Photos: Jonna and Andreas Wedding

We have just come back from Finland where we enjoyed being at Jonna and Andreas’ wedding. Here are some photos from their great day! (Click on the photos for bigger versions)

The church
The church

the bride and her father
the bride and her father

Standing and the altar

Being prayed for

First kiss as husband and wife

Coming out and very happy!

on the way out

Rice shower

Toast at the reception

Speech of the bridegroom

Speech of the bride

Maids of honor

Best men

The 10 most significant events for Europe in the last decade (2000-2009)

10: 2 Apr. 2005

Pope John Paul II dies. Pope Benedict XVI is elected Pope

9: 1 Sep. 2004

The Beslan massacre. Chechen militants took more than 1,100 people (including 777 children) hostage. Russian security forces eventually stormed in. At least 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children.

8: From 5 Oct. 2000

The color revolutions and new countries. Peaceful revolutions lead to the overthrow of leaders in Yougoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine. Yougoslavia becomes Serbia and Montenegro. Kosovo separates itself from Serbia.

7: 1 May 2004

10 new members are accepted into the European Union in 2004. Leads to treaty of Lisbon in 2007.

6: 11 Mar. 2004

191 people are killed in the Madrid Train Bombings.

July 7, 2005

Suicide Bombers attack London’s public transit system, killing 56 people.

5: 1 Jan. 2002

The Euro replaces the currencies of 12 of the EU’s 15 members.

swine flu

4: June 2009

The outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain, commonly referred to as “swine flu”, is deemed a global pandemic, becoming the first condition since the Hong Kong flu of 1967–1968 to receive this designation.

3: From 2001

Wars in Irak and Afghanistan. In 2001, the US and British armies launch their attack on Afghanistan in reply to September 11th attacks. In 2003, following a report on WMD in Irak, the US begin the invasion with the UK, Denmark, Spain and Poland.

2: From end of 2007

The recession: Years of risky loans in the US and Europe lead to a massive loss of jobs, bankruptcies and a redefinition of world economies.

1: 11 Sep. 2001

Attack on the twin towers. This event marked the coming of terrorism on the world arena, as people all over watched in horror the 2 planes crashing on the towers. This attack also lay the foundation for the wars in Afghanistan and Irak.

Are there any events you think should/should not be there?

Join the discussion, leave a comment!

So…what happened in 2009

Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
Harvey MacKay

Our year in pictures
Our year in pictures

Christmas and New Year are approaching again, and it feels like this year has almost passed by in a blink. So, what actually happened in our lives during 2009? Here is a little summary:

  • Birthdays: Both Guro and I celebrated our 25th birthdays, while both Mum and Guro’s dad John have celebrated their 60th!
  • Summer Team: We were in Italy again this year, we saw God do great things and I had the opportunity to make a video series.
  • Work: Guro started working for TBBMI, our new Bible School, 50 students have joined, an amazing blessing for the first year of the school in Oslo. I have been working on our new “Jesus Revolution Groups” project which you can read about here.
  • Holidays: We had a great time in Calais, France with the whole family.
  • Studies: Guro has been studying Norwegian and History, while I have been learning the Norwegian language, with a final exam in January!
  • Death: Guro’s grandfather passed away at the age of 93, 2 months ago.
  • Travels: Some great times in Le Gault la Forêt teaching in a Ywam school, and in Croatia presenting our new project.

Jesus Revolution – feels like being alive…

The first snow of the year is falling around me as I stand freezing in front of a pride of Norwegian culture, the National Theater. In front of me, despite the weather, 8 youth are dancing and singing. It’s a normal Friday evening, and many people are walking home to find the comfort of their homes. But as they hear the hip-hop beat, they stop, look on and smile, curious about what this is. Some move their heads to the beat, while others just stand, shaking the snow off their jackets.

But the real fun starts for me when the dance is over. Daniel, a young Norwegian takes the microphone and starts boldly proclaiming how Jesus came to die for us, and forgives us of our sins. If you were to do a study of human reactions, this would be a good place. A quite diverse variety of expressions appear on people’s faces. Some turn quizzical, and you can almost hear their thoughts: “Is this possible? Do they really believe in all of this?” Others put on a sardonic, mocking smile as if the words spoken will never have an entrance to their hearts. Several just seem thoughtful.

Attracting a crowd despite the weather
Attracting a crowd despite the weather

In the middle of the preaching I catch some Norwegian words exchanged behind me: “are they serious?” I turn round and start a conversation with a tall young man. The conversation lasts 10 minutes, and in the end I have answered some of his questions about free will, hell, God and Jesus. He asks if we will be there next Friday and leaves with a smile: “I like speaking about these things you see.

