Twenty twenty three brought us merry memories, giggely goofs, excruciating embarrassments, jolly jokes and many other awesome alliterations.

If anything, I feel a bit as we’ve lived life according to Philippians 3:13; even now just before the end of the year, I’m thinking of an upcoming trip to the YWAM Liberty in Port Moresby PNG, where I’ll assist in upgrading the network and security systems. With the Liberty in operation again, YWAM Ships will be doing vital health work for the people of Papua New Guinea, and ease the burden somewhat in the daily life for many.
But that’ll be January 2024. Let’s backtrack a year to January 2023.

And I have to admit, I have to look at the images because I truly have forgotten many of the things which are behind. Perhaps not of the sort that Paul intended in his letter to the Philippians, but nonetheless.

We entered into the new year ’23 with having over friends, Ingar & Helen, and Tom & Heidi, so we were a bunch of Dutchies, a few Norwegians, a Finnish and some Brazilians together (and I’m happy to say these’ll be the same ones to visit again, at the very end of it as well).
Later that January ’23, I travelled to PNG for a few weeks, to help get the IT network of the YWAM Liberty started again, which was in a bit of disarray. There were many surprises, some technical, some social, including meeting a Danish friend of Eskils, Gabriel, whom we met on our Discipleship Training School in Kona Hawaii, way back when (2013 I think?). Gabriel was visiting a Danish friend who was helping overhauling and servicing the many many systems on board.
Back in Norway, we experienced for the first time or so proper northern lights in our area, in February. I remember it being nice and very cold; such images are usually better on your screen though (the camera compensates for a lot that the eye doesn’t).

In March, Bente had a concert with her band (she plays el. guitar), and afterwards she went with Maria and I to explore Italy where we had an absolute blast (and nice weather); we met with fellow YWAMers and shared our thoughts about the importance of the order of christian values (such as truth and unity). As contrast to the crowds taking selfies of themselves & everything, we turned – for our selfies – our back on the whatever monument we were visiting (there’s a great selfie of us in front of the Colosseum, but only you and I will ever know this, haha). Also, as the Colosseum in Rome already was in shambles, we decided to walk around it just once (if you’re not that well versed in Bible ehm verses, this is a pun on the book of Joshua chapter 6). Absolutely fascinating was the attitude of the many Indian ticket sellers there – ask me about it one time.

In April I was asked to share at the Baptist Easter Camp; I believed I shared that God still speaks today, if we quiet down and listen. April is traditionally also the month where many Norwegian children have their Confirmation of faith, and we were invited to celebrate with Tom & Heidi’s son Elis. Our rendition of Stairway to Heaven was hopefully not nightmarish, but I decided to buy a proper keyboard right afterwards; he seemed to enjoy it though, but I’m suspecting he is a truly polite young man.

In June, we started renovating the kitchen (more about that later) and we celebrated the wedding of our niece Christine and her husband Anton. They are expecting and Maria found out too soon, because she happened to ask and Christine wasn’t prepared. Pro tip: if you ever get pregnant and don’t want to tell yet, get in front of a mirror and ask yourself if you’re pregnant. Look yourself dead in the eye and respond one of the following:
A. Wouldn’t you like to know;
B. A lady never tells;
C. If you behave, I’ll let you know when I am.
See, if you’re not prepared, chances are you’ll blurt the truth just like that.

In July, we house swapped with a family in Apeldoorn, so we could accommodate everyone at the same time: Marthe and Sander travelled from Oslo via a Cold Play concert in Sweden (envious), and picked up Eskil and Sofie (in Køben I think it was which is coolspeak for Copenhagen; I hear the kids pronounce it that way); Krister flew in and we picked him up from Schiphol airport, and Bente was with us as well. The weather had been great up until then… yeah. But we had a few good days with my mum, Maria’s parents, family and friends. Actually many good days (we have nice family and great friends). Fun fact: we had my sister and her husband and family over for supper, and the host family had a copy of the boardgame my brother in law created, https://maestromusic.eu/ – super random.

When August came, Krister started a year at Danvik Folkehøyskole, in Drammen near Oslo. We drove him and a bunch of stuff out, and he’s spending his time there learning how to create good games, including digital games. Bente started upper secondary school in Sandnes where she’s learning the subtle art of product placement design. It’s so secret I don’t really know what it is, but it causes people to buy more in shops than they want.

In September, our good friend Jan stayed (whom we met back in 2008 on board the Logos 2 ship of Operation Mobilisation) with us for a few minutes. At least, that’s how long the week that she stayed seemed to last (time flies when having fun). We got to explore our own area as tourists again as we showed her around. Good weather and a great friend, brilliant combo! She even let us win with Mahjong sometimes :).

In October we installed solar panels, helped out with a few events organised by the Dyslexia association (if you can’t spell it, you may have it), and I got to visit another ship here in Stavanger, the Jotun, which is huge vessel with the sole purpose of pumping up oil. I’m working with Tom on a project that involves taking immersive photos; then load these into a VR headset such as the Oculus Quest and freely look around and inspect the situation. I think it also was around this time that Bente’s friend told a joke that I’ve been sharing with everybody and their dog cat: So a cat walks into the library and says: “Can I have a tuna sandwich?”; the librarian looks puzzled and replies: “This is a library”! So the cat whispers back: “Sorry, can I have a tuna sandwich?”.
You can try to localize it with the name of the local library and librarian, as I have attempted to do.

November and December came with more Dyslexia stuff, northern lights, performances of Bente’s band, first snow (again?), and many preparations and performances of Maria’s choir.

Signing off for now, wishing you God’s blessings for 2024.

Random photos of 2023

PS: Yeah, I really didn’t want to talk about the kitchen. Come check it out though!