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Adventist Mission

Bilha Tuitoek, 17

Big Trip to Finland

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, April 18.

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Bilha Tuitoek was 10 years old and living at a boarding school in Kenya hen she got the telephone call.

“I have a big announcement,” Mother said. “I am moving to Finland to study nursing.”

Bilha couldn’t believe that Mother would leave her with Father, her sister, and her two brothers in Africa to travel to Europe. She wasn’t even sure where Finland was located on the map.

“I’m going because I want you to have a better life,” Mother said. “I will send for you as soon as I can.”

Bilha wept. “Go later,” she begged.

The wait proved to be long. Five years passed. During that time, Mother called often on WhatsApp. She spoke about learning nursing and the Finnish language. She said she was reading the Bible for the first time and was convinced that the seventh day, Saturday, was the Sabbath, not the first day, Sunday.

Bilha was surprised. The family always had gone to church on Sunday in their hometown of Eldoret. Mother showed Bible verses about the Sabbath, and they saw that she was right.

One day, Mother called to say that she had found a church in Tempere, near to where she was studying. It was a Seventh-day Adventist church and worshipped on Saturdays, just as she had read in the Bible.

“Before I left Kenya, I prayed, ‘Take me to where people read Your Word and where I will grow,” Mother said. “My eyes have been opened in Finland.”

Mother was baptized.

She and the church members prayed for Bilha and the rest of the family to receive visas to move to Finland. Finally, the Finnish government agreed. Bilha was so excited! She screamed into the phone when Mother broke the news. She had seen rich classmates go on family vacations to Dubai, but she had never left Kenya. She thought only millionaires could travel, and Mother was a nurse, and Father was a postman. But now she was going to live in Finland!

After the excitement of the move settled, Bilha discovered that life wasn’t the same in Finland as in Kenya. First of all, the family arrived in January, and the ground was covered with white, cold snow. She had never seen snow before.

In Kenya, children politely address their teachers as “mister” and “missus.” In Finland, children call teachers by their first names. When Bilha tried to call her teacher “missus,” she replied, “Please, don’t call me that. It makes me feel very old.”

A year after she arrived in Finland, Father became sick and fell into a coma in the hospital. Bilha prayed the words of Jeremiah 32:27, which says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (NKJV).

She prayed, “God, You are the God who said this. Restoring my father’s health is not too hard for You.”

Father woke up and, six months later, was released from the hospital. He gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized. Bilha and her sister and brothers were baptized on the same Sabbath.

Moving to Finland has changed Bilha’s life. She used to only pray when she wanted to ask for help. Now she prays all the time to thank God for His goodness. She believes that God brought her family to Finland to learn about Him.