Monday, October 29, 2007

Eternal Sunrise of the clouded sky!

I'm happy, the sun is finally peaking over the mountains that surround our base, and at 10am its about time. As the days wear on and we lose what precious sunlight we have day by day, 7min per day to be precise, you begin to appreciate some light. The problem is, however, the sun seems tired, a little lazy, with barely enough energy or desire to peak its head up over the mountains blanketing it for a few moments before it decides to spend yet another day under the covers, away from our prying eyes. Its like living in an eternal state of sunrise, merging into sunset, forever twilight, never a bright and glorious day. It's kind of sad.

Base life has been interesting of late. I just found out im going to Tibet for outreach, spending 10 weeks traipsing throughout central asia supporting and building up local missionaries through prayer and worship while meeting the communities and getting to know the cultures, encouraging them and helping out where we can. To say im somewhat excited is probably an understatement as the team I'm going with is brilliant. We have the crazy german lars (seen here flying through the air), My two roommates, Nick and Daniel. All 4 of us are into climbing and slacklining so im sure Tibet will be one huge playground for us when we're not busy. Anna, Line and Rita make up the female contingent of the students, all crazy gals that are tough as nails. Its quite fortunate that we're into the outdoors and doing it a little rougher than usual as the villages that we will be spending time with each day are aroudn 2 hours hike away in -15degree Tibet!
Our leaders are Kjersti and Harman Jon, a Dutch guy and a Norske Gal and both crazy. (over left). We dont really know the plans yet but hopefully we'll spend some time in beijing, xining, tibet and catch the tras-siberian railway.

Mini-outreach, a week to get used to the idea of reaching out to a community, is happening next monday. I will be heading over to a place called... errr some crazy norsk name... to hang out and support and guy names Oudin. He's about 21 years old and is working with the young people in the community. Whats cooler (well sort of) is that he has just built himself a climbing wall inside his living room and he's into crazy outdoor things like bridge swinging. I'm sure its going to be awesome.

On a different note, we tried a social experiment the other night. To set the scene, there is a small room here at Nordtun, about 2 x 3m big, walls plastered in the norweigian bible, quite literally and a small table with some candles at one end. Now, cram a pile of pillows, blankets, tea, coffee, cameras and 6 people into this space. Close the door at 11:30pm, no one leave, except for a pee break till 9am (breakfast time) and no one sleeps, and see what happens...
What happened was an truely amazing night of prayer and worship, we didnt really plan it that was, we just wanted to see if we could last the night without sleep and killing ourselfs, we were thinking a few games of chess, some knitting and alot of joking. But, as God does, he sort of hijacked the night and we spend it in prayer, building each other up and encouraging each other. It was a night I wish never to forget, and somehow the 9.5 hours went like the blink of an eye as the hours skipped past. We all came out excited and refreshed, wanting to hear more from God!
Yet, we also all promptly crashed and slept the day away after an awesome breakfast of home made cerial and toast!

This week we're looking evangelism with two young guys from the SOE (school of evangelism) up from down south of Norway, it should be an interesting week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A traipse through liquid ice

As our feet first touched down into the mid-calf deep ice flow stream we knew we were in for a bit of an adrenaline rush. The waters cool biting edge but through out warmest clothes in seconds and chille dus to our bones. We had to move fast as hanging around in that temperature saps your strength in no time. Quickly we trudged up the rapidly flowing stream.At this stage we were a good 15m below ground in the pitch black caves carved by centuries of fast flowing water, with nothign but our small head torches to light our path, there were about 8 daring souls in total for this adventure. After a few minuites, by now our feet had pretty much lost feeling we came to a stone slab with water flowing quick out below it. "under here" cries Harman Jon, out leader. 'Under here' was a 10cm gap of air between icy river and cold hard rock. "no way", "You're joking" and "I cant do that" were the few words spoken as we looked at the path ahead.
"It's now or never, if you go you go, make up your mind now" yelled Harman Jon above the roaring of a not so distant waterfall. With that he dissapeared under the water and through the gap.

