Friday, March 28, 2008

What has been up

I must start by apologizing for lack of a comprehensive blog. I have been working to finish my paper and book reports before the deadlines as well as the fact that I have been travelling a lot. May be I should start from the beginning of the month before the "missing out of a day". First I wrote a paper titled “Hans Nielsen Hauge: the Norwegian enigma of social, economic and religious revolution of the 19th century”. Hauge is the guy who was behind the beginning of the lay movements in Norway. He went through many hardships to bring about the revolution, at the background of pietism and enlightenment propagated by the Lutheran State church of the day. It was an academic experience to write the paper and I learnt a lot from his life. The paper can be found at Hald international Centre and if you want to read more I could send you a copy.

I took a ten days holiday from 5th of March to 15th. Four of these days were to be spent in Trondheim a city far north visiting Pamela and Faith, fellow students at Hald form Uganda. It was an interesting experience to be in a train for 15 hours having a beautiful view of the Norwegian landscape, from the snow covered mountain to the frozen pools of water to the smilingly “dry” trees without leaves it was all fantastic. I got to meet Ingrid a former Hald student and many other people and this deserved a chapati night one of the days.

Above: receving an Easter egg form Ingrid, cooking chapati with Faith, and Palmela and Faith doing a comon dance at Hald in the kitchen.. ah ah ah.

I also visited the biggest cathedral in Norway and it is the only of its kind left in Europe. The architecture of this building is first amazing imagining the it was made about 850 years ago.

The Cathedral in Trondheim (front view)

The students' fellowship in this town is amazing. I felt like I had been there for years through the discussions and the one hour and a half long service followed by the normal talks till past midnight. I also attended a gospel consert, a sunday service and a baptisim service.

Later that Sunday I took another train for 17hours to Bergen. My host was Marija the Hald student from Montenegro. On the first day I joined Marija to her work in the office and in the evening fellowship on Tuesday where I was sharing God's word. Bergen is a beautiful city with lots of nice sites. I visited the museum of natural history which was amazing seeing skeletons of whales as long as 24 meters captured in the 1850s among many other beautiful things.

Below: A section of the Bergen city in the background and above Marija the Hald student working in Bergen

It is always refreshing to be in a fellowship and even more amazing when it is about 2500 people from more than 40 nations gathered together in worship, fellowship and holy communion. I think I celebrated this years easter in a unique way and with people may be I will never meet again. Yet it was a very fulfiling one. This was at Linz in the IFES Europe students' eveangelism confrence. There were two plenary sessions every day, seminars and prayer time. I captured two thoughts from the plenary sessions one on building relationships as a way of reaching out to our friends with the Gospel and secondly on sin being who we are, that is the condition of the human heart rather than being just what we do hence it is only Jesus who can clean us from that not by our good deeds.

I attended a seminar on communicating across the cultures. Here we explored the various differences between cultures, how the differences hinder us from reaching out to people of other cultures and how we can overcome the barriers in the context of reaching out to the international students. This was a good place for me to be considering one of the groups I work with is the International Christian Union at the University of Stavanger. The challenge for me is now to move what I learnt from mental knowledge to actual practice though with very little time left before the practice period is over. I made several friends for the few days we were in the confrence, one key place for that was the cafe that we run in evenings.

Timo from the Netherlands. He is an amazing young man filled with passion and confidence in his faith.
I couldn't help but just imagine how it would be if all of us who were in the confrence would go hence and reach out to one student in the next one year. As John Stot said that IFES is the most strategic ministry of our time. I contend that the best moments to influence peoples life is at this point because the faith in Jesus affects our choice of career, the person we are going to marry, the way we are going to live the rest of our lives etc. And those choices are being made at this age!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Missed out a day!

In the last few days from the beginning of this month I have been travelling a lot. It first started with a 15hours train journey to Trondheim where I visited my friends for 5 days. Later I moved to Bergen about 16hours on a train, a lot of fun and good landscape to look at. My coming back from Bergen was by boat where I became sea sick and the last two hours of the journey were something I wish I could forget. That was on 15th.

