Lähetysblogit ja kirjeet
Richard Ondicho’s Newsletter 4/2023
“Great is your faithfulness!”
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV).
The positive nature of this Bible passage certainly doesn’t seem like it would be associated with a book written specifically for lamenting. Nonetheless, the verse above has served as an inspiration for a well-known hymn that has grown in popularity over the past 150 years. We receive mercy and compassion not because we are faithful, but because God is faithful. It’s his faithfulness to his promise that allows us to receive his mercies.
My family and I have been fine and sound in every way. From end of May 2023- 27.8.2023, Kirsi had work related trip to Romania. It was I and our three sons at home continuing with normal life since children were on summer vacation. It was good for father-sons cooking together, while I was at work. Well, the three months passed very fast and now Kirsi has been here for several weeks so far. We thank God for the journey mercies.
Thanks be to Almighty God, we at Luther-Church immigrant congregation have been gathering here for the past 7n years. During these seven years we have been involved in the Muslim work while some new people have found their way to our Divine services every week.
Yes, seven years of preaching Christ crucified and salvation created for all mankind who would believe! Surely the Holy Spirit was at work when SLEY founded this parish. They took the leap of faith to establish a Lutheran International congregation. We’re not just any Lutheran Congregation we are a member of the Lutheran Church which aspires to stand firm in the resolve to keep the truth and purity in scripture that was born of the Reformation alive in our services and doctrine.
By God’s grace, Tapiola Congregation provided us a chance to have a weekend at 25-27.8.2023 at Solvalla Espoo. This time we had over 43 people who signed to attend while some came for day and returned home in the evening. Tapiola realized that taking several taxis as we have been doing for the past will be more expensive instead they decided to hire a bus for us. It was such a blessed act to enable us to gather and learn from God’s word. We were able to organize for young leaders to take care of the many children who were in attendance. It seems that this August seminars that we conduct are getting popular year after year and the number of the attendees keeps growing. God willing in the coming year we are going to involve other speakers and even others from our afternoon Finnish congregation and even from our sister congregation Sydis.
Last Sunday we had baptism of four from one family as you see from the pictures that are provided here. The father was baptized last year and the mother and the three children kept on asking as to when they will be allowed to attend Sunday services. They have been hidden inside a small room for long time fearing that Migri will send police to deport them to Iraq. I kept on visiting them privately to teach them. The enthusiasm of learning the small Catechism was very high. Every time that I visited them, it was like opening them up and there was joy in every corner of the single room that they live in. Since they are not supported by refugee centres it has been hard to survive by the little support that the husband used to earn. BUT he begged me if the Church can support them by providing them with something to eat. I decided to ask Dr. Ville Auvinen for permission to buy them food instead I did it from my pocket for long time. I did it joyfully as loving my neighbour. Now that they are baptized, we even asked their lawyer to attend the baptism cerebration which he joyfully did. I saw him crying as I was administering the sacrament of baptism. He said to me after the Divine service “Richard your work and passion for immigrants makes me feel guilty that I have not acted as you”.
Our Sunday school has grown but we have to split it to two groups because some are small and some are over 10 years. Four people joined us and promised to keep attending since they like the congregation set up which family like. We glorify God for His work in our Congregation.
Finally, it is you in this support group who prayed for me and that is why I get energy to work here. It is the popping up of my boss Dr.Ville Auvinen who came to the door or the youth hall before the Bible study to say words of encouragement that I am doing great work. It is you who supported this work with your money that has enabled us to work here. Kindly continue to pray for us. I have two other families who are fearing to be converted into Christian religion. But I visit them weekly trusting that God will help them to overcome fear.
Great is God’s faithfulness.