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Relentless Pursuit

S3E5: Pro-Life Ministry in Europe

58 minutes

Hannah is a missionary from Finland who works in a country in Europe that has a Muslim majority. She is part of a team that helps vulnerable pregnant women who are considering whether or not to keep their babies. The relationships they build and the care they provide are building a foundation for making disciples and planting a church in their corner of the world.

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Show Notes

Hannah is a missionary from Finland who works in a country in Europe that has a Muslim majority. She is part of a team that helps vulnerable pregnant women who are considering whether or not to keep their babies. The relationships they build and the care they provide are building a foundation for making disciples and planting a church in their corner of the world.

**BONUS Content** Don't miss Hannah's story about how God provided (in advance) a way for a pregnant woman to provide an income for herself so she could keep her baby.

Check out our article and photo essay, “Is Europe Unreached?” Also, our video “From Albania to Greece” gives a good picture of what ministry in Southern Europe looks like.

Pioneers offers summer Edge opportunities in Europe, serving non-religious people groups, as well as immigrants and refugees from around the world.

Ready to take the next step, but not sure what it looks like? Schedule a call with our team at, or chat today.

Bonus Content

In this bonus story from Hannah, God provided (in advance) a way for a pregnant woman to provide an income for herself so she could keep her baby.

The One About the Sewing Machine

Episode Transcription

Hannah (00:01):

If God is leading you towards something that you feel like, okay, I can't do it. Well, I would say you can, but he can.

Matt (00:11):

This is the Relentless Pursuit Podcast where we hear stories from cross-cultural workers on what it's really like to be a missionary, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Jess (00:21):

Hi. So today we have a really special guest. She's a little different than our usual guest here on Relentless Pursuit in that number one, she is not from the us, she is actually from Finland and she is with one of our pioneers Europe basis. She is also working in Europe in a Muslim majority nation, and she is doing pro-life ministry alongside ministries of church planting and discipleship and evangelism.

Matt (00:48):

So this is unusual because it probably breaks a lot of the stereotypes of what we expect missions to look like, both on the ground ministry in the location and also the person. But that's the amazing thing about pioneers is we're a mix of people and places and opportunities. So one of the first things that we talk about with Hannah is just asking her a story that she can tell us about what ministry actually looks like on the ground where she's serving in Europe.

Hannah (01:20):

One local lady who reached out to us, she was pregnant and she was actually pregnant for a married guy, and the guy said like, okay, I don't want to do anything with the baby or you anymore. But she was really circling like, okay, can I keep this baby by myself? And we just wanted to support her. We asked, we listened to her story, we asked her like, okay, how can we support you? What is your need? And she was mostly just wanted someone to listen her and support her, someone to be there for her. So we were there for her. And then little by little she started to share about her family background. She was living on that time with her father and brother, and the brother was really violent. He even pushed her once while she was pregnant the way that she could have miscarriage.


Thank God she didn't have. But that was just something so heartbreaking for us that we were praying a lot for this lady and for the baby to survive. And God was really showing us that it's not a good thing for her to stay in that house. So we started to talk with her, okay, would you be up for moving out from that house to be safe? And then she was like, yeah, I really think that I and my baby are not safe in here in this house because of the violent brother and actually a violent sister too. And so we started to pray apartment for her, and it was really difficult to find apartment for mom and little baby, but God answered to our prayers and finally we found one abor and the landlord was like, yeah, of course you can move here and it'll be okay.


But then the woman said that, okay, I don't have money to pay the first month rent, and we had the money in our account, so we just paid that first month rent and wanted to bless her that way, wanted to bless the new life, and she moved to that apartment. She has amazing little baby boy, and it has been such a blessing to see how good mother, so loving, so caring and everything that you can't even imagine mother in that kind of situation where the father of the baby doesn't want to be involved and the rest of the family is abusing and those kind of things. And she's just loving her baby boy, and we have been there for her supporting her, and we are just praising God from that new life and from the story of hers.

Jess (04:38):

Wow, that's amazing. I'm so curious. How did you even get connected with this lady?

Hannah (04:43):

Yeah, so this lady came to us through internet. So we have a platform in internet, and she found us, I think it was by Ling and just searching some help for the situation and making a decision. And our webpage came up and then she found our phone number and called to us and asked, okay, can you help me in this? S

Jess (05:15):

Wow. So are you one of the first people that maybe would pick up that phone if she called?

Hannah (05:21):

So my local colleague is the one who is usually picking up the phone calls because of the language and culture.

