Three weeks alone at a friend’s summer cottage on a Finnish lake to fast and pray. That was Adam Carter's plan. But sometimes plans go awry.
On an impromptu trip to her family's secluded summer cottage, the last thing Eveliina Mikkola expected to find was a missionary from the other side of the world—in her sauna.
Determined to stay, Eveliina will do whatever it takes—from shortcrust pastry to shorts—to send the man of God packing. This island’s too small for them both.
Adam Carter, however, is not about to leave.
Will he be able to resist her temptations? Can she withstand his prayers?
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.
“I need to get away for a while.” Eveliina held her breath. If Joel said no, she’d go anyway. She’d resign. She’d break up with him. Whatever it took to bring a little peace and quiet to her harried life.
“But you just got back from Vaasa.” Joel crossed his arms and leaned back in his leather chair.
“Exactly why I need to get away.”
His eyes swept over her, and Eveliina hoped she didn’t look as frazzled as she felt.
“You work too hard, Eveliina, and I’m sorry. It’s just the nature of our business. Creating fantasy for the world is not for the fainthearted.” He rose from behind his smoked-glass desk, placed his hands on the edge of the table and leaned forward. “That’s why people like us aren’t married. We’re wed to our computers, and it’s hard to divorce ourselves from the beasts.” Joel straightened up. “But maybe soon we’ll change that. I know you’ll be as dedicated and talented a wife as you are—”
“I doubt I could love doing anything other than visual effects.” One sure thing got Eveliina uncomfortable—talk of marriage. And these days, Joel didn’t miss an opportunity. Eveliina stared him in the eye. “You’re right. I am married to my job. And I don’t believe in divorce.”
She pointed to the framed 3D characters that lined the walls of Joel’s ultra-modern high-rise Helsinki office like family portraits. “You see those funny little creatures?—they’re the only ones I’m happy to create.”
Joel scratched his chin. “So, how was Ostrobothnia and the tall ships exhibition?”
“Bombarded by noisy children and people dressed as Vikings…?”
He pulled a face. “That bad?”
“You try seven days surrounded by,” she shuddered, “little people. If that wasn’t bad enough, those Viking lookalikes are a crude bunch with a weakness for blondes.”
His shoulders shook as he chuckled. “Did you at least get some good material to work from?”
“Yes, but this has all been too much, especially when our last project has barely finished rendering.”
“Eveliina…” He stretched out her name. “You know how vitally important research is, and that we can’t choose the timing for new business.”
She sighed as she looked down and kicked the floor with the toe of her shoe. “I know.” She raised her gaze in time to glimpse Joel’s clenched jaw before his troubled look faded. He slid his hands into his trouser pockets and slowly walked toward her.
“I didn’t realize you disliked children that much.”
She didn’t dislike them—they just made her nervous. And when she got nervous, her stress level rose. Then the relentless pounding in her head would begin. Instinctively, she rubbed her left temple and shrugged.
“OK. I can see I’m not going to talk you out of this, and you’re right, you have been working too hard. Tomorrow’s Friday—you can leave after you’ve briefed the team and done a handover. I’ll give you two weeks to catch your breath. Then I need you back in this office.” Joel slid his hand around her waist. “And in my arms.”
She stiffened at his touch. This was how he always tried to talk her out of things. Not this time. Like a breeze, Eveliina slipped from his grasp. She picked up the small desk calendar from his table and a red pen. With an artistic swirl of her hand, she drew a fancy shape around August 27th and tapped the calendar with her finger. “I’ll be back this Monday morning—ready, willing, and able.”
Joel’s fingers brushed her cheek before tucking her hair behind her ear.
Eveliina hated it when he did that. Not only was it uncomfortable, but she loathed exposing her ears. She found them too small, and they didn’t sit as close to her head as she would have liked.
“Where are you going?” His question was filled with the usual possessiveness that accompanied anything to do with her. His eyes narrowed, his tone was controlling. He’d tried to hide it, but failed.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to follow me. I need time alone.”
Joel’s breath was warm on her skin as he whispered in her ear. “And if I don’t keep my word?”
Eveliina put the calendar down. “Then I’ll break up with you, and I’ll resign from Savant Studios.” Her answer dared him to challenge her. She pushed past Joel and strode away. At the doorway, she paused and turned. “I don’t think you want me to do either.”
Joel shook his head.
Eveliina smiled as she leaned against the doorjamb. That got his attention. “Good. Then I’ll tell you. I’ll be at my grandparents’ summer cottage.”
“Lapland?” Disappointment shadowed his question.
Against her better judgment, she clarified. “No. The one on the outskirts of the city.”
“You’re staying in Helsinki?” A smile grew on his face. “You’ll be that close?”
Eveliina nodded. “I need to be on my own for a while, and I don’t want to drive far to get that. Besides, I love that wooden cabin.”
Joel shifted on his feet. “Was it that stressful in Vaasa?”
“You have no idea.”
He looked down at the floor. “Do you think you’ll have some designs ready when you get back?”
A sigh escaped. What part of ‘time out’ did he not understand?
