‘Walking’ on water

On sunday I had an experience similar to that of Peter in the Bible:- walking on water. The difference between mine and his, is that he walked on liquid water and i walked on frozen water 🙂

My housemate Helene, invited me to go ice skating with her friends on a nearby frozen pool. I had never tried this before so i was excited and nervous at the same time. My closest interaction with ice skating till then was watching it in movies. So you can imagine how ‘experienced’ i was. But anyway, this is the season of trying out things that i’m sure i would never have thought of doing back at home.( i think it is not even possible in the first place.)

Have a look:

Imagethe frozen water, it is very solid and looks like glass

ImageHelene helping me to wear the skates (i couldn’t do it on my own, it was like wearing metal.)

ImageGentlemen helping me to stand

Imageyea! i can stand on my own

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okay Joyline, we need to move

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Imageooh my back! my legs are moving faster than the rest of the body.

ImageGo back to the basics.try to stand and balance,bend your knees and be confident

Imageone step at a time

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Honestly, i didnt manage to skate on my own but this was a good step in that direction. It took lots of courage to do this.

Check out the frozen waterfall below.  (It is a good indicator of how cold it is in Norway right now)

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This man is a risk-taker. He is climbing up the frozen waterfall. Lykke til!

At last!

Guess what? snow finally came! I have been waiting patiently  to experience this for a long time. It is one thing to watch something in a movie or hear people describe it; but it is totally a diffrent thing to experience it for real. My excitement was so ridiculous when i saw it for the first time, i was like a kid in the Christmas season.

Snow makes the world look brighter and more beautiful.Have a look…

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cars are also lucky to receive the white substance.

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It brightened my day as i visited this school.

Snow got me reflecting and thinking about the manna the Israelites received from heaven when they were in the wilderness. I can only imagine their reaction when they saw it for the first time. Exodus 16:15 says ‘when the Israelites saw it,they said to each other,”what is it?” for they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat”. And now I’m asking myself,’what is my daily bread?’. You can ponder about it as well.

In addition to the beauty of snow, i decided to try out some norwegian food called ‘Riceporridge’. I first tasted it when I was in Kenya when the team of norwegian girls prepared it for us. I also ate it several times when i was staying with my friend Gina in Kilifi. But I must let you know that i was very sceptical of the food the first day i tasted it. I didnt manage to finish what i had served. But today, things have really changed. I enjoy it as if it is the kenyan Ugali.

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Preparation: the ingredients are rice,water,salt and milk.

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Almost ready…

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serve with sugar,butter and cinnamon as the dressing.

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Final and very important; enjoy the meal!

Helga

These are some of the most common questions asked by people on a Monday morning: ‘How was your weekend?, what did you do? was it fun?’ Several answers are also given but you can easily guess how it was by just reading the facial expression of the person you are talking to. But now that you can’t see how my face responds, i will give you a glimpse of how my weekend was.

It started on Friday on a Leadership Training with students in Laget. This was the first time i was conducting a training in Norway.

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  • Studying the Word of God in the morning, allowing it to speak to me before i teach it.

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  • Learning from the life of King Solomon…

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  • Teaching the Word by the grace of God.
  • I know this is not the dress code for trainings in Kenya,but it is normal and acceptable here.

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  • The great leaders whose presence and attentive listening encouraged me.
  • Don’t worry about the cups and plates, coffee and cakes are part of a succeessful meeting!

The training was a blessing.It will be happening after every 2 weeks,so your prayers are needed for it to be fruitful.

Levanger..

Then came saturday, Simyu and I headed  to a prayer center in Levanger. A weekend of prayer and worship was happening there; 42 hours of non-stop praise,worship and prayer!. It was the best way to be refilled and refuelled for greater service, just as the Hillsong’s Desert song says, ‘I know i’m filled to be emptied again, the seed i receive i will sow’. It was soul soothing to just bathe in the Lord’s presence; no place I would rather be.

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  • The prayer center

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  • The Kenyan team; team kubwa!

The extended family..

I don’t know why i feel so good when i meet other Africans in Norway. A wonderful African family (originally from Liberia but now norwegian citizens) hosted us on Saturday. Oh it was so great,i felt like i was back home in Kenya. The food, the warmth of family, the laughter, the openness, the hospitality…name them.

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  • Lemuel’s family-what a blessing!

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  • A taste of West African Okrah. Despite the hot pepper in it, i enjoyed every mouthful. It was a good break from the Norwegian bread.

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  • The norwegian staple food; bread. I can’t help but make a comparison

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  • Posing with my new, good friend Joshua,just before we took breakfast.He is a lovely kid, it was funny to just listen to him speaking norwegian.

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  • And to make their kindness and hospitality complete, the whole family escorted us to the train station and waited with us for about 20 minutes. What more could we ask for…

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  • As much as I didn’t feel like leaving, I had no choice…..It was time to be back in Trondheim.

That’s my reply if you would have asked me how my weekend was.

Det var gøy? eller det var kjedelig?

Roses have both petals and prickles

Maybe it has been a cliche to say ‘roses have thorns’ but it has never changed that fact about roses. This in a way reflects my current life in Norway. There have been high sweet moments as well as low dull moments.

