Boldly Sharing Jesus
By Andrew McChesney
On an Easter Sunday, retired pastor Simo Vehkavuori stood in a packed train traveling home to the capital, Helsinki, from evangelistic meetings that he had conducted in central Finland. A 24-year-old university student boarded the train and looked around for a seat.
“Even though the train looks full, why don’t you walk through the cars and see whether you can find an empty seat?” Simo said to her.
She returned, smiling. “I found two free seats,” she said. “One for me and one for you. Come with me!” The two sat opposite each other. “Excuse me, but do you mind if I ask you how you feel about religion?” Simo asked.
“I’m quite far from spiritual things right now,” she said.
“Would you like to know how I became a believer?” Simo said.
She did, and Simo told her. As the train approached Helsinki, he said, “Would you mind if I remembered you in my prayers?”
The student burst into tears. The tears flowed down her cheeks, and she said, loudly, “That would be really great! Please do that.”
Before parting ways, Simo said something that he often tells new friends: “May you be encouraged to know that, even though you are very busy, you can serve a risen Jesus Christ, the One who atoned for our sins on the cross of Calvary. And that’s not all. This same Jesus has promised to come back and will take us to a heavenly home where eternity will start. So, dear friend, let us stay on the heaven-bound journey under the Father’s loving hand until we reach our destination. May the Lord bless you through His grace.”
On another train trip, Simo was surprised when a woman greeted him and even shook his hand as he boarded. “Hello, I’m a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor,” he replied. “That’s interesting,” the woman said. “I have never heard about Adventists. I want to hear all about your church on this 500-kilometer [300-mile] trip. Here were two empty seats. Let’s sit together.”
Simo spoke about the Adventist Church for the whole trip. As they left the train, a man walked up behind them. “Thank you for the interesting train ride,” he said, eagerly grabbing Simo’s hand with both of his hands. “Thank you for being so brave to share God so loudly that all of us could hear.”
At 84, Simo seeks divine appointments on every train. “The older I get, the bolder I get in sharing Jesus,” he said.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org