Today I’m giving a shout out to our friends Timo and Laura Harkonen, two of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.
Timo is originally from Finland, and was a former classmate of mine. He came to the U.S. to attend university and play collegiate tennis. He later went on to earn an MBA and an M.Div.
Laura, who grew up in Arkansas, met Timo in college. She was studying aviation science and went on to become a pilot.
Timo and Laura rescued two special needs orphans from horrific conditions in Brazil and went on to adopt them. Under their love and care Richard and Janey have blossomed.
With their backgrounds, education and skill sets Timo and Laura could both have safe six figure jobs somewhere. Instead they’re living in Nyankunde, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Laura is a pilot for Missionary Aviation Fellowship and Timo is using his business and pastoral skills to assist their community.
The conditions there are difficult. The entire family has been sick with tropical diseases numerous times. Timo is recovering from typhoid now. Laura flies dangerous relief missions, often landing on makeshift runways.
They turned down a much safer assignment to Australia to go the Congo, in part because they felt their children would adapt better there and in part because they wanted to go where the need was greatest. Before going they had to successfully complete immersion courses in French and Swahili, accepting the challenge of learning new languages along with all the other challenges they would face.
People like Laura and Timo never make the news. Instead it seems we only hear about sensational crimes and misbehaving celebrities. But my guess is that for every story like those there are dozens of untold stories like those of the Harkonens.
For more on this awesome family, go HERE.