Hello and welcome to me trying to attempt to summarise the past month into a single blog post… It’s been a bit if a crazy month, so let me briefly break it down:
- I’ve been woken up at 3am, whilst wild camping, by loud electro music and made to do aerobics
- I live in an old prison, and yes there are bars on the windows
- It took me 3 weeks to realise I was saying the Norwegian word for no wrong, which now makes me understand why I kept getting weird looks when I attempted to speak Norwegian…
- My DTS team represents 7 countries and my accent gets imitated everyday, but no one has hacked it quite yet
- I eat 4 meals a day #winning
- I live with the BEST people and I’m 100% loving life!!
If you’re reading this and you have no idea what’s going on, let me explain! After finishing working @ Min y Don Christian Adventure Centre in Wales on September the 8th, I went back to Bedford for what seemed like the quickest 10 days of my life and prepared for my new adventure, starting a Discipleship Training School called Impact DTS in Skien, Norway with Youth With a Mission (YWAM).
On Tuesday the 18th of September, after packing, unpacking and repacking the night before (classic Hannah) I flew to Oslo and after a 12 hour journey, I arrived in my new home in YWAM Skien! I was then met by the welcoming staff and students of the DTS… In Impact there are 3 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 Germans, 2 Norwegians, 1 from Papua New Guinea, 1 from Sweeden and me, and I couldn’t wish for better people to do the next 9 months with!! There is also another school called a DBS running here in Skien which started 3 weeks before us and they, as well as all the staff here, made us feel SO loved and welcome, everyone here is pretty great so I settled in straight away!
This is my new home:
Now as you imagine when you start to live with new people you get to know them pretty quick! However, bonding on DTS came pretty quickly as within a day of arriving we’d been told we’d be going on a ‘Wilderness Trip’ that weekend. However, all was top secret until the day before we left, on Friday the 21st of Sept. All we were told is that we were going camping and to be prepared to leave in the middle of the night! This is when we realised that this was not going to be your average camping trip (to anyone who went to Soul Survivor with me, this was no SS camping!!) This is all we knew…
- We were not told how many days we would be away for
- We had no clue where we were going
- We could only takes 5 things with us
- No watches, no phones but LOTS of questions
So to break it down, this is what went down that weekend:
- We were told to go and find a river on the other side of Skien, but you guessed it, no maps! We had to find a stadium , then had to go find the a street which has the most Norwegian name (I can’t even say it, let alone attempt to spell it!!) Next we had to find house number 87 and then turn left… simple right? Thank God we have 2 Norwegians to ask people where on earth to go!!
- When we eventually found this river, we paired up and canoed down it to the next point. Despite 3 people ending up in the water due to all the canoes getting stuck, it was a pretty great! This time we did have a map, which included these 3 instructions:
- Don’t die
- Don’t get lost
- Eat your breakfast (at one stage this LOVELY trip was supposed to start at 5am by waking us up by the fire alarm, luckily plans changed due to the weather so we started at 9:30, PRAISE THE LORD)
- We then hiked for a little bit, ended up canoeing again and found where we camping! Now having lived in Wales for the summer months I’d got used to lots of hills being around, but I’d never seen anything quite like this place! It was just breathtaking, Norway nature is pretty jaw dropping and if you’ve never seen it, GET HERE!!
- After we arrived, we set up camp, including making our very own nature toilet
- We then split into 2 teams, Team Europe and Team World, and did team challenges. It started with making dinner over the fire and ended with playing catch with eggs in the dark – my walking boots will never be the same again…
- The evening continued with us having prayer and worship by the campfire!! It was such a dream worshipping with my new little family in God’s breathtaking creation!
- When we later found out the timings, it turns out we finished worship around 11:15pm so naturally we all were quite tired by this point, but oh no we were not finished yet! The team challenges continued with us running up and down a hill in the dark trying not to get found in order to get to the top to reach the “unreached people group” (some of our staff having a ball dancing round a fire)
- By the time this had finished it was around 12:30, but wow did it feel so much later (not knowing the time really does throw you off!!)
Now I don’t know what your camping trips have been like, but I can guarantee ours may have been a bit of a different experience!
- At 3am we were awoken to this loud electro music booming on speakers and our leaders shouting “GET UP GET UP GET UP” and what do you know 20 seconds later we were doing aerobics, you know, as you do! As cruel as this sounds however, they did give us hot chocolate and buns afterwards, which I still think was an attempt to butter us up, but I won’t lie they were pretty darn good
- The next day we woke up to the most beautiful morning, made breakfast, packed down the camp and then the team challenges continued!
- A few hours later we were back in the canoes and were then met by the vans to take us back to the base where we would find out about phase 2, which we later found out to our relief was eating dinner!!
Now apart from everything smelling like smoke (*disclaimer* when washing your clothes do NOT tumble dry woolly hats, it won’t end well as I had the joy of discovering…) being very very VERY tired and nearly losing Josef aka the ‘Sweed’ who claimed that he didn’t get lost, we just didn’t know where he was… it was SUCH a good weekend where we all grew so much closer together as staff and students and despite our many “is it nearly overs?” was a weekend that I’m sure we’ll never forget!!
These are the people on my DTS: (from the left) Elle, Janina, Josef, me, Sunniva, Marilyn, Stephen, Max, Hayden and Roald
The weeks that followed luckily involved no more 3am wake ups to do aerobics, however did include 3 fire alarms… luckily no fires though!
Days at YWAM start at 6:45am for breakfast, followed by cleaning for 30 minutes, quiet time and then teaching starts at 8:30am.
So far in teaching we have studied Hearing God’s voice and The Father Heart of God, and my mind has already been blown! We have been so blessed to be able to be taught by so many great teachers, some including guest speakers from all around the world! Getting to learn together, laugh together, cry together, worship together, pray both for each other and with each other and do life with all these people here in Skien is such a joy and I honestly can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next 8 and a half months!!
This past week, from Friday the 5th to Tuesday the 9th of October, my team and I travelled to the mountains to a place called Fyresdal. We were there to help lead a Norwegian Youth Camp lead by one of the Church’s here in Skien! I think it’s safe to say it was a new adventure for the majority of us; the main focus of our DTS is youth ministry but not many of us had ever been to a Norwegian youth camp before, but wow was it incredible! Getting to talk, pray, worship and laugh with these kids was such a joy and their hunger to know more reminded me why I have such a heart and passion for youth work!! An extra bonus was that Fyresdal is one of the most beautiful places EVER!!
Well there you have it, my attempt at writing just a snapshot of what’s been happening here in Skien in the past 3 and a half weeks!! There’s been so much more happening, including evangelising on the streets of Skien, film nights and trying lots of new food (who knew brown cheese was a thing???)
The amount of stories that I already have of what God has been doing both here in YWAM and in my own life has just been amazing!! So if you can put up with hearing story after story, or if you ever want a catchup, have any questions on what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, please feel free to drop me a message and I would love to catchup and to talk !!
Sending all my love from Norway, Ha Det x