As the water hit my chest and crept up to my neck i could do nothing but lose my breath, regain it, and yell the first thing that came to mind, "Baaaaaaaaahhhhhhh", this was shortly followed by "shiiiiiiiiiite". It was cold. For 20m we crawled through the water faces to the ceiling trying to suck what air we could, hearts beating at rediculous speeds and adrenaline pumping through our bodies. As we crawled along the roar of the waterfall grew louder, sliding through a small gap we popped out below a gushing waterfull with a delightful sight before us, the rope, our path out of this feezing tunnel. Pity it was sitting right in the middle of the downpour of freezing water. So, the final hurdle, a 3m rope climb up a overhung tiered rockface, sound fun, not so much with icecold hand. Grip after grip was laid upon that rope, though i could never quite tell if i was actually holding it hard enough. After an epic struggle against the oncoming water I finally made over the top and bolted for the mouth of the cave, where ever it was, I just ran upstream. finally, with muscles tired from the fading adrenaline rush but still buzzing we made it out, never have a felt so happy to chuck my hands into snow, it actually felt warmer...

That was cave 3/4 in the Norwiegian highlands, the past 4 days have been a traips around the the caves, about 50km from YWAM base, unfortunately its a 5hour drive aorund the mountains to the other side. The first night was spend camping in the fresh snow overlooking the mountain range. That night we spend some time in a large gaping cave lit by candle light, praying and singing praises as our words were whisked away by the thunder of the river below so we could barely hear what we were saying.
The rest of the caves we visited were winding trails carved by streams, mostly dry now with a little water deep within them. Being in the caves was amazing, the knowledge that you are meters underground surrounded by cold rock in every direction with nothing but a headtorch and your freinds to get you out. For some reason i felt right at home within the caves, it was soo much fun just wandering around exploring all the nooks and crannies, squeezing through tiny gaps like a peice fitting into the last spot on a jig-saw puzzle. Lars and Madara say 'Hi', its late here at Nordtun about 1:30am, we're still up as we had our 5hr drive back to base this arvo and filled ourselves with chocolaty goodness on the way.
On that note, i should probably sign off and crash for the evening, tomorrow is a day full of planning for 7-11 (the youth group we run every second friday) and 7-11 itself, theater sports tomorrow i think.
hope all is well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

some facts...

So, it started to snow! - this will be short...
it was cold and raining, then down it came!
the mountain opposite me in now balck and white striped!
We ran outside, barefoot, and frollicked!
Being so close to the coast it doesnt stick for too long just yet but it will soon!
Its still autumn and its already colder than it is in melbournes cold winter... well warm winter now...
We're losing 7 mins of sunlight a day, thats 1 hour of sunlight a week! it will be dark soon...

sorry, thats about it... gotta go organise outreach, just wanted to share some random things about norway, and the fact that im excited for snow! not as much as the alaskan but im excited!

And the sheep have tails here... go figure...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Island hopping and the aussie...

so It's been a while since i posted, things are a little hectic and i get a little distracted by all the thing i can go and do, from hiking up mountains, lighting fires and cooking meals outdoors or combining them both and hiking up and cooking a meal on the top of a mountain.

hmmm, its been so long that i'm beginning to forget what has happened so many details will be missing but ill give it my best shot.

so we went island hopping, we caught the local ferry across to a small island called Bolga, it was a small island with a granite mountain. Base camp was the best so far as we were right next to a sweet boulder feild with heaps of stuff to clamber over and under, more moss covered boulders everywhere with little caves with a large mountain looming behind us. We managed to get a little bit of bouldering which was good as most of the rock in norway is falling apart and crumbles under your weight.
The first day we hiked around the island (this one was pretty small) and climbed up through the moutnain, there was a large crack that split it in two that turned into a short cave to get through to the other side of the island. the descent on the other side was pretty nasty, with a few spots with just a rope and a small drop onto a small ledge and another drop... fun... that was all followed by a traverse across some slippery slopeing rock.

