Heli and Andrew Jurmu | The Voice of Zion April 2022 - Home and Family Article --
I need one more task done. Again. I don’t want to ask again. At times it’s tiring raising these children. It would be much easier to do it myself. Parenting can be a challenge. “I know you have already done a lot, dear. But do you still have it in your heart to go fold those clothes?” “Yeah, yeah. You don’t need to go through all that sweet-talking, mom. I can do it. Just tell me.” She seems annoyed but rises to the task. She knows more than I did at age 16, how to raise kids and run a household.
As at home, in a congregation there are many different duties and jobs. Some of us raise, teach and educate children and youth. Some make meals, some serve from the pulpit, some clean bathrooms, some translate and some sing with a thousand tongues. All jobs are important. One talent that we all own is beautiful – that of forgiving sins. It is a precious gift which we all received with our gift of faith. Let us use it with happy hearts.
Love is a fruit of faith. This love makes us want to serve others. When we serve, God blesses it. We gain new friendships. We then realize: we are not serving alone. Our joy increases. We learn more about the Bible and faith. Escorts are a wonderful gift.
Parents serve by taking their children to services. Preaching the gospel at home is serving others. We all get to taste the wonderful food that our souls need.
Why do we sometimes say no? Are we all too busy, too talentless? Why is hard to help and serve in God’s kingdom? Or why do some seem to do less? It is not our job to judge others. We do our job to the best of our abilities. God sees each heart.
God is rich. He could shower blessings on His congregation such that no one would need to work anymore. There would no longer be a request to serve or raise funds. Life would be easy – we could have it all. But God does not want that for us. Rather, He wants us to be focused. What IS the most important thing in our life?
“Hey boys, why do you want to serve at church? Why do you say yes?” Two young men look at me, puzzled. “What do you mean? Why not serve?”
My teenage daughter rolls her eyes. “It’s fun, mom. You get to be with other believers!”
We agree that it is the Holy Spirit that guides us to serve. My husband and I look at our children, all fifteen of them. They are part of the future of God’s kingdom. We pray God gives us all willing hearts to serve. “Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6:8).
Helen Showed Her Love through Service to Others
Rebecca Riutta | The Voice of Zion May 2022 - Home and Family Article --
Helen Riutta, my dear mother-in-law showed God’s love by serving others. In everyday life she served her family and at services and holidays she willingly served God’s kingdom.
Helen had gifts of the spirit that included an ability to listen, an act of love. She listened without passing judgement and measured advice thoughtfully. She would stop to take a break from her work and welcome a long visit. Helen laughed and rebuked, both with love. I found that during a visit with Helen one could easily confide a problem and ask for a blessing – support on the shared journey toward heaven.
Helen had many children that looked to her as a mother. She babysat and developed life-long bonds with those children. Teenagers moved in for a spell and she extended love to them as well.
To me, Helen was a support during trials in my life. I turned to her for words of comfort and kindness. When I married into the family, I had no idea of the impact Helen would have on my life. She welcomed me into her family so lovingly. Grandkids would mess her house and she never minded. She once washed the window but left a perfect little handprint smudge on the glass to admire.
I lived with Helen a few years and during that time I gathered some wisdom: children come first, serve with a thankful heart, curb your tongue and thoughts, work hard and laugh freely, be friendly and kind to all around you.
I think that Helen was fulfilled when she was useful. Her generosity spread kindness and love. God gave her the gift of positivity.
Helen was blessed in God’s kingdom, and she spread the fruit of love by putting away sin and preaching the gospel. The fruit of love was with Helen because she believed her sins forgiven and thus could forgive others.
Editor’s note: Helen Riutta gained the rest of the righteous on June 26, 2019.
Wayne Kallio | The Voice of Zion May 2022 - Home and Family Article --
I want to share a portion of this letter from my first wife Mary Anne. I came across it as I was reviewing my life and digging through keepsakes stored in a trunk. The letter was written in 1965, so it is now 57 years old, yet its words and message are as alive to me now as they were then.
