A group of 40 young adults from across the North New South Wales Conference (NNSW) recently volunteered for 15 days at the Koivikko Lifestyle Centre in Finland. The young people aided the team at Koivikko with multiple renovation projects, outreach in the community of Mikkeli and leading out in various local church services.
The property on which the Koivikko Lifestyle Centre is built was once a government boarding school facility that was bought by a local church in Finland. According to former NNSW pastor and Koivikko volunteer, Kyle Morrison, the desire of the local church is to “set up a community centre of influence, to teach lifestyle medicine principles and advance the gospel”.
The volunteers worked in teams, each with an allocated group leader. Teams worked on assigned projects in two sessions: morning and afternoon, preparing the rooms for various purposes. Different projects included electrical work, bathroom renovation, and the refurbishment of a top floor building that was used to host a worship night on the last Sabbath of the trip.
Avondale University student Kate Simpson shared that many of her hours at Koivikko were spent painting, while others “ripped out cupboards, scraped off wallpaper, sanded . . . [and I] helped in the kitchen and babysitting department to allow others to work”.
Aside from renovating, the team also had the opportunity to do outreach. “One of the events was a ‘stand’ in a local shopping mall where we were offering people shoulder massages, healthy desserts and an invitation to a health program at Koivikko,” Miss Simpson added.
Smaller teams also took part in letterboxing, which included walking through snow and ice to deliver evangelistic material. From this outreach, 22 people from the community signed up for the advertised health program and two people requested a copy of the Great Controversy.
Avondale University Church associate pastor and mission trip organiser Morgan Vincent shared that the spiritual aspect of the trip was the highlight. “From the worships we had each day, you could sense throughout the two weeks or so we’ve been here, that people were growing in their faith. When you place people in the right environment, they can only grow,” he said.
Many young people made commitments for baptism and most pledged to be involved in mission in their local churches.
“We really want to see a partnership between the NNSW Conference and Koivikko and we desire to see many trips happen in the future,” added Mr Vincent.