Aihearkisto: Kirkko

Vaaleista vappuun

No niin, jospa sitä kirjoittaisi kuulumisia Puolan jälkeiseltä ajalta. Ensin sairastin viikon, sitten tuli vaalit ja pyhä viikko. Vaaliaamuna pääsiäissunnuntain messussa tapasin Timo Soinin ja ainoan suomalaisen dominikaanin veli Gabrielin.

Sitten maallemuutto, eli tulin huhtikuun puolivälistä tänne Toivakkaan sukulaisten, enoni Timon ja vaimonsa Helenan luokse. Olen saanut nauttia rauhallisesta ja kauniista keväästä ja runsaasta ruuasta sekä eksoottisesta ikkunanäkymästä, huoneeni ulkopuolella elelee näet alpakoita.

Mitä sitten teen Toivakassa? Useimmilla mielleyhtymät Toivakasta liittyvät Arja Korisevaan tai eksoottisiin kirkkomaalauksiin. Arjaa en ole nähnyt, pitkäperjantaipalveluksessa sen sijaan kävin, ja nappasin kuvan apostoli Johanneksesta. Eräs Toivakka-projektini on nimittäin tutustua Johanneksen teologiaan.

Toinen tarkoitus oli tulla luonnon helmaan, pakoon pääkaupunkiseudun harmaata arkea, jossa joka päivä täytyy miettiä, monelta on bussi ja ehtiikö junaan. Täällä ei ole aikataulua, vain kaunis linnunlaulu. Kuvassa olemme mökkitontilla Timo-enon ja Antti-serkun (kauempana vedessä kahlaamassa) kanssa.

Sitten tuli pääsiäinen. Ensimmäinen pääsiäiseni muualla kuin Helsingissä tai Roomassa. Sain osallistua Toivakan Siukosten pääsiäisaamun traditioon, kävellä aamulla purolle, pestä kasvot ja vastata perinteiseen kristilliseen voitonhuutoon: ”Kristus nousi kuolleista – Totisesti nousi!” Pääsiäiskynttilä ja Helena purolla.

Pääsiäisen jälkeen tuli sitten vappu. Aattona katsoin kaksi erää Suomi-Tanska-revanssia, vappupäivänä olikin sitten vuorossa toisenlainen lähetys, nimittäin Johannes Paavali II:n autuaaksijulistaminen, jonka katsoin Jyväskylän seurakunnassa mm. ystävieni Justynan ja Farhadin kanssa.

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Tallinna ja Tampere syksy 2009

Enpä ole vähään aikaan kirjoittanut kun on ollut taas kiireinen yliopistosyksy. Nyt on kuitenkin aika lyhyesti referoida kaksi upeaa vaikkakin pikaista matkaa, Tallinnaan Trialogos-festivaaliin ja Tampereelle katolisen nuortenryhmän viikonlopunviettoon.

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Yllä näkyy koulu, jossa pidettiin tänä vuonna Trialogos -festivaali Tallinnassa. (ks. http://www.trialogos.ee)
Ystäväni Varron kutsusta osallistuin toista vuotta peräkkäin tähän erikoiseen tapahtumaan. Vähän ihmisiä, paljon asiaa. Pari päivää, paljon iloa ja syvyyttä. Teemana oli ikoni, mutta aiheet vaihtelivat kulttuurista kreationismiin. Mielenkiintoisimmat vieraat tulivat USA:sta asti.

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Sain tutustua elukultuuri-instituudin eli elämän kulttuurin instituutin tiloihin ja toimintaan, pääsin viemään juuri painosta tullutta paavin Omastatunnosta -kirjaa kirjavälitykseen. Tässä linkki instituutin blogiin, jossa myös kuva kirjasta: http://elukultuur.wordpress.com/ Ostin metodistien kirjakaupasta samalla Heprealaisen Raamatun. Yllä näkyy katedraali, jossa kävin messussa. Vironkielinen messu auttoi oppimaan kieltä yhtä hyvin kuin kirjastosta lainaamani oppikirja. Pääsin käyttämään viroa kohtuullisen paljon. Illalla koululla oli aina kivaa musiikkiohjelmaa, samoin kuin paluulaivalla. Paluuhalu on jo kova.