Around me, the others from the group are sharing their hearts out and praying for people. A few minutes later I get the report. “There’s someone over there that just gave his life to Jesus!” After 3 street shows, it’s time to go home. Many have heard about Jesus, been prayed for and challenged to draw nearer to God. We leave, grateful that our Creator can use us in this way and our minds are filled with these thoughts: “this is what we’re meant for, this feels like being alive.

Photos from the Ywam teaching in France

The teaching week on evangelism has just ended in Gault la Forêt. The students are on their way to Marseille for the outreach. I has been a good and challenging week (I’m not used to teach that much). Today I had the opportunity to preach at the church in Sézanne. It was quite moving to be there, and see new faces, and familiar people still going strong.

Here are some photos from the teaching week:

Elise and Samuel, leaders of the school
Elise and Samuel, leaders of the school

Abraham sacrificing Isaac (for the sake of teaching only)
Abraham sacrificing Isaac (for the sake of teaching only)
Art shot :-)
Art shot 🙂

And I had some time to chill this week-end, so put up the new design for our web that I have been playing around with…hope you enjoy!

You know you’re Norwegian when…part 2

Well, after some more time here, and a first attempt at defining some Norwegian uniqueness, I have found some more elements of “Norwegianness” that help me to determine how much I have been influenced! So here they are, you know you are Norwegian when:

  1. You assume that a stranger on the street who smiles at or greets you is:
    a) a foreigner
    b) insane
    c) All of the above.
  2. You enjoy the taste of lutefisk (jelly-like, bad-smelling fish) and cod prepared in any way, including fried cod tongues.
  3. You can prepare fish in five different ways without cooking it.
  4. You don’t question the habit of always preparing a “matpakke” (packed lunch).
  5. You eat salt liquorish without wincing.
  6. You are not shocked to see babies left outside in their pram when it is -10°C.
  7. You have two cars, a cabin and a boat, if not more.
  8. You think there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
  9. It feels natural to wear sport clothes and backpack everywhere, including the cinema, bowling alley, and to church.
  10. You are think it’s weird if a house isn’t wooden.
  11. You know at least five different words for describing different textures of snow.
  12. You don’t fall when walking on ice.
  13. You earn more than you spend.
  14. You associate Easter with cross-country skiing with friends and family in the familys mountain cabin.
  15. You are shocked if there are not 2 months of snow every year, at least!
  16. You fall 3 metres, and don’t get hurt. If you do, you’re not worried at all.
  17. You can’t understand why foreigners haven’t heard about Bjørn Dæhlie.
  18. You have a barbeque party during rainy weather.
  19. You’re more afraid of customs officers than terrorists.
  20. You miss your flight to shop at the tax-free shop.
  21. You get a bad conscience because you are inside when it is sunshine.
  22. You vigorously defend whale hunting but do not eat whale meat.
  23. You’re proud to be Norwegian.

On this list, I score 10/23 🙂 how much do you score? Do you have any other examples of Norwegianness?

Christlikeness

I came across this story while I was preparing for teaching:

The young son of a humble consecrated pastor became very ill. After the boy had undergone an exhaustive series of tests, the father was told the shocking news that his son had a terminal illness. The youngster had accepted Christ as his Savior, so the minister knew that death would usher him into God’s glory; but he wondered how to inform him that he would soon die. After earnestly seeking the direction of the Holy Spirit, he went with a heavy heart through the hospital ward to the boy’s bedside. First he read a passage of Scripture and had a time of prayer with his dear child. Then he gently told him that the doctors could promise him only a few more days to live. “Are you afraid to meet Jesus, my boy?” asked his father. Blinking away a few tears, the little fellow said bravely, “No, not if he’s like you, Dad.”

fson

The tragedy of Norway’s Russ…

[highlighted_p boxed=”false” center=”false”]Sex, drugs, drunken debauchery and dares are all part of the “fun” for Norway’s final year high school students called the russ.[/highlighted_p]

1st of May marks the beginning of the festivities, and from then until 17th they can be seen wearing their characteristic red overalls and caps and with a bottle of beer in the hand. What was meant to be an amusing rite of passage has become a destructive tragedy…

Typical Russ Clothes
Typical Russ Clothes

The dares

Each year a competition goes on among the students as to who can get the most knots on their cap. A knot rewards a certain accomplishment during the russ period. These range from the most inoffensive…like:

  • Spending a night in a tree
  • Eating a big Mac in two bites
  • Spending a school day crawling on hands and knees

To the most stupid and immoral such as:

  • Drinking a bottle of wine in 20 minutes
  • having sex with at least 17 partners
  • Picking up a tender teen
Different knots according to what dares have been accomplished...
Different knots according to what dares have been accomplished…

Expensive buses

In addition to the uniforms, caps, and dares, one of the most important parts of the russ celebrations are the “russebil” – cars or buses the russ decorate and equip with immense stereo systems. Inside, the buses are often fitted with TVs and entertainment equipment, couches, refrigerators. These buses can be a large financial burden; contributions of up to 22 500€ (200 000 Kr) per member have occurred. The average is between 1500€ and 4500€. Including sponsors, the cost of a bus can reach over 230 000€!! (2,000,000 Norwegian kroner).

