International Youth Group on A Winter Trip to Hallingdal

After a good Christmas-break, a new year awaits the 325 youth participating in BCC’s YEP-program in Norway. And what could be better than to start the new year with a proper winter trip in snowy Norway? Here, we experienced both Norwegian winter-sports and snowshoeing on the snow-covered mountainside.

Text: Nora Risnes – Photo: Randi Hutt

We had been invited by BCC’s local church in Hallingdal to a recreational trip in the Norwegian mountains for all the YEP-youth. No fewer than five buses and two mini-buses were needed to transport everyone up to Hallingdal.

A trip for more than 300 people

The youth in the YEP-program represent 27 different nations and it was quite a sight when all the buses took a pit-stop at the same petrol station. We can only apologise if there were any customers who felt overwhelmed by our enthusiasm.

YEP-youth from Oslo were also along, here represented by five nations and four continents. Photo: BCC

A choice of activities

We worked together with our hosts in Hallingdal to plan three different activities for Saturday so that as many as possible could choose an activity that they enjoyed; snowshoeing, snowboarding and downhill skiing, and sports and activities in the gym.

A chilly 10 degrees, powdered snow, and blue skies were the perfect conditions for both those who chose snowshoeing and for those that chose downhill. In the gym, everyone was quite busy with a volleyball tournament, floorball (known locally as bandy), football, and dodgeball.

Many chose to go snowshoeing over the mountain, and the fresh, powdered snow and the sunshine made for a magical experience. Photo: BCC

On Saturday evening, our hosts prepared a feast at Øyni Conference Center, the gathering place for the local church in Hallingdal. In addition to wonderful food and service, we received an interesting look into the church’s early history, when Nesbyen in Hallingdal had been the gathering place for the friends in the years before the church purchased the Brunstad-farm in Stokke. We heard also about how Syver Torsteinslåtta’s old mountain-farmstead has been a source of great joy for the church’s families and youth for many years.

A message to take home

Bjørn Nilsen

Both teachers and volunteers from the Bibleschool were also along this weekend and they preached to us at the feast on Saturday night. We received encouragement to use in the new year and all of its new possibilities to draw nearer to God and work with his word.

Bjørn Nilsen cited from our songbook, Ways of the Lord:

“Walk in the truth and great joy you’ll attain;
If you are faithful, then vict’ry you’ll gain.
Let the truth deal with you freely;
It will transform you completely.
Though you’re as weak as a wavering reed,
Truth gives you boldness in word and in deed.”

And with truth as a foundation, we as youth receive something solid and safe to build our life upon, at the same time that faith helps us along while we partake in a development that can make us better human beings in our surroundings.

Morten Sjemmedal from Hallingdal wishes everyone welcome to Saturday night’s feast. Photo: BCC


Record attendance at local church

Svein Fuglset

Svein Fuglset, one of the organisers from Hallingdal, told us that they were very excited to host the entire YEP-team for the weekend.

-Both young and old happily showed up to help out with serving and food-preparation, and they agree that it was extra special to meet so many young people from around the whole world, many of whom have maybe never even seen snow. Now they get to experience this place that we call home. They were a terrific group to be hosts for, says Svein. – We have never seen so many gathered at Øyni Conference Center, but it went very well. We already look forward to the next visit.

The group were split up into to two for overnighting: one group to Liatoppen Mountain Lodge and the other group to the mountain getaway, Torsteinslåtta, which is not that far from Øyni. Both places were scenically placed on the mountainside and our hosts worked hard to insure that the logistics of food and transport would go smoothly. For us as guests, it was a fantastic trip.

Excited young people have arrived to Øyne in Hallingdal, excited and ready for a weekend in winterland. Photo: BCC

On Saturday, we could choose between activities in the gym, a trip to the slalom slopes, or a trip on snowshoes in the mountains. Photo: BCC

On Saturday night, our own YEP-youths contributed to the music and entertainment. Photo: BCC