Our church, my church

The church is a family that consists of different kinds of people who are joined together by Christ.

Tampere Pentecostal Church turns one hundred years old this year. The church is an exceptional place in society. It is a place where people from different backgrounds, age groups, cultures, nationalities and social classes come together as one family that is united by God’s love. The church consists of ordinary people, of people like you and me. We are the church. You are most welcome to join us!

Photos Jonathan Carey

 

Before we left for Taiwan for missionary work, I prayed silently and cried about the fact that I cannot preach. How useful could I be there? In that moment I felt strongly that Jesus was standing next to me, saying: “I’m not sending you to preach, I’m sending you to serve.” I truly got to serve God with my life in Taiwan, by just doing ordinary, everyday things.

Sirkka-Liisa

 

We have found that the church is a home and a refuge – a place where we can run to and find shelter.

 

Pertti

Before we left for Taiwan for missionary work, I prayed silently and cried about the fact that I cannot preach. How useful could I be there? In that moment I felt strongly that Jesus was standing next to me, saying: “I’m not sending you to preach, I’m sending you to serve.” I truly got to serve God with my life in Taiwan, by just doing ordinary, everyday things.

Sirkka-Liisa

 

We have found that the church is a home and a refuge – a place where we can run to and find shelter.

 

Pertti

Elämä on lahja – life is a gift!

Jesus died for me, and His love for me is perfect.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. The way Jesus is committed to me and His own is something so deep that we cannot even comprehend it. We have a union with Him – He doesn’t abandon or forsake me. And it is because of Him that I live, and get to live, too. He died for me, carried my sins and pain to the cross and disarmed the powers and authorities. But not only that; He also rose from the dead, conquered sin and death and opened the way to freedom and healing. He opened the way to the Father.

Jesus lives, and He has won!

 

-Anna

For me, it is good to be near God. I have made Jesus Christ my refuge. Our mission is to learn to know God and His will. We can know God by His face, and Jesus is God’s face. However, I can only see Jesus from my own point of view. That’s why I need other believers around me, the church. It is only together we can understand Christ’s love in all its fullness. 

-Jarmo

Church is a home where I can go any time, no matter what the situation in my life. Home is a place where we can go without any hindrances or fear. Whenever I enter the church building, I feel the same way I do when coming home.

So, I encourage you all to come to the house of the Lord and to feel His presence and see how great His works are. No matter what situation you are living in, you can come as you are because Jesus loves you very much.

-Sunita

We serve God as a family among children. We are all involved in the church’s children’s ministry in Sunday schools, camps, Royal Rangers and different events, just to mention a few. We parents have been instructors since we were young. We have also had our children with us in the ministry since they were small, first as campers and Sunday school pupils, and later the older ones taking responsibility themselves. We love seeing how children, our own and others, grow and start to follow Jesus.

 

Mari, Markus, Aino, Helvi and Cecilia

We serve God as a family among children. We are all involved in the church’s children’s ministry in Sunday schools, camps, Royal Rangers and different events, just to mention a few. We parents have been instructors since we were young. We have also had our children with us in the ministry since they were small, first as campers and Sunday school pupils, and later the older ones taking responsibility themselves. We love seeing how children, our own and others, grow and start to follow Jesus.

 

Mari, Markus, Aino, Helvi and Cecilia

In the last few years, nature has become more and more meaningful to me. When I see the first mountain avens bloom in the flowerbed, or hear the beautiful singing of a blackbird, or see an exceptionally scintillating star in the sky I often feel they are personal gifts from our loving God, given just to me. And I receive them from the heavenly Prince…

I also often reflect on Jesus’ words about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field and feel once again that I’m safe. I know that I’m important and dear to God!

-Leena

I moved to Tampere in 2017. At the time, I didn’t know anybody here, and it was difficult not having any friends. I hadn’t gone to church in a long time, and life was hard. But then I got to know a person who invited me to come to Tampere Pentecostal Church. I started coming to church every Sunday, and I felt a peace inside of me. After a while, I also started going to the Lost&Found youth gatherings where I got a lot of friends. Getting to know people was a very big deal for me.

