Finland!

So, I have just arrived in Finland (I say just, I’ve been here for a week) but it’s all quite exciting/scary!

For my course, we got the opportunity to study at the University of Turku in Finland (just across from Stockholm in Sweden). I’ve always felt God wanted me to teach abroad so, I decided that I would move to Finland for 6 months to study education and teach in a Scandinavian school. I’ve never visited Finland before now, and I am yet to learn the language, (although “Kiitos” is thank you and “moi” is hello) but I felt that it was a God given opportunity that would provide me with valuable experience in teaching abroad. I don’t think it really hit me how scary it would be until I left Mum, Dad and Ben the other side of security (I had a bit of a “Come on Heather, be brave!” moment.)

Overall, I feel that this is a way of seeking God’s will for my life. It’s scary and challenging and feels a bit lonely at the moment, but I’m choosing God’s purpose for me over my own comfort. I believe that God uses challenges to grow us. Isaiah 54v2 says

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.”

Enlarging, stretching, lengthening and strengthening doesn’t sound particularly comfortable. Effort and energy have to go into these activities in order to achieve them. I don’t know what God has planned for the rest of my life, but I do know that if I always seek the easy option and the comfortable path, I’m not serving Him well and not doing myself any favours. Before coming here, I was thinking about how I don’t really feel up to the challenge, I was feeling inadequate and so tempted to just go back to Exeter where I knew people, I knew the language, the culture, the food, the routine etc. I think God drew me to a variety of characters in the bible who also felt insufficient for the task God had given them: David, Jeremiah, Esther etc. I realised that everybody faces fear, insecurity, inferiority and inadequacy, but it is those individuals who learn to act despite their inadequacy. We are all inadequate, but God is a master of crafting “nothings” into amazing individuals fighting for his kingdom. Just as a seed only grows as big as the pot that it is planted in, we only grow as much as the situations that we are put it. At the moment, I may not feel up for the challenge, but I felt God saying, if you just go, then I’ll give you all you need when you’re out there.

I once heard that 2 thirds of the God’s name is “Go”, so if we want to be like him we should spend our time “Going”. Too often I feel that we live an average and contained life because we are too scared to go. We all have the capacity and potential to touch thousands of people’s lives, bringing wisdom and clarity and hope, yet because we don’t go, we miss these exciting opportunities!

In truth, I don’t know exactly where I fit into Finnish life at the moment. There is only a catholic speaking church but I’m sure God will reveal all soon and luckily, He’s promised to look after me. It says in Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”…. (including Finland!).

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