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Sitten Tampereelle. Yllä p. Ristin kirkon seurakuntasalissa ollaan patjojen ja makuupussien kanssa – oli kuin yökoulussa konsanaan. Ohjelmaa oli kahtena päivänä, pe-la, ja porukka tuli tutuksi ja rakkaaksi siinä määrin, että kotiin palatessa oli jälleen jo ikävä. Mukana oli 10-15 ihmistä. Jotkut hurjastelijat menivät klo 3 yöllä lumisotaa ja heräsivät klo 6 tekemään aamupalaa tai rukoilemaan laudesta. Heihin kuului myös Iris…

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… jonka huomasimme näyttävän aivan Kate Winsetilta. Kiitos myös Santerille taiteellisista mustavalkokuvista. Santeri Turusta ja Markku Helsingistä pitivät tulevina pappiskokelaina rukoushetket, ja itse pidin kaksi hieman opillisempaa alustusta, Raamatun ja paaviuden totuusväitteiden perusteista.

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Muuta saldoa viikonlopusta: kävin vaateostoksilla ja Simpsons-donistilla ja teellä (!) mormonitutkija Kim Östmanin kanssa, juttelimme n. 3,5 tuntia. Löysin H&M:stä halvan pipon kadonneen piponi tilalle. Kävimme Rosso-ravintolassa tammerkosken rannalla, jonne tulivat myös Kannuksesta asti ajaneet Mika&Jonna.

Gradun ensimmäinen taustaluku pitäisi olla valmis ensi torstaina. Lukemattomien kirjojen kasa vain kasvaa. Että kiirettä pitää. Mutta mieluista kiirettä. Tänään on saanut viettää isänpäivää isän kanssa. Hyvää isänpäivää muillekin isille!

Powerpointteja

Postaan tässä kaksi viime aikoina pitämääni Powerpoint-esitystä.

Sukulaisille pidetty esitelmä Chisholmin-matkastani isoisän synnyinseudulle:

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Katolisessa nuortenillassa pidetty alustus alkoholinkäytöstä:

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Bulevardi Foorumissa pidetty luentotilaisuus ”Paavali tulkintojen ristitulessa”

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Rome/Rocca di Papa 6th-12th July 2009

Well it’s been a while since I finished my story on the US trip, and now it’s finally time to move on to the next one, namely, my trip to Rome, Italy. It was a very providential combination of two so far separate conferences/forums coming together in one place at the same time. On the one hand, there is the youth meeting organized by the Pastoral Care of Universities – the preparatory meetings of which I attended in Holland and Romania, as you might recall if you’ve been following the blog. On the other hand there’s the European Forum of University Students which has met in Belgium and Rome before, as also recounted earlier on this blog (see links by clicking the name of the place).

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Amazingly enough members of both meetings were accommodated in the same place, Mondo Migliore in the municipality of Rocca di Papa just outside Rome. As you can see above, the location is stunningly beautiful, just opposite the Pope’s summer residence Castel Gandolfo, on the other side of a huge crater/lake. THe funny thing was, though, we arrived there 3 days early. Actually, both meetings were to start on the 9th, but we had been given ambiguous information on one of the meetings, which had a separate part for Italians only beginning from the 6th. In addition to a funny look from the reception we got some free time to spend in bella Italia!

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The first thing we did was to get to know our municipality, Rocca di Papa. There was a steep hill which we had to walk up to reach the old square. We didn’t realise how long it’d take and how hard it’d be but we did it and the way back felt much shorter and easier, naturally:) At least we got to see some impressive sights. Above you can see the hill from the modern central square (see pic 1 below), now have a look down from the top of the hill (pic 2 below).

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During the 2 days we could spend as ”tourists”, we visited 3 of the pontifical basilicas: St. Paul Outside the Walls (just after the Pauline year and the publication of my book it was a special moment), St. Mary Major (where we went to Mass) and St. John Lateran (near where I went to the Paoline bookshop and got 2 great books for my master’s thesis). We also visited the Forum Romanum, where I and Mari obviously conversed in Latin.

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We spotted some Finnish tourists who were typically Finnish (dull, quiet, not realising where they are and what lies before their eyes and under their feet etc). I went up to them (two groups on 2 occasions) and asked them in Latin to take a photo of me. They were initially confused but then realised what I was asking and took the photo. When I thanked them in Finnish, they found it slightly funny but said nothing back. Couldn’t change their Finnish ways.

