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!

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