Category Archives: Faith

Blog posts about what I believe in

Smiles in March

Here are a couple of things that make me smile this month (:

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Watching our little angel explore her surroundings.

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Living next to a beautiful, snow-covered lake.

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The sun and blue sky.

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Living in Oslo, getting together with old friends and making new ones.

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Yellow Easter flowers.

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Have a good Easter everyone!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..    1. Peter 1:3

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Filed under Faith, Norway, Thoughts

The Art of Waiting

Latest news when it comes to Isaac’s residence permit: our complaint has now been passed on to UNE, the next level of bureaucracy. Assumed processing time: 7 months starting now.

We have waited 6 months, and are looking at another 7.

It is frustrating not being able to plan our future, not knowing whether we get to study as planned, having our lives put on hold.

Now we know we are only half-way done waiting. We can stop anxiously checking the mail every day, dreading and longing for an answer. We can live our lives without the fear that tomorrow our lives will be turned upside down.

But it is still a life of uncertainty. We cannot plan for the fall as we do not know if we get to stay. And Isaac cannot work or go to university.

We spend a significant part of our lives waiting. Waiting for the bus, waiting for exam results or feedback on an application. Waiting to meet that someone special. Waiting for answer to a prayer. Waiting for visas.

It can be hard to wait, and I think it is the hardest when you don’t know how long your wait will last. Not having a date, not being able to count the days makes the wait close to insufferable.

A good friend of mine used to point out that what we do while we wait matters. We might spend our whole lives waiting, so we have to live while we wait!

Now we know, we will be waiting for a while longer. So we will live our lives in the mean time. Enjoy watching Olivia grow, enjoy the time we get to share. Try to make a difference in the lives of the people we meet along the way.

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Filed under Faith, Thoughts

Oslo?!

We have been offered a student apartment in Oslo! It is just big enough for the three of us, in close proximity to both the subway and great nature areas (Sognsvann), perfect for walks when Olivia will sleep nowhere but in a moving stroller. We have been dreaming of a home to call our own for what seems like a long time and this to be exactly what we’re looking for!

But our first reaction when we got the news was sadness. We thought we would have to give it up, which would mean going to the back of the line of people applying for student housing. As there was no knowing whether Isaac will get to stay in Norway or when we would get to know the result, at first it seemed unwise to bind ourselves to paying rent. Isaac is not allowed to work while we wait. So to finance the apartment I have to work. If Isaac were to suddenly be sent out of the country, I would have to give up said job to look after Olivia, leaving me with no way to pay rent.

I’m sure you can imagine our frustration at this point, as all we want is to establish a home and family life in Oslo.

After thinking it though and being assured that if the worst were to happen we would get help, we decided take the apartment in spite of all the uncertainties. Which means we are moving to Oslo March 1st and we are now packing in excitement!

Oslo is where we want to live, at least the next few years. I think some times it is necessary to act before you have all the answers. I know that God answers prayers and that nothing is impossible to him. Oslo is where the most doors seem to open up; I have a spot at a university there, it is an international city so there should be more options for Isaac there and now we have an affordable apartment there. I don’t know what will happen or how. But I have faith that God can provide for us no matter where we are and no matter the circumstances.

So in faith we go to Oslo, hoping for a home and a life there.

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Filed under Faith, New Adventures, Thoughts

About visas

The last half year we have been trying to get a residence permit for Isaac to stay in Norway. You might think that once you have married a Norwegian and you have a Norwegian child, getting a permit to stay in Norway ought to be fairly easy. If so you are wrong. I cannot provide for Isaac as required (defined as  having earned 232 000 kroner last year, equaling about 41600 USD), and even if there are exceptions none of them apply to us. There is a slim chance that an exception can be made given the circumstances, and we’re praying and hoping that such an exception will be made. In the mean time we’re trying to find a job for Isaac, but he is not allowed to work while we wait for the result.

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I know that most people who marry someone of a different nationality than their own have to deal with visa issues at some point. Many also have to spend some time apart, which is difficult in it self. When there is a baby involved it becomes close to intolerable. Imagine how much a baby develops in just a couple weeks. It would break my heart if Isaac was forced to miss the “firsts” that are coming up these next months. First crawl, first time eating food, first word, first time sitting up by her self, first step…

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Our first application for a residence permit has been denied. We have complained on this decision and provided some more documents and more detailed information. Isaac is allowed to stay in Norway until the process is over. But if it is denied again, then what? If that happens we don’t see many opportunities left for us in Norway and we would have to leave.

