Commencement celebration for new youth at Brunstad Bible School

The school year is in full swing for the 280 new students who started at Brunstad Bible School in August. Students who participate via BCC’s Youth Program come from around the world and will be in Norway for one year. The start of the school year is marked with ceremony every fall.

By Andrine Westerheim – Photos: Adelle Cheetham/Eirik Tombre

In the year ahead, young people will gain deeper insight into the church’s teachings and the gospel of Jesus, as well as participate in volunteer work and church projects. Youth of similar ages from many countries participate in a unique cultural exchange and make new friends from around the world.

This night, new students, teachers, and volunteers are invited to the commencement celebration, and the hall is buzzing with excited voices.

Gershon Twilley wishes everyone welcome and speaks to the youth this evening. Photo: BCC

Cultural differences are muted

The evening is opened by Gershon Twilley, one of the teachers at Brunstad Bible School. He welcomes all the new young people before a delicious three-course dinner is served. The rest of the program consists of both serious themes, as well as celebration and humor. After some inspirational songs and speeches supplying good advice for best use of students` time at the Bible School, different games and activities are ready for everyone’s enjoyment. Cultural differences and minor language barriers by no means dampen the festive mood.

After food and faith building it’s time for group games, and the evening’s host leads it with great enthusiasm. Photo: BCC

Tessa Harmse from Vanderbijlpark in South Africa is one of the new students who has traveled far from home to participate in the Youth Program this year. “So far the Bible School is fantastic. “I believe that this year will primarily be about growing in faith, but I have already made so many friends that I expect to have an exciting time in many ways,” she says.

Learned Norwegian before coming to the Youth Program

So far the language has not posed a problem. “I have already learned quite a bit of Norwegian. Before I came, I put 100% effort into learning the language, with the help of some good language apps, among other things. In addition, I have read Norwegian texts and worked on translating,” explains the enthusiastic South African.

Tessa Harmse has traveled all the way from South Africa to Norway to attend the youth program and bible school at Brunstad. Photo: BCC

“It hasn’t been so hard, because I also have siblings who have been here before and can speak Norwegian.”

Expectations of the year ahead

The celebration continues for the flock of young people who are looking forward to a year where they can focus on Bible studies, culture exchange, work, and friendship.

For Tessa, it’s important to get to know the larger, international part of the church she knows from South Africa and the place where she grew up. She is also extremely pleased with the commencement celebration. “I think this will actually be the best year of my life so far,” she smiles.

Tessa is along in a girls choir that performs this evening. Photo: BCC 

And several other musical performances take place during the feast. Photo: BCC

International gang: new friendship is an important part of the year in the youth program. Photo: BCC