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On the 9th we met some familiar faces over breakfast. In addition to the usual European delegations we learned we were going to be joined by three Middle Eastern delegations: A Hebrew one from Haifa and two Arabic Christian ones from Jerusalem and Beirut. How happy I was to be able to be fully half-European and half-Arabic, as I really am! The Arabic delegations became good friends very soon (see photo above: Arabic delegations in front of Mondo Migliore). But there was an unfortunate incident as well – I lost my camera that morning on the way to the first meeting place (I am posting photos taken by friends). The only exception St. Anthony seems to make it cameras – it’s happened twice already.

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Above you see the place of the first meeting of the Youth Forum of University Students. We went through the history of our meetings starting from Brussels, the meetings with the president of the EU parliament Pöttering and the goal of this meeting, which was to define more clearly our mission and sign a mission statement. This was accomplished in a later meeting. Below you see the happy group with the brand new Mission Statement.

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If you’d like to read the document, see below. If you find it interesting and want to participate in future, let me know.

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One funny incident was that we were told a bus would get us to this important final meeting but no such bus appeared and so we were forced to order taxis, wait for an hour or more and pay for the ride ourselves. We arrived late and finished late and had to skip lunch but there was one advantage: I and Mari made use of the extra time and asked the Hungarian delegation to teach us some Hungarian. So we got a paper sheet full of words and expressions. Photo below in tribute and thanks to the girls.

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But as I said earlier, this meeting was partly combined with the meeting designed for university students by the Pastoral Care of Rome and that of several European countries under the patronage of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences. I and Mari from Tampere were the Finnish delegation for both events, but from many countries (such as Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Spain) there were huge delegations sent to this event. The opening ceremony at the Lateran basilica was amazing, not only thanks to the presence of students from all around Europe but also because I got to carry the Finnish flag and sit right underneath the statue of St. Paul which is on the cover of my book (see post below on the book).

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In the program of this meeting there were workshops where people would share their experiences and thoughts on different aspects of the Faith. The theme was ”New Disciples of Emmaus – Being Christians in the University”. On the basis of the Emmaus story we reflected upon faith and science as well as the sacraments and evangelization. I got to speak a couple of times and a Russian Orthodox brother gave me a beautiful card of Sts. Peter and Andrew as a token of gratitude and admiration, which was a nice surprise, since I didn’t even know there were non-Catholics in the crowd. In the evenings we would have dinner together in huge groups and then gather outside to sing songs, play and dance in many languages.

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Later on there was another big celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica. Before entering the World’s largest church we took some group photos. Then we started moving toward the entrance, where I accidentally or providentially met one of the flag carriers who reminded me I have to carry the Finnish flag. So I parted with the group, which anyways got to sit in the front row just behind us.

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After the Mass we had a special audience with the Pope in the Apostolic Palace, which proved to be a very special event, for it was the first time that I got to shake hands with the Pope and look him in the eyes. He zig-zagged through the crowds and I had been smart enough to stay at the very back but closest possible to the central aisle where he’d walk.

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Well then, on the last evening we had a great time at a concert just outside the University area of Tor Vergata, the university area where we had been having the workshops and dinners and songs and dances. It was also very near the location of the World Youth Day 2000 Cross. The concert was hosted by an Italian speaking in Italian, but other languages and countries got their share because of multilingual interviews and translations. There was both Christian and secular music in a good atmosphere. It was a celebration of multi-nationality, inter-culturality and catholicity. It ended in a beautiful show of fireworks.

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The transportation was fairly well organized (buses took us there and back and we wandered in flocks to and fro singing songs as on pilgrimages:). The worst exception was an accident on the first night when Mari’s bus hit a car because of a stupid dog on the way, but luckily no one was hurt and the group arrived safely at the accommodation. At the concert we had fun with a Spanish group from Córdoba, singing Mala Persona etc (on the last night I saw the beginning of their Sunday Mass in Andalucían dialect:D). On the way back from the concert on the night bus we had fun with the Arabs while the others were already sleeping. We had been joined by an Iraqi Christian from Mosul (where my roots are, too!) and so we had fun with songs and jokes and all.

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The most amazing thing, however, was the flight back home. It had already been an amazing providence that I got the ticket on the 6th, because the plane was very full and they said there was little chance of getting a seat with an ID ticket (stand-by). Many, including a couple on their way to their honeymoon trip, were turned down, but I (after a Rosary) and another Catholic girl (actually an old friend of my sister’s) were let on board. But this time, on the way back home, I was actually turned down at the gate (although they had let me through the check-in!) – there were no free seats left.

