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The Christ Church Choir in Norway

8/27-8/29
Written by Phil Nitz

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room in Haugesund, Norway, completely drained of energy in the best way possible. I’m still working through jet-lag, so forgive me if my grammar is less-than-perfect or if my thoughts are a bit scattered.

So far, this trip has been a blast! On Thursday afternoon, our group of 41 (including baby Francine Phillips) gathered at BNA with well-wishing friends and family, double- and triple-checking that everyone had their passports and, of course, their choir robes. Pastor Dan, whom we are blessed to have on this trip with us, said a prayer over the group before we ventured forth through the TSA security lines, asking God for safe travels and that His will be done through this amazing group of extremely hard working and well-prepared volunteers. We even sang a refrain of the Doxology. Before too long, we were headed across the Atlantic.

Our longest (7.5 hours) flight brought us to Amsterdam. Though our bodies felt like we should be fast asleep, the shining mid-day sun and hustle-and-bustle of the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport told us differently. It didn’t take us long to find the surest cure for such a situation – Starbucks! We congregated with our latte’s, macchiato’s, and Pike Place roasts, and there was much rejoicing. Once we’d had some time to get perked up and re-centered, it was time to make our way to our final destination – Norway!

Upon our arrival in Norway, we knew we were right where we were supposed to be. There was an overwhelming peace and joy that we all felt – we were like little children on Christmas morning. Then we were greeted in the lobby area by our hosts – Petter Losengård and Melissa Scarbrough. They made us feel like we were home!

After a two-hour bus ride (including a 20-minute journey across the water on a giant ferry) and dinner with our hosts, we were finally able to get some much-needed rest. Of course, we all had to take a few pictures first, and the lighting was great since the sun doesn’t set until about 9:00 PM here.

This morning we had our sound-check/rehearsal with the fabulous Voice of Joy choir and Solveig Leithaug, who are no strangers to Christ Church. In a way it felt like a homecoming! We walked into the sanctuary of the Misjonskirken Haugesund church to the sound of their angelic voices, and the faces of everyone in the room lit up as we saw one another. Before the end of the rehearsal there had been much singing, laughter, and tears. There was an overwhelming peace of God’s presence and confirmation from the Lord that there was a special purpose for which we’ve been brought to this country. Solveig told that she felt like this was a time for healing, and Pastor Dan spoke over us that though we as humans are insufficient and imperfect, God has brought us to this place in this time to fulfill His perfect plan through us.

Tonight’s concert was the first step to seeing that plan unfold! We had a chance to gather with numerous churches in the Haugesund area for a gospel hymn-sing service. We heard familiar tunes sung in the beautiful Scandinavian dialect, which made this vast world seem just a little bit smaller and the family of God a lot bigger. The final minutes of the concert were given over to the Christ Church Choir, and we could see an evident physical change take place on the faces of the people as we started into “Way Maker.” They smiled, clapped, sang, and worshipped with us over the next 20 minutes, and as we finished they honored us with a unified “clap-clap-clap-clap…”, which we were told is the equivalent to a standing-ovation. Then they all stood up! We felt so loved and honored, but most importantly God was honored through it all.

It has been apparent in so many ways that our being here has already blessed many, but I believe our group has felt blessed beyond measure as well. God is using us to inspire these people and to encourage them in their pursuit of godly living and spreading the Gospel. We came to Norway with expectant hearts and songs to sing, but I believe we’ll return home with more than we could possibly imagine!

One Comment (Add Yours)

  1. I can only imagine the blessing you guys are to the people of Norway, as you are to us every time we hear you… Blessings to you all!