Attending church so often, I started to think a lot about how I could help people and the church. I often asked the pastors what I could do and how I could be of help. The youth pastor suggested I could for example help with running the projectors. I really enjoy being part of the church.

 

-Zabih

I moved to Tampere in 2017. At the time, I didn’t know anybody here, and it was difficult not having any friends. I hadn’t gone to church in a long time, and life was hard. But then I got to know a person who invited me to come to Tampere Pentecostal Church. I started coming to church every Sunday, and I felt a peace inside of me. After a while, I also started going to the Lost&Found youth gatherings where I got a lot of friends. Getting to know people was a very big deal for me.

Attending church so often, I started to think a lot about how I could help people and the church. I often asked the pastors what I could do and how I could be of help. The youth pastor suggested I could for example help with running the projectors. I really enjoy being part of the church.

 

-Zabih

I love being part of a church where people of all ages form one single family. Since I was a little girl, I have admired the older people in our church who have gained life experience and spiritual growth from several decades. I remember sitting in Sunday services with my grandparents when I was small, and even though I didn’t yet understand what the adults talked about and sometimes the long sermons felt tiring for my young and lively mind, I felt immensely safe and calm amongst people who served and loved God as one family.

We younger people can be renewing the church in a fresh way, but at the same time, we are thankful for the previous generations of believers for the work they have done to build the church. So today, I want to thank the older people who have served in the church, in missions and in their hometowns, bold in their faith. A big thank you to all of you who pray for the work that is being done amongst the youth and to whom we can look up to as role models in our spiritual lives. ❤

 

-Aada

Jesus is faithful, and He has been faithful to us in different stages and situations in our lives. The Lord is with us through His Holy Spirit in the good days and the bad.

When we have faced trials, He has been there; He has helped us and carried us.

When parenting has felt challenging and we haven’t had enough understanding, He has given us wisdom and love.

When our patience has fallen short, He has taught us about forbearance and forgiveness towards others.

When we have felt lonely, He has comforted us and encouraged us in His grace.

 

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

 

-Harri and Katja

Jesus is faithful, and He has been faithful to us in different stages and situations in our lives. The Lord is with us through His Holy Spirit in the good days and the bad.

When we have faced trials, He has been there; He has helped us and carried us.

When parenting has felt challenging and we haven’t had enough understanding, He has given us wisdom and love.

When our patience has fallen short, He has taught us about forbearance and forgiveness towards others.

When we have felt lonely, He has comforted us and encouraged us in His grace.

 

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

 

-Harri and Katja

My life is based on salvation that comes from the triune God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Everything is based on Him, on our God, who alone is good and almighty.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

 

-Kari

We live in a broken and unfair world, but we don’t live in it without Jesus! Love, forgiveness, mercy and acceptance are more valuable antidotes to hate, bitterness, condemnation and abandonment than ever.

-Johanna

We live in a broken and unfair world, but we don’t live in it without Jesus! Love, forgiveness, mercy and acceptance are more valuable antidotes to hate, bitterness, condemnation and abandonment than ever.

 

-Johanna

A few years back, I was quite lonely. I did have friends who I saw every once in a while, but I didn’t have any close friends. That’s when I started to go to church in the weekends and joined a cell group. At church, I started to get to know more and more people and experienced amazing fellowship. I got new friends and new activities for my free time and people with whom to do those new things. Attending church more actively helped me meet new people, and now I feel far less lonely than I used to.

 

-Niilo

God is good. This thought has carried us through different times. And even in hardships we have been comforted by the fact that God only wants good things for us. In many situations – whether it was in finding a spouse, seeking employment, getting a home, or starting a family – we have experienced God leading us and blessing us beyond our expectations, even though sometimes we have had to wait in agony. Trusting in God’s goodness is the cornerstone of our everyday life, and God’s timing is always better than our own.