I share part of this handwritten letter for two reasons: first to show the younger generations how different communications were when their parents or even grandparents were young adults. It is written longhand. Typewriters were cumbersome machines. There were no personal computers or iPads then. The internet was unheard of, as were smart phones, and there were no social media by which one could communicate quickly or for free!
It took almost two weeks for a letter to cross the ocean, so news was already old when it reached its recipient. If one asked a question from homefolks, it could be a month before a response was received. Thankfully, by the time we spent a couple years together in China, PCs were everywhere so we could stay in touch with family daily.
The whole letter is six pages long. How long would it take you to write such a letter? Would those who nowadays communicate with symbols – emojis, hearts, LOLs and so on – find it easy to sustain a line of thought that long? Would they have the patience or perseverance to create such thought-flow?
The main reason I’m sharing this letter is to illuminate how central and how wonderful faith is to one’s courtship and to one’s life. In the 1960s, Mary Anne was working in Toronto. She was granted leave to return to Saskatchewan for two weeks to heal from a carpal tunnel operation. It was in that way that God brought us together. This was her first letter to me after she departed. It is genuine, from heart to heart. It speaks volumes about what sort of relationship carries one through life.
Though Mary Anne is now gone, these memories live on in my heart and mind. I feel God’s blessings in our togetherness yet today, even though she is in heaven and I am yet here. May God bless you and your loved one as He did us.
Excerpt from Mary Anne’s Letter to Wayne
“You know that my happiest moment will be when we can be married so that we never have to be apart again. Then I will know true happiness when I can devote the rest of my life to you, when I can be yours completely – sharing your happiness as well as your sorrows. I pray that it is the will of our Heavenly Father that we won’t have to be apart long and that we can be joined as one. We have to put our trust in God, Wayne, and pray that He will guide us along our life’s way – along the narrow path.
“He has blessed us in so many wonderful ways – but first because He has kept us on this narrow path as His children. When I think of what wonderful families we both have, what a rich blessing this alone is, oh how thankful I am that God has been so merciful as to make me see how wrong I was in seeking companionship away from His flock. And then He blessed me by giving me the love of one of His own – one who has such a deep love for God – one whose faith is so all-important to him.
“I promise that I shall put my trust in God in guiding us down the narrow path of life together. And think of the blessedness of a marriage such as this. No problem would be too great as long as we hang on to our faith, darling; the reward will be so great when the last trumpet sounds. Even then there will be no parting from our loved ones. Oh, how worthwhile this struggle here on earth is even though at times it seems so useless to fight these temptations planted before us by the devil to try entice us away. I think how often I doubt, I stumble, I fall but still through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can believe even our smallest doubts, all our sins forgiven.
“My prayers for you are that God will guide you through your days of loneliness and always, through the good times and the bad. Oh what it means to me that we have been able to spend so much time together! All the long discussions we have had about faith have been so uplifting and to be able to ask your dearly beloved to bless you when you are burdened – it is so wonderful, isn’t it? How important that we have this blessing or where would we be?
“Wayne, darling, always remember how much I love you and need you and this love will never change. I will stand by you forever – no matter what. Of this you can be sure. I think of the happy times ahead when we can work together side by side through our lives. Oh darling, how I look forward to that day. All will be well then with no more heartache from being parted. Even how down I may feel out here, I know I have your complete love forever as you have mine, and knowing this helps so much. I can’t even feel sad knowing this – just sheer loneliness is what gets the best of me at times.”
Editor’s note: Wayne Kallio gained the rest of the righteous on March 16, 2022.
Questions for Discussion:
What does “love thy neighbor as thyself” mean to you personally?
When is this instruction of Christ most difficult? What makes it so?
1 John 4:19 says, “We love him because he first loved us.” What does this mean?
How do you show your love for fellow believers and other neighbors? What is the greatest act of love a believer can do for our neighbors?