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First Lutheran Youth return from Finland

Youth from the First Lutheran Church in Parkersburg traveled to Finland where they renewed friendships with youth who visited Parkersburg last summer. From left, front, Inkera Jussila of Finland, Kaiti Keller and Mila Halonen of Finland. Back row, Ronja Alander of Finland, Zoe Dorst, Krista Keller and Eetu Heikurinen of Finland. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Youth from the First Lutheran Church in Parkersburg have returned to the United States after a trip this summer to its sister church Lutheran Church Rekolan Seurakunta in Vantaa, Finland.

Friendships were formed last summer when young visitors from Finland spent two weeks with host families in Parkersburg.

First Lutheran Church established a sister church relationship with Lutheran Church Rekolan Seurakunta in 2017. The churches regularly pray for each other so that together they may enhance service to the Lord and glorify God, church officials said.

Last summer’s mission exchange began with four youth and their adult adviser from Finland visiting West Virginia in the first exchange between the two congregations. The visitors spent two weeks in West Virginia, including a week spent at Camp Luther with other youth from around the state.

This summer, three kids and an adult adviser from First Lutheran went to Finland. They were hosted by families in Finland, learning about home life there like their Finish visitors did here in West Virginia.

They also spent five days at Finish Lutheran Church Camp Pisara for youth at Beard Ridge, Pieksamaki. More than 1,500 youth and advisers gather every four years at the camp and come from countries in Europe.

The girls shared their stories with the First Lutheran congregation, including the camp, living in tents by Lake Salvonen and outdoor activities. They also told how they found life and church in Finland compares to life and the church here, their experiences, friendships and memories.

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