The past few months have been a huge blessing to me; I cannot thank God enough for providing me with such amazing opportunities that I, more or less, did not deserve. It would be foolish of me if I neglected sharing with you these emotions, events, and places. Every moment has planted something new inside of me, and each person, shared an everlasting light.
Finland was more than a homestretch for the Chorale. Just like any other tour stop the cities continued to be inspiring, the people enlightening, and the many experiences a blessing. But Finland was something else.
The generosity of the Fins stretched beyond all expectations. The hosting churches had paid our entire way through Finland, completely covering costs for retreat centers and hostels. All of our meals were provided for by the churches and retreat centers, respectively. During our concerts we were privileged enough to have the renowned finish cellist, Hannu Kiiski, accompany us.
We soon discovered what an honor it was to be singing in Finland. Pyhan Laurin Kirkko, the first church we sang in dated back to the 15th century. The rock walls were adorned with original paintings that depicted events from the dawn of creation to the resurrection of Christ. At Vihdin Kirkko, Hannu’s home church, we were persuaded by an overwhelmingly packed house to give three encores. Each audience member we encountered had a genuine kindness about them; it was easy to find in their gracious well wishes and embraces.
Something that really struck a chord was the simplicity of the Finish people. Traditional food included plain porridge, tasty multi-grain Scandinavian bread, soft-boiled eggs, and stew. There was nothing fried or processed; in fact, many of the many fins we met tended to personal gardens that provided for a good portion of their dinner plate. In Helsinki we ran into more bikes than cars. Many street side cafes were filled with lingering customers musing over coffee. Life seemed to pass by at a peaceful pace and every moment, savored.
Sure, my opinion is a bit idyllic, but I’m attempting to relay a point: the world is diverse. God miraculously created it so. People are different in such beautiful and extraordinary ways. Tour gave me one small glimpse into the multitude. The thoughts, feelings, and lifestyle of the people confronted I can never truly comprehend, but I will never stop admiring the divine artistry behind it all.
If only every morning brought an urgent wake up call: there are 6,973,738, 432 other people (and counting) on this earth.