 

-Petteri, Julia and Leo

God is good. This thought has carried us through different times. And even in hardships we have been comforted by the fact that God only wants good things for us. In many situations – whether it was in finding a spouse, seeking employment, getting a home, or starting a family – we have experienced God leading us and blessing us beyond our expectations, even though sometimes we have had to wait in agony. Trusting in God’s goodness is the cornerstone of our everyday life, and God’s timing is always better than our own.

 

-Petteri, Julia and Leo

When I did not yet know God, I only trusted in myself and in hard work. I thought that I can rely on my own abilities. I found out I was wrong. Now I know that God is my refuge. When I pray for things, my heart is filled with peace. Now that I know God, I have joy in my life.

当我还没有认识神的时候,我觉得人就得靠自己,努力付出就有收获,努力工作就有钱花,凡事靠自己。当我认识神之后,才发现自己是错的。神是我的依靠,凡事先祷告,心里就有了平安。认识神之后,心里就有了喜乐。

-Chao

I’m glad that I get versatile and profound teaching at my own church. I’m also happy about our pastors who each are wonderful and different personalities and filled with the Spirit of God. Lately, I have been thinking about last spring’s sermon series about the armour of God – how we get to dress in this armour every day in prayer. That’s how we are well-dressed, and we don’t have to think about what to wear.

One particular situation is also imprinted on my mind. Not many saw it, but it made a huge impact on me. I once went to the church and happened to open the door to Kellarisali. On the floor, there was a blanket and sitting on it in a circle mothers with their small children. It was our church’s perhepiiri. At one end of the blanket was our family pastor with a baby on each arm. The sight was so beautiful. It spoke to me about God’s unselfish love. How God’s love often manifests itself in situations that many do not necessarily see. God’s love brings about everything that is good and beautiful.

 

 

-Lea

Over the years, I have gotten to see how big a blessing it is to serve others. It is a great secret of the kingdom of God. I myself have experienced this especially at children’s camps where we, adults and young people together, have had the chance to pass on faith to the next generation. God’s presence has been very tangible in these ministries. And even though it might sometimes get tiring, God’s blessing helps us keep going and inspires us to serve again and again.

When you want to help others, serve them and be of use, God will make sure there’s a right place and way for you to serve.

 

-Jarkko

I got one important and faith-building guiding principle as inheritance from my dear grandma. Her advice was a small and simple but a very powerful one: be grateful every day.

This same advice can be found in the Bible too where my grandma had actually found it for herself. I learned that gratefulness doesn’t just belong in our lives when things are going well and life is easy, but also when not everything is going as we had hoped it would. The Bible tells us to be grateful in all circumstances.

Sometimes it may feel that this is easier said than done but I believe there’s great wisdom in this. I, for one, got to see from my grandma’s example how gratefulness can be evident and have an influence in our lives. That’s why I too want to try to find something to be grateful for in every single day.

-Venla

I got one important and faith-building guiding principle as inheritance from my dear grandma. Her advice was a small and simple but a very powerful one: be grateful every day.

This same advice can be found in the Bible too where my grandma had actually found it for herself. I learned that gratefulness doesn’t just belong in our lives when things are going well and life is easy, but also when not everything is going as we had hoped it would. The Bible tells us to be grateful in all circumstances.

Sometimes it may feel that this is easier said than done but I believe there’s great wisdom in this. I, for one, got to see from my grandma’s example how gratefulness can be evident and have an influence in our lives. That’s why I too want to try to find something to be grateful for in every single day.

-Venla

Church’s cell groups are always the highlight of the week – and even more so now, during these unprecedented times. We have had genuine encounters regardless of whether we have met remotely, in open air or in person. It has been great to get peer support and to share life’s ups and downs with friends.

 

-Teppo, Hanna and the boys

God hears even my smallest sighs. In the last couple of years, I have realised that no matter how tired or busy I am, God sees me.

