Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Back from England with a growing baby, ready for big school.

TESOL in transit

We´ve come back at the beginning of June, and we are very happy to be back in our own home. Our own beds, our own kitchen our own bathroom. And especially all the people here at Grimerud.
We plan to be at Grimerud this summer, where we will work practically with some events. We don´t have plans to go any places on vacation.
Now that we have completed the TESOL in England, we want to go on and offer english-teacher training in Norway as well. What this is going to look like, and how we are going to do this is still something we are trying to figure out.

Big school for Ana

The day after we came back we visited the school that Ana is going to go to after the summer. It´s going to be a big class with 19 kids. The school is called Hedemarken Friskole. The school is half an hour away from where we live. YWAMers started this private christian school 25 years ago, and in it´s time it was the first private school in the country. Most families that live at Grimerud have kids that go to this school. About half of Ana class are kids she knows from the preschool here at Grimerud.
After having gone to a public school in England, we see that Ana is very ready for big school.


Ana´s new school-class.


The baby

The second day after we came back we had an appointment with the midwife. Our baby is very healthy and active, and everything seems to be okay. At the first appointment we couldn´t see the gender yet, because the umbilical cord was in the way. At the second appointment, the midwife was as sure as she could be that our growing baby is a girl. Watch the video below to see Ana´s reaction to the big news.



Burning Bright

Just this week, we had a little party with «Burning Bright», the children´s dance-group we started last winter. Since the seven months we started the group, many kids have joined us. We have been able to do three projects in this time, with different dances for each project. Towards the end, the oldest kids even made their own group where they themselves prepare some parts of our weekly rehearsals.
It´s great to see the little and the big kids grow in confidence of expressing themselves, even on stage in front of a lot of people.


The kids of our dance-group «Burning Bright»,
We´ve had a lot of good times and performances since we started this winter.


What I do

Besides the practical work here at the base, I am hoping to do a few dozen more illustrations for Wycliffe. Their project-deadline is in July, and it looks like that me and the other artists will be able to finish off some 300 key-words. Besides that, the summer is typically the time of the year to catch up on unfinished projects.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

TESOL England: Almost done already


Marina teaching, most of her students are Brazilian too. All future missionaries.


Finishing the TESOL

Our stay in England has felt like it has gone really fast, we