Church ministry and workers
Hannu and Lea Haapaluoma
Arto and Riina Björkman
Vitali & Taisto
Marika Askola Pirjo Hellgren
Leena and Tatjana
In the church we all serve the Lord on a voluntary basis.
Many volunteers serve in the church every week in various tasks.
History and missions today
When we moved to Kotka Karhuvuori in 2004, we soon noticed the social and spiritual distress of the people. Under the influence of God's love, we decided to tackle this problem. We didn't know how, but we believed that through prayer we would get God's guidance on the matter.
First, we got to know the local Churches and their ways of working. With a sincere mind, we would have like to be involved with already established work that would have corresponded to our vision, but this did not happen. Our vision was still waiting to be realized until 2005, when we decided to start actively and started looking for suitable space for renting. In the summer of 2005, an old shop building unexpectedly became available at Haltijantie 2 in Karhuvuori, which we visited. The space was a 450-square-meter commercial building, and at first it seemed too big and expensive, but in the end we reached an agreement and the negotiation ended with a rental agreement.
Soon we were able to start the renovation of the premises with the support of our children, our sons-in-law and some outsiders. Later on other sisters and brothers from different churches joined us, to help and support us as we continued building this ministry.
Before we got a proper foothold in the area, we experienced some kind of resistance, even to the point where our lives were threatened. However, we didn't let it affect our progress, because we knew the importance of the task we received from God. We started weekly events.
Karhuvuori, where our work began, is a populous residential area that has experienced hardships, where, in addition to the native population, many immigrants live. They also found our church and its voluntary Christian services, and so our work has been quite "international" and colorful.
At the very beginning, in addition to the meetings, we visited needy people in area; giving them food along with the gospel. Soon, however, we decided to expand by distributing food aid in our church once a week. It eventually became one of the permanent forms of work; called Bread-service, which was maintained for more than 10 years and which eventually expanded from Kotka to nearby municipalities. Week after week, the house was filled with locals who came to hear God's word and apply for food aid.
A Sunday school was also organized for the children right from the start, which the children of Karhuvuori immediately adopted as their own. And years after that, so called Game Club for juniors was started and was running on Fridays for several years giving youngsters a christian quidance for life.
Over the years, we have been able to serve the people of the area, together with other believers. We have also reached the neighboring municipalities of Kotka with the gospel. The Torch church operation has been also running both in Kouvola and Myllykoski. The gospel has been outspred to the homes of the entire region through newspaper. We have also been able to participate in school work, sowing the truth of God's word to several generations.
Today, when we approach the people of the area with the gospel, we receive respectful feedback about our work in area. The best thing, however, is that the community services along with the gospel has made the locals want to accept Jesus as their Savior.
In addition, Soihtu Media was born in 2016, and through the internet on YouTube and Facebook we are able to shine the light of Christ!
30.10.2018 We registered the official (Torch Church), Soihtukirkko, and mission continues.
Many different nationalities have been blessed through our work, in Finland and elsewhere; Estonia, Russia, Israel, Kenya, Tanzania, India and Ukraine.
We have been helping the underprivileged and orphaned children above all in Arusha, Tanzania, for several years now. Among other things, building an orphanage for children and a well for the Masai tribe. In 2021, Pastor Hannu and Lea Haapaluoma also visited the place, proclaiming the good news to the Masai tribe, where a revival has started!
For the Glory of God!
Our church and Hope for children organisation (Chairman Lea Haapaluoma) do aid- and missionwork together in Tanzania, Ukraine and Finland. And over the years we have also co-operated with other Christian associations, churches and communities to spread the gospel in all ways.
In the spring of 2022, we were among the first to help refugees from Ukraine, which gave birth a new form of work in our church. Twice a week we hold a church service for them and distribute food, clothes, household items, bicycles, etc. Many people who came from Ukraine now serve in our church, together we also do aid work in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Physical help is natural, but above all is spiritual help and it is available every day!
Memories during the years in pictures
Latest pics in facebook; Facebook/soihtuseurakunta