Jess (05:29):

Oh yeah, of course, of course. Man, she must get all sorts of crazy phone calls from people like that. Yeah,

Hannah (05:34):

I think, yeah, she does add even more crazier messages.

Jess (05:41):

Yeah. Is this lady, was she a believer or is she a believer now? Or does she know that you guys are a religious organization or

Hannah (05:51):

She was not believer? She's from Muslim background and yeah, Jesus has just opened our opportunities to share about him and telling how God answered that prayer request about the apartment and everything. And so we are just telling her what God is doing also in her life.

Jess (06:15):

Yeah. How does she respond to that sort of thing?

Hannah (06:18):

She has been thankful for the prayers for the help she hasn't been super open for. Yeah, I want to hear more, but yeah, thankful.

Matt (06:31):

It definitely sounds like you've, sorry about that. Sounds like you're building a bridge though for sharing the gospel. There's a credibility because you've cared for her in her moment of need.

Hannah (06:44):

And we are always open saying, when ladies are sharing about the difficulties, we do say, okay, we will pray for you. We are never leading women in that situation, kind of in emptiness. We're always saying that. And then afterwards, it depends how God answers. Then we can kind of come back to that. Okay, we prayed for that.

Matt (07:12):

That's great.

Jess (07:12):

Yeah, I mean I feel like that requires so much delicacy because obviously people are in a very difficult situation. You don't want to take advantage of them or start peppering them with Bible verses when they're in this really stressful situation, yet at the same time looking for opportunities to pray for them to share the love of Christ with them. I mean, I think that must require just so much wisdom and grace in your situation, so that's really cool.

Matt (07:42):

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to end up in Europe doing this unique ministry there?

Hannah (07:51):

Yeah, so I am originally from Europe, from Finland, and so I actually traveled almost 10 years ago in this area of Europe, just several countries with my friend. It was my summer vacation, and then we visited this country where I'm now, and I just felt that God was really speaking to my heart, okay, there is something very special in this country, in this area where God wants to do something and that there are people who don't know him. There is a lot of people who don't know him. So after that trip I started to pray for this area and kind of searching more like, okay, what kind of ministry is there ministry in this area and everything? And yeah, it's like 10 years ago almost. So it was


Longer trip here than I expected because I was immediately thinking, yeah, I want to move to that area and serve those people and share about cheese. But God had a little bit other plans first. So I was actually sent it to another country first for three years, and I served there. It was really hard time for me because I all the time felt that I'm not in a place that I should be, and it was just something that I couldn't even explain how I felt that I'm not in a right place. I kind of knew it that okay, this is some kind of period that God is preparing me for something, but I didn't know for what. And then 2018 I started to ask God, okay, so what is your plan? What is the next plan for my life? What are the next steps? And then it was amazing.


I visited pioneer's webpage, just put their Muslim bur or Islam something, those kind of birds, because Muslims have been in my heart so long time. And then over there I saw a picture and I was immediately thinking, okay, this picture, this is from the place that I should be. I have no idea where this picture is from, but this is the place where I belong. And then I texted to my boss saying, okay, this is really weird thing that I just see one picture on a webpage and I think this is the place that God is planning to send me next. And then my boss was really open for that, and we started to kind of search Where is that picture from then? Yeah, God just opened the doors. So the picture was from this Muslim area in Europe where I live now.


So then I came to visit here and I heard a lot about prolife work, a lot of about church planting. And I was like, yeah, this is exactly what my heart is desiring. What is the calling for me that I want to be with people? I want to be with those people who don't usually have their own voice, maybe human trafficked victims or these unborn babies. So then I figure it out that, oh, okay, so over here you actually are doing the pro-life ministry. So that was just amazing. And then just how everyone here we're so focused on church planting and discovery making and it was just like, yeah, disciple making, sorry, how? It was just I felt like, yeah, this is definitely the place where I should be

Jess (12:18):

Discovery making. I like that discovery making. That should be a new term, discovery making for disciple making. Yeah, I mean that's totally kind of what happening, right?

Hannah (12:26):

Yeah. But then it was very clear and after a year I moved here.

Matt (12:36):

So before when you were in Finland, your home country, what was your work? What was your job there?

Hannah (12:44):

Okay, yeah. So I studied to be a social worker, so I worked mostly with teenagers and families, the teenagers that are in foster care situation or has just so bad problems at home, so they can't stay at home. And then I also was a youth work leader in a church.