I was to travel to Oslo to join the team going to Austria for a conference. So I woke up early this morning (Monday) in readiness to go to catch the train at 10.25am as I had booked. I got there about 45 min before the supposed train. But I just thought of confirming my tickets by giving it another look. Wahh!! I should have traveled yesterday 16th. I couldn’t believe it so I looked up for a calendar to confirm if the dates or the day was wrong, but neither, I shook my head a bit just to make sure I was fully awake but the paper was right. I had missed a train by a day!!!!

I am now seated in my room writing this as I wait for the next train at 13.45pm. My team leader had to buy for me another ticket costing almost double the first one. Well if you talk about missing time, I missed a day!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Thursday last week was both a historical and a day of turn around for Kenya. I took the bus too Mandal at 11:15 am from Stavanger. Joe and I were headed for a partners meeting at Hald, to meet our contact person form home. The jorney was cool as ever, I enjoyed the landscape which is now full of clean flowing water from the melted snow, these made graceful site all the way. My thoughts went far and wide to different things for the three hours I was in the bus. At some point I was thinking about leadership in; what informs leaders decision making process? What is the cost of excellent leadership? Do we have servant leaders in the world? What makes excellent leaders? I was also reading a book by Noel M. Tichy titled "The Leadership Engine", I came across this statement in the book: ''Leadership is a holistic pattern of thought processes, attitudes and behaviours. Each leader has different weights placed on different attributes, and each has his or her own teachable points of view. One thing they have in common, though; is that they have developed their winning attitudes, behaviors and points of view by reflection on their lives and by examining thier experiences. And at the end, they have developed a complete and workable leadership style''.

Well many things may be said about The Kenyan leaders who on this day made the power sharing deal. I think they have made many mistakes in the past but what they did that day to many Kenyans is a true sign of leadership going beyond personal intrests. I hope for a new dawn!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sweaty winter..

You may ask what I have been up to sweating at -3 degrees. A story was told some where of a time a pastor sheduled for a meeting with a prominent leader was taking a walk with his wife. And he said to the wife, ''when I think of meeting this guy my mouth gets dry'' then he paused and continued, ''and my plams get sweaty''. Then the wife said to him, ''why don't you leak your palms!!'' May be I have been having some palm leaking sessions??? But not in the same context.

It has been too hot to be dressed...

I have been out doing winter sports in the last two weeks. Down hill skiing and also cross country. It has been fun though with multiple falls but I can do much now. The first day every part of me was in pain for days but before long I was out again skating and latter skiing. That is how I have been sweting through out the season. Actually Norwegians have a common saying that goes someting like; 'there is no bad weather, you just have to dress for it''. I think it is true. It would be hard to live here and not do some of this thing, again there is too much snow here to let it go just like that...

Above; left getting ready for down hill skiing in Sirdal. Once in a while a big fall happened!! Bellow: cross country skiing in Sauda.

Well skating again was a good game too and I managed better than before. Sometimes I felt like a baby learning to walk. May be I am a big baby in this.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The big picture

It has taken quit sometime since I wrote last, but many great things have been happening here. It all started with drawing a road map for the next three months of my stay in Stavanger. First doing a stock check for the last months, picking some leasons, dreaming what it should be like from here or seeing the end at the begining and waking up from the dream to the realities of the good challanges. That is not usually a big deal, the job is to make it happen, drawing the line between essentials and non-essentials and waking up every morning fired up or compelled by the vision.

I got up to a normal Tuesday on 22nd Jan, this day is usually the day I work in the University with the Christian students. This was one of those days that I wake up whisteling some melodies of relaxation knowing that there is no much pressure to get going. I was so well on time to get the bus to town and was walking to catch the connecting bus in town to the campus when I got a call form the Laget leader. It was about 30 min to the start of the fellowship, and he briefly explained that the speaker of the day had fallen sick and so he was looking for a replacement and it was good that I share. In normal cases it takes me about six hours to make a sermon. I was on the road and worse still in the relaxed mood back in the house, I somehow forgot my bible and most likely in that meeting it is usually my team mate and I who carry english bibles. I made an effort to get Joe to wait for me at the bus stop so that I could have some time to prepare the sermon in the bus using his bible. On the opposite seat in the bus sat a young man who gave me one of the most strange looks I had ever seen, he might have come a cross a bus preacher before may be. I almost said, ''sir I have no itentions what so ever to do it here''. As I read through some few verses from Joe's big bible, and when I say big I mean exactly that, I decided to assume the looks of any other passagers and I also mumbred a prayer after few checks. In ten minutes the bus stoped and there I was in the meeting. After the meeting one student asked me, ''you must have taken sometime to prepare?'' Another one who new the story just bursted into a loud laughter. Don't try this at home!!!

