Friday, December 21, 2007
Toddlers are known for crawling around the house and trying out everything and turning things upside down in the house. But there is always celebration as well when they begin walking (not sure it is the right English word.). My mum told me that I began walking when I was one year old. This is how it was when Our friend Tom took us skating.
These memories flooded my mind when I went skating today for the first time. Walking on the hard ice was impossible for me just the way it was before I was one. I felt stupid that I couldn’t just walk on the ice. I mean, it is just walking!!!! All the same, I came to understand that I have to go back to the basics just the way it was when I was one. I fell down many times in my futile attempts.
Three Skating Teachers.
I had almost given up when I began talking to some three Norwegian girls. I think they were about 7 or 8 years old. I can’t speak much Norwegian, but they all the same gave me some skating lessons. They explained to me what I should do, and it actually worked to the excitement of both of us. They were school kids, and it was very disappointing when they had to go. They said numerous bye byes, and I just wished they could teach me more. They were adamant of leaving until their teacher had to take them away because they were going somewhere else.
Well, am not sure I will meet any of them again. They deserve all the credit for making me gain confidence to do some skating. They are my three little skating instructors and I will forever remember them.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Living on an island in any particular place is always a challenge. The main reason is always inadequate infrastructure like roads among other things. There is always the fear that people will be cut off from the main land or the neighbouring islands if that is the case.
Fogn is such an island. However, it is not an island deprived of infrastructure as stated. It has good roads, though some of them are quite narrow. It takes about 30 minutes by boat from Stavanger. It is an island with about 300 or more people. When we visited a friend’s family last weekend I observed how life is so different on this island from the mainland in Stavanger. Well, at least there are several boats going to the island and several ferries in a day, thus the island is not cut off from the main land.
On this island, life is quite different from the main land. The people have most of what the main land have such as internet and other facilities. But the main difference is the lifestyle. It was quite surprising to know that people are very dependent on each as opposed to the general perception that Europeans are individualistic. The people can borrow vehicles from each other. They also help each other in running small errands. For instance, if a neighbour is going to the main land Stavanger and you need something that is not available on the island, it is a common scenario to send your neighbour to get it for you.
And this is the place I shall be for four days during Christmas. It is the perfect place for one to be for Christmas, and I really look forward to that. The family we shall be with is just great. The mother of the home really likes singing and she sings so well. I really look forward to singing Christmas songs during this year’s celebrations.
Friday, December 14, 2007
We had a prayer meeting last week where about 15 students attended. It was good to see that all of us that were there expressed ourselves before God in many different ways.
Candles making the cross during the meeting.
Singing during the meeting.
Time to thank God.
We had plenty of time to thank God for the many good things this year. God has been gracious to all of us through out the year, and we were filled with gratefulness as we looked back at the past and saw God’s faithfulness. This gave us confidence to face the future that is uncertain, but we can certainly make it by faith.
The students are now away on for the Christmas break. I look forward to January. I believe that God has great things for us during Christmas and New Year.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
People began shopping for Christmas as early as November. Actually, some shops had Christmas stuff long before November. Shopping is of different kinds. From the food that will be eaten to good dress that will be worn during Christmas. Many people also shop for Christmas gifts. It is as if everybody must get at least a gift from either a friend or a family member.
Advent and the Christmas Calendar.
Advent begins on the first day of December. This is a period of waiting for the birth of Jesus.
On these 24 days, there is a Christmas calendar that helps the people get ready for Christmas. For kids, there is a calendar that has surprise gifts everyday. They can also have an activity calendar where they get to do something, especially when they are not at school. For the grown ups, there is a calendar to help you plan all through the advent period, including shopping and sending and gifts.
The unfolding Surprises.
What remains is to see the unfolding activities in this month in the Norwegian culture. I know there are many things that are to happen during this time, and I look forward to learn from them. My greatest desire is that this will be a time to deeply reflect on the love of Jesus Christ, and that he will take the centre stage in all these celebrations.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The theme of the conference was Evangelism as a lifestyle. I attended a track on Glad you asked. It was a good blessing to learn that Andy, the guy who was facilitating the seminar, had been in Kenya in the summer of 1999 working with the IFES movement in Kenya. The track was meant to help us use the tool glad you asked as a way of reaching out to our friends who are not Christians. It was further to help us apologetically share the love of Christ.
The emphasis in the seminar I attended was relational evangelism. This basically is where one purposefully decides to reach out to the people in one’s environment. Some of the mind searching questions we discussed included;
Does God matter?
Does God exist?
How can God allow pain and suffering?
Relational evangelism is a spiritual journey. One walks with his/her friend or neighbour who is not a Christian from a state of unbelief in God to a state of believe in God through Jesus Christ. This is not by any means a one day event. It is a long term event. Further, relational evangelism is backed by commitment to prayer and the desire to obey our Lord’s command; ‘… go and make disciples of all nations…’
In the course of the journey, one may not be able to answer all the questions asked by the seeker. It is however fulfilling to know that as you walk together, the seeker will get to learn more from you and your interaction and relationship with God. Even though not all the people reached in this way have become Christians, it is encouraging to know that some of them have become Christians. As co-workers with Christ, this shall always keep us sharing the love of God; ‘…for Christ’s love compels us…’ (2nd Corinthians 5:14).
