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Two Experiences From the 1960s

By 16. October 2020November 1st, 2020Writings

The preaching in Norway in the 1960s was different from the preaching today. In some areas, no one had preached the good news for decades. And in contrast with today when most people are indifferent toward religion,  many householders, at that time, were eager to participate in conversations about the Bible.

My First Public Talk

In 1963, I was a pioneer (full-time preacher) in the Molde congregation on the western coast of Norway. The congregation had 15 members, and one of them was a fisherman who owned a fishing boat. Outside Molde, an hour’s journey by boat is the small island of Bjørnsund, which had about 200 inhabitants.

We wanted to preach to the island inhabitants, and the brother who owned the boat took us there. During the day, we visited all the homes on the island, and we had many interesting conversations with the inhabitants. I had prepared a public talk about the future of the earth according to the Bible, and we invited the islanders to this talk. There was no building on the island where the talk could be given, and so, I gave the talk on a piece of land facing a steep rock face.

My lecturn, or speaker-stand, was an oil barrel with a box, used to store fish, sitting on  top of it. It was a windy day, and so I used two pieces of rock to prevent my 20 handwritten pages from blowing away.  About 100 persons attended the 60-minute talk, and the picture below shows som of those who attended.

A Group of Pioneers Preaching on the Island of Senja

In 1967, I was the circuit servant (overseer) in one of the circuits in the far north of the country. In the summer, I invited ten pioneers for a two-week preaching tour on the island of Senja, which is the largest island in Norway. We were camping on the east side of the island.

The size of the island is 1,500 km2, and it had 8,000 inhabitants. It was a formidable task to preach to most of th islanders within that two-week period.  We started early in the morning and continued  preaching until evening. No one had preached the good news of the kingdom on this island for 30 years, and we were able to have a conversation with the host of  almost every household. Normally, we carry a handbag with our Bible and our literature when we go from house to house. However, the offer for this special campaign was four books of 400 pages each for 10 Norwegian kroner. So instead of carrying a handbag when we visited the homes, we carried a box with 30 books in it. And most householders accepted the offer of the four books.

Not far from our campsite was an area populated by the Sami people (the Laps). This is a people with a language that is completely different from Norwegian, but they speak Norwegian as well. On the first day, we preached to  the Sami people. When I visited one of the first houses, the host asked me: “Are you going to have a meeting?” We had not planned to have any meetings, and  so I asked the man: “Do you think that your neighbors will attend a meeting if we arrange one?” “Absolutely,” the man said, “I will invite the people around me.”

The evening was quite cold, and we lit a campfire and waited. Two persons arrived, then two more, and altogether 20 persons were present. During our stay on the island, I gave six lectures dealing with the basic doctrines of the Bible, and after each lecture, many questions were asked. Between 10 and 20 persons attended the meetings. At the first meeting, a man asked if we would sing our songs. The brother who used his guitar to wake us in the morning accompanied the kingdom songs. And at every meeting, we sang several songs.

After we left, two pioneers were sent to Senja. There is just a small channel between the mainland and the island, and after a few years, a congregation was formed with members from the mainland and from the island.

The pictures below show one of the meetings.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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