Jess (13:15):

Wow. So did you know that that was the kind of ministry that you wanted to do when you went overseas, or were you kind of I'll do anything and then you just kind of happened, stumble on this perfect thing that the Lord had prepared for you? Or what were you kind of expecting as you were first starting out?

Hannah (13:32):

Yeah, so I think I actually went that way first time. Yeah, I'm ready to do whatever is needed and serve wherever is needed. But then when I had been a few years in that other place, I started to feel like, yeah, it's not like God has some specific calling for me. It's not just whatever. I think it's a lot of about how people, some people are very open to do whatever serve wherever is needed. And some of us are just like, we get motivated through the work and what are the tasks that we are doing and that God has some very special calling for us.

Matt (14:20):

So did you think that there was a connection between what you were doing in Finland and the skills maybe that you developed as a social worker and working with young people that God could use that, or were you just expecting you were going to have to do something else?

Hannah (14:36):

Yeah, so yeah, I did expect being with people and using my skills and professional knowing with those things, but anything else I of didn't expect. And also I was volunteering in Finland with a lot of victims of human trafficking, so then I was like, yeah, I do have this heart for these people who don't have their own voice or no one will listen them. And so I did know that I want to work with those people, those kind of people, that I need to be the voice for them.

Jess (15:19):

Right. So you mentioned when you first went to the country that you're in now, saw the pioneers, what pioneers was doing, or maybe you saw what the local believers were doing and you saw, oh, there's work in pro-life ministry and there's work in discipleship or discovery making or church planting. So how do those two things come together? I mean, those are definitely not two things that you would normally pair for a ministry, right?

Hannah (15:48):

Yeah. Well, I think that's also our question every day to God. How do you marry these two? We are every day asking, we're praying a lot with my team to understand better what is God's plan, how to put these two things together. And so there has been pro-life work maybe six, seven years or something, but it has been more project earlier and now from last year it has been a real pioneers team that we are doing the pro-life work and the church planting movement.


So that's the reason why we are in the beginning as a team asking God, okay, show us more how this will look like. But we do believe that true that we are sharing, that we are praying for the ladies, we are sharing about Jesus. When there are opportunities, we don't know what God will do through those. Of course, we are praying that maybe one of our clients will be the one whose heart is open for Jesus, and then she wants to start reading Bible with us and sharing herself to others, what God has been doing in her life and what she has learned about Jesus and those kinds of things. So we're just kind of waiting how this will look like.

Jess (17:36):

Yeah. Oh my gosh. We'll definitely be praying that there's more opportunities for that and that there'll be greater openness to the gospel there. So what are people in general, I mean obviously there's specifically this woman, but what are the local people in terms of just knowing that you're a Christian and knowing that you're doing this kind of work?

Hannah (18:01):

So most of the people in this area are Muslims, and I would say people mainly, they either respect what we are doing when we are sharing how we're supporting women, and especially women with unplanned pregnancies. But then also because we are in Europe where there are all these influences that are more like pro women and then they don't want to listen us. So there are two kind of sides, but I would say most of the people do value life and they do respect what we are doing. So I would say people mostly do say, wow, that's really important work. And then they're just amazed, why did you come here to do this? Answer my people here. Yeah.

Matt (19:04):


Jess (19:04):

So what do you say when people ask you that?

Hannah (19:07):

Yeah. Well, it depends about the time. If I have more time, I will share my story, what I shared with you 10 years ago, how God already gave this country to my heart and this area and these people. And if there is just short time, one sentence, then I just usually say something like, yeah, I really felt that God has let me here to love your people and share his love.

Matt (19:40):

And it doesn't matter if they're Muslim or some other religion that resonates with them. I mean, it causes them to want you to be there.

Hannah (19:52):

And they are like, yeah, because we are just like, of course, first talking about God, not immediately about Jesus. So then they're more open for that. But of course I will share when I have opportunity more about Jesus too.

Matt (20:11):

Right now, the first two years that you were in the country, you're living right now, you were doing language learning, culture learning, understanding what the needs were and what the opportunities were, how has that prepared you for what you're doing right now?

Hannah (20:32):

It has been really important. I just think always, yeah, why didn't I use even more time to focus on language and culture? Why did I do other stuff than studying more language? Yeah, because I really feel like every day I need all the information, all the what I have learned, and I learn every day more and more. And I just feel like that I probably can't ever say, okay, now I know this culture or now I know this language. No, I'm always learning. But I think it's really important that you have that special two years to just concentrate on the language and the culture because you can't, you can't just go somewhere and start doing stuff without knowing why people may react somehow. What is the background? What is the history of these people? What are the problems? And then figuring out through that, okay, what is the need here? How can I serve here the best way that God will be glorified?

