It is with such a grateful heart I am writing today. Last year we started off the year in the best possible way when we spoke to over 700 youth and 600 adults the very same night. This year we kicked off with the 10 years anniversary concert at Ritz in my hometown, Vasa. What a night! I could never have imagined what it turned out to be.
January 3rd it was exactly 10 years since a friend of mine took me to a small church, Kvevlax Missionskyrka outside town. It was there I experienced the love of God for the first time and this happened through the people. They laid hands on me and prayed in Jesus name. I had been drinking before we entered the church and my life was totally upside down. Three big bottles of Vodka a day plus all kinds of drugs was my life. After receiving prayer that night I have not touched any drugs or had any alcohol. It is true what the Bible says about that the one the Son sets free is free indeed.
A night like that has been on my heart to celebrate ever since. I remember when I first came to the Lord some of my friends said that I will soon be back drinking again but now it has gone 10 years and I have no plans to drink or take any drugs. I do not need it! That is what happens when you surrender your life to Jesus.
Of course I was still sick and 10 years ago in February I was laying on my deathbed. No hope at all, I was a hopeless case but again Jesus came through as His people came to pray for me. What more can I say than that God is good.
Saturday night we had the 10 years anniversary concert and we had a good crowd. What delighted my heart was that most of the people were people who don’t usually go to church. I am sure they got something to think about. My dear friend and sister Lili-Ann Karppinen was the host this night and she shared her testimony as well and she really got straight into the peoples hearts. Legendary guitarist Jukka Tolonen was a special guest and he also gave his testimony how he received Jesus in prison. Three persons with a changed life and two hours of live music.
I have to confess that I was a big nervous before the concert but it all went good. We opened with a few songs with my old band, The Rubbish Brothers. I got to share the stage one more time with my childhood friend Jocke Kulju that I known and played with since the early 1980’s. I wanted to do a few Status Quo numbers to honor the memory of guitarist Rick Parfitt who passed away on Christmas eve at the age of 68 years. He was the biggest influence in my musical life and as a guitar player. I sure miss him.
Hans Westergård from the 60’s band, The Wantons was another special guest and we did a couple of numbers with him. My dear sisters Camilla Cederholm and Maria Stratton did their solo numbers and when I did my new christian songs I had such a great band on stage. Janne Hyöty and Jocke Kulju on guitars, Jukka Tolonen on keyboards, Stefan Brokvist on drums, Egon Veevo on bass and Cederholm & Stratton taking care of the backing vocals. What a blast!
Since we live in a country where we speak two languages, Finnish and Swedish my brother and friend Tom Ingvesgård did his best to translate the enthusiastic speakers. This was absolutely the best way to start this year 2017 as we are going to tour under the theme ”2017 - 10 years with Jesus. A live DVD from the concert is being produced and should be available during the coming months.
In a couple of weeks time we are heading to our first trip this year. We are first heading to the west coast of Sweden before we head up north for more meetings and concerts. We are going to be in Sweden for two weeks and I am looking forward to get out on the road. It has been a while as we have been at home base since we returned from the US, December 1st last year.
USA February - March
February 20th we return to the USA and this time is even more crazy than last time. So far we do NOT have a single church booked as all weekends are booked for outreach. We are going to be at Lucas Oil Race and Gatornationals in Gainesville, Daytona Bike Week and the Daytona Spring Turkey Rod Run. These are doors that God has opened for us to be out where the people are. The only thing that bothers me about not having any churches lined up is that we do not have a chance to sell cd:s and books or take up offerings and what we do is costing money. Still we do not want to leave all this undone as we are really encouraged to be out there after last years trip to the US. We have received amazing reports about what Jesus have done in peoples lives and it is all about Jesus.
This year will be a special year, 10 years with Jesus and people will hear that ”this Jesus thing really works”. The best is yet to come!