Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Another Small Post

Wow, looking back at the stats of my posts last year I realized how poorly I have done on keeping up.  I have a million excuses, but none that I will use here.

I did want to say, as we begin this new year, that I am incredibly blessed.  Thinking back over the almost 39 years of my life is well weird (because I always though that next to 40 would be really old), but amazing to see all the people that have come in and out of my life.  The Lord has blessed me with so many friends spread around this globe of His.  I am thankful for each of you (sorry, can't name everyone).  My life has been shaped and molded by conversations, smiles, hugs, confrontations, etc.  that stitch together who I am and so many that have lead me closer to Jesus.

As I think of all of you I cannot begin to express how much I miss you guys.  So remember to hug the friends in your life today because it may be that God has them there for only a time.

And thank you to everyone who has ever invested in my life.

Old pic, but I thought it was really cute! I think David is really trying to smile here.  

Monday, January 07, 2013

Another interesting year

This is a guest post from Andreas, trying to wrap up 2012 (yes, it is a little late). It's been quite the year...
It seems that our family never has a "normal" year. For instance, Laurie and I have been married over 15 years and during that time we have moved 16 times...and out of those 16 there were three moves across the Atlantic ocean. Clearly, other people move more often and into more challenging environments, but for us it means that this thing called "normal" is harder to pin down. It's like waiting for the ocean to be completely calm and then deem than state normal, when in fact the normal state for an ocean is to be constantly in motion.

By far, the biggest "wave" on our ocean this year was moving to Norway. Oh, the irony (at least for me, Andreas). As a Swede, Norway has always been the butt-end of jokes and ridicule, all harking back to the fact that Sweden used to own Norway and that Sweden used to beat the tar out of Norway in that most important part of life...sports. So, for decades Sweden used to trounce Norway in every single sport imaginable (including winter sports) and we made sure that those happy, flag-waving, knitted-sweater wearing blondes knew it...until of course the 2000s when Norway turned things around and are now taking us (Swedes) to school in all those winter sports that used to be our source of national pride and, well, taunting. Here you see the Norwegian ski star, Northug, carrying the Swedish flag across the finish line just so it, in fact, would cross it at all that day...and here I am, a Swede in Norway.

But it is not all bad. In fact, Laurie and the boys are doing rather well with the move. The Lord helped us find a very nice little house that we are slowly turning into a home. We live in a small town of 7000 people about as far away from the fjords and the mountains as possible, which is another little dose of irony. Laurie is staying a home, helping David adjust to his third culture in less than two years. They go to something called "open childcare" twice a week and will hopefully transition into part-time daycare this spring...IF we can afford it. Yeah, the rumors are true, the richest country in the world (or one of them) is also one of the most expensive countries in the world. It's weird to go back to Sweden to shop for food, a 30 minute drive, since compared to the USA, Sweden is super expensive.

Samuel is in third grade and although he really misses Sweden and his friends I don't know anyone who makes friends as fast as him. He is more or less fluent in Norwegian already and made his stage debut at the Christmas play this year, reciting some poem. I asked him if he was nervous being on stage before hundreds of people. He answered: "-No, pappa. Why are people nervous?". Why indeed?

The reason for our move was that the United Methodist church in Sweden died (or moved on to greener pastures due to its merger with two other churches in Sweden...it all depends on how you see it). In any case, I really didn't agree with the "new" church on many different levels and the simple fact is that I found my disagreements to be so severe that I would rather move to Norway and stay within the United Methodist Church than join this new thing in Sweden. Part of the reason for our move was also that my congregation in Alingsas, Sweden, where I served as pastor closed its doors after over 125 years, which meant that we would have had to move in either case.
The Norwegian UMC appointed me to pastor the church in Mysen. It is a small but beautiful church and despite its old age showing some very promising signs for the new year. As you might imagine, the church in Norway, or Scandinaiva for that matter, isn't exactly riding the wave of public popularity. In fact, the largest organized group in Norway outside the state church is the Atheist group. Nevertheless, the Lord has called people here to share the good news of Himself, so that is what I, and we, do.

Amazingly, Laurie had had a peace about this from the very beginning, which was back in June of 2011. Few men are blessed like I am with a wife so supportive and so hungering for God, as this move would have been incredibly hard without her support. The thing is, we didn't want to move. We really enjoyed our life in Sweden. I don't think I could have done this move if she hadn't been such a great wife. I know her reaction to this blogpost will be denying it, but those of you who know her know what I am taking about. She is a wonderful person and totally hot...but I alone may utter that second thing.

Before I post some random pictures from our 2012 I just want to mention that totally awesome little thing that started in 2012 and will really take shape in 2013...our project of starting an orphanage in Nepal. What started as a dream and a framed one-dollar bill back in 2006 has now turned into a very real possibility of helping some orphans in Nepal. We are flying to Nepal in February for ten days to meet with our contact person and set up the logistics of it all. Our hope is to have a location/building and a board for the orphanage and some potential people to hire all set up. Lord know how and when this is going to happen, which is why we simply turn to Him for advice or plans.
You can follow the progress and get involved by going to www.becauseoftwo.blogspot.com, or visiting us on Facebook.

May the triune God of holiness and love bless your 2013 and protect you from all evil!