About the Trip
Serving in this Swedish-speaking area of Finland is high-energy camp ministry. It consists of viewing every action as a form of ministry, from serving in the kitchen to having intentional, deep conversations with participants from the Western Coast of Finland. Your participation makes the conference run smoothly, and your faith will grow as you celebrate life with Finnish brothers and sisters. It is physically and emotionally draining, yet beyond fulfilling as you witness lives changing and people coming to Christ for the first time, embracing Christianity as a relationship and learning to live it out. It requires flexibility, self-initiative, and grace – flexibility because things won’t always go as planned, self-initiative because the conference leaders expect the North Parkers to step up and get things done, and grace because everyone will reach a point of exhaustion, and it’s necessary to support one another through the experience. Self-care is a necessary element of the trip, as is an openness to what we can learn from our Finnish brothers and sisters in Christ.
Partner: MVV (Midvinterveckan) of the Mission Church of Finland, through Merge Ministries.
MVV (Midvinterveckan) is a ministry of the Mission Church of Finland, a cousin of the Evangelical Covenant church. Each year, the church conference holds a 5-day winter camp that takes place in Finland rotating locations; in 2019-2020, it will take place in or near Vaasa. MVV primarily serves the youth and young adults of Finland who speak Swedish as a first language. Since Finland is a post-church country, there is a deep yearning for Christ, and many students are craving knowledge of the Gospel and how that translates to their daily lives. The students are filled with questions and desire. The conference consists of community meals, Fikas, services twice a day, workshops, games, evening snacks, and open mics. It is a time of community, fellowship, worship, and growth. The Finns welcome the North Park team as their own – no special treatment is given, and they are expected to rise to the occasion and step in as student leaders. It is a beautiful but also young partnership that has proven mutual growth and dependence on one another, which leads to healthy and encouraging relationships.
“Going into my Finland experience, I didn’t really have a lot of expectations. I was excited to see how God was going to work in and through my team, but I couldn’t have even begun to guess what I thought He would accomplish. Throughout the trip, it was so encouraging and inspiring to witness the Body of Christ intentionally ministering and praising God in order to expand the Kingdom. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it impacted my views on servant leadership among other things. I witnessed such a positive attitude to servitude that I felt like paralleled what Jesus would have done. I saw Jesus in the Finnish leaders, and it brought great joy to my heart, fueling my spirit to be just as strong but also just as humble in my own faith. In the Bible, God tells Joshua to “Be strong and courageous,” and that’s exactly what God has been telling me since my time in Finland, but more specifically, “Be strong and courageous in your faith.” I want my life to be a giant leap of faith and to be a reflection of God’s beautiful work. Serving in Finland was a wonderful reminder of the passions God has placed in my heart, and now I am striving to pursue these desires He has set there.”
– Kaylyn Sweitzer, English Major, C’19