What amazed me that day is what I had never seen before in two separate scriptures that I had read many times before. The first was from 1Kings 19:9b-18. Here Elijah had run away from Jezebel. On the mountain the Lord calls him, gives him some job to do and also reassures him that he is not alone. In Mark 3:14-16 Jesus calls the apostles so that they can be with him, they can be sent to preach the gospel and that they can be empowred. The correlation here is that in both there is; first the call, secondly the commision or task and then finally the reassurance and empowerment. How unique it is that God has the big picture beyond the insecurities and fear when we come to him.

Before long impuls was here!! I had looked forward for this time so much and I wasn't dissapointed. It was a confrence where more than 3000 teens gathered for a weekend of praise, worship, fellowship, prayer and teaching. I got a chance to experience the future of Norwegian church in these teens. It is going to be energetic, convicted and enthuthiastic about the gospel. Everyone was fired up and excited about knowing the Lord and relating with him. The first night a bunch of 60 of them matched forward to commit themselves to the Lord, it takes a while to have tears on my eyes expecially in public, but that night I just ''noticed''. I had a nice time of fellowship with God and people, isn't it amazing how our faith in Christ is personal and yet something we can all share together and celebrate. The joy of being in Christ in someones heart is undesputable, it is only them who know what they feel as a result of being in Christ and them alone know what he has done for them. Testimonies of lives changed, challenged and encouranged all in one place from the same message, is just a show of God's focus on us as individuals and yet as a body. I love it!!

Above: The main hall at impuls, Cerine and Edson. Below: Left, Tueg Tueg and Nan and right confrence participants and myself at the Hald stand.

Monday, January 21, 2008

One more time

One amazing thing is how time just moves fast. Once, one of my teachers back in high school told me that time is a rotating commodity that can never be equal to human demand, may be it is true. And may be it also depends on the matrix of time measurement. I have learnt the later really matters from person to person; for some is how much has been done to others is how has it been done, and for others still it is because there will be time in the future. Well, judge for yourself the best for you. With the New Year I think it is another chance to become better, I can almost shout; God has done it again!!!

I started the year in Exit 07/08, seminars, fellowship, games, dinner and outreach not forgetting the fireworks is just but a mention of the activities over those 4 days. Am sure the photos below say it all. It was a teens’ camp and that is where I thrive too. My team mate and I also conducted a joint seminar on manuscript bible study too. Every time I went to bed during the camp I was fulfilled that I live my best, I was also glad that I was there.

It was nice to be back at Hald on 1st of January ready for infield. It felt so homely as well as exciting to see all the international students. We all gathered loaded and waiting to share our diverse experiences, this was the way to ‘kill’ the night and topics for walks on the snow. In the west coast where I live, there is it much snow and I hadn’t seen much of it so the whitening of everything looked beautiful, and a game on the snow wasn’t so bad either.

Below: snow ball game and a look of hald during winter compare with below during summer.

Finally I am back home, I mean Stavanger it has already become a home. I missed the student fellowship and the great moments with my room mates. Am sure this time will seam so short but am energized to utelise it the maximum, it is a one more time to learn and grow.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Through it all

The thoughts of Christmas are so refreshing and energizing, it wasn't over yet until the swim on the 27th. This was an eager time too as it was the voting day in Kenya my home land. I had and I still have great hopes for my lovely country. There are many thoughts and statements about the situation but I think the most important thing that goes beyond politics and individual interests is chastity of life. Well, how this can be focus for everybody is one thing I never figure out. I must be honest that the aftermath of the elections has left me heart broken and I really didn't feel like I wanted to say anything about my stay until now. There is this song that has made my thought through this time;

Through it all by Ray Boltz

I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong:
But in every situation God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come to only make me strong.

Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

I've been to lots of places,
And I've seen a lot of faces,
There've been times I felt so all alone;
But in my lonely hours,
Yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus let me know that I was His own.

Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms
He brought me through;
For if I'd never had a problem
I wouldn't know that He could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do.

Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

The strongest thing I believe for now is that soon things will be fine home and life back to business.