Roadtrips, Christmas and National Anthems

Hello, God Jul and happy holidays!!🎄🎄I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and have enjoyed your celebrations! It’s crazy to think that I’ve been here in Norway for over 3 months now and am 1/3 of the way through my DTS (Discipleship Training School!!) The past month has had many new adventures and new experiences, but also some sad goodbyes! Here’s an overview into what’s been happening…

  • We’ve been back working with Bible to all Østfold (Bibelen til alle Østfold), however this time just for the day in a place called Moss
  • We also have been back to the mountains in Edland to work with the youth there, in some rather interesting weather!!
  • My friends from England (Emma, Louise and Jasmine) and came to visit me🇬🇧🌹 we spent 4 days in Oslo and managed not to get that lost
  • It’s snowed… A LOT (and has not gone away!!)
  • I’ve spent my Christmas with 2 Americans, 2 Germans, a Norwegian and a Papua New Guinean here in Skien and it’s been a dream✨

Now the last time we got to work with “Bible to all” was in the beginning of November, where we helped with the Bible distribution in the county of Østfold (if you have no clue what I’m on about, I’ve written all about it in my last blog post) The objective of Bible to all (Bibelen til alle) is to give a free bible to every home in Norway. However, last time we didn’t quite get to finish, SO on December the 8th, we got to go back for the day to help distribute again! However this time, we were distributing in the snow ⛄️ As you can imagine, this created the opportunity to have a lot of fun (we’ll just forget about how cold it was!!) Now I’ve just about hacked driving the YWAM vans on the right (aka the wrong) side of the road, however driving in Norwegian winter, in the ice and snow, is a different story!! We got stuck a total of 7 times but it was such a laugh and it was so good to get to go back and help this worthwhile organisation again!

~ Me and the lovely Danish Julie, my partner for the day (we all were in pairs as we handed out the bibles)

Continuing the snowy roadtrips, a few days before “Bible to All” we got to go back to help at a youth group in the mountains in a place called Edland, just over 3 hours away from Skien. The last time we were in Edland was October the 31st, so it was good to go back, especially as there were a lot more kids there than the last time (we think Halloween may have been a contributing factor… however we would have been happy if just one kid showed up!!) However, despite having a little bit more experience in driving in snow, the journey on the way back from Edland was one no one was prepared for! There was 11 of us on this trip and we were split into 2 cars, Max (one of the Germans on my DTS) driving one and me driving the other. However, the fan in the car I was driving decided to stop working, meaning that it got increasingly harder to see, until I was driving with my head out the window!! Now this may sound entertaining, but believe me at the time it really wasn’t and when you’re driving in winter at 11 o’clock at night in Norway and you cannot see because the windscreen is fogged up, it’s really not fun 😅 This resulted in us pulling over a few times before we finally stopped and tried to figure out what to do. The solution? Pray. So all 11 of us from both cars got out and by the side of the road in the snow and at 11pm at night we started to pray. And, well, long story short, THE FAN STARTED TO WORK!! Our amazing Father is a God of healing, including cars!! Not really the day we had envisioned, but it’s definitely a day, and a testimony, we will not forget!

Christmas in Norway 🎄🎄

See I would say I’ve been in a Christmassy mood for around the last 2 months now, so you can imagine how happy I was when we had our YWAM Skien Christmas party to celebrate the season before most people headed home for Christmas break! Now I will always be loyal to a good British Christmas dinner (Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, turkey, parsnips and pigs in blankets YES please) but I’m telling you, the Norwegian’s sure know how to make a good Christmas dinner!! This included trying a lot of new food and drinking a lot of JuleBrus, which is basically ‘Christmas soda’ (that’s right, Norwegians love Christmas so much they have their own Christmas Soda?!!) Massive shoutout to the team that made all the food and to everyone that organised such a successful and fulfilled Christmassy night!!