Small group discussions during the conference.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
On this day, there were more than 120 Christian students gathered. This was indeed a great occasion because this has not happened before; at least for the time we have been around. Of course there are more students who are Christians that didn’t turn up. Organisation for the meeting was motivated by the fact that Christian students will be encouraged to be stronger in their faith. Furthermore, the gathering will be an indication that after all they are many, even though they may look fewer in their respective groups.
A group of students gathered for the fellowship.
The preaching was done by the university chaplain, Mr. Steffan. He talked mainly about Jesus being the prince of peace. This implies that since he is the prince of peace, then we should be instruments of peace wherever we go as Christians. He used some video clips to show how lack of peace has resulted in a lot of suffering worldwide. Furthermore, he said that even though we should be agents of peace, we should begin this by having peace that surpasses human understanding, which only God gives through Jesus Christ.
This sharing was enriching and challenging at the same time. From some brief discussions with students, I came to realise that they were yearning to be involved in world peace. My prayer is that as they try to do this, they will have peace from God that surpasses human understanding.
Friday, November 9, 2007
We attended a staff meeting for the IFES movement here on the 2nd of November. All the LAGET staff came to thank God for the far that has brought the student movement. A lot of time was spent in prayer for the ministry and for each. It was so refreshing just to pray together with each other.
All the students (Staff) on exchange were in one group. This was a moment of reflection with each other since we had been away from each other for more than a month. We are a total of eight on exchange.
While at Sandefjord, we attended a conference at Tornsberg, a neighbouring city. This was a conference that encourages young people to get focussed more so with what they do with their lives. It was amazing to see hundreds of young people gathered worshipping God. Surely there are great worshippers in Norway. The worship was so awesome such that I really wanted to be left behind, especially when we had to go back before the end of the meeting because we had to drive to the place we were spending.
An understanding of Christian youth in Norway. I had not seen as many young people gathered to worship as I saw over the weekend. Most young people here don’t go to church, but attend Christian meetings in the course of the church. I don’t know why they don’t go to church, but at least I know that they get their spiritual nourishment from the many Christian meetings they attend.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I woke up in the morning and checked my watch. I switched on the computer to listen to some music. When I looked at the clock, I realised that there was a difference of one hour with my watch. I suspected that something was wrong.
At 1345 when he was supposed to get us, my phone rang. I didn’t expect him to call at that time. What we expected was the doorbell. All the same, he said that he will be getting us in one hour. I immediately thought the service had been moved by one hour. No! The service was still at 1400hrs! Time had just been shifted by one hour.
What was the most confusing was the way time had shifted by one hour. I have studied physics and I know the time regions and the accompanying dynamics in time determination. I just couldn’t understand how one hour can just be lost like that!! I tried to get a scientific explanation to no avail. I was trapped. I just couldn’t buy the one hour shift business. It was scientifically impossible!!!
I had to send a text message to a friend in Kenya to confirm what time it was. This was after checking the internet and confirming the tImes.
All the same, the explanation was so simple. On every last Sunday of October, the time is set back by one hour. This is to deal with the coming winter-more light. The same is done towards the beginning of summer-they add one hour. I have never been this confused!!!
It was a human explanation and not a sceintific explanation after all.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Me, the proud owner of a fishing line.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Then the first stop; in a myriad of boats. Norway has alot of waters. This has necessitated Norwegians owining so many boats. There are boats almost all over the coastline and many household own boats. Norwegians also do alot of fishing. Some bigger boats are used for fishing, either for fun or for commercial purposes.
This iron man lived in the 'apartment' above. The 'house' actually had two floors.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Knut is a student at the University in Stavanger. He is studying petroleum technology.
The day was brifht as we walked up. It is October and it is off course fall. Most of the trees with normal leaves are shedding them in preparation for winter which is coming very soon. The sceneries were so beautiful as we went up. It took us more than two hours to walk up to the prekeistolen.
A photo showing the beautiful scenery that is a result of fall. The leaves which are green, turn to different colours before dropping to the ground.
When we were beginning the trekk, I didn't know that it will take us too long to get up. All the same, it was refreshing to walk in the fresh air of the mountains. After more thatn two hours of walking, talking, resting, eating ald laughing,we finally got there; The Prekeistolen.
Prekeistolen is a famous destination for many tourists. There are many people going up there. The people are of different nationalities and they come et differnt times. For instance, as we began our climb, we met with other people who prabably had been there earlier to see sunrise. On our way back, we met many others who were probably going to see sunset.
As you would guess, we got to the top tired and hungry. We definately needed something to rejuvenate our bodies, and some quick berbecue did the trick. I haven't done berbecue before. You can however notice how a good speactator I was as Samy and Knut (pictured) prepared the fire for the berbecue.
You can be sure that my looking down at the fjord took alot of Courage. All the same, the good thing was that the trip ended when I was in one piece, and I was glad to have seen amazing sites of God's creation.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
My friends Torstein and Inki in Stavanger.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Languge and Culture.
Language is one of the major constituents of any culture. Although there are so many ways in which communication can be non verbal, no culture can be willing to forego this beautiful God Given gift.
Thus learning Norwegian is part of becoming Norwegian. Learning a new language is not easy. It really needs alot of effort. I ahve been learning Norwegian since we came. Monica has been teaching us in class. However, to practise and learn more, I have a 'personal' teacher. Her name is Ingrid. She is a Lady full of Energy as you can see in the Photo below.
There are off course many other Norwegian students that have helped to practise speaking Norwegian. My regards go to all of them.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Home away from Home.