Jess (21:50):

Was there anything during those first two years, obviously you're European, right? You've been around a lot of Europe before, so in my mind I would think there wouldn't be any really huge surprises when you moved to a new country. But during those first two years, was there anything that you learned about the culture or about the needs of the people that kind of surprised you?

Hannah (22:12):

I think there has been a lot of those kinds of things, because this is really different. I usually want to say, this is not Europe, this is something else where I'm from, that's Europe. But where I live, it's not Europe. Yeah, very

Jess (22:31):

Different, right?

Hannah (22:32):

But I think for me it was really positive way, really surprising how warm people are, how supporting with my language. People are always like, if I say two sentences, they're like, oh, you speak our language. So those kind of just experiences with people where, yeah, I learned a lot through those. Yeah.

Jess (23:03):

That's awesome. Do you stick out, do you think when people see you, do they know that you're not a local?

Hannah (23:13):

I don't know. I think when I start speaking many times 10, they do, maybe not with the two sentences, but then when I talk more, then I of course do the mistakes and then they figure out. But my local friends are always saying that my accent is very local, so you can hear that way that immediately. And yeah, I think I look kind of like that. I'm probably not originally from here, but of course it's like there is a lot of mixed peoples people, groups and everything. Yeah,

Jess (23:56):

Yeah. And of course, you don't just have to deal with the culture of the local people around you, but you also have to deal with cross-cultural issues within your own team. Sure. Our listeners can tell, right? But your accent is not American. You're not American, but you work with Americans and you work with an organization that sends a lot of people from the us. So what has that been like?

Hannah (24:18):

Well, it has been really interesting. It hasn't been easy. I need to tell you that it's really hard to try to, so in my team there is me from Finland, then my colleagues from states, and then also we have local teammate. And so then three different backgrounds, background countries, cultures, languages, everything. So the communication is really important, and it has been hard, and we are still learning how to communicate better, to understand each other because it's not just the language, it's also kind of like, okay, what do I really mean when I'm saying this? And I would say, as a Finnish person, we are very direct. We are saying how the thing is, and American way is way more polite. And so then kind of like, okay, how can I say this to be polite enough, but still make clear that this is my opinion?

Jess (25:27):

That's so interesting.

Hannah (25:29):

And then of course, respect the local team member because she then has the best knowledge of this culture where we are serving. So it's hard, but it's also really interesting and really encouraging to see how God is putting us together and using our gifts.

Matt (25:52):

That's got to be amazing to have someone on your team who's serving alongside you, who's also local to the culture you're serving, who can help you understand when you're making mistakes or what opportunities there might be, or ways that you can present yourselves in your ministry in a way that's acceptable to people and that draws people in.

Hannah (26:17):

Yeah, I think it's like I would not want to work anymore without local teammate just because, okay, it's like every day almost that I need to ask her, okay, how would you say this thing in your language? Or what do you think about this? Can I say this thing to someone? Or is it rude or is, how would I say that? It's polite enough? And just like, okay, is this common in your culture? A lot of things. Yeah.

Matt (26:51):


Jess (26:54):

I think that's so funny that you're talking about, because I think Americans generally pride themselves on being pretty direct communicators, so it's kind of funny that you're even further on that spectrum as compared to there's Asians and then there's Americans, and then there's this whole other level of northern Europeans. So I think that's really kind of interesting to see how that's come to play in your guys' team.

Matt (27:19):

I think that one of the perceptions, if we can go back to the topic of the pro-life ministry, one of the perceptions is that your goal is just to make sure that women don't have abortions. But what I'm hearing from you is that you're also trying to help them with their needs and their family's needs, and that ultimately the women you're working with want to have babies. But often there are these circumstances around them that are up against, that they're up against that just make it impossible, and you're helping them resolve some of those situations along with their families. So what are the types of care that you're providing for women and their families and even probably extended family to help make it possible for them to keep a baby?

Hannah (28:16):

So it depends a lot about the need and needs. Yeah, I would say the most important usually is that there is just someone to listen, these women, because if they're in that kind of situation where they really feel that I'm lonely, I'm alone in this situation, no one is supporting me anyway, and I don't know what to do. So then we are there for these women to just, okay, we want to listen your story. We want to listen what you think about keeping the baby, why would it be hard? Why would it be not good thing for your life? And then just trying to help them to see also the pride sides and the blessing of new life, and then really kind of okay asking how can we support you and what are the needs? So then the next, I would say after that next need is usually the financial need.


