The Girl and The Ocean / Jenta og havet

as told by Tincy Mathai 

I want you to picture the ocean. You’re standing on the coast, whichever coast that is, looking out. Can you find the end? Look with all your might, and shy of that island in the distance, can you fathom the distance from one end to another?

     I was speaking at a church right in the heart of the city, at a youth group that a friend of mine from DTS (Discipleship Training School) leads. I was slated to give a devotion that night, I think it was something on God’s peace. The room, Norwegian-style cozy and candle lit, the light warm and inviting in the face of Norway’s January cold. Some other adults bustled around, taking care of some of those practical needs, candles and cake. Some of the teens began to file in, some from Iraq and Syria, and some from Norway.

    The devotion begins, and ends, uneventfully. Afterwards, my friend and I begin to pray for people. She is quiet, at first, she doesn’t say much. As I begin to pray for her, I saw the ocean. Picture it with me again, vast, endless, steady, grand, and unfathomable. And I heard that still, small voice.

      “ Do you know how much I love her? Can you measure the ocean? It’s that big, there’s no end.”

      I looked at this girl, small and quiet, and I say, “I got this picture, a picture of the ocean, and as I got it, I heard God say this. He said, do you know how much I love her? Can you measure the ocean? It’s that big, there’s no end.”

     As I watched the words sink in, I watched the tears began to fall, as she realized the grandness of the love of God for her. Here in Norway, we are no stranger to the vastness of the ocean. The ocean as an endless entity is a fact that surrounds us daily.

    My friend and I continued to pray for people, and we ended the night. As I headed through the January chill towards my bus stop, a car pulled up alongside me, and the girl’s mom, one of the ones helping with the cake and candles before the meeting, offered me a ride home. Grateful for the reprieve from the sharp cold, we were talking about the night, and I told her how wonderful her daughter was. From the corner of my eye, I saw tears begin to form in this mom’s eyes, as she told me of the conversation that her and her daughter had been having.

     “She’s gotten that picture of the ocean often, all the time actually, but never knew what it means, what it meant, all these times she’s seen it. But tonight, she realized how much God loves her.”

      Picture the ocean with me again. Endless. Powerful. Relentless. Persistent. Next time you picture the ocean, or next time you stand on the shore, think of the love of God. Think of the girl and the ocean, and the way God’s love pursues us persistent like the ocean waves never stop crashing up against the shore, and the lengths he will go so we are sure of that love.

 

Tincy is returning to staff the BSN (Bible School for the Nations) here in Kristiansand with husband Hari and daughter, Stefania. This story was a part of Tincy’s BSN outreach as a student in the 2016/17 BSN.

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Ask A Student…

This fall, we have asked some of our students about their experience with BSN and DTS here at our base. To reflect the dual nature of this fall, with the BSN and DTS running simultaneously, we’ve added twice the content this time! In today’s interview you’ll hear from Renske and Thorbjørn. Enjoy!

Renske

Renske

Tell me something about yourself?

My name is Renske and I’m from the Netherlands. Some people know it as Holland. It’s the same country but some people think it’s different. I have three sisters and both my parents are still together, so that’s a blessing. I was born in a Christian family and I was able to go to Christian schools so I learned a lot about God. I really love to just spend time with friends — just enjoying and being together. I love traveling a lot. I have a boyfriend and he’s from Africa. We’re having this long distance relationship which is kinda hard but it’s also cool to have a boyfriend.

Why are you here?

The reason why I’m here is to do the BSN (Bible School of the Nations). You read through the whole Bible in four months and learn what’s in the Bible and how you can read the Bible. After, we’re going to go on outreach to teach people how to read the Bible and what God is trying to communicate to us through the Bible. I really felt like God was calling me to do it because my foundation was not very strong in Him and it’s good to have a strong foundation in Him for the rest of your life.

What has God done in your life so far here?

I think it started in the DTS. I knew about God before that but now I know more about God’s truth — that He’s loving me and that He made me with a purpose. He healed me from insecurities, depression, and also some addictions. I’m still in the healing process but those are some of the things He’s done in my life here.

Can you share a story where God has taught you something?

So I was at B­City — that is a Christian ministry in Kristiansand where people can come to at night. There was this guy there who really wanted to know more about God and wanted to be prayed for because he had been really scared for a few years. We prayed for him and afterwards we went with him to a quiet room where he wrote down all his sins. After that, we went outside and burned all the papers and prayed freedom over his life. He wanted to be saved, so we prayed the salvation prayer with him. Afterwards, we encouraged him and felt a lot of joy!

