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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Win­ter ser­vi­ces in Pho­e­nix: ”Seek the Lord and His Strength”

Päivämies-verkkolehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
1.3.2016 14.38

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:28
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The Pho­e­nix win­ter ser­vi­ces were held du­ring the last wee­kend of Feb­ru­a­ry. The event has been gat­he­ring ser­vi­ce gu­ests an­nu­al­ly for 37 ye­ars. The ser­vi­ces surp­ri­se a first-time vi­si­tor. Bla­zing heat wel­co­mes the gu­ests who ar­ri­ve from eve­ry di­rec­ti­on. There are no signs of win­ter around. Spring has ar­ri­ved, which can cle­ar­ly be seen in the sprou­ting de­sert trees and bus­hes.

The ope­ning ser­vi­ces fil­led up the ap­p­ro­xi­ma­te­ly 1000 se­ats of the church as well as a lar­ge tent out­si­de. The pre­ci­ous words of the ope­ning ser­vi­ces re­min­ded us why pe­op­le tra­vel up to thou­sands of mi­les to at­tend the ser­vi­ces.

Mat­ti Määt­tä from Ou­lu had come for a mis­si­on trip with his wife Ei­la. In his ser­mon Määt­tä said:

– My wife and I have tra­vel­led around North Ame­ri­ca and Ca­na­da for mis­si­on ser­vi­ces and we have felt the be­lie­vers’ love. It has touc­hed our he­arts. We are child­ren of the same God. Neit­her state bor­ders nor long dis­tan­ces are a boun­da­ry for Chris­ti­an love.

Määt­tä’s ser­mon was ba­sed on Phil.4:4–7: ”Re­joi­ce in the Lord al­wa­ys. I will say it again: Re­joi­ce! Let yo­ur gent­le­ness be evi­dent to all. The Lord is near.”

– What has made us jo­y­ful to­day? There can be se­ve­ral dif­fe­rent sour­ces of joy, but the main re­a­son for joy is that we have been gran­ted the grace of being God’s child­ren. The love bet­ween be­lie­vers is not for­ced but co­mes from a jo­y­ful he­art. It is a fruit of the li­ving faith. Faith gi­ves us po­wer when we are a li­ving branch of the vine. God’s pe­a­ce goes bey­ond all un­ders­tan­ding. In our dai­ly li­ves we get we­a­ry and may feel po­wer­less, but God has pro­mi­sed to fill up the emp­ty ves­sels with his good­ness, pre­ac­hed Mat­ti Määt­tä.

In our everyday life we feel tired and lacking, but God has promised to fill the empty vessels with his goodness, said Matti Määttä (right). His speech was translated ty Jon Bloomquist.

In our everyday life we feel tired and lacking, but God has promised to fill the empty vessels with his goodness, said Matti Määttä (right). His speech was translated ty Jon Bloomquist.

In our eve­ry­day life we feel ti­red and lac­king, but God has pro­mi­sed to fill the emp­ty

ves­sels with his good­ness, said Mat­ti Määt­tä (right). His speech was trans­la­ted ty Jon Bloom­quist.

Joy to gat­her to­get­her

Jim Frant­ti, chair­man of the LLC, than­ked the south­wes­tern be­lie­vers for or­ga­ni­zing the ser­vi­ces.

– It is a great joy to meet such a lar­ge group of ser­vi­ce gu­ests gat­he­red to­get­her. Weak tra­ve­lers get strength for the jour­ney. When we tra­vel through our li­ves child-like, God will gui­de us through dif­fi­cult ti­mes.

Ken Wuol­let re­mi­nis­ced in his ser­mon how God has inc­re­a­sed the num­ber of be­lie­vers here. He said that the cong­re­ga­ti­on of Pho­e­nix star­ted with 89 adult mem­bers and 100 child­ren. To­day there are ap­p­ro­xi­ma­te­ly 1500 mem­bers in the area.

– The mot­to for the ser­vi­ces “Seek the Lord and his strength” ref­lects well these ye­ars of growth. God’s king­dom has not chan­ged, even though the world around us is chan­ging. Li­ving faith is the gre­a­test gift: our goal is to re­ach he­a­ven one day. To re­ach that goal we need to stay on the nar­row path­way as be­lie­vers and to be­lie­ve our sins for­gi­ven” pre­ac­hed Ken Wuol­let.