We are living kind of poor area, and so all that kind of need, just how I mentioned, okay, we just paid that one month rent, and then we buy diapers or we give baby clothes what we get as a donations to our association. So then we can give those. And just, I think also kind the way that we want to support families too is that okay, we don't want to work only for this woman. If there is family, if there is husband or boyfriend, other kids, we want to be part of the whole family family's life. And also sharing just educational stuff, knowledge about things we may help paper stuff. There is a lot of bureaucracy here, so we may help with those things, how they can orchestrate their new babies and how they can get support, financial support from the government and those kind of things. So we just try to be there wherever it's needed. And if we don't know something, we also have contacts. We have one doctor, especially who is very pro-life minded, so we're then using his services, and we also have other professionals who are willing to help us if needed.

Jess (31:16):

That's so cool that you're also connected to other locals and other professionals in your area. It's not just you guys doing it all on your own. You also kind of have a little bit of almost like a team that's outside of your team a little bit.

Hannah (31:30):

And I think it's really important because of course, in my team, we don't have any doctors, so it's not okay for us to start sharing some medical stuff or telling like, yeah, so you should do this or not do this if it's yeah, something that actually only the doctor can say

Matt (31:52):

Right now, your work, there is just one example of how meeting practical needs for people can provide an opportunity to make disciples and to do church planting, which of course is at the heart of what pioneers is all about. So can you talk a little bit about how you bridge that connection between caring for these vulnerable women and then making disciples and planting churches and what that looks like from your team's standpoint?

Hannah (32:25):

So I think the most important things for us is that we are disciples of Jesus and we take care of our own relationship with Jesus. And then we pray a lot just by ourselves, but also as a team. So we have this special prayer hours, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday that we are just praying by name, by name for our contacts, our clients, all the people that we know in this area to God, to open their hearts towards Jesus. And then we are spending a lot of time with people who don't know Jesus yet, and just sharing little bit about Jesus, little bit, something that they can kind of then react, ask more. And then some stories are the ones that, okay, these people actually are open for Jesus, and then we can ask them to read Bible with us, share they can after that, share about what they have learned about Jesus and those kind of things. And then going more and more towards that, that they will accept Jesus as their savior. And I think it's really important to show our clients that love that comes from God, that because we know that we don't want to love these ladies from our own flesh. Yeah. It's like they have so hard life stories that it's just impossible if we wouldn't have that love that God gives us. And I think that's really actually easy way to share about Jesus, because many times these women are like, okay, so why are you helping me?


Especially like you foreigners. Why are you helping me? My own country, my own government is not supporting me, so why are you doing that? And then we get opportunities to share about God's love towards them and their babies and their families.

Jess (34:49):

Is there anyone specific that you can share about with us that maybe they did show more openness, you were able to start sharing more specifically doing Bible studies and all that sort of thing? Is there anyone like that specifically that you can talk about?

Hannah (35:05):

Yeah. Well, I think I can share one story. This is kind of lately happened thing. So this young lady from, she's not actually living in the same town where my team is serving, but our colleague from other town reached out us and asked, okay, I have met this one young lady and I have been sharing about to her, and now she's told that she's pregnant and she's very abortion minded. And so what can I say to her? How can I support her to keep the baby and just be there for her? And so we helped our colleague little bit, okay, these are things that you can share with this lady and this young woman, and you can ask these questions and just show the love of God to her. And so then this actually went the way that this young lady already had appointments to the doctor and to make an abortion.


And so we were praying a lot that she would not do that. And I was actually prayer walking with my teammate during that day when she had that appointment for the abortion. We were prayer walking, and I heard the call of prayer for Muslims. And at the same time I got a message to my phone and I saw that our colleagues send a message, okay, so this young woman went to the doctor, but the doctor said something like, yeah, I can't do the approach today. You need to come back on Monday. And that was Friday. So I was immediately like, okay, God just gave us the whole weekend to pray more. And so we did pray during the weekend, and then on Monday we got a message from our colleague that, okay, this young lady decided during the weekend that she's not making the abortion. So then our colleague in that other town, we have been just encouraging her and telling her, okay, how can you support? What should you share with her? But she has been also sharing a lot about Jesus and a lot of Bible stories. And this young lady has been really excited about these stories and Bible and really wanting to read more with her. So now they're trying to meet weekly, and yeah, she will. That's amazing. Share something that's amazing.

