Hello from Finland!

Michael and I are in Tampere which is a more northern part of Finland (more northern than Helsinki).

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The home of the once popular cartoon ‘ The Moomins’ Michael had’nt heard of them so I am hoping we will have some time to venture to one of Tampere’s attractions, which is the Moomin museum!

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It’s 11 am here and I am writing to you as the students here went to the canteen to eat their lunch already! The canteen here opens for lunch at 10:30 am which was the first cultural surprise for us, having just eaten our breakfast!

We arrived yesterday evening and after a tasty dinner at the pub where our evening events are to begin tonight we came to the University chapel where we started off with an introductory evening with around 10 CU students there. Michael shared from Acts 17 and I shared a little bit of my experience and some top tips for the week. It was so encouraging to hear that they had already begun praying for the week and had specific answers to prayer in that God had provided the evening venue, which has a non-religious activities policy, however they are happy to host the Opko (Christian Union) group for the next few days.

4 of the students here who are involved in the mission, joined us in Birmingham at the beginning of February. Their inspiration led them to return to Tampere and put the ideas they found there into action straight away! It is so encouraging to see the impact on places like this when their students just come and take part in a mission and see what is one and then come and apply it to their own context.

They will be flyering for the events this morning and with that they will have a coffee stall and a bike pumping service, the Snow has just begun to melt and this will be a welcome service for students as they can now cycle to Uni again! It’s a brilliant idea that fits in very well with the needs of the students here!

Then this evening we will begin with the first of the three evening events!

Michael will speak on Science this evening followed by Suffering tomorrow evening and Freedom on Thursday evening.

One of the students who in Charge is really encouraging and inspirational, he has said on a number of occasions that he truly does feel sorry for anyone who misses these events as he genuinely thinks they are the best and most exciting thing on this week and that they would be missing out!

This is an infectious attitude and we are praying for many encouragements as the week progresses.

The two-hour time difference, though it seems like very little feels like it is having a relatively big effect, particularly this morning. Though this afternoon it seems better.  Please pray that we would settle into the timescale here and have energy and enthusiasm to match the students here.

Please be praying that all the flyers we gave out this morning would have been looked at and that many each person who took one is seriously considering coming along this evening!

One thing that is really noticeable is how friendly people are and how willing to receive flyers, a few of the Fins here have said that this is extremely unusual and that the atmosphere here is so friendly! Michael looked like he was having the time of his life when flyering this morning, he also looked a little bit like the Easter bunny bouncing around with his basket full of chocolates! It helped that the stall with the free coffee and cake was so attractive, music playing in the background made it so much more approachable and though there was little bike pumping that I saw, there was lots of flyering!!

This evenings event begins at 5pm with snacks and the talk will be at 6pm. Please be praying for Michael as he looks over his talk now and as he delivers it. Pray that he would deliver it with all the freshness  and excitement of a talk being delivered for the first time!

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This is a glimpse of the experience for someone walking out of the university building seeing the CU there!

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