The red letter weekend

When I was in Primary school back in Kenya (equivalent of “barneskole”), there was this very common essay that we used to write titled “the red letter day”. This used to capture the most outstanding day of one’s life. And I rememeber how I nostalgically used to write captivating stories of my expeiriences then. All this was aimed at being as creative and, potentially, as genuine as possible. The question that looms now is why I’ve chosen such a topic at such a time and in such a context. Well, this past weekend has proven to have been one of my most memorable weekends ever. What I experienced remains fundamentally great and innumerably impactful on my life.

Joyline and I visited Levanger, which is a small municipality to the north-east of Trondheim, for a worship experience. This worship weekend, dubbbed iWorship, is a 42 hour worship time that runs for a whole weekend from Friday to Sunday at the Nordic Mission Senter. I only got to have an 8-hour non-stop worship session there and I think this was an encounter for me to reckon with.

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At the Bønnesenter with new friend

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Team Kenya just outside the worship hall

Singing and worshipping freely
It was a great time to simply sing to the Lord with a live band intermittently leading the sessions. The freedom for everyone to express themselves was notable. People could lie on the mattresses that were on the side of the hall, roll on the floor, sit on the ground, kneel with hands raised, lie on the chairs, and/or jump just in adoration of the Lord. I loved the choice of the songs as they reminded me of what apostle Paul says to the Ephesians “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.” It is really a blessed experience to just sing to the Lord from the bowels of your heart. Some of the songs we sang are hereunder:

“You are the everlasting God,
The everlasting God,
You do not faint, You won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need,
You lift us up on wings like eagles”

with

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

with

“Set a fire down in my soul
That I cant contain
That I cant control
I want more of you God
I want more of you God

and

“(Let there be) no reservations, no walls
But just an open door in my heart for You

I want to give all that’s inside of my heart
I want to give all that’s inside of my heart to You”

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Leif speaks out on “The Philippines mission”

Pray genuinely
I found the time in this worship weekend very fruitful especially for me to just genuinely relay myself to HIM. There is no better experience than when you pray and you keep having the reassurance that God is listening and answering you. I just broke before the Lord as I cried out in reverence to His name and glorious nature. I kept marveling at His love; this love that has neither been challenged by the lapse of time, nor the diversity of cultures, nor the expanse of our rebellion, nor the magnitude of our fallenness. The love that is so unconditional and limitless; the matchless love of Christ. That He could die on the old rugged Cross just for the filthy me!! This moment in His presence just made HIS love so real to me that I couldnt help it but give HIM all glory, and all honor; and all power; and all thanks; and all majesty. This was one of the few moments I have had in my life just to be in the presence of the Lord; and worship HIM for who HE is and not for what HE can do for me…

Read the Word of God open-mindedly
The best way to worship God is when all that is declared is in line with God’s Word. I had some great time just exploring God’s Word. As I did that, Psalms 34:8-10Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” stood out for me. And all through, I longed to simply taste HIM so that I could experience HIS goodness afresh. That longing is what kept me going and desiring more of HIM.

New divine friends
After such an awesome time worshipping the Lord, we visited a Norwegian family with Liberian descent. Need I mention the warmth of hospitality, the African way! Speaking English without having to repeat myself a number of times was great. And listening to the West-African accent was really amazing for me. Not forgeting the fact that we watched an African movie together…

We shared in the West African delicacies of varied nature..

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Okra soup, Cassava leaves, and Palm sauce

…did I mention trying out the shrimp!!!

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Shrimp in okra soup with rice 

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Trying out the shrimp; not bad!

We met Pastor Lemuel Kulah’s family…

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New-found family
Having taken dinner, we just needed some time to refresh in song and laughter

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Pastor Lemuel, his wife, Victoria and son, Shadrack

In Pastor Lemuel’s home, we were African again!! Not that we had transformed but in its expression. We talked about everything, freely interacting. A new bond of friendship was birthed, and we became part and parcel of the family…

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Helping out in making breakfast

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Pastor Lemuel and I at a dinner table
This man gave me lots of insights on life in a new land

And after all had been said and done, we had to bid farewell. So, the entire team of seven had to fit in a 5-seater car all the way to the train statetion…

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Let’s just say it was kinda difficult to let go…
Fully loaded on the back seat of the car, all smiles just to see us off

This experience definitely goes direct to the most notable annals of my history. To God be the praise for such a blessing!

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2 comments on “The red letter weekend

  1. Good to hear that you found fellowship and African friends and food in Levanger! I hope you experienced that also some Norwegians can dance and enjoy the way you are used to. Leif comes from my hometown Haugesund, so we have met some times here in Trondheim. He is in the newspaper today, meeting his son Erlend in Tacloban, Phillipines. Have a nice weekend! JP

    • The Levanger experience opened my eyes to the reality of worship diversity; the importance of pouring out one’s heart to God… And that this can be done by all…

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