Christmas Greetings 2023

Dear friend and intercessor,

We are approaching Christmas time with gratitude!  We will share about our recent mission trip to three different nations in Southeast Asia. This was to have been done in 2019 but the pandemic prevented the trip. Now 4 years later, in the Autumn of 2023, the journey was finally made.

The backstory for this trip was a vision I had received decades ago for national workers to takeownership of shining the light into the darkness of the yet unreached people groups in their area. Only then can we fulfil the Great Commission. There are still 684 unreached people groups in Southeast Asia.

– Arto Sädeaho –

God’s Timetables are Reliable

Based on previous experiences, we knew that the fulfilment of this mission was not self-evident. Our trips have often been hindered at the last minute by various obstacles, illnesses, and even accidents. That’s why I appealed in the autumn letter for your prayers.

Thanks to all who remembered our journey in prayers and giving!

This time, the biggest challenge was the travel budget. Even on the threshold of our departure, it felt like it was still hanging by a loose thread.

GNN is a faith-based mission association that operates in trusting that God stirs up the desire and action within donors’ hearts to give. Even small gifts are important to see the task fulfilled. May the Lord bless faithful supporters!

Despite being short of over half of the travel budget, we decided to go ahead by faith. I trusted that “help comes from above” and so it did!

When the first training week in Saigon (HCM), Vietnam had already commenced, Orvokki sent a message on the 19.9, that a larger sum had been gifted into the account. It was encouraging to see the travel budget being covered over halfway now! During the following week in Indonesia, I received a message while at the Bible school in Sumatra, that on the 4.10, we had received another big donation. The budget began to come together promisingly!

And then during the last part of the third seminar week in Borneo, East Malaysia, we received a final gift from Australia. The remainder of the budget was complete.

Thanks to God who does not allow our feet to stumble! Although the answer may sometimes be delayed, in God’s Kingdom it is never late.

My new co-worker Kimmo Sarajärvi noted that giving is a part of spiritual warfare. Although the lack of funds may limit the fulfilment of our calling, it strangely invigorates the prayer life.

Would you like to be part of expanding the most important calling in the world – to reach the unreached? Donate by using the reference 3010 (greatest need).

Promising News from the Autumn Mission to Southeast Asia


Pr. Kimmo Sarajärvi, our new CEO, shares

We were expecting pastors and evangelists to the training week in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), but a group of about 40 people, mostly young evangelists, were waiting there. Many of them seemed to be still searching for their calling. Thus, it was a suitable place where we were free to encourage the participants to reach out to the unreached people groups in their country.

The teaching team was made up of Pastors Arto Sädeaho (Finland), Dr. Paul Ng (Singapore), Shierley Siwi (Indonesia) and myself. This enabled versatile contributions to the training week. It was topped off with exciting field news from pioneer ministry work that Pr. Shierley leads from the Bible school.

Our host for the week in Vietnam was the IEM-movement (International Evangelical Mission). We heard of an outpouring of the Spirit that took place in the 1980’s has resulted in the birth of more than 200 congregations throughout the country and another 50 in Cambodia. IEM’s special emphasis has been to reach Vietnam’s 54 UPG’s, of which they have already begun work in 27 of them. They are currently in a phase of training young people to go into the remaining 27 people groups. They plan to build a training centre for this purpose.

It seems as though a new opportunity is opening up for us with the need to train and inspire people to reach the unreached.



Pr. Arto Sädeaho shares

After Vietnam, we arrived to Jakarta for the weekend where we strengthened relationships with old contacts. Pr. Aki Miettinen from Finland joined the team and Pr. Jonathan came from Australia for the remainder of the mission. Pr. Kimmo preached on Sunday morning at our friend Joni Bangun’s church. (In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, Joni and I worked together to rebuild a village for 100 families in Banda Aceh. I launched that project on behalf of the Finns, with Nordic funding.)

On Monday, we began our training week at the Bible School. Last June, 37 graduates from the previous course were sent to pioneer in 24 new areas and 9 others went to work amongst 4 different tribes. This is currently the 39th year course with 96 young people. Aki’s standard topic for the 2nd level class was spiritual leadership, whilst Kimmo and Jonathan took care of teaching the 1st level class.

With a strong friendship formed 20 years ago in YWAM, they taught the lectures with excitement which inspired the students while I was fighting against the flu. On Thursday, these 2 friends were able to visit a pioneering ministry. Having already recovered, I took care of that day’s 6 lectures in Indonesian.