”No?”, I asked… a second of silence… with no more time to waste, I asked: ”What about the jump seat?” – ”Jump seat? Let me check”, came the answer. And the man checked, and the answer was positive! My dad had taught me to ask for the jump seat in such situations, this is the last resort, the seat in the cockpit right behind the pilot! But then they asked me for my ID card… oops. ”No, it’s my dad who works for the airline… ” When they walked me to the plane, the same question came from the staff. ”No, it’s my dad… but I learn fast and I’ll do whatever I’m told.” ”Well, we can only take staff members… ” The door to the cockpit was opened and the pilot heard the news – I’m only the son of the mechanic. But again I told him I’d learn the required things and happily abide by all his commands. He let me in!

The flight was amazing. The scenery is so much more beautiful from the cockpit. Also, it was incredible to see how many petty details the pilots need to know and handle to make the plane fly safely. With the headphones on I heard all the conversations between different planes and was totally confused at all the codes and sounds and everything. I kept quiet and observed, but the pilots were surprisingly sociable (the nice kind of authentic and real Finns – rehti, reilu ja aito suomalainen).

They taught me stuff about the plane and flying and told me stories and asked me questions. I taught them to reply to the contacts made by the airports of countries we flew over in their own languages (many Slavonic countries, especially Poland, which the co-pilot addressed with a newly-learned ”Jak leci?”). And we ended up talking about theology for much of the trip!

We talked about Jerusalem and peace in the Middle East, Reformation doctrines, female priests, salvation history, hypocrisy, and 9/11. The pilot told an anecdote – he was flying on 9/11 and he overheard a conversation between Helsinki-Vantaa and an Aeroflot plane on its way to the US. They told the plane they cannot go to the US because there has been a terrorist attack and the airspace in the US has been closed. After a moment of silence the answer came in a Russian accent: ”Come again”. ”Yes, there has been a massive terrorist attack in the US and they won’t accept any flights, you have to go somewhere else.” Again a silence. Another heavily accented Russian response: ”Confirm USA closed?”

They had apparently not believed what they heard until they got the same message from Russia when they had already flown past Norway – then they turned back. Luckily my flight didn’t turn back but arrived safely in Helsinki-Vantaa. The most breathtaking sight was that of Helsinki by night from the sky – beautifully lit… I could see all the way up to Järvenpää and further. At the airport Mari surprised me and attacked me from behind – she had not seen me on the plane and had thought I had not made it and thus was happy to see I had come home too. All in all it was a wonderful week, many new friends, new encouragement in the faith and a lot of stories to share – some of which you’ve just enjoyed reading right here.

St. Louis Park & North St. Paul 21st-22nd June 2009

As I said before, I will have to skip over two days and come back to 19th-20th when I have my lost memory card. Now I will post about my days with the Jacobs and the Adam families in Minnesota, near St. Paul, the capital of the state. First, on the 21st I was taken to Holy Family Church in St. Louis Park where the parish priest gave an amazing homily on Fatherhood and the ”rights of men” (!) since it was Father’s day. I met my host family, Jim and Barbara Jacobs and we drove home – yes, I say home because the beautiful house immediately felt like home, and by the evening I felt as if I had been in the family for ages!

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We had brunch and started talking about Alex Havard, who gave me Jim’s contact info, since he is a good friend of us both. We immediately connected and had loads of things to talk about. During brunch Jim and Barbara’s daughters came for a father’s day visit with their children, so it was a real family reunion. Discussion topics multiplied as I found out one of the son-in-laws knew about Kalevala and the other one was a theologian of Philipino origin. After brunch we juggled in the backyard with the grandchildren and had a lot of fun.

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In the evening we went to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was a delicious dinner and we sure didn’t run out of discussion topics. Afterwards we drove around a bit and saw some of the lakes in the area – Minnesota is much like Finland (thousands of lakes…)

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Later in the evening we attended Eucharistic Adoration in Holy Family Church. It was beautiful to see a perpetual adoration chapel. Next morning we went to morning Mass in the same church and met the parish priest again, and he gave another wonderful homily since it was the memorial day of St. Thomas More. The Jacobs lent me the movie Man for All Seasons on St. Thomas More which I then watched later on. After Mass and breakfast it was time to move on from a house&family that had truly become like another home for me.

