Finland
Contact Information
Office Contact:

Matti Honkanen

Office Address:

Kirstinmaki 11B
Espoo 02760
FINLAND 

Business: 358-9-855 8509
Fax: 358-9-855-8523
Email: finland@vgroffice.org


Country Demographics

Capital:
Helsinki

Population:
5,244,749

Languages:
Finnish 91.5% (official), Swedish 5.5% (official), other 3% (small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities)

Religion:
Lutheran Church of Finland 82.5%, Orthodox Church 1.1%, other Christian 1.1%, other 0.1%, none 15.1%

Life Expectancy:
78.82 years

GDP per-capita:
$35,300

Of Interest:
Finland is a country of thousands of lakes and islands: 187,888 lakes and 179,584 islands to be precise. The Finnish landscape is mostly flat with few hills. At Finland's northernmost point, the sun does not set for 73 consecutive days during summer, and it does not rise at all for 51 days during winter due to this territory lying above the Arctic Circle.

Location:
Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia

Office Staff

Matti Honkanen

Office Manager

Manager History:

I felt the call of God very early in my life twice, but I did not find the way to the Lord. When I was 16 years old, a schoolmate gave me a simple tract telling about the Lord Jesus. After reading it, I knelt down by my bed a prayed a simple prayer asking the Lord to come to my life and lead me from that day on. I did not have great emotions at that moment. I remember thinking, “This is going to be interesting.” Truly so my life has been.

Finland is mostly Lutheran country where the children are christened as babies. Soon after I became a believer, I met some Pentecostals who spoke to me about the real baptism. I knew my parents would be firmly against that kind of “holy roller” thing, I thought first to be baptized and then to tell my parents. The day I was going to be baptized I was on my way out of our kitchen door, when my mother asked, “You are not going to be baptized today?” I still don’t know how she knew to ask that question. I told her I was going to be baptized. She then said, “If you do that you don’t have any business to come back home.” I told her then that I love her but I have to love the Lord Jesus even more. Then I left and was baptized that evening. I was 16 year old and I didn’t have any place, where to go, so I decided to go back home and see what happens. The door was open (we didn’t lock the doors at that time on the countryside – there was no need for it). My mother never said a word about the baptism. Ten years later, I baptized her in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. My father had become a believer of this Message a little before.

When I was 17, I found the first Finnish Message book. Soon I found out there would be more of them in English. I started reading them and they were different from any other books I had read before. It was like Brother Branham would have had all my questions and he answered them.

Soon I started to help in the Finnish translation work. At that time, I also met my wife Sister Hillevi, who was attending the same home church as I. I had been praying from the very beginning the Lord would lead me and give me a good wife. I very well realized a bad choice could ruin my whole life and it made me scared. We have now been married 40 years. We have 4 children and 12 grandchildren.

Soon after we were married, the home church broke and some of them turned against the Message. We started having meetings in my home. Every time a new Message was translated, I recorded it in Finnish and then we had a meeting where we listened it. I also started arranging meeting in different places around Finland. At 1979, I became the pastor of the church in Helsinki. I am very thankful for a missionary minded church.

I made my first trip to Soviet Union at 1979. It was so scary I told everybody, “I’ll never ever go back there.” The Lord however changed that and helped me and several other Brothers from the church to bring many Message books over to Leningrad and to give them to Russian believers for translation starting at the beginning of 1980s.

I have dedicated my life to bring this Message to others. It means so much to me. My testimony today is the same as of St. Peter in John 6:68, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” This Message is Life to me.


Sister Hillevi Honkanen has been working for VGR since 1997. She is taking care of mailing and different office routines. She is married to Bro. Matti and they have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. She came to the Message at 1974.

Brother Lauri-Ville Vainio started to work for VGR at the beginning of 2011. He first helped Bro. Matti in different projects and was later hired for full time. He is tracking the translations, helping in mailings and partly handling the ever-increasing amount of emails and letters. He is married to Brother Matti’s youngest daughter Maria. They have two sons Joose and Tiitus.

Sister Maria Vainio is the youngest daughter of Bro. Matti and Sister Hillevi Honkanen. She became a believer and was baptized at the age of seven. She is married to Bro. Lauri-Ville Vainio. They have two sons Joose and Tiitus. Sister Maria started to work for VGR at 2004. She is doing the accounting, translating the Life Line publications and helping in different office routines.

Office History

During 1980s, Soviet Union was still a closed area for the Message. Probably a handful of people knew God had sent a Prophet for our generation. Some handwritten copies of very few poorly translated Messages were circulated secretly among few believers, who copied them by hand.

VGR printed first tracts and Messages in the Russian language at 1991. They were mailed to a handful of addresses in Soviet Union. In a few months the mailing list grew close to 7,000 addresses. There were addresses from all parts of Soviet Union – from Baltic countries to the most remote parts of Siberia. From Russia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia and so on as the Message was spreading like a wildfire among the hungry people who were starving for the true Word of God.

Brother Heino Buitenkamp from the VGR European office smuggled some Russian translations out of Soviet Union and they were among the first printed Russian Messages.

In the beginning Brother Matti Honkanen and the church in Helsinki took care of the mailing to Soviet Union. When the work grew bigger Brother Alexander Poliakov from St. Petersburg was hired to take care of Russian mailing, which eventually lead to the establishing of the Russian office.

At 1997, the office moved from Brother Matti’s home to its current location in Espoo. What then seemed to be a lot of space became quickly small. We have rented more storage space from the same building.

During the years, the translation work was started also into Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Uzbek, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian languages. Finland office coordinates the translation work and serves as a hub between Jeffersonville and the translators.

Currently we mail Russian Messages to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel and practically around the world where there are Russian speaking believers. Norwegian work has grown also quickly and there are around 700 addresses on the Norwegian mailing list. Next are Finland and Sweden with slightly less addresses.

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