Heikki Hilvo On An Endless Snow Pile – 介绍 ON AN ENDLESS SNOW PILE
by Jinmin Miao

Tietä käyden tien on vanki.
Vapaa on vain umpihanki.
-Aaro Hellaakoski
(Travelling a road you’re a prisoner of the road. Be free is being on an endless snow pile.)

A Boy From Kuusamo

As the third child in the family Heikki was born in Kuusamo in December of 1949. Kuusamo is an isolated town in northeast part of Finland. There were only 40 families in 1670; in 1800, 3035 inhabitants and in 1995, 18281 inhabitants. When he was a small boy the whole family moved to Järvelä, a village 30km away from Lahti, in Southern Finland. Järvelä was smaller and less known than Kuusamo. Kuusamo, however, was a well-known ski center. Heikki was extraordinary in his family, the only one with higher education. He was fond of acting, which molded his outgoing personality and his confidence in public speaking. As a little boy he liked to meet new people, a precious gift for the future missionary and yet unfound in common Finns. Travelling was his hobby. At 5, he traveled alone by train to the city of Lahti without telling any of his family. As the crowd in the platform thinned out Heikki widened his beautiful blue eyes and loitered about. A station official approached him. Little Heikki proudly told him, “ My father is a police officer. He has an errand in Lahti, so I come to visit him.” He loved reading. At 16, he had read many books including French classic literature and, also, the Bible. As a deep-thinking teenager the Bible changed his life. In 60s, there was a revival in Finland; many youths became born-again Christians. Heikki went to youth meetings, Bible classes, revival meetings and so on. They also gave testimonies in bars and public dancing places. There he often met Heleena, a girl growing up in the same village.

Santa And Engagement Ring

Good at sports, full of energy, Heleena was childhood friend of Heikki’s. They both were compassionate, exuberant and eager to see the world. They wanted to go to the place where they were needed. There was no turning point in his eyes when little Heleena had become an attractive woman with sweet smile and shinning, large eyes. When he was 16 years old, YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) organized a visit to the USA. Heikki, the only Finnish participant, were to go to Stockholm to meet his team. Heleena drove him to Helsinki. Nevertheless, he had to take taxi to the harbor, for they both did not know where the harbor was. A village boy, who had not known Helsinki well in his first 16 years, went to America. And then, he was audacious enough to drop off from the train in Hamburg alone during their return trip. Maybe the love seed was already well planted in Heleena and Heikki by then. For them love came so naturally. It only seemed right to enter into an engagement. In village life, Finns sent Christmas gifts to loved ones through a “public” Santa Clause who could be acted by a family member, or a relative, or a friend. In Christmas 1969, Heilkki and Heleena wrapped their engagement rings and put them into the same Santa’s sack for each other. The Santa dutifully sent the rings to the right persons. They just showed the rings to their parents. That’s all. On October 24 1970 they married.

Go Wherever Needed

Heikki finished high school in 1968. He had debated on either being an actor or a clergyman, but soon he chose the latter. He was always sympathetic and his young heart sided with the oppressed. After reading books about suffering of Jews and Blacks, he often fancied to be a Jew or a Black to fight for justice with them together. He liked to be in people’s life, telling real stories, speaking about a living God. Acting was only theatrical. His love for acting was useful as a clergyman. Acting had prepared him to be open minded and ready to reach people. Heikki graduated from the Dept. of Theology in University of Helsinki in 1971, majoring in ethics. He was ordained in December 1971 in Oulu. Then he served as a congregational pastor in Haapavesi near Oulu for 2 months. Meanwhile, Heleena went to nursing study in Helsinki and graduated in February 1972 as a diaconial nurse, holding a job in Helsinki. Heikki went to compulsory military service in February 1972. After receiving basic military training and officer’s training he was assigned to Riihimäki in southern Finland. Most conscripts feared being sent to Lapland. Not Heikki. His and Heleena’s motto was going to where others not willing to go. He applied for Sodankylä in Lapland and went there in the summer of 1972. After finishing his eleven months’ service, half time as a soldier and half time as an army chaplain, Heikki started to work as a congregational pastor in various places in Lapland, first Ranua, then Salla, and then Savukoski. Only in spring 1973 in Salla was the couple finally able to live together in one household. Two sons came. The countryside had no hospital. Boys had to be delivered either in Kemijärvi or in Rovaniemi, both about 100 to 200 km away from Savukoski. During those years in 1977, Heikki left for Sinai as army chaplain to Finnish peacecorp for 5 months. Later in December, Heikki got a permanent vicar job in Pelkosenniemi parish. The whole family moved to a spacious living compound in a beautiful parish building. The third son was born there.