The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has assigned the first native Finn as president of the Finland Helsinki Mission. He will begin serving this July. Ilkka Aura and his wife, Paula Aura née Tapola, accepted the call from the Church even before they knew where they would be assigned.
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“When we opened the letter containing the call and saw that it said Finland, the foremost feeling was that of deep gratitude for the privilege to work side by side with our valiant full-time missionaries,” Brother Aura related.
“This call is a special privilege to us,” said Sister Aura. “I am eagerly awaiting everything that the coming three years will teach us.” A mission president and his wife serve full-time for three years.
The Auras will close out their current activities and commitments to begin leading the missionaries serving in Finland and working closely with the local Latter-day Saints. The Helsinki Finland Mission includes 124 full-time missionaries and 10 branches (small congregations), 20 wards (larger congregations) and two stakes (similar to a diocese).
“Most of the missionaries who serve in Finland come here from the United States,” said Sister Aura. “We have some experience with their cultural background, and especially the Finnish culture they will be serving in. This will surely help us in our calling.” The Auras have also lived and studied in the United States.
Language skills and the knowledge of the culture are not the only strengths this couple possesses. Brother Aura’s leadership experience in the business world, Sister Aura’s skills while working in health care and their service in numerous Church assignments have provided them with a readiness to work with missionaries as well. They both served full-time missions in Finland.
Brother Aura is currently serving as the first counselor in the Helsinki Finland Stake presidency. As he and his wife prepare for this new three-year assignment, his “humble wish is that we all might learn more from the life and example of our Lord Jesus Christ and would treat each other with more kindness, patience and love.”
Sister Aura will be the mission president’s companion in an important way: “To me, the core of this work consists of approaching every person sincerely using the language of love, the language of the Holy Ghost and of course our mother tongue.”