Inside one of the most expensive buses!
Inside one of the most expensive buses!
Another one of the buses
Another one of the buses

JesusRuss

Luckily, the Christians do not shy out. Young Christians in their final year can join christian alternatives to russ: JesusRuss and KristenRuss. These set up tents at the russ events where they take care of sick and injured drunks, give out buns, being salt and light for those that realise that the partying is not as satisfying and liberating as expected…

One of the Jesusruss tents
One of the Jesusruss tents

You know you’re getting Norwegian when…

  • -4°C is not so cold anymore.
  • You see children cross country skiing to school.
  • You look forward to the 17th of May.
  • You know what the Jante law is.
  • Your backyard looks like this:
  • You can pronounce the Norwegian “y”.
  • You are interesting in Women’s Handball.
  • However, the ultimate Norwegian test is your relationship to Brown Cheese. I still fail at that one.

Top 11 pieces of advice to people wanting to be missionaries

7 years ago, when I had just turned eighteen, I clearly felt God call me to full-time missions.
Hopefully, since that time, I have matured and gained some experience. I know that there are many others out there feeling the same call, so here is my advice if you are thinking about stepping into the field…

  • 1. Learn to hear and cherish God’s voice. This is your greatest asset. You will experience many situations where human wisdom is just not sufficient. Knowing God’s will at all times will enable you to be fruitful.
  • 2. Read “Is that really you God.” Author: Loren Cunnigham

Loren Cunningham’s dream began with a vision — waves of young people moving out across the continents announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole earth. Decades later, Loren’s vision has grown into an interdenominational movement of Christians from around the world who are dedicated to presenting the Gospel to this generation. From Amazon.com

  • 3. Start by being a missionary where you are. In Acts 1, Jesus tells his disciples to be disciples in Jerusalem before anywhere else. The best training ground for missions is in your daily encounters with friends/colleagues that don’t know Jesus yet. Experience the power of the Gospel now, it will strengthen your faith for the future!
  • 4. Know where your joy lies. Missions is not always a smooth ride. You will face disappointments. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out his disciples, and they come back all excited. Here is what Jesus tells them:

All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you–that’s the agenda for rejoicing. Luke 10:20 (MSG)

  • 5. Read “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.” Authors: Howard and Geraldine Taylor

This is the classic biography of James Hudson Taylor by his son Howard and daughter-in-law Geraldine, who also served as missionaries to China. It is the inspiring story of Taylor’s uncovering of the spiritual secret that paved the way for the China Inland Mission to become a reality. From Amazon.com

  • 6. Read “God’s Smuggler” Author: Brother Andrew

As a boy he dreamed of being a spy undercover behind enemy lines. As a man he found himself undercover for God. Brother Andrew was his name and for decades his life story, recounted in God’s Smuggler, has awed and inspired millions. The bestseller tells of the young Dutch factory worker’s incredible efforts to transport Bibles across closed borders-and the miraculous ways in which God provided for him every step of the way. From Amazon.com

  • 7. Read as much as you can about the culture you are going to. This one is pretty obvious, but simply by reading about different aspects of a culture, you can get a lot of insight about how to reach the people.
  • 8. Read Operation World. Author: Patrick Johnstone

Packed with informative and inspiring fuel for prayer about every country of the world, it is essential for anybody who wants to make a difference. A handbook for global prayer. Over 2 Million in print worldwide! From Amazon.com

  • 9. Find ways of getting involved in your future community. If you are a sportsman, find a sports club, etc. The more natural your contact point with people is, the greater trust they will give you, and the easier it will be for you to share the message…
  • 10. Find out what other missionaries are living in the area. No one should stand alone in missions! They will also be able to give you local knowledge, which will increase your effectivness.
  • 11. Invite your friends to join you. Either physically, in prayer, or financially. Start making preparations as to how you will keep in contact with them, and keep them informed about what is happening in your life. Start a blog/website. In this way you can inspire other people all over the world to do the same as you are, and further the Kingdom!

What kind of advice would you give to people wanting to be missionaries?
If you have any questionsor advice, do not hesitate to post your thoughts in a comment…