God hears all my small prayers and all my thoughts. Even those that I’m only pondering in my own mind, trying to solve on my own.

In these small but big situations God has encountered me the most and shown me that He hears me, sees me and knows me, and that He knows better than I what I truly need.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

 

-Heidi

God hears even my smallest sighs. In the last couple of years, I have realised that no matter how tired or busy I am, God sees me.

God hears all my small prayers and all my thoughts. Even those that I’m only pondering in my own mind, trying to solve on my own.

In these small but big situations God has encountered me the most and shown me that He hears me, sees me and knows me, and that He knows better than I what I truly need.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

 

-Heidi

 

With my age and health issues increasing, fellowship with God has become more and more important for me. Every day I rejoice about the fact that I get to be a believer. At church, I get to experience fellowship with other believers. We are all very different from each other, but I am accepted as I am. There is no friction between us.

-Matti

Especially during challenging and difficult times, God’s gentle and all-loving presence is the best thing I know. The joy and peace that fellowship with God and knowing Him creates doesn’t compare to anything.

This is the thought that carries me through life and helps me put things in the right perspective:So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

 

-Varpu

As a mathematician, I think that if there’s even a small change of life continuing in eternity, it’s worth living this life to the fullest for that. And as Romans 1:19–20 confirms that God’s power and nature have always been clearly seen, the best move for us is to just trust the Bible’s revelation.

I share what I have received from God. The gifts and skills that I’ve been blessed with, especially in film and photography, are used best in projects for the Kingdom of God. And the importance of relationships too is something that cannot be stressed enough, and we should always make time for our fellow human beings.

 

-Teemu

It would be difficult to live without the church. At church, we can enjoy fellowship which is like a safety net in different situations in life. There are people who we can rely on and from whom we can get comfort, guidance, and advice.

I can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort I myself receive from God (adapted from 2 Corinthians 1:4).

-Ritva

It would be difficult to live without the church. At church, we can enjoy fellowship which is like a safety net in different situations in life. There are people who we can rely on and from whom we can get comfort, guidance, and advice.

I can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort I myself receive from God (adapted from 2 Corinthians 1:4).

-Ritva

In recent years, I have learnt to accept God as a God of joy before anything. As a God who, as His Word states, rejoices over us, in whose presence I get to rejoice and with whom it is good to share not just the sorrows of life but the joys too. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

-Miika

My faith is held up by the disciples’ words to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I have hit rock bottom in my life just to discover that the bottom does not break either in my life nor anyone else’s, in no situation nor in any culture. Our final goal is to make it to our destination, together with others, by encouraging each other and helping each other find the way.

-Lea

My faith is held up by the disciples’ words to Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I have hit rock bottom in my life just to discover that the bottom does not break either in my life nor anyone else’s, in no situation nor in any culture. Our final goal is to make it to our destination, together with others, by encouraging each other and helping each other find the way.

-Lea

We have been able to experience God’s goodness and grace amid different kinds of challenges.

We want to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth.

God has surprised us with His goodness many times during this past year. He has shown us that He can really do more than we even dare to dream.

-Gift and Ulla

I enjoy going to church – the church is like a second home to me. It feels good to come here and listen to God’s Word and hear songs about Him. I have had a chance to do many different things at church, for example to be an usher and previously also sing in choirs and work at camps. At church, I get to see other people and spend time with them. You can always find friends at church.

It creates a good basis for life if we have sorted things out with God.

-Pertti

In 2020, health was no longer something I could take for granted, and I had to go through entirely new and very exhausting phases in my life. However, when I was at my weakest, people from the church carried me, prayed for me, and loved me in a way I had never before experienced. I also got to experience personally what it means to have the prayers of others carry me when there was a 24-hour prayer chain organised on my behalf. There is no other place where I have felt the kind of love the church has shown to me.

