We have just returned from our annual teaching visit to Norway which is a highlight in our diary. For the past thirty years or so our visit has been centred on teaching at the Ga Ut centre in Hurdal, but this has now been closed, so our programme has changed.
Our visit started this time in Oslo at Fjellhaug Theological College. This is the centre for the Norwegian Lutheran mission which used to be associated with the China Inland Mission in China and it still has a strong concern for worldwide mission, although most of its students will work in Norway. Fjellhaug is biblically conservative and warm in their welcome to us. We have given some teaching there every year for many years, so know the ropes and feel at home both with the staff and with the set-up generally. They are now exploring a connection with All Nations which could be very good.
We moved on from Fjellhaug south to Porsgrunn to stay with our very good friends Per and Nora Gimse. Here I gave some seminars on Habakkuk for two evenings and then three hours on the Trinity on the Saturday before we both preached in different churches on the Sunday. Nora is minister for the local Free Lutheran church, so through her we relate to a variety of churches in that area. It is always a special joy to be with the Gimse family. Their three excellent boys are now grown-up, but always come home for the weekend when we are there, so we enjoy seeing them and sharing together. But sadly Per is now at an advanced stage of MS and cannot do anything for himself. He is amazingly patient and loves being in the family and at church. Nora’s parents live just five minutes walk away which is most helpful in loving support, in their shared love for China and in the abundant supply of honey, fruit and vegetables.
After the warmth and beauty of Porsgrunn we moved to Grimstad Bible School. I had been there once before, but it was Elizabeth’s first visit. Set on a slight hill above the fjord the views are splendid and we much appreciated the staff and students there. Now we are working on dates for next year in each place and we may perhaps add a Bible School in Trondheim where there will be a new Ga Ut course like previously in Hurdal.
Sadly we no longer have contact with Elizabeth’s wider Norwegian family – her grandmother was Norwegian. But our love for Norway still continues. It is such a privilege to be invited each year to teach in this most beautiful land.
Look out for another blog in a few days’ time when I will write something on the church situation in Norway today!