Everyday Life at the Bible School
When I first came to Brunstad Bible School, I was very excited and wondered whether this year would be what I had expected, writes Nora Risnes from Stord. She is participating in BCC’s YEP program this year.
Text: Nora Risnes – Photo: BCC / private
I had high expectations, but definitely some butterflies in my stomach as well. I was going to move from mom and dad to the other side of the country, away from family, friends and my local church. For the first time, I was going to stand on my own two feet for real.
To me, it was a big but at the same time natural step. I had finished high school, and had long planned to attend the YEP program, and I especially hoped to attend the Brunstad Bible School. I had heard a lot of positive things about the teaching from friends who were a bit older than me and saw it as an opportunity to gain a stronger foundation for my faith. Another important reason was that I wanted to meet young people from all over the world.
New «family» and 270 fellow students
I began in the fall of 2017, along with 270 other students. The excitement increased the closer we came to the startup. Did I really want to get to know the others? Would it really be possible to become friends with so many? Imagine if I didn’t find anyone who was interested in the same things as me, or if I ended up sitting alone in the evenings? All these thoughts passed through my mind in a few short seconds before I realized that I just had to throw myself in.
The first day, I was ready to have dinner with my new “family” which was consisting of 270 young people. I didn’t know what to expect, so a little uncertain, I entered the dining room. At the dinner tables, however, it was impossible to feel on the outside and it didn’t take long before I agreed with someone else that we should read the curriculum down by the beach here in Oslofjord.
After just a few days I had many new friends and even more new acquaintances. Although we come from completely different parts of the world, we find common values in our Christian faith, and the church life we have experienced in each of our places is not very different. It is exciting to meet so many new nationalities, and we have it incredibly good together, despite major cultural differences.
An Exciting and Fun Startup
Something I particularly appreciated during the start-up phase was the various common activities that were arranged in the weekends. Among other things, we had outdoor games like “capture the flag” and “Scavenger Hunt”, where one must cooperate as a team to win. It might sound challenging to play outdoor games with 270 youngsters, but it was well organized and awesome. Through these activities one gets to know others in a completely different way than over the dinner table and in the library.
When the winter and the snow came, it was also fun to see how the different ones reacted. For us Norwegians, large quantities of snow is almost an irritation, but for the Brazilians, the Indians, the South Africans and the Australians it was absolutely fantastic.
Teaching with New Perspectives
We have 20 hours of classes or lectures in a week, in addition to self-study and group work. In my study group, we are 13 people from six different countries, which means that you really get to hear new perspectives and experience some exciting discussions. Here we go through assignments and discuss the curriculum for the coming week.
Once a week we have an evening of spiritual edification, or youth meetings, where we as students are actively involved. Here we share what’s on our heart, our challenges and our joys, and many express how grateful they are for their time on YEP.
Volunteering, Ice Hockey and Games Nights
Although much is happening in the Bible school, we have a good deal of free time apart from the studies. Volunteering has also been an important part of my time after I came here, and I have been allowed to do some administrative tasks at the school office, something I enjoy a lot.
There are opportunities to participate in ice hockey, football and volleyball. I myself have joined the ice hockey team, even though I had never played before. Several weekends we travel to tournaments and meet other teams. We also have many other activities, such as “games nights”, which are very popular. Here everyone who wants to and has the time, gathers in the big dining room for various activities. Here we have activities such as “Skipping rope”, dancing “Just Dance” with PlayStation on the big screen, “Shoe-salad” and many other fun ideas.
A Varied Everyday and Friendship for the Future
My concerns about whether I was going to be left sitting alone were fortunately never realized. There is little opportunity to get bored, and if you want, there is always something to do. I feel very fortunate being here this year. At first, I thought that I would use this time to give back something to the church from which I have received so much, but now I see that I have just received even more.
At the Bible School, I hear a message that helps me and makes me more secure in my personal faith than before. At the same time, we can spend our time investing in lifelong friendships and relationships across borders and continents, and I don’t think we completely understand the value of it yet.