Why Southeast Asia

In the August Newsletter, I shared how the Lord had spoken to me in 1984 about Southeast Asia. This is why GNN has had long-term plans focusing on the unreached people groups there. The calling has awaited its time and it does not progress with human strength!

Now, it is time!
The only way
To fulfil the vision, we must proceed with steps of faith. During our visits, we aim to ignite national spiritual leaders with prayers to evangelize their unreached people groups (ownership). Then the coming of the day of the Lord can be hastened, as Peter writes. Although only God’s Holy Spirit can make all things happen, we too have our share.
Since 2007, we have cooperated to train and send pioneers to such tribes in Indonesia and its neighbouring countries. The work has already been opened among 24 tribes.

A Three-Country Tour to Southeast Asia in Autumn 2023

Next September I’ll fly to Singapore with Kimmo. There we will join Pr. Shierley Siwi, our Asia coordinator, and Dr. Paul Ng, our Mission Advisor from Singapore. Dr. Paul has organized a seminar to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. During that week, 50 representatives from the local partner’s 240 churches will participate.

The following weekend, we will be in Jakarta. Pr. Shierley has arranged for me an appointment with key leaders of the GpdI -movement.

Pr. Jonathan Lemmetti from Australia joins us in Jakarta. He still coordinates our Africa operations. Pr. Aki Miettinen flies there also from Finland. He is a GNN board member of many years and my regular partner on mission trips, Aki’s topic is Spiritual Leadership.

On Sunday, we will distribute our team to speak at several churches in Jakarta before our next day flight (Monday) to the Sumatra Bible School. That school has started the 39th annual course with two classes and approx. 120 students.

Our third mission week will take place in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, a province in East Malaysia. This time our team consists of Prs. Shierley, Kimmo, Jonathan and myself. That seminar week is expected to have 40 participants from various church backgrounds.


Southeast Asia (10 ASEAN countries) has over 700 million people residents. The numbers cover 1,748 ethnic groups, 665 of them still unreached (44% of the population).

In 1984, I was searching for direction for my life. I fasted and prayed for 10 days. At the end, Southeast Asia appeared before my soul’s eyes, shrouded in darkness. Here and there were small points of light that stood out, somewhere larger concentrations of light were visible. I understood that those who have light should take it into the middle of darkness.

Four years later I headed with my wife Orvokki to Indonesia. The relationships formed there have lasted until today. Even though that sight is sometimes forgotten during everyday life, I am reminded of it from time to time.

Before setting out for the mission field in 1988, Ps. 2:8 came to life for us,

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

We have often asked the nations according to that verse.

Ask of Me

As I recently told my wife,

Would it be possible to get a 10th from those nations?

She answered that in our partnership, Indonesian pioneers have already been sent out to among 24 such tribes. The contribution of one Bible school, no matter how significant, is still not enough!

Spiritual leaders of Southeast Asian countries should be awakened more widely to reach out for their own UPG’s. For this reason, we now expand our seminars to those countries.


Last Spring, after having heard of Pastor Jonathan’s migration back to Australia, many worried where we would find a suitable person to continue the work.

I told my wife Orvokki,

If this work is from God, He too is powerful in appointing the work to a suitable person.

On Sunday, 4th of June, we held a farewell party for Pr. Jonathan’s family. The following evening, when we met, he asked if I wanted to meet a missionary who had returned to Finland that very same day. It was Pr. Kimmo Sarajärvi, Jonathan’s friend from his past YWAM years. Kimmo arrived with his family to Finland after 12 years of missions in Costa Rica.

The next day, when we met in a shopping mall, it shortly unravelled in our conversation that we both share the same vision about the unreached people groups (UPG). The following meetings lead us to sign his employment contract. Kimmo Sarajärvi started in his role as CEO from the 1st of August. He will develop our operations both locally and internationally with the same vision in mind.

I will continue as the Chairman and help orientate him to GNN’s network operations and key persons involved. We also aim to develop fund-raising and awareness level of our missions.

Pastor Jonathan’s Farewell Words

That they would hear!

The gospel must be preached to all nations – gather a great multitude that no one could read, from all tribes and kindreds and nations and languages.

These thoughts have been imprinted on my heart over the course of 51⁄2 years where I served in GNN Finland missions and at home.

The last period has been valuable – I learned various things from Pastors Arto and Orvokki, as well as their enthusiasm in the work of unreached people groups.

Together with Pr. Arto, we did multiple mission trips to East Africa and Southeast Asia. In some evenings we held “vision-casting” seminars in Finnish local churches. Representing GNN, we delivered more than 150 “that they would hear” radio programs which are heard on Tuesdays and Saturdays on Radio Patmos’ channel in Finland.

Our time in Finland has come to an end and a new chapter is waiting for us in Australia, but “that they would hear,” vision will remain. Thank you Arto and Orvokki for being faithful to your calling.

Thank you to the GNN management team for all the support and also to all of you who have prayed and supported us in different ways.

Let’s do our part to fulfil the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus!

He is the Lord of the harvest and will return soon.

The Lord Answers Even Before We Ask

A year ago came a Filipino couple, Pastor Edsel and Barbara Klit, to VICF church in Vantaa. I had met them a decade earlier when they came to visit their married daughter. Surprisingly in Spring 2022, they moved to Finland.

They also came to VICF church. Before coming here, they had worked for 17 years in mission work in Bangkok.

Pr. Edsel is a gifted teacher with a versatile education. In the beginning of January, he was invited to the church’s council and has then been teaching Bible studies on Wednesdays.

After prayerful consideration, we called him as VICF assistant pastor. Edsel was blessed for his mission on June 4, 2023, at the same time we held a departure party for the Lemmett family. The hall’s full audience felt a new feeling in the air.

Edsel Klit is now working as a full-time pastor alongside senior pastor Ndegwa Maina. As an experienced missionary, Pr. Edsel will join some of GNN’s missions.

A Year of Changes

Pastor Jonathan returns to Australia

Jonathan Lemmetti, from Australia, became my colleague five and a half years ago. Energetic and helpful, he joined me in GNN missions and was working part- time as an assistant pastor in Vantaa’s VICF church. He has been a well-liked person both in his home country and in the target countries.

However, there is a time for everything. Pr. Jonathan’s contract with GNN Finland reg. ended in 31.5.2023. In July, along with his family, they will migrate back to Australia. In the beginning of the year, two of the eldest children have already began studies there. We are grateful for the contribution of Pr. Jonathan’s family both here and in the mission destinations. However, it doesn’t all end here!

At first I mourned the departure of a good colleague, but then it came to mind that his loss could be turned into a blessing – what if GNN’s vision of unreached people groups expanded to Australia, where significant missionary work has been done e.g. in Papua New Guinea.

What if the new generation would take on unreached people groups as their own challenge? There are approx. 700 such people groups in Southeast Asian countries alone. We have agreed that Jonathan would try to continue coordinating GNN Africa from Australia …

That’s several prayer topics all at once!

How to Start Missions in a Church?

The theme of my seminar, ”How to start missions in a church?”, dates back to three decades in Indonesia. During that time, at the request of GPdI’s leadership of the church, I had carefully prepared a practical strategy on how to start missions from Indonesia. (Strategy means learning how to win a war. Of course, such a thing is also needed in spiritual warfare guided by the Holy Spirit.)

But the strategy I had prepared in Indonesian for months was buried under the pressures of the central management. In the end, I had completely forgotten about it.

Disappointed, I had buried the material I was working on in the depths of the archives until I called Indonesia in January 2023. During the call, the forgotten material came to my mind again. I dug out the plan I had written and translated it into English.

Now, at the course in Tanzania, for the first time I ‘tested’ that grassroots plan for the participants. I enriched the topic with field experiences and said that when oppositions and attacks come, it is vital to keep the main focus on the calling so that the forces are not wasted.

I described how an eagle spreads its wings and rises to great heights when threatened. Same way a believer with an eagle mindset omits malicious comments, instead focuses on his calling and aims towards his life purpose. In spirit you can rise high and wide with the wings of prayer to an open, vast space. From there, you can see far and can hear better what God is saying.

I invited the participants to spread their ‘wings’ and feel how God’s winds can lift each one above difficulties. The lecture hall was filled with ‘flapping wings’ and everyone had a good time.

The material, which I thought was useless work, was enthusiastically received in the course. Often God’s timing completely differs from our own . . .

Arto Sädeaho

Little Elsa was also present at the courses