Prelude

“It is nice to have dreams in your life, but it is wonderful when your dreams become true.” A robust, neat and Latin-looking man in his 60s was speaking with passion from the pulpit.

It was in the inauguration and dedication of the new International Christian Center (ICC). The time was January 22, 2002 and the place was in the Kamppi area, downtown of Helsinki.

I knew him, Rev. Orlando Molina, who worked in the Diocese of Helsinki as the secretary for the work among immigrants. Rev. Heikki Hilvo introduced him to me in 1996. In the dim light of the Mission Church, I did not see his complexion clearly; however quickly, I realized he was not a native Finn. Not because of his accent–we spoke in English– but his enthusiasm for helping and his willingness to introduce himself, added by his talkative way, all amounted to the differences from a native Finn.

There is a fire in this man that is in contrast to the cold politeness of Finnish society. He came from Venezuela. Nevertheless, opposite to the culture of non-accountability in Venezuela, he is orderly, trustful and keeps his word. What is his dream? How a Latino became a Finnish Lutheran pastor and wove his dream in Finland? Where did he get this strict orderliness while being open-minded at the same time? How could he do the immigration work so devoutly?