Perjantai 6.12.2019
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Jeesus sanoi opetuslapsilleen: "Joka tahtoo teidän joukossanne tulla suureksi, se olkoon toisten palvelija, ja joka tahtoo tulla teidän joukossanne ensimmäiseksi, se olkoon toisten orja." Matt. 20:26-27

At Christmas camp in Switzerland: The gospel carries even at a lonely guard post

in English 21.2.2016 11:10 | Päivämies


Believers in Central Europe have gathered to a Christmas camp every year since 2004. This year the camp was held in Leysin on December 4th to 6th. Leysin is an Alpine village of about 4000 inhabitants, which lies at an altitude of 1 300 meters in the French-speaking region of the Swiss “Pre-Alps”.
I spoke at the camp with Ilmari Korhonen. At the beginning of the trip, bad weather caused us to be nervous about if we would catch the plane to Genève. On the plane we met Hanna Holma, who was returning from Finland. She promised to be our local guide at the destination.
 
From the Genève airport we traveled to Aigle by train and then to Leysin on a cogwheel train. Because it was dark by then, we could not see outside, but we could easily feel that the cogwheel train climbed a remarkably steep slope. The return trip in daylight was a memory that will stay in our minds.
 
A precious gathering
 
There were about forty participants at the camp. They had arrived from a wide area: The Michel and Holma families from Alsace, France, the Meiers and Lahos from Switzerland. The Tuulis had driven for seven hours from Ulm, Germany.


PICTURE: MIIKA TUULI

There were also au pairs from Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany and Denmark. Two young men had also arrived from the place where they study in Italy.
 
Chalet l’Ancien Stand in Leysin provided good premises for the camp. Some of the participants arrived already on Friday evening. The atmosphere was warm and cozy. It was easy to feel how precious this gathering was to the scattered believers.
 

Marit Meier and Matilda Michel are coming to a confirmation camp in Finland next summer.
PICTURE: MIIKA TUULI

Followers of Jesus
 
On Saturday afternoon we gathered for a Finnish style Christmas meal, after which services and a Christmas program were held. There were about a dozen children in Sunday school on Sunday morning. The camp closed with day services.

 
The Meier, Michel and Laho children performed the Christmas gospel during the Christmas program.
PICTURE: MIIKA TUULI

At the Saturday evening services Ilmari spoke from the gospel according to St. Matthew’s (16:24) about following Jesus. Our Savior encouraged those who wanted to follow him to deny themselves and to carry their crosses.
 
Ilmari asked, why have you come to this camp? Why do you wish to be believers in the midst of this dark time?

Increase our faith!
 
Faith is a voluntary matter. God does not force anyone to believe, but He gives us an opportunity for it. Faith is a gift from God, but giving up faith is a private choice by a human. Faith is also a personal matter.
 
Ilmari reminded us that there are only two choices: a person either is or is not a believer. He comforted us that keeping our faith is not about how well we can avoid sin but rather about our willingness to believe. We can ask like the disciples: Lord, increase our faith. With the power of the gospel we can manage even on a lonely guard post.


On Sunday morning Ilmari Korhonen held Sunday school for the children about angels.

Text: Ari-Pekka Palola
Translation: J.K.
The article was published in online Päivämies on 10 January 2015.

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