Most people went home to their various home countries to celebrate Christmas, but 7 of us stayed in Skien and so we got to celebrate together! However before this, as soon as Christmas break started I went to Oslo for 4 days, as my friends from my hometown Bedford, in England, Emma, Louise and Jasmine, came to visit!! After not seeing them for 3 months, it was SO good to catchup and to explore Oslo (they didn’t like the cold so much…) I hadn’t really seen much of Oslo before, and so I felt like a proper tourist going around seeing things like the Royal Opera House and the changing of the guard at The Norwegian palace, as well as going Christmas markets✨

As soon as I had said goodbye to the girls and got back to Skien, I quickly got prepared for yet another road trip (yes we do road trip a lot!!) The 6 of us (myself🇬🇧, Carly🇺🇸, Marilyn🇵🇬, Janina🇩🇪, Stephen🇺🇸 and Max🇩🇪) went for 2 days to visit Roald, a Norwegian on our DTS who is from Arendal (WHERE FROZEN IS SET!!) Luckily this time no car fan’s decided to break, however we did get stuck for a bit in the snow… I’m now learning that this happens a lot in Norway! It was so lovely to go and stay in such a welcoming home and we were very grateful for Roald’s family’s hospitality (plus the food was absolutely incredible!!) We made a snowman, went sledging, got incredibly cold and had a very ‘koselig’ time! ~ 6/8 of the students on my DTS – Janina, Roald, Stephen, Max, myself and Marilyn

The journey back also proved entertaining, as the snow was very heavy and really did not want to stop – Massive shoutout goes to Max who drove so well and got us home safe despite all the lovely weather conditions (however we all think he just wanted to practice his wheel-spins)

Spending Christmas in Norway was very different to any other Christmas I’ve ever experienced. No we didn’t have Christmas crackers or the things I’m use to, but it was so nice to experience how different cultures celebrate the season (not to mention Norway celebrates on the 24th of December instead of the 25th!!) as well as celebrating with people from all over the world that I get to call my friends ❤️

As Christmas is now over and as we prepare for the new year and a new season, we sadly have had to say a lot of goodbyes. One of the hardest is to one of the girls on our DTS, the lovely Marilyn Arua, who left on December the 28th to go back to her home country, Papua New Guinea. Marilyn is a little bit different to the rest of us as she has been here in Skien since March instead of September like the rest of us on our DTS! Sadly her visa is now up and so she is returning home to PNG. Marilyn is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met and carries so much joy wherever she goes. She is beyond talented in so many areas and has been such an asset to our impact DTS family. Although we are all absolutely gutted that she is leaving, I’m sure I can say for all of us that we are so grateful that we got to do life with her the past 3 months and that she will be incredibly missed! Marilyn was one of my roomies and has become one of my closest friends here in Skien, but I know this is more of a ‘see you later’ than a goodbye! I can’t wait to see,and hear about, all the amazing things that God has in store for you!! We love you Marilyn ❤️

After we dropped Marilyn at the airport in Oslo, the rest of us ventured into Oslo. Now although 2 of us were Norwegian, somehow I still became the tour guide and navigator! Now if you’ve ever been on a road trip with me, you will know that this either went really well or absolutely awful… luckily we all still live to tell the tale!! We did some more sight seeing, attempted to become friends with a Royal Guard and fell over on a lot of ice – just your average day!

That evening I chose to stay in Oslo after they had all left as I was going to a conference run by Jesus Revolution called ‘Kingdom Come’. I’d met quite a few of the people in Jesus Revolution before at events like ‘Get Focused’ and credit to them, they sold this conference pretty well!! And well, it did not disappoint! It was so good to get to see and experience what God is doing through this amazing group of people!! Not to mention I had to sing the British national anthem, on the stage in front of the ENTIRE conference (thank you so much Sara Lang) Word of advice, always know your national anthem, just in case you get volunteered to sing it on a stage in front of 100 people (because that of course happens all the time, right?) It would be awkward if you forgot the words on the stage, not that I did that…

So there you have it, another month update in that madness that is my life! I hope you’ve enjoyed the read!! As usual if you have any questions, feel free to message me☺️💛

Happy new year!! / Godt Nytt År!!

Hannah x

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