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We are still collecting information on the Finland Helsinki Mission. If you served in this mission and are willing to share your experiences with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Snapshot of Finland – The two official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish, though Swedish is only spoken in a few western and southern coast areas. About 75% of the population belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, but most of the population only attends church for events such as weddings, funerals, or Christmas services. Irreligion has been steadily increasing. Immediate nuclear family is very important in Finnish culture, while extended family relations are generally not very close. Finns also have a strong sense of national pride, and generally eschew societal divisions into social classes. Popular Finnish traditions include the celebration of midsummer, called Juhannus. Many Finns travel to lakeside summer cottages, and the event is generally marked with large midnight bonfires. Spending time in saunas is a popular form of relaxation in Finland, and ice swimming is often connected with sauna use as a way to cool down after spending time in the sauna. Both classical music and modern rock and pop music enjoy success today, and music festivals are popular during the summertime. The most popular sports in Finland are ice hockey and Formula One racing. Skiing and other winter sports are also popular activities, as well as Pesäpallo, a unique Finnish sport similar to baseball. Pork (especially sausage) and fish dishes are quite popular in Finland, though other meat, including reindeer and other types of wild game are also eaten. Many Finnish variations of dishes such as rye bread are often unsweetened. Berries are also commonly used in Finnish cooking, especially in desserts such as pies or served with ice cream. Mushrooms are also popular in soups and stews. Potatoes and rice are commonly served alongside the main course of a meal. Examples of other popular dishes include Lohikeitto (a salmon soup), and Lihapullat (Finnish meatballs).
*The Aland Islands are a Swedish-speaking region belonging to the Finland mission, but there does not appear to be a church presence there.*
Full-time missionary work in Finland has been going on for over 60 years. The first stake was organized in 1977. Finnish Saints were the first to take the gospel to Russia and Estonia. Current membership numbers in Finland are around 4,750 with 30 congregations scattered throughout the country. There is also a temple in Finland: the Helsinki Finland Temple.
Finnish food is, in general, similar to food in America. Finland does have traditional dishes that come out during holidays. These traditional dishes and drinks include mämmi, karjalanpiirakka, several kinds of casserole (carrot, rutabaga, liver, etc.), pulla, kotikalja, glögi, sima, reindeer and moose meat, and salmon soup. Finnish licorice and salmiakki are very popular as sweets. Berries and mushrooms play a large role in Finnish cuisine, as well. Breads include several kinds of oat, wheat, and rye.
Finland has good public transportation, including trains, trams, subways (Helsinki only), and buses. Each city is very bike-friendly and many people travel by foot or by bike to and from work. About half of the missionaries in Finland use bikes, another quarter use cars, and the last quarter travel by public transit.
Finland is one of the safest countries in the world, and you can especially avoid trouble as a missionary by following the mission rules. Occasionally you might face some harassment from drunk people, but those situations rarely escalate to anything serious.
Finns are generally more reserved in public than Americans. Inside the walls of their own homes, however, they are extremely hospitable and open. They usually have two or three close friends with whom they talk about everything in their lives, often during a sauna session. They have very rich holiday traditions, most notably Midsummer’s Eve, Finnish Independence Day (Dec 6), Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter.
Shipping to Finland is generally simple and reliable.
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