Matt (38:10):

It's so cool to hear a story where you're not really the one doing the persuading. It's the Holy Spirit at work. You're praying and you're doing the things that you can do, but ultimately it's in the hands of God and the fact that he intervened and in a way that you couldn't have, you weren't even in a place where you could do that, and he was able to do that for you, just so,

Hannah (38:35):

Yeah, I think those stories actually are most encouraging ones for us where we can see, okay, it was nothing to do what we said or did. It's totally Holy Spirit who did this all. And once there was one young student from other town who reached out us, she just told like, okay, I don't know what to do. I probably want to make an abortion because I'm just a student. I dunno, how could I handle this? And my local colleague, she just talked with the girl, listened to her and encouraged her, shared little bits about, okay, these are the things if you decide to keep the baby, you will get this kind of financial support and those kinds of things. And then just like, okay saying, okay, we will be praying for you and you can call us back. We never heard about from her. And then we were just praying every week we were praying for her, and we were kind of like, okay, she probably made an abortion because we haven't heard about her.


And then after several, several months, maybe seven, eight months, something, we got message from her and she was just writing us. Yeah, I just wanted to thank you so much from that call that I had with you. And it was really encouraging. And then after that, I just felt that I can't make an abortion, and I really felt that I want to have this baby. So she told that she had a baby boy, and she's really blessed to be a mom. So it's really like, okay, so it was only one phone call and then several months of praying,

Matt (40:37):

Right? Yeah. I'm sure that not every story has a happy ending. That one in the other ones you've told us. Are there any that have been really challenging for you that if you've really had to grieve and go to God because the story didn't turn out the way that you prayed it would?

Hannah (40:59):

Yeah. There are those stories too. One that is, it's kind of like all the time going on story, there is one young woman who actually decided to keep the baby, and we were supporting her during the pregnancy. We helped her after she delivered the baby and everything. And then after some months of being mom, she started to use drugs. And so now the situation is more like, okay, so she has times when she doesn't use anything, but she mostly is using drugs, and then we're just grieving, okay, how is the baby? How is the daughter? And we have heard that we have connection also to this young woman's mother. So now the grandma is taking care of the daughter, but it's really sad. And we just heard some weeks ago that this young woman is pregnant again, and we are just like, yeah, it feels so heartbreaking when you're like, okay, we know that God has given this life and also well for the baby, but also for her, and she's just destroying it through drugs. Yeah. Yeah.

Jess (42:40):

Wow. Yeah, that's heavy. I mean, I think what you were saying earlier about how in the end it wasn't you that was doing stuff, right? You were just praying and leaving it to God. I kind of wonder is that all you can do right in these sorts of situations is just as you said, it's a gift from the Lord and just depend on him to do what he knows is best with those gifts as well.


Yeah, when you're kind of going through those kinds of situations, I mean obviously you pray, but what do you all also do just to kind of stay healthy and positive and continue to do these kinds of ministries?

Hannah (43:25):

Yeah, I think that's the one thing which is really important that we are a team. Because I couldn't be alone in this ministry. I would not survive. So it's really important that we are a team. We share these situations, we share what we feel that God is speaking to us, how we see these situations. And the most important is that we are not just like, we don't stop praying. We just continue praying. And we believe that yeah, we have almighty God, so he can do whatever.

Matt (44:13):

That's great. I think that a lot of people probably hearing these stories from you, Hannah might think, well, I could never do that. This is not anything that God would ever call me to do. It's a challenging thing. What would you say to somebody who thinks that?

Hannah (44:34):

Well, I can say that I think so too about myself. Yeah. So it's kind of the thing what people usually think. Missionaries too. Yeah, I could never do that. You are so brave. Well, I'm not brave. I don't have all the skills needed for this ministry. A lot of time make mistakes. This is many times, this is too hard for me, but I just feel that God has called me for this and he provides all the gifts, all the strength that is needed, and he's the one who's this ministry is. It's not in our hands. So I think if God is leading you towards something that you feel like, okay, I can't do it. Well, I would say you can't, but he can.