 

-Veronica

Let us not become weary in doing good.
Galatians 6:9

-Daniel

Let us not become weary in doing good.
Galatians 6:9

-Daniel

I found Jesus in 2001 with the help of a high school friend. At the time, I was helping out as a young confirmed volunteer in the Lutheran Church and I believed that God existed, however that belief didn’t have much influence on my life. In high school I made a new friend who asked me if I wanted to come to Tampere Pentecostal Church with them and the youth service there. That’s how I found myself at Wake Up, as the youth services were called back then.

After the experience I spent a lot of time wondering about people speaking in tongues and everything else I had seen happening around me. I couldn’t come up with any reason why someone would pretend those things. Finally, I came to the conclusion that God is way more real than I had imagined. I decided that if God worked in such ways in other people’s lives and gave them spiritual gifts like that, I wanted to have the same. So, I made the decision to follow Christ, and I was baptised in the summer of 2002 at a youth camp in Kausjärvi.

-Annukka

God isn’t often in a hurry – even if we might be. It is important that we listen to God and maintain a right attitude in our hearts. We shouldn’t worry so much about what will happen next. This really is a continuous learning path.

-Vesa

God isn’t often in a hurry – even if we might be. It is important that we listen to God and maintain a right attitude in our hearts. We shouldn’t worry so much about what will happen next. This really is a continuous learning path.

-Vesa

You can never know what someone else is going or has gone through, so always remember to love and forgive in every situation.

In the past years, I have learnt how very important it is to connect with people and be present. Even though my own effort may, in some situations, seem small, for someone else even my smallest gesture of God’s love can be the thing that saves them. ❤️

-Emma

Unquestionably, the richness of church is that it contains lots of different kinds of people from different backgrounds.

One time when I was in church with a friend of mine, I had noticed something that needed to be taken care of. I can’t remember anymore what it was, so let’s say it was something big that was left in a wrong place. 

Just a few moments earlier I had seen there a man I knew, and I decided to go and find him. I thought he might be able to do something about it or at least would know who to talk to about it.

At first I talked this and that with him and then I mentioned about this snag I had noticed. The man stated both frankly and wisely, “There are many things in the church that someone should take care of. Could that someone sometimes be you?” This was an unexpected answer. The thought that I myself could be the answer to a problem had not even crossed my mind. After this I have seen the different defects in church in a different light. As I observe them, I have always wondered first if this is one which I could solve.

.

-Mikko

“For the kingdom of God is (…) a matter (…) of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval” (Romans 14:17–18).

Serving is something I love to do, and I pray for wisdom, love and skilfulness from God for everything I do in church.

-Irja

“For the kingdom of God is (…) a matter (…) of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval” (Romans 14:17–18).

Serving is something I love to do, and I pray for wisdom, love and skilfulness from God for everything I do in church.

-Irja

I have attended Tampere Pentecostal Church since I was little. So, I have gained a lot of experience from Sunday school to the student group. One of my dearest memories involves a children’s camp held at the old Kausjärvi campsite. In the evenings we would gather to listen to teaching, pray and sing around a campfire or in the main building. At the end of one of these meetings we were told that we could go and prepare for bed, but we could also stay and pray. At that moment I felt inside me a longing to stay. I don’t remember if I actually stayed that day or if I left with my friends, but the calling of the Holy Spirit stayed inside me and left an impact. God wanted to spend time with me, a primary school age child, and He still does. He wants to speak to all of us. Do we have patience to stop and listen?

-Reko

I have truly fallen in love with the church in the past couple of years! I have always thought that fellowship of the church is an important thing but it has, in some way, only been head knowledge, not something I have really lived by.

 For me, it was not easy to find my place in the church first. I moved here from elsewhere and I didn’t know anybody from the church when I came. I was almost about to give up but then I joined one of the Iltakirkko teams. And suddenly, things started to fall into place. I started getting friends and more responsibilities. Fellowship with other believers and serving are precisely what make us grow as believers as well as being the things that further God’s kingdom. And interestingly, the more you give them time, the more your love for the church, and for Christ, will grow.

-Hanna

Our Church, My Church