“I’ll try my best, boss.”
In far too many ways, Adam Carter should have been better prepared for this mission, but he’d been busy saving souls back home in rural Africa. And everything had happened so fast.
The call from his Finnish friend, Mikko Mikkola, came as a surprise—the command from God to go, totally unexpected. That’s why these three weeks of seclusion at this cottage were so important. Going into battle was never easy; wrestling against the forces of darkness, the hardest of fights. He needed this time alone with God—to fast, to pray, to connect with heaven. Nothing could disturb him out here on this little island.
Thankful he’d kept the sleeping mask from his Johannesburg-to-Helsinki flight earlier that week, he pulled the dark fabric over his eyes. If I don’t get some shut-eye tonight, I’m moving my mattress into the sauna. At least that small room is darker than this cottage. I won’t survive another sleep-deprived night.
It was one thing going without food, and coffee, and his cellphone—those niceties that made life pleasurable—but no sleep?
Fluffing the feather pillow, he sank back into its softness. Suddenly, his chuckle filled the air. “Land of the midnight sun…now it makes perfect sense.” At least the long days would be great for missions, but he’d miss the African nights with their extra hours of darkness. Adam loved his sleep. The thought of hibernating like a bear come winter was sorely tempting.
If he could just figure out how to lower the blinds, his light problem would fade. But remote-controlled gadgets didn’t work without remotes, and Adam had searched the small one-bedroom cottage for the device. There wasn’t one, and Mikko was hours away, somewhere in the middle of Finland in a town Adam couldn’t pronounce, making preparations for the School of Intercession.
Mikko had dropped him off on the banks of Lake Sahajärvi two days ago, popped him in a boat, and steered him in the direction of the small piece of land some two hundred feet off shore.
“You can’t miss the house, Adam. It’s the only one on the island.” Mikko laughed as he walked back to his car. “I’ll see you in three weeks,” he shouted.
The thought of Mikko returned Adam to the phone call responsible for his life doing a total turnabout. “You have to come to Finland for the next year, Adam. There’s power in prayer, and I’ve never met a prayer warrior quite like you. God moves in miraculous ways when you pray. You have much to teach us. The team wants you here—yesterday. Please, will you come? Help us take back our cities for God.”
Adam remembered his reluctance. His work in Zambia had just started to bear fruit. Still he prayed, as he promised Mikko he would. God’s answer was swift and specific. Ten days later, he picked up his visa at the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria and headed to the airport. He didn’t understand why God wanted him on the other side of the world, and in such a hurry, but he obeyed.
Much at the Mikkolas’ summer cottage was akin to the African villages he’d lived in for the past four years. Bathing happened in the lake. He drew his water from a well, and filtered it through a muslin cloth. Dinner, once his fast was broken, would certainly come from the surrounding waters. Already he’d seen some whoppers jump. Probably pike.
The small outdoor toilet at the edge of the trees reminded him most of his former surrounds. Thankfully, it wasn’t crude like the ones he’d been accustomed to, but neither was there the luxury of a flush system.
Electricity came in small amounts daily by means of a single solar panel. Not that Adam needed it—eleven in the evening was as light as four in the afternoon on an African summer’s day.
So, with the lack of modern conveniences, Adam found it most strange that the blinds were motorized.
A mosquito buzzed around his head, as inconvenient and annoying as the blinds he couldn’t close. He swatted, and his hand hit its tiny target. But it didn’t take long to hear the steady high-pitched noise once more. Over and over. This barrage was another thing he hadn’t expected in Finland. Didn’t Africa have dibs on mozzies?
Between the elements of nature, Adam wouldn’t get much sleep…again. And no sleep always made him grumpy.
Question 1: What was Adam Carter's greatest spiritual attribute?
Answer 1: He was a great prayer warrior.
Question 2: Why did Mikko want Adam to come to Finland?
Answer 2: To teach the Finns more about powerful, effective prayer.
Question 3: Why was Adam spending time at the summer cottage alone?
Answer 3: To fast and pray for his mission in Finland.
Question 4: Why did Eveliina dislike missionaries?
Answer 4: Because she'd turned her back on God when her parents were killed in a plane crash whilst away on a missions trip.
Question 5: How did Eveliina intend to make Adam leave the island and what did she use?
Answer 5: By tempting him to break his fast with the Blueberry pie she baked.
Question 6: How had Eveliina and Mikko handled their parentsâ€™ deaths differently?
Answer 6: Eveliina had run from God; Mikko had held on tighter to the nail-scarred hands.
Question 7: What did Adam use to tie the canoe?
Answer 7: His dirty shoelace.
Question 8: How did Adam get injured?
Answer 8: He fell off a ladder while painting the cottage and struck his head on a rock.
Question 9: What book in Scripture did God use to speak to Eveliinaâ€™s heart?
Answer 9 Isaiah.
Question 10: What did Eveliina give to Adam on the jetty after their dinner?
Answer 10: An oil painting on a stretched canvas of Adam on the jetty backdropped by a purple sunset.