Matt (45:31):

That's a great word. Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Well, one of the things we do to help people understand that you are a human being. Just like us, just like them. Missionaries aren't superheroes. They are just people who said yes to God and who he is empowering in their task. One of the things we do is we ask some quick fire questions that kind of help our listeners get a peek for what your life is like and what your passions are all about and who you are as a person. So we're just going to run through a few of these questions, and you don't have to think too hard about 'em, Hannah. Just give us your gut level response to these questions, and we're going to start easy, and it might get a little bit more tough toward the end. Most cultures are either coffee cultures or tea cultures. What are you, are you a coffee person or a tea person?

Hannah (46:24):

Definitely coffee person. Definitely

Matt (46:26):

Coffee. Yes. Now, are you in a coffee culture?

Hannah (46:29):


Matt (46:30):

Oh, okay. Well, that's good then. That's good then. Yeah. Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Hannah (46:37):

Early bird.

Matt (46:37):

Early bird, okay. And then if you are up late, what is your go-to late night snack?

Hannah (46:47):

Some fruit.

Matt (46:48):

Fruit. Oh, you're healthy. Okay.

Jess (46:50):

Still healthy.

Matt (46:51):

Yeah. How about winter, spring, summer or fall? Which one is your favorite?

Hannah (46:57):


Matt (46:58):

Spring? Yeah. And if you are traveling somewhere, which many missionaries do, are you picking a window seat or an aisle seat?

Hannah (47:09):

Window seat.

Matt (47:10):

Window seat, okay. How about, what's your must pack item? What's got to be in your bag if nothing else makes it in your bag?

Hannah (47:23):

Oh, I was thinking passport. Of course.

Matt (47:26):

Well, yes. Okay. That's a given because you can't go

Hannah (47:28):

Anywhere without, right? Yeah. But I would say something to read.

Matt (47:33):

Yeah. What are some of your things you like to read?

Hannah (47:38):

Well, usually when I come back from Finland, if I'm visiting there, then I will just buy from the airport some magazine in finish, so then I can read that.

Matt (47:50):

You can't find anything in Finnish where you're at? Probably, no, I can't. What is your favorite local food, where you're at?

Hannah (48:01):

I really love different kind of like pies.

Matt (48:07):

They have

Hannah (48:08):

Savory pies. Those are

Matt (48:09):

Really good. Oh, okay. With meat in them or vegetables and things?

Hannah (48:14):

They have meat ones, they have cheese ones, spinach ones, whatever.

Matt (48:20):

Oh, that sounds good.

Jess (48:22):


Matt (48:22):

Yeah. If you had one talent that you don't have, what would it be? What's the talent you wish you had?

Hannah (48:31):

Oh, well, I would say probably faster to learn languages.

Matt (48:42):

Faster. Learn languages? Yes. Good one. Very good one. That's probably everybody would say that. It feels like a superpower, I think, for some of us.

Hannah (48:50):


Matt (48:52):

What is a missed comfort that's from home in Finland that you miss?

Hannah (49:00):

I think rye bread,

Matt (49:03):

Rye bread, rye bread. Okay.

Hannah (49:05):

It's very special one.

Matt (49:07):

Yeah. You also have some strange fish dishes, right? Some unusual pickled type fish. Is that something that they have in Finland? I might be thinking of some of the other countries around there.

Hannah (49:20):

We do have, but I would say it's more like Swedish


Because it's like neighbor country. Of course. It's also for us. But yeah, we do have,

Jess (49:31):

Yeah, rye bread. Wow. I'm going to remember that. If I ever go to Finland, have to try and get some of the rye bread.

Matt (49:36):

Definitely. What's the strangest tradition that you've witnessed where you're living now? Is anything strange that you then maybe later on figured out why it was so important?

Hannah (49:54):

Oy. Oy. That's hard.

Matt (49:58):

And you can say pass if you want to. We'll give you a pass if you want.

Hannah (50:03):

Yeah. Yeah. I will pass. This will make a long time to think. Okay.

Matt (50:07):

Yeah. How about, can you remember any language mishap that you've had that was kind of funny?

Hannah (50:14):

Yeah, so I was actually, in very beginning, I was going to cafe, and so then I accidentally, I dunno why I was even ordering tea, because I never drink tea. I always drink coffee, but somehow it just felt like, okay, I want to have some tea. So then I remembered the word for honey so that I want to have tea with honey. And then I said that the waiter was looking at me. What? And then, yeah, he turned, starting to speak English to me, asking, do you really want to have tea and meat? I was like, oops. There is only little difference with honey and meat in the local language. Yeah. So I asking Can I have tea with meat?

Matt (51:14):

Yeah. That's funny.

Jess (51:16):

So you speak Finnish, obviously speak English. Is this your third language that you're on right now?

