ton­sa sur­ke­ak­si, jot­ta kaik­ki var­mas­ti huo­mai­si­vat hei­dän paas­to­a­van." Matt. 6:16

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