YEAR BORN: 1966
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: FINLAND
HISTORY: SOCIAL ACTIVIST
I have loved nature ever since I was a child. My family often enjoyed outings at the fascinating forests and beautiful lakes that surround our hometown of Jyväskylä, in Central Finland. I’m also an animal lover. When I was a child, I wanted to hug every cat and dog I saw! As I grew up, I became disturbed by the way people often abuse animals. In time, I joined an animal-rights organization, where I met other like-minded people.
We actively campaigned for animal rights. We distributed information and arranged protest marches and demonstrations against fur shops and animal-testing laboratories. We even formed a new animal-protection organization. Because we took radical measures to try to further our cause, we were often in trouble with the authorities. I was arrested and taken to court several times.
In addition to my concern for animals, I was troubled by other problems around the world. Eventually, I became involved with a number of organizations, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace. I focused all my energy on supporting their activities. I advocated on behalf of the poor, the starving, and other less fortunate people.
I gradually realized, however, that I could not change the world. Even though those organizations managed to get a few small problems corrected, the big problems only seemed to get worse. It was as if the forces of evil had swallowed up the whole world and nobody cared about anything. I felt powerless.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
Feeling sad because of my helplessness, I began to think about God and the Bible. I had previously studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although I appreciated that the Witnesses were kind and showed me personal interest, I hadn’t been ready to change my lifestyle. This time, things were different.
I took out my Bible and began to read it. It proved to be a real balm for my wounds. I noticed many Bible passages that teach us to treat animals kindly. For example, Proverbs 12:10 says that “good people take care of their animals.” (Good News Translation) I also discerned that God is not the cause of the world’s problems. Rather, our problems have grown worse because most people don’t follow his direction. I was deeply impressed when I learned of Jehovah’s love and his long-suffering.
About this time, I found a coupon for the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? and sent it in. Soon a Witness couple came to my door and offered me a Bible study, which I accepted. I also began to attend Christian meetings at the Kingdom Hall. As a result, Bible truth began to take root in my heart.
Thanks to the Bible, I was able to make a lot of changes. I quit smoking and overdrinking. I cleaned up my appearance and speech. And I adjusted my attitude toward secular authority. (Romans 13:1) I also abandoned my immoral lifestyle, an area in which I had been very liberal.
The hardest change for me was developing the correct view of civic organizations. It didn’t happen overnight. At first, I felt that I would be betraying these organizations if I resigned. However, I came to appreciate that God’s Kingdom is the only real hope for our world. I decided to throw all my energy into supporting that Kingdom and helping others to learn about it.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
As an activist, I used to divide people sharply into two groups
I’ve gained peace of mind by leaving matters in Jehovah’s hands. I’m convinced that he, as the Creator, will not allow animals and humans to be mistreated forever, nor will he allow our beautiful earth to be destroyed. On the contrary, through his Kingdom, he will soon repair all the damage that has been done. (Isaiah 11:1-9) It brings me great joy not only to know these truths but also to help others put faith in them. I no longer feel that I have to change the world.