The Finnish Evangelistic Team, made up of three of our Adventist sisters on leave of absence from Finland, held a series of meetings in the Finnish Labour Hall in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada, beginning on January 5 of this year. At the opening meeting the seating capacity of 550 was used, another twenty were standing, and five minutes before the meeting began the hall management closed the doors to further admittance. This was the largest audience known to attend a Seventh-day Adventist service at the Lakehead. Non-Adventist attendance also held up well on week nights.
Elsa Luukkanen, the evangelist, was pressed into that work in Finland during the war when the young Finnish ministers were forced into noncombatant military service. Since then she has done very successful evangelistic work in Finland. For eight months last winter in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, she preached to hundreds as often as three times an evening to accommodate the overflow. Eighty were baptized. She has also raised up many churches in her homeland, official information reveals. She was working too hard in Finland, her conference there reports, so she came to Canada for a year's rest.
While vacationing here, she and her assistants, Aino Lehtoluoto, one of her early converts who became a Bible instructor, and Sirkka Sulasalmi, a married sister of the evangelist, are supporting themselves by dressmaking. However, the spirit of evangelism burning in Miss Luukkanen's heart pressed her to preach the gospel in Port Arthur, where the Finnish population is about 7,500.
Advertising for the meetings was done in the local Finnish newspaper and with an attractive handbill. Prior to the opening of the meetings, our sisters visited Finnish congregations in the city and thus became acquainted with many. Equipment was noticeable by its absence, and consisted mainly of some Finnish songbooks. The speaker merely held her Bible and gave an earnest message from her heart, using a blackboard when needed. All members of the evangelistic team play the guitar and sing. The team has refused conference assistance, considering their "vacation evangelism" as personal missionary work. They plan to attend the General Conference session in June.
Reported by J. W. BOTHE, President L. R. ELLISON, Pastor Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference