For more than a decade, YWAM Ruurikkala has been known throughout Finland as a Christian training base where the Word of God, the Fear of the Lord and the presence of the Holy Spirit were at its core, and strong teaching was given through various seminars, camps and Discipleship Training Schools (DTS).
Over the years, thousands of young people, young adults and families have participated in Ruurikkala’s events. Almost 300 students from Finland and around the world have taken part in Discipleship Training Schools and other long courses. More than 200 students have been trained and sent on short-term missions. Nearly a hundred employees have served on our staff over the years.
How did it all start?
During the fall of 2005, God placed a supernatural Faith in my heart to believe that one day Ruurikkala would be used in God’s plan for His Kingdom’s work. In the middle of morning prayer, I had this thought: “One day Ruurikkala will become a home for YWAM youth, a place where we will educate people to serve God’s church with their own gifts”. I experienced God crying into my heart: “Ruurikkala belongs to Me!”
Because I was born in the city of Evijärvi and knew Ruurikkala’s worth, I smiled to myself at the idea. Over a year passed by and the thought of Ruurikkala being used as a YWAM base stayed buried at the bottom of my heart, but then, in the fall of 2006, I noticed myself starting to think of the idea more and more, beginning to pray for Ruurikkala and dream of it full of youth, who want to change this world. I reached a point where I could not sit stagnant any longer, deciding to be obedient to God and take steps of Faith which didn’t always make sense even to myself. These decisions were followed with a season of being in a storm, but God was in control and He was orchestrating things with tremendous speed and power.
It was miraculous to see how God brought different people together and spoke to many about this place, starting to show us all that He was really taking this place back for its original purpose. In the spring of 2007, we made attempts to get Ruurikkala, but we could not come to an agreement about the price. At the end of 2007, however, the doors began to open for Ruurikkala again.
In the spring of 2008, we went through a heavy prayer battle over Ruurikkala. We weren’t the only buyers desiring the place, and our offer wasn’t even close to the amount that our competitors were willing to pay, but we decided to continue to offer the amount that God had revealed to us in the fall of 2006. The battle looked as though we were defeated many times, but God encouraged us time after time to continue to pray and believe in Him.
In April of 2008, our situation unexpectedly changed, when another Ruurikkala buyer backed out, without an explanation. Something had happened, something that we still to this day don’t know about, but they decided to back out, and as a result, we were able to buy Ruurikkala in June of 2008. The Bible says that God affects our willingness to do good works and helps us in this, and in this process we really were able to see God work amidst us. Father, Ruurikkala belongs to you!
While our ministry was ‘at its peak’ in 2015, to our surprise God spoke to us about a “pruning time” ahead, followed by a period in which both ministry and Ruurikkala staff and leaders would be pruned in many ways. As a result of this process, all activity at Ruurikkala was put on hold in late 2019.
“We have gone through difficult and painful years, where we have been pruned both personally and as a base. We have had to give up a lot, not being able to imagine where or how God wanted to lead us next. We believe that life is birthed only through death. We have been cleaned, burned, pruned, taken to weakness so that God would bring forth the fruit and plan He has for Ruurikkala.
All of this has required immense faith and trust in God, but He is faithful, His word is our foundation, and His strength is our weakness. With enthusiasm and fire in our hearts, we continue to pray and walk with Jesus towards Ruurikkala’s new future.”
– Roope ja Sanna-Maria Laukkonen, base leaders
Our vision has not changed, but it has expanded, been strengthened, and gained flesh on the bones. We believe that our training ministry will expand in the coming years and we will create completely new types of schools. In the fall of 2021, we pioneered a new school called the School of Inspiration, Innovation and Influence.
This school combines discipleship, the Biblical worldview, leadership, entrepreneurial studies and an internship / outreach. During the nine-month school period, you will be inspired and create a real business / projects, and in addition to completing a DTS, the school will provide you with a Finnish Further Qualification in Entrepreneurship. The school is co-produced with various organizations. In the future, the school’s emphasis will be extended to various areas of society, e.g. the arts and politics.
In addition to this, we will organize Discipleship Training Schools, second level University of the Nations programs, as well as seminars and camps.
In the near future, we want to offer UofN (University Of The Nations) second level education, which you can pursue after doing a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS). We want to expand our education from Bible studies to different areas of influencing society.
In the future, our vision is to be a university where the Word of God is our textbook, the Holy Spirit our Teacher, the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom, and loving God and people its fulfillment!