Olli Vänskä interviewed Adrian Pirness | The Voice of Zion May 2023 - Mission Work Field Notes --
In January 2023, LLC Mission Director Adrian Pirness traveled to Ghana and Togo, sent by LLC on a mission trip. He was joined by Olli Vänskä of Jyväskylä, Finland, whom the SRK sent. Together these brothers served in eight locations in Ghana and nine locations in Togo.
Olli: This morning we left from Badou where we had services last night. Now we are traveling through a mountain range called Atokara, near the Ghana-Togo border. We’re traveling today to Lome. Dear brother, tell us who you are and what work you do.
Adrian: I’m Adrian Pirness from Minnesota. My area of responsibility at the LLC is mission work, in particular the work and operations supporting believers here in Togo and other African countries, also in Ecuador. And I arrange the trips which Olli and I are now experiencing.
Olli: This is your second mission trip to Africa. What are your thoughts?
Adrian: It has been a joy to travel again to Africa. My first trip was last August in The Gambia and Sierra Leone. It is a joy to be warmly received here with love by brothers and sisters in faith.
Olli: You are involved in Humanitarian Aid work. What kind of needs are there in this work today?
Adrian: Humanitarian Aid work is quite broad. There are emergency needs. For example, if somebody becomes ill and needs medical care, humanitarian aid reacts through local committees when those requests come so we can support that. Additionally there are regular need grants that are to generally support the believers. When we celebrated Christmas, a Christmas grant was sent.
When we were in Ghana we met a sister who had submitted a request that she would be able to buy equipment to open a sewing business. The humanitarian aid committee received this request, they considered it and decided this was a good use of humanitarian aid funds. We were able to visit this sister in her sewing shop one morning. She has been able to purchase the equipment and pay for the structure where her business is. We remembered in prayer to God that He would bless her efforts and in this way she could be able to support herself. Maybe her business is able to grow and she’s able to hire other people to work for her. Humanitarian Aid also supports these opportunities.
Olli: It certainly was nice to see how thankful she was for this donation and help that she got from believers. It’s a concrete way to help dear brothers and sisters. Was there some specific moment on this trip that you would like to share with other believers?
Adrian: On a long day of travel, we had to stop for car repairs. Then we gathered that evening in Hatsukope and as night had fallen, we went to a courtyard where they had lights on. Adults and children were waiting there. It was a warm gathering, and I particularly remember that that evening we experienced that love that we feel between believers. We had a Sunday school lesson and a sermon, and then we were able to visit afterwards.
One brother asked how we show love for our brothers and sisters in faith. It prompted a warm and open discussion on how we can of course bless one another with the forgiveness of sins, but how else do we show love? Others answered that we can show love by acknowledging one another, greeting one another, asking how is it going and visiting in each other’s homes. It just felt that there was such a desire in this congregation to gather in that way.
Olli: Yes, it was a very nice evening. What comes to mind when you think about mission work?
Adrian: Mission work is God’s work. I marvel that there are places you don’t even know exist before you travel there. And God has called His own in these places. And we are able to come and gather together around God’s Word to discuss the way and journey with brothers and sisters in faith. It is God’s work, He continues to call His own and then when we’re asked to serve, we simply serve with that gift God has given. We hope and pray that God then blesses the work.
God opens the possibilities for the work of His kingdom to go forward. This time of visitation remains as long as there are those who wish to endeavor and travel in faith. God knows the length of this time.
Olli: Thank you, Adrian. I wish God’s blessing in your work there at the LLC office. Thanks for traveling with me here in Africa.
Adrian: Thank you, Olli, it’s been a joy to travel together with you.