The Hard Life...to be sure!?
Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
33Trip End Feb 08, 2011
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Our time here has been filled with so many incredible opportunities to see and experience Finland amidst making ourselves available to help in whatever ways we can...
Second day in we were invited to join the DTS (discipleship training seminar) team for a weekend of extreme character/team building...though we were treated to a lot more comfort than their own experience! Held in suspense, the group was never told what was happening until moments before, keeping them on edge while teaching them to trust and be prepared - as well as pushing their limits to pressure-cook the team-building time.
We were thoroughly inspired by the instructors - they were awesome
While the group did some extreme outdoor ventures, we were able to enjoy the best parts in luxury... first night at a Summer Cottage where we enjoyed the most amazingly incredible hospitality in perfect Finnish tradition...with enough strawberries from their garden to satisfy even the most avid lovers of the delectable fruit.
On returning to Ruurikkala, we had been asked if we would like to treat them all to a special meal, taking great pleasure in whipping up a 3-course New Zealand-style dinner...complete with a kiwi-fruit garnished Pavalova....Mm-mmmmmm :)
A group from Israel came through with whom we had the incredible privilege of hanging out with the entire week - and to say the least it was a completely unexpected, amazing time!!
There were about 12 of them in all, averaging an age of about 17-19, and a totally fun bunch to get to know and hang out with. We had some great opportunities to share Jesus with them and just be, amid the exciting ambition of ensuring they had an awesome, memorable time...the hard life to be sure ;)
Their extraordinary Finnish hosts (closely connected to Ruurikkala) were so generous, friendly and accommodating - and each evening was spent at their gorgeous lake-side Summer Cottage enjoying roasted marshmallows over the campfire and going between Sauna and lake or amusing ourselves with dart or slug gun competitions
Each day was filled with adventures across a wide radius out from the base...
I had my first experience of Paint ball and came out a war hero with some impressive wounds for a little authenticity.
We spent a day at the Power Park (theme park) and many of us being a bunch of adrenaline junkies spent our time on all the big thrillers; beginning with the giant drop...and giving out some very impressive screams that would make my father-in-law proud ;)
We took a cruise around some of the islands, out from the beautiful city of Vaasa, to savor a welcoming bowl of Salmon chowder at a quaint, rustic restaurant...spent an afternoon cheering on the Car races in Seinijoki...hiked through some bush to a clearing where we enjoyed cooking massive pancakes over the campfire and picked blueberries from the abundant spread over the forest floor...and each day indulged in the most amazing spread of food from our wonderful chef: salmon presented every delicious way you could imagine, berry 'jam' alongside an intensely stunning reindeer stew that just melted in your mouth, grilled young cheese that was generously drizzled with a uniquely Scandinavian berry jam - which all at once held resemblance to manuka honey, passion fruit and figs. So, so good!!
...and yes, I confess, I love food....and was very inspired.
So between all our excursions we have been hanging around base helping out in the Kitchen, cleaning, doing some building projects, joining with the DTS, and assisting in what ways we can to host the different groups coming through. Both feeling perhaps that we have been blessed more than been a blessing - received more than we have given, but still really excited for the opportunities that God has presented for us to serve and to help wherever we can, all the while encouraged by their gratitude in doing so :)