Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Alesund, Norway
No doubt I have complained too much about the spiritual condition of Norway (and all of Europe for that matter). But to me, (it may just be cultural personality influenced by Jente’s Law, I don’t know) but often Christians appear to hold a passive, internalized and unimposing faith. There are many exceptions, of course, like my friend Gunnar and others I have met.
One favorable and surprising thing happened in Alesund. After I settled into my hotel. I decided to take a quick orientation walk at about eleven in the morning. I followed the map but soon discovered that I had gone the wrong way so I cut through an alley that should have been a short-cut to the water front. Out of the door of an apartment building came a robust looking young man with a big beard and one of those ”outdoorsy” looks. He was with a little, “light as a feather” blonde and this made an odd match. They started to walk in the same direction as I but both me and they came to a construction site which made it clear we could go no farther so we turned together in the same direction leaving this blind alley behind.
The fellow, in a bold “English” accent asked if I was on holiday. I told him in rather vague terms that I worked here in Europe then asked where he was from and what he did. He was South African and a surfing instructor (in a wet suit, of course). The conversation turned back to me about what I did and as I explained I saw immediate recognition sweep over his face. He went on to say that they were only up for the day but living about an hour and a half away in Volda. This is the very same small village where I am staying and doing ministry.
I decided to ask if he was a “follower of Jesus” and he was more than a little enthusiastic to make his claim to the faith.
It was a positive moment, a lily blooming in the desert! We both felt the meeting to be a divine appointment. This seemed almost an utter impossibility that on a street in Alesund, I would meet a South African believer who just happens to live in the same village where I hang my hat. I hope that my story about the Saturday night university outreaches and the conversion of Charlene spark a fire in him to come and help.
While in my room above the church on Friday morning I received a phone call from Carl asking if I’d like to get together and arrangements were immediately made to meet at the student center, Rokken in the early afternoon. There over coffee we shared testimonies and our journeys. He had quite a tale of conversion. They offered to come hear me preach on Sunday evening. I suspect we will likely stay in touch.