Hannah (51:22):

This is, well, we also do, we study Swedish infant at school, so I do know it. Yeah, I can understand. And then I have also lived in Estonia, and so I have catch that language. And then there is another language too, where I lived before. Oh, this country. But of course they're not all active, so this is my life that I'm mixing this local language, English and Finnish every day because I'm using those languages every day some way. And then sometimes I start to speak to my team in finish, and then there's just staring me, we have no idea what you are saying.

Matt (52:13):

That's good. Two more questions. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Hannah (52:21):

Yeah, I wanted to be a teacher or I wanted to just, I dunno. Take care of horses. Yeah.

Matt (52:35):

Okay. Yeah. And quickly, is there something you can think of that's been the hardest challenge that you've faced in your work?

Hannah (52:47):

I think the hardest thing is that we don't see so many results as we would love to see. And it's always the struggle to like, okay, we just need to trust God that this is his work and he's giving the fruit when it's his timing.

Matt (53:10):

Amen. That's a good word. It's his work. He gives the fruit in his timing. Really, really good thing to remember. Well, thank you so much, Hannah, for spending time with us today. It's been great talking to you and just grateful.

Hannah (53:26):

Thank you. It was privilege to be together with you.

Matt (53:31):

Hey, if you enjoyed listening to stories from Hannah, be sure to check out our show notes where we have an actual bonus story from her that talks about how God provided a way for a pregnant woman to have an income so she could keep her baby.

Jess (53:44):

So I'm really thankful just to hear Hannah's story today, just to hear about her ministry. I think one of the things that really I kind of picked up on as she was talking was just that oftentimes there is not real visible fruit to their ministry. I mean, obviously the ministry of reaching out to these women who do decide to keep their babies and do decide to pursue some Bible studies or even just relationships with these women, that's really, really awesome. But in terms of the sort of more classic, they're not planting churches everywhere. They're not having a new person come to Jesus every other day or anything like that, but they're just really faithfully continuing to love these women and just really depend on the power of the Lord and trust that he does have a plan for them. And so I think that faithfulness to that calling really comes out so clearly in Hannah's story. And so I was just really so blessed to be able to hear that today.

Matt (54:45):

Yeah, me too. I think it's clear that it's really a long game


That ministry church planting, making disciples among the unreached is not something that happens overnight. It requires, as Eugene Peterson said, a long obedience in the same direction. And that over time you see examples and stories that she told us about how the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of people, and so much of what they're doing is praying, undergirding all their work with prayer and then trusting God to bring the fruit. I think that's the case everywhere. It's just that there are some places that are further along where there's been more work over the years that then are now bearing fruit and people are reaping a harvest that someone else sowed, but clearly where she's at, it's a long game. And so it requires people that have a lot of patience and willingness to trust God with results when there's not as much visibly happening. I think that was a real takeaway for me from Hannah's story.

Jess (55:54):

Yeah. I love how she also shared though that little small bits and pieces every now and again, God does show he is working. It's definitely there's movement. So that's just so encouraging.

Matt (56:08):

And I think that's what, as we talk to people on this podcast and we will have more people to talk to from this part of the world, from Europe, I think we'll discover that that is the case in Europe. It's not an easy place to work, although it might be closer culturally and in terms of conveniences and technology to those of us who live in the western world, there are still, from a spiritual standpoint, a lot of obstacles and challenges that our teams there face. So if you're interested in exploring more, I would encourage you to check out our show notes. We've got links to photo essays. A great article I think that taps into these challenges is Europe unreached. Because I think a lot of people, when they think of missions, they don't think of Europe, they think of other parts of the world. So there's an article on that as well as some videos and even some content about media and how teams are using media to find people that are spiritually seeking in places like Europe. And that's exactly what Hannah talked about in the episode is some of the leads and some of the clients that they came upon where people that were searching for answers online and found their resources. So encourage you to check out our show notes and find out more about what we're doing in Europe.

Jess (57:31):

Thanks for following us on this episode of the Relentless Pursuit Podcast. Our goal is to make missions accessible to show that it's not just reserved for elite super Christians. If you want to be involved, just go to and answer a few questions. We have a team who would love to help you discern your calling and what your next steps might be.

Matt (57:50):

At Pioneers, we love to partner with local churches and send teams to people groups with little or no access to the gospel. Keep up with what God is doing by following us on Instagram, Facebook, X, and YouTube, all at Pioneers usa. One word or visit Thanks for listening.