Ge­or­ge Koi­vu­kan­gas, a mem­ber of the LLC bo­ard and a mi­nis­ter of the Co­ka­to cong­re­ga­ti­on re­mi­nis­ced about the past de­ca­des:

– In the 1970s the cong­re­ga­ti­ons in Det­roit and Mic­hi­gan were the lar­gest cong­re­ga­ti­ons in the USA. Both of them had over 1500 mem­bers. At that time the cong­re­ga­ti­on of Pho­e­nix con­sis­ted of a few do­zen mem­bers and their church was a small hou­se. The lar­ge cong­re­ga­ti­ons as well as their bo­ards and mi­nis­ters were lost in the he­re­sy of the 1970s. Af­ter the he­re­sy on­ly 20 mem­bers re­mai­ned in the cong­re­ga­ti­on of Mic­hi­gan. Ari­zo­na be­ca­me a gro­wing area and this big church was ob­tai­ned. Now there are ap­p­ro­xi­ma­te­ly 1500 mem­bers in that area. Af­ter the he­re­sy God gat­he­red the cong­re­ga­ti­on. The love, warmth and clo­se­ness were touc­hing. Around those ti­mes be­lie­vers wan­ted to gat­her to­get­her of­ten. God’s bles­sing has been won­der­ful, re­mi­nis­ced Koi­vu­kan­gas.

Up­lift yo­ur he­arts to be­lie­ve

Jari Pigg pre­ac­hed about “You are the light of the world”, which is from the gos­pel ac­cor­ding to Mat­t­hew. He brought gree­tings from the be­lie­vers of To­ron­to.

– We have been made the light and salt of the world. We might feel that our light is weak, but God is our strength. As a child I saw when flocks of birds gat­he­red to­get­her to sing on the po­wer li­nes be­fo­re their mig­ra­ti­on. When I ar­ri­ved here to the ser­vi­ces I felt the same. The lar­ge group of be­lie­vers is re­a­dy for the jour­ney. The world does not re­cog­ni­ze this joy, pe­a­ce and free­dom. Even now we can up­lift our he­arts to be­lie­ve our sins for­gi­ven.

The an­noun­cer in­vi­ted the gu­ests to come and dine in the ca­fe­te­ria. The an­noun­ce­ment could be thought pro­ver­bi­al­ly to rep­re­sent the en­ti­re ser­vi­ces: we came to the ser­vi­ces to be nou­ris­hed by the word of God. There were ele­ven spe­a­ker brot­hers who ser­ved us in these ser­vi­ces.

On Fri­day night there was a yo­uth dis­cus­si­on. Ran­dy Her­ra­la gave a pre­sen­ta­ti­on on con­fes­si­on. He re­min­ded the lis­te­ners about the me­a­ning of con­fes­si­on as fol­lows:

– Con­fes­si­on is a gift to help a child of God in faith. It has a spi­ri­tu­al foun­da­ti­on and it is vo­lun­ta­ry. Enu­me­ra­ti­on of sins is not es­sen­ti­al, nor pos­sib­le, when a per­son wants to con­fess their sins. We were al­so re­min­ded that the pre­ac­hing and be­lie­ving of for­gi­ve­ness are the most im­por­tant parts of con­fes­si­on. It felt and loo­ked won­der­ful when a full room of be­lie­vers at­ten­ti­ve­ly lis­te­ned to the pre­sen­ta­ti­on and the con­ver­sa­ti­on that fol­lo­wed.

Guests arrived at the church from every direction in a blazing heat of 30 degrees Celsius. There were no signs of winter around. Spring had made desert trees and bushes sprout. Majestic cacti marked the boundaries of the service area.

Guests arrived at the church from every direction in a blazing heat of 30 degrees Celsius. There were no signs of winter around. Spring had made desert trees and bushes sprout. Majestic cacti marked the boundaries of the service area.

Gu­ests ar­ri­ved at the church from eve­ry di­rec­ti­on in a bla­zing heat of 30 deg­rees Cel­sius.

There were no signs of win­ter around. Spring had made de­sert trees and bus­hes sprout.

Ma­jes­tic cac­ti mar­ked the boun­da­ries of the ser­vi­ce area.

Text and pic­tu­res: Päi­viö Kart­tu­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Mai­ja Koi­vu­kan­gas

2.7.2020

Minä kuu­lun si­nul­le. Pe­las­ta mi­nut! Si­nun sää­dös­te­si mu­kaan minä tah­don elää. Minä olen kuin ek­sy­nyt lam­mas. Et­si mi­nut! Si­nun käs­ky­jä­si minä en unoh­da. Ps. 119:94,176

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