Maybe I was naive to live in China on my own, without a Norwegian school or organisation supporting me. Still I believe I learned things during my two years living, working and studying independently in Nanjing that I could not have learned any other way. I also believe this experience is very valuable even if I am left with no university credits to show for it. And now I might not be able to stay with my little family in my home country, because I have lived some years of my life slightly outside the Norwegian system.

I ask for a discussion: does not Olivia, a Norwegian baby, have the right to have her father in Norway even if he is not Norwegian? Or should Olivia move out of the country?

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PS: Our case has been on national news, here’s the link. And here‘s a follow-up sent the next day.

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Filed under Faith, Norway, Thoughts

About lessons, work and waiting for God

This week, I started up with Chinese lessons again, at Hohai (/Hehai) University – 河海大学 this time. There are fewer students studying Chinese at Hehai, so I’m enjoying smaller classes and a more personal atmosphere. My plan is to work full-time as an English-teacher this year, but most of my classes will be in the afternoon/evening so there is lots of time for Chinese classes in the morning.

Plus, so far my working schedule is not very busy. My school is an "English training-school" that parents send their kids to after normal kindergarten/primary school-time, and these classes often start up slightly later then the normal school-semester does. So I expect to be more busy at work by the end of the month, and in the mean time I’ll try to enjoy the extra free-time.

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I know that too much free time hardly is anything to complain about. Especially when I know that most of my Chinese friends don’t have time to do much besides their work. But I can’t help but feel restless at times. The thing is I really wanted and expected to be busy with work this year, but after two weeks I’ve only taught four classes.

I think God is teaching me a few things about patience. I know I’m not very good at waiting for Him. When He’s shown me glimpses of what He’ll do for me in the future, I just want to skip the process and jump straight to the person I will be and the roles I will have then. Yet the process is important in it self. We spend most of our time waiting, it’s what we do while we wait that’s important.

So I’ll try to spend my extra free-time on doing something nice for the people around me that are too busy to do it themselves.

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I have appreciated the classes I’ve taught so far, by the way. The kids so far have been between 3 and 5 years old. Apart from the couple of months I spent at a centre for autistic children as a volunteer for Amity through Hald International Centre a year and a half ago, I’ve never worked with kids before. So I don’t know too much about how to teach them English. But so far I’ve enjoyed our time together and even if I still have lots to learn I can tell that the class I taught Thursday went smoother than the one I taught a week earlier, which is encouraging.

Other than teaching and studying, I’ve been re-reading Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution. It makes me inspired, uncomfortable and wanting to make radical changes both in my life and in the world in general for God’s kingdom. But I realise that God’s kingdom is closer when we do small things with great love than when we try to make small things great. (http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/1865)

I’m also reading Joshua these days. Here’s a quote I read this morning:
Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Josh. 21:45)

The Israelites had to wait for 40 years before they could receive their promised land. I’m sure I’ll be able to wait a few weeks for more work.

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Filed under Faith, Life, Thoughts

Ready again 准备好了

In a few minutes I’ll be on a plane heading for Nanjing. These were the thoughts bouncing around in my head the night before I left for China a bit less than two years ago. I feel like the girl who’s getting on the train tomorrow is in some ways a completely different person. I have learned so much more than I could have imagined and my life has taken directions I never thought possible then.

This time I know where I’m going. I know my apartment, I know the city, I have friends there and I have seen my workplace. In many ways I’m prepared for another year. Of course there are situations to come that I can’t prepare for, but such situations occur whether in China or in Norway.

In a book I read this year (unfortunately I couldn’t find any name of an English translation, but the Norwegian title is Et hjerte større enn verden), Magnus Malm describes among many things our fear for the future as one of the hidden, unseen, unreachable concepts that we humans try, with out much luck, to control. Loosely translated, he writes that the future simultaneously fills us with hope and resignation, expectations and panic.

He goes on to describe how Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, repeatedly refers to “our Father, who sees the unseen” (my translation, look it up in Matthew 6) He writes “the unseen is not emptiness. Neither is it a hiding place for hostile forces waiting to attack me. Even if there are evil forces in the unseen, there is also someone stronger than them. Our Father is in the unseen.”

I like to think that God, my Father, who is love, is in the future. It takes away the feelings of resignation and panic and leaves my heart filled with hope and expectations.

I came across this quote a while ago:

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Filed under Adventures, China, Faith, Norway, Thoughts, Travel

Inspiration 灵感

I’ve been listening to Podcasts by Kris Vallotton lately and he’s really been inspiring me. So I thought I’d share it with you.

The podcast link:

http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/kris-vallotton-quot-best-kris/id158029989

These are some of my favourites:

Honor by Kris Vallotton

All Truth is Not Created Equal by Kris Vallotton

Kris Vallotton on abortion and other things

 

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