The Editor Outi Alopaeus sits at the desk and opens a laptop cover. “Lord, help me again”, rises a sigh from her heart. New Todistaja is once again under way. Many others before her have sat, written and prayed the same way. Now the Todistaja is 98 years . Over these decades there have been times of depression, wars, as well as times of prosperity. But praise the Lord, through His provision and care the paper has come out continually.
It was the year 1925 when the first editor, 53 year old Pekka Nuutinen sat behind the desk in New York. It was a big city already, but the sounds of horses and carriages were still heard on the streets. Pastor Nuutinen had come over from Finland to be a preacher of Gospel to Finnish people. He had accepted the position in January and the following month the Finnish Church was established in New York. And now, at the end of the same year, it was time to establish its own paper.
The first editor could not foresee that the new century would see the paper still being read around the world. Pekka Nuutinen placed the cornerstone for the idea as he wrote: “This paper wants to be the testimony of Biblical faith.” From this statement probably comes the name: Totuuden Todistaja - Witness of the Truth. At first there were no pictures, only long articles of Bible teaching. Front page had decorative drawings and the ink was sepia color. The paper was printed in New York City and the church members helped with the mailing, just as it is done today in Vancouver, Canada.
The Finns of the American continent are spread far apart. The common paper is an excellent connector and a means of sharing information. In addition to teachings from the pastors’ pen, over the years there has been an attempt to reach unbelievers as well. Along the way, the name was changed. Totuuden Todistaja was shortened to Todistaja - Witness. With this name, it was easier to reach the average Finn. Readers find the message of the Gospel interesting. Of course, the Finnish language has been one key to success. But as the first generation of Finns disappears, the new, English speaking generation has brought articles in English to the paper.
Todistaja has brought the Word of God to its readers. The reason behind this is: all the editors have been people (men/women) of God, many even preachers or pastors. The list of the names looks like this: Pekka Nuutinen, Artturi Vuori, William Uotinen, Väino Suokas, Matti Hämäläinen, Urho Lähde, William Uotinen, Veikko Kyllönen, Seppo Antturi, Leevi Myyrä, Erkki Ahonen, Lauri Karhinen and Outi Alopaeus. Veikko Kyllonen was editor the longest, 26 years in all. He also owned a printing business in Canada, where the paper was printed for a long time. The publisher today is Mission Press Society, the foundation owned by Finnish Pentecostal Churches of North America. Printing places as well as the appearance of paper have changed over the years. The process has been computerized and thus completely changed. It is not very far back, however, when melted lead was used for making printing plates in Veikko Kyllönen’s press.
Today’s Todistaja is mailed out in the upstairs rooms of the Finnish Bethel Church. Along with the editor, Outi Alopaeus, the staff consists of Keijo Sakara (professional page designer) and Jouni Tomminen (Treasurer) and Hank Myra (Mailing Support).
There are still people who write, collect subscriptions, donate funds and pray for this faithful evangelist. Todistaja lives and is well, even at the age of 97 years!
The basic message of the paper has never needed to change. Todistaja proclaims the great works of God and opens the truths of the Bible to Finns and others all over the world. All praise for this belongs to God!
Translation Terttu Karhinen