Meeting people at the temples has become a highlight of the Visa Trips. This time we met Jussi Kommpainen, a long time Finnish member of the church.
This faithful giant has served in a number of capacities, helping the missionary work spread from Finland into Russia and the rest of the Baltic region. He has served as a counselor in four mission presidencies. He assisted Gary Browning when President Browning become the first mission President called to lead a mission in Moscow in the early 1990's. He also served as a counselor to President Robert Blair, who opened the Baltic States mission. In addition, Jussi has had several supporting roles with the European East Area Presidencies in working through governmental and Church needs for new missions in this far away land.
We stayed up too late one evening visiting. He says that during WWII, when Finland was at war with Russia, D-Day saved them. Stalin stopped his attacks. "Finland was free. Finland remained free," he said. As a result, the Church had a place to lay ground work that would be the springboard into Russia.
(FYI, we love Bob and Julia Blair, parents of our son-in-law, Ben Blair). Speaking of the Blairs, in Helsinki we also saw wonderful Elder Tim Groberg, Julia's brother, who was with his wife Rhonda, serving his third mission to Finland.)
(Jussi Kommpainien in blue shirt.)