the next day we went up the mountain, passed over the giant crack in the mountain and made it to the top. Any vertigo i may have once had is quickly dissapearing with these repedative climbs! sketchy is the best way to describle some of it. at the top it was a beautiful view! the weather was perfect, for the whole week infact, which is totally uncommon for Norway for this time of year, a week of sunshine! My roomies and I have started a tradition for taking a photo on the cairne of each peak we cap. we've got 4 so far and will most likely have heaps more at the current rate. At the top of the peak we had a time of MPW (moutnain peak worship) which was a time of prayer and intercession and worship for the surrounding islands in the area. someone managed to hike a guitar up the top and we just sat on the sheltered side and worshiped! it was great. oh yeah, the wind was absolutely insane up the top, you could run down with your jacket open and feel the wind hold you back and slow you down!
on the way down we took a rediculously steep chute down the side, it took us about 1/4 of the time to get down that it took to hike up.

That night was solo night, a chance to get out into the widlerness with our packs, a tarp, some rope and a bible. it was great, after i managed to find a spot to camp out. i can tell you now that the top of a windy treeless hill by the sea is not the best place to pitch a tarp, i searched up there but after the sun began to fall i quickly dropped down to the forrested valley below to find a spot. with a head lamp on and a pack on my back i muddled around for a while. Norsk wilderness with either rocky or swampy for the most part but i eventually found a spot (probably settling with it out of desperation) that managed to do. Most of the next day was spent by myself wandering around, i found a nice ravine to chill out, pray and read my bible for a while coming complete with a babbling brook hidden below the fallen rocks.

Meloy was our next stop, we had one night in a cabin half way up the mountain situated by a glistening lake with two large peaks looming over the top. We settled in and hiked up to the peak. we were set loose to go solo for the last stretch up to the peak. It come complete with 3 false peaks so finally reaching the top was a releif. More MPW followed and some great views.

Ill run through it a little faster now... my fingers are getting tired. On the weekend a few of us, probably due to out masachistic nature or something, decided to climb another peak behind base, the tallest one so far. The day was just too beautiful to waste though so we did it. best views so far as i got to see the whole surrounding area with our local outreach spots all within sight and all the spots we have been, the glacier, ornes, the pool, etc. laying below us.
The following week of teaching was headed up by an Aussie who has been living in norway for 20 or so years, it was really nice to have a familiar accent and common slang (even with the generational gap, he didnt know what a bogan was... go figure...) around the base. the teaching was on the nature and identity of God, it was great as he attempted to fit together they apparent inconsistencies in Gods character as he is both Holy and righteous and loving. It gave us all alot to think about around base and our processing groups (discussion groups) were running with full verbal diarrhoea for once. it was brilliant.

everyone here at base is slowly coming out of their shell and we are becoming one big family, I'm loving it!

NExt weeks teaching is about hearing the voice of God and I am quite excited to see what we will learn by the end of the week. Monday week i will be caving in the surrounding area for 1 week and will fill you all in when i get back all covered in mud. hopefully ill be able to sit down and write it straight away, not wait for a week and a half before i try and dredge up some memories....

Hope all is well!

oh yeah forgot, my local outreach, 7-11, (it runs from 7-11pm on a friday night) is going great! we have a bunch of local youth come every second week and just hang out with them teaching them some life skills like teamwork or practical skills like music or cooking and just build up some fellowship, on friday we had a massive scavenger hunt with team building games that ended in a large bonfire down on a rocky beach in a nice cove with sheer rock walls! we cooked bananas and chocolate. all teh Kids are opening up and really enjoying it! they even said it was nice!!! (thats a massive thing in norway as they tend to under exaggerate their excitement here...)

ok now this is the real end.

bye =)