I have liked several things about Norway:

It is an organised society. It is reflected in the way buildings have been structured in the cities, the way people observe traffic rules, the bus schedules, etc.. People’s minds are in tune with the systems that have been established. There is order in the society

  • The aerial view of Trondheim city.

There is a sense of equality. In this case, my emphasis is not really on the gender aspect, but on the gap between the rich and poor. It’s hard to actually know the difference; the society is in some kind of equilibrium. Many people live in wooden houses which are built in almost the same way. They don’t drive big cars, it is hard to spot a flashy car.

  • ImageThe above building is the apartment where i live. It’s so lovely inside!

Norway is very clean. It is hard to spot garbage lying around carelessly. They have a system of sorting garbage that is very efficient. Garbage is sorted in to 3 types: ‘plastic’, ‘paper’ and ‘other wastes’. It is interesting coz before you throw away anything, you have to ask yourself which container is the right one for the kind of thing you want to throw. They also recycle bottles made of glass and plastic. So when you have drunk soda,water or juice from a bottle; you take it back to the mall and they give you money in return. I wish this could  be done in Mombasa, it will save both the environment and the resources.

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Time keeping. As you know in kenya we have the ‘African time’. So it has been quite a change in my part to adapt to the time conscious society. Here time is like gold, you chase it, coz it definitely does not follow you. I have missed the bus severally just by being 30 seonds late.

  • The atb bus is the main ‘matatu’ in Trondheim city. It operates on a very punctual time schedule.

I love norwegian music especially the worship songs. They are deep.

Security. Norway is safe. You can walk anywhere, anytime without being worried. The crime rate is very low, if by mistake you forget something on the bus or a shop or anywhere,you can be 90% sure you will get it back.

How can i end this list before mentioning the good people i have met! Some people have been very kind and warm. I thank God for the Opedal family, who are also our mentors, they have been very open and welcoming to us,(simiyu and i). I also have wonderful housemates, it’s blessing to share an apartment with them. I have also interacted with several wonderful students.

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  • part of Opedal’s family.

I can mention so many things i have admired about this society but now, let me note the ‘not so good’ things.

  • The cold culture. Most norwegians are closed, in this i mean there are not very social especially to strangers. You dont feel the excitement we have kenya when a visitor is in our midst. Actually, you can be new in a place and people behave as if they have not noticed your presence. It is not easy to have a sense of belonging.
  • They don’t dance in church. A very lovely song can be sang that makes me feel like jumping but when i look around, people are just standing or even sitting down. Its abit boring sometimes even in the student fellowships for young people to be so dull like old folks.
  • The language is a major challenge. If you dont understand norwegian then you miss out in many things. They use their language everywhere; school, church, hospital, bus, parties…..And even where there is translation,you still lose almost half of what is communicated coz the interpreters sometimes lack the right words to express what has been said. So i really hope to learn this language.
  • The time keeping can also be crazy. Being 10 or 15 minutes late to an appointment can be really disrespectful.

There many things i could mention but let me stop there for today.

Wish me luck in this norwegian world!

Winter…here I come

Guess what happened today? We officially reversed the clock by one hour so that it can fit the winter season. I know its normal for people who have experienced this before, but it really feels strange to me. Someone told me today that they like this day because it gives them a chance to sleep one extra hour. Maybe it’s true but still….It was a bit weird today to take lunch at 2pm when I actually know it is already 3pm.

Some changes have been occuring gradually; The days are getting shorter and the nights longer. The temperatures are also dropping by the day. Last weekend a little snow appeared. I’m slowly adding more warm clothes to my dress code.

I have mixed feelings about this season. On one hand I dread the cold and the darkness, but on the other hand, I’m looking forward for snow and skiing. Anyway I have no choice but to face it. Maybe adopt the norwegian saying that ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, It is just bad clothing’ .

So good luck everyone experiencing winter for the first time!

It happens…

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Have you ever been in crowd but still feel so alone? Have you been in a setting where everyone is chatting and laughing yet you are only staring wondering what on earth is going on? That feeling that makes a person yearn for acceptance… This is what I sometimes feel in Norway.

Being in a new culture is not easy. It is even worse if it is different from the one you come from. There is a big transition in my life coming from the warm Kenyan culture to a cold norwegian culture. It takes energy, patience, sacrifice and determination to go through every single day. The big challenge to me is the language barrier. Norwegians are very proud of their language, it is used everywhere. So woe unto you who does not understand!. But what drains me a lot is when i’m participating in an activity in a team then the instructions are given in norwegian. suddenly people just get in to action, no one cares to know whether i got what was being communicated or not; then I have to stop one of them to ask what is going on. There is is this day we were doing team building games, then instructions were given and the game started. I thought i understood what they were doing, but it was so embarrassing when I realized i was doing the opposite, it was worse when i saw some people laugh at me. I can’t explain the feeling,it was horrible.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One thing i have decided though, I might never feel included in the norwegian society, but i will keep loving them. I will appreciate every gesture of kindness they extend to me. God has poured so much love in me that i can’t keep it to myself. Sometimes i sit in a corner and observe them, my heart just goes out to them, i realize that there are God’s people.

I just thank God for people like David Livingstone, who endured a lot to ensure that the gospel reached Africa. God gave them the grace to fulfil the calling He had placed in their lives. I know the same God is still at work even today. For I know He who begun a good work in me will take to completion.