Our labors in the Church do not seem to bring much fruit, at least not in the sense of seeing souls saved and being added to our number. This is sad and can easily become discouraging. But we carry on, knowing that salvation is of the Lord and not ourselves. A few men from the Church gather to pray to God for the lost every Friday, and we will persist to knock until the door is opened. We know that God has placed this Church here, for a reason. The fact that we are here is God’s work, and He who begins a good work will finish it.
We have also carried on with our plan to have two services on Sundays: rotating between the three of us preaching. This means everyone preaches three times every month. Getting to preach more often is good, though it is reasonably more work than usual, preparing the sermon and sacrificing some evenings or Saturdays if I do not get the time to do it earlier throughout the weekdays. But it is a blessing and develops me as a preacher.
In the middle of March, I went to Tampere to preach to Grace Baptist Church, while their pastor was out of town to preach at another Church. Last Sunday, that Church, in Esbo, was stopped by the police as they were having their service in the town square (they did have legal permission as far as I understand, but the police did not care about it.) The two pastors were arrested, put in jail, and fined. This is not a good direction, but the pastors have shown the way to go, we must be ready to take our cross and follow our Lord in the same way.
When I was in Tampere I talked to the old lady who faithfully comes there by train – a two-hour trip – to attend worship every Sunday. She has lived many years and seen many governments and how they have ruled Finland. She told me that this government that we have right now, is the most ungodly she has ever seen in Finland all her life.
The fellowship of the believers in Tampere was a blessing as always and I met some new people who had come from far and wide to find a Church that was open during these times. I am encouraged by finding and meeting faithful believers such as these. It shows that in all this, God is at work, He has not abandoned this nation.