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Barbara was kind enough to drive me to my next destination, which wasn’t that far away anyway, namely, to North St. Paul. There I met Emily Adam, who had been in Finland a couple of years earlier. I also met her wonderful family, parents as well as 4 sisters and one little brother. They were all lovely and again I felt totally at home. Among the cool experiences were eating at Sonic’s (where they bring the food from the restaurant to the car on rollerskates) and visiting the Cathedral of St. Paul, which immediately entered the list of my favorite churches (you can see why).

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Again I got to see some beautiful MN nature, lakes and trees, and later in the evening Emily’s mother Michelle was kind enough to drive me to Shoreview, another place close to St. Paul, where I met Sharon, whom I had already met at Juho and Dorota’s wedding in 2005. We talked a lot and had some red wine, after which Sharon in turn drove me back to North St. Paul. (Michelle left, Sharon right in photo below). Then it was time for the movie night (Thomas More). Then to bed, for I was going to have to wake up early for an exciting day… stay tuned.

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Steubenville June 18th 2009

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So, it’s time to tell about my trip to Steubenville, OH, to the Hahn house. Scott stayed at the conference, while his daughter Hannah and I drove ”home” in the middle of the night. We found the right way almost accidentally after having gotten lost, we arrived around 1 am. I was introduced to my room on the 3rd floor with nice wallpaper, very fitting for people whose most famous book is called Rome Sweet Home.

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It was a beautiful house, and a big one, too, 4 floors in total counting the basement and the attic. I spent most of the day inside, sometimes alone in my room (especially when sleeping), other times with the children in the basement, doing magic tricks or talking about soccer. Actually I and Joseph (14) went on to play soccer and do some juggling outside with a local friend. When we came back I realised what a beautiful place the house was located in – what a view from the backyard!

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The most important thing though was the visit to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, or rather the campus chapel where we all attended Noon Mass. Before that I and Jeremiah (17, now 18) visited the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, the one that sponsored me to the event at st. Vincent’s.

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Before I left Kimberly Hahn was kind enough to play some piano, including her newest composition and Be Still My Soul, which is originally Finlandia by Jean Sibelius. Oh and I can’t forget to mention the hour (or two) I spent at the Scott Hahn library in the basement – the library has only about 40,000 books in it, and I hear Scott orders at least one more book every day! I also heard he’s read at least some parts of all the books. Crazy stuff. At this point I am missing some photos because of a memory card I forgot in the US, so I’ll skip 2 days and come back to them as soon as I get the card back (someone should send it to me). Here’s the library from the outside.

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St. Vincent Seminary 16th-17th June 2009

So, I spent two more days at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. Those were some heavenly times for me and so I’d like to pay tribute to the people that contributed and share some thoughts and pictures and links.

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First of all, Dr. Scott Hahn (behind in the above picture) is the professor for Biblical Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, a famous convert from Presbyterian Calvinism to Catholicism as well as founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. To know more, go to salvationhistory.com or scotthahn.com

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Secondly, John Kincaid (front in the first photo), who picked me up from Pittsburgh (after a series of confusions as to who would pick me up – about 4 different people were supposed to do it before him – he was definitely the right man for it!), is a doctoral candidate at Ave Maria University. His conversion story from Presbyterian Calvinism to Catholicism can be read here and heard here (in more detail).

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Next, two of the other main presenters were also big names and fine men, and soon they too became friends. Brant Pitre and John Bergsma are doctors of theology and coworkers with dr. Hahn in many projects. They gave talks on Romans 1-3 and 5-8 and kindly answered many of my questions. Pitre also gave me a copy of his masterful dissertation on Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of the Exile. His website can be accessed here.

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I had the privilege and joy of having lunch and dinner with these men as well as attending a heavenly banquet in the church with them. Also, Dr. Hahn would sometimes take me on his golf cart and give me some personal advice and instruction. In addition to the talks and Masses we had free time, adoration, Q&A-sessions and socializing (with free drinks – used with temperance:). The Q&A session (below) reminded me of the Apologia Forum in Ryttylä, except that the church and the theology were different:)

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In the evening of the 17th there was a storm in the area and they feared a tornado might hit us. I actually saw a photo of the tornado in the newspaper in Pittsburgh later on, and well, I wouldn’t have wanted to be hit by it. Luckily we were safe, and Hannah Hahn who was driving to the seminary to pick me up got through it all (rain and hail) safely as well. We left the seminary before midnight but got lost… but then it’s already the 18th and so you must stay tuned to hear what happened next…

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