Having previously worked for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Bunia and Nyankunde, DR Congo, Timo (from Finland) and Laura (from the USA) are now serving in Finland among the Congolese refugee population, sharing Jesus with them, and equipping Christian refugees to reach out to the Finns they live among.
In DR Congo God showed Timo the enormous need for solid, thorough, biblical teaching. Timo enjoyed teaching in a rural Bible school, and by the time God moved Timo and Laura out from northeastern DR Congo, a learning centre was being constructed where pastors could be given additional training.
As often with God’s timing, it was a surprise when God brought them back to the USA to work at MAF headquarters. Then, when Laura left full time ministry to raise their family, a switch to AIM whose ministry in DR Congo matched Timo’s interests was natural.
Planning to return to Africa, it was yet another surprise when in 2020 God suddenly routed them back to Timo’s home country, Finland. Thinking it would be temporary, Timo and Laura were again surprised when God showed an enormous need in Finland, for which they were uniquely suited.
One of the main refugee populations in Finland is Congolese, and they were desperately in need of help in many ways. Because of their time in Congo, and Timo being Finnish, they can come alongside the Congolese and bridge the two cultures. Finland is only about 2% Christian. The other refugees are largely of Muslim background. This makes the Congolese one of the main Christian people groups in Finland. However, they bring with them many of the same needs there are in Congo – for discipleship and solid Bible training.
With this in mind, Timo and Laura are seeking to equip the Congolese (and others) to reach Finns and Muslims with the gospels. The language and cultural barriers are immense. The Congolese and Finns couldn’t be more different! Timo can help the two groups start to work together. When serving in DR Congo, Timo loved to come alongside the Congolese pastors, seeing where they felt their needs were, offering them a listening ear and support, and teaching. In Finland, Timo plans to teach, encourage, and equip future pastors, missionaries, and church leaders primarily among African people. Timo desires to equip, encourage and disciple African Christian churches and groups to reach out to their unreached diaspora neighbours.
Laura is able to connect with the Congolese and other diaspora as she too is a foreigner, seeking to learn Finnish. As well as focussing on their family, Laura plans to focus on relationship building with African women and other women’s groups.
Could you partner with them in this work?