If you could say one thing to the world, what would you say?

That God loves you. Because I think that is what God is trying to communicate to us — that He really loves us and that He just wants us to be with Him. That is the purpose of our life. So yeah, that is the thing I would communicate to the world.

 

Torbjørn

Thorbjorn

Why are you here?

I’m here because I have this longing and hunger inside me to get to know God and to let Him hold me, to let Him use my life as He wants to use it. And I just felt that God told me to be here. He just lead me to this point and now I’m here.

What has God done in your life so far?

God has always been there, always had control. He’s been my rock. He’s been my foundation. He has always looked after me. When I look at my life, I just see that God has always been there. He’s always made my life good and He’s always faithful. He’s always there with me in good days and in bad days. And He always gives me so much joy and so much pleasure. For me, I can’t imagine a life without Him. That is so empty—life without Him.

Can you share a story where God has taught you something?

One concrete thing is a bit hard, I think, because there are so many things. God has worked with me throughout the entire DTS. He has reminded me of many things and shown me what has prevented me from getting closer to Him. God has also reminded me of things that make me so glad to be in His presence — just to get to know Him better and to learn so much about Him.

If you could say one thing to the world, what would you say?

Trust the Lord and your life will be so good.

 

You can continue to follow the blog for more updates from other DTS students and our outreach teams! Please continue to remember all the students and staff in your prayers.

Everyday life in Cambodia

Our journey began the 5th of January, when seven excited young DTS students and staff boarded a plane leaving Norway.  After thirty hours of traveling, we arrived in Cambodia, where we would stay for nine weeks. During our layover in Bangkok, we spent three hours at the airport where we arrived, and at the last minute (technically hour) we realized we were at the wrong airport. Where we needed to be was a 45 minute bus ride away. But thanks to God (and our fearless leaders), we made it to the right airport on time and arrived in Siem Reap safe and sound.

We spent our first week in Cambodia in a hostel not far from the city center in Siem Reap.  Our time here was used on team building, which included lots of prayer, worship and seeking God together. Not to mention getting used to the city, food and the heat (the transition from Norwegian winter to Cambodian dry season was harder than we thought). One day, we even had a prayer walk in a temple in the city center and did some street evangelism.

After our week in Siem Reap, we traveled to our first ministry location, Po Peyl, which is located an hour outside of the city. We worked with a missionary couple from the Philippines and their church planting ministry. Our responsibilities for the next three weeks included teaching English class, Bible studies, and sharing testimonies and devotions. When starting to prepare for the first week, we thought that there were only six classes. When we got to the village we learned that there were 24 classes every week. We were not expecting it, but we all joined in the preparations and teaching and had lots of fun with the youth and children.

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With some of the missionaries and children in Po Peyl village 

Outside of teaching, we were involved in community fun-nights, prayer meetings and feeding programs with the children. During the feeding programs, we played games with the kids, removed lice and washed their hair, cut their nails and helped serve them a big meal. We have also gone on “house visits,” where we got to visit and talk with the locals and where we learned a lot about Cambodian culture and traditions. Plus, we were always offered coconuts during these visits! We had a tight schedule everyday, so when there was time off it was always a race to reach the two hammocks.

In addition, we also helped build a fence around the property where this ministry is located. This has made for a funny story. We found that many ants lived here. The first day while clearing the area where we would build the fence, we helped the “The wall of Jericho” fall down, and then we conquered the Kingdom of Ants. In other words, we cleared the area of land where we were preparing to build a fence. Let’s just say the ants were not happy about us cutting down their home. Just imagine seven white people jumping around and yelling in the bushes, while the locals were laughing.

Every Saturday morning, we all traveled back to Siem Reap for a small house church service of eight members (plus our team of seven). All in all, we were five different nationalities. Being in such a small and humble church was very inspiring. Often we think we need to be in large congregations to have powerful worship. While we worshipped at this church, we sang the lyrics “every tongue will confess you are God” in five different languages at the same time. For many of us, it was a very powerful moment and we really felt God’s presence. It was meaningful to all of us to be a part of the everyday life of these missionaries and to truly experience how it is to be in long-term missions (as short term missionaries ourselves). It is inspiring to see how they rely on God for everything and how they include God in everything.

We are excited to see what the rest of outreach has for us!

– Kelsey Lersbak and Elin Iversen (DTS students) 

Learning from the Local Church in Hammerfest

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During our time in Finnmark with Bible to All, we had the privilege of cooperating with some of the local churches in Hammerfest. Not only did the local churches help with many practical details of this trip- arranging places for our team members to stay, providing food, and transportation in Hammerfest- but they were also a vital part of making the outreach happen. We are so thankful for the help they provided and for the new friends we made during our time in Hammerfest!

Filadelfia church in Hammerfest was our church home and “command center” for the week. Not only did some of Filadelfia’s church members open their homes to us, but this church also became our “second home” during the day, where we met for team meals, where we packed Bibles, gathered for worship and prayer, and warmed up in the evenings when we we gave out Bibles.

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We also had the help of the pastor and members from the local Methodist church. The pastor of the Methodist church, Per, was one of our main contacts in Hammerfest. He has a strong commitment to his church and city, and it was so encouraging to see his passion for Jesus and his heart for his friends and neighbors in Hammerfest. He and others in the church joined us for giving out Bibles, and this made the project all the more personal for us- hearing and seeing how they knew or could follow up with the people we were handing Bibles to.

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Another member of the Methodist church, Richard, was one of our most faithful drivers, always offering us rides, whether we were on our way to give out Bibles, or if we needed rides to where we were staying (in the cold or up some of the steep hills of Hammerfest). He had a great sense of humor, always cracking jokes about how we could call him “King Richard” or about the awesome four-wheel-drive vehicle he drove. These church members showed us God’s love through both their words and deeds. They showed us how to live out the Gospel practically, through their hospitality and generosity, and through their words, by encouraging those around them and through prayer.

During our time in Hammerfest, our team’s perspective of God grew. Even when people turned down or did not accept a Bible, the local Christians reminded us of the “big picture”- that God will turn those interactions into something good. We were also encouraged to see the churches’ hope and expectation of how God will use this project for good. They talked about the opportunities they would have to follow up and connect with their co-workers and neighbors. Several hundred people in their city received Bibles, and there will be new opportunities for discipleship. New people might come to church, kids in school will talk about the Bible and their co-workers will ask questions. This created a new excitement in the churches we worked with- to see God do new things in Hammerfest. What a blessing to know the seeds we helped plant will continue to grow and receive water and nourishment, thanks to the local church!

Text: Ana Cline, Communications staff, YWAM Kristiansand                                                        Photos: Thomas Reinink

Giving out Bibles in Hammerfest

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This post originally appeared on the YWAM Norway blog, in connection to the Bible to All project. You can find the original post here

When we at YWAM Kristiansand first heard about the Bible to All project last spring, I think it’s fair to say we had some questions. What will this look like? How much will this cost? Is it practical? How will it be received?

But as we began to pray and seek God about this, we saw a bigger picture. Of his heart for Finnmark and Norway. Of the importance of his principles and truth. How he has created us to know him, and his great love for us. How he longs for all people to know this. Even in Finnmark. As we understood more of this, we’ve looked forward to joining this project.

Our team from YWAM Kristiansand arrived in Hammerfest on Monday night, after around 13 hours of traveling by first car, then plane and bus. We have around 30 people from or connected to YWAM Kristiansand (aka Skjærgårdsheimen) who are part of our team in Hammerfest- DTS students students and staff, YWAM staff, friends of YWAM staff, and both Norwegian and international team members. All of us were excited to come to this beautiful northern part of the country.

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When we arrived on Monday, we started preparing the Bibles and information we would give out, and then settled into the homes where we are staying. There are several families and individuals from local churches who are hosting us and working with us, providing places to stay, meals and transportation during our time here.

After some further preparation on Tuesday, we set out on Tuesday afternoon to deliver the Bibles. We were divided into pairs, and each pair is responsible for a different region or neighborhood of Hammerfest each night. By the end of the week, we will have reached nearly the whole city.

We gave one of the Bibles to a man who was on his way to work. His neighbor overheard us, and when he realized it was free, asked if he could receive a free Bible as well. Soon, another woman came out of the first apartment and asked if she could have one, too. When we asked if she had a Bible, she told us that she used to read from her grandmother’s Bible, but that she wanted her own. We had the joy of giving her a Bible and one for her daughter.

We trust that God is using our interactions and conversations with people to reveal more of himself to the city and people of Hammerfest. Please continue to pray with us for this project, for Hammerfest, for those that have and for those that have yet to receive a Bible.

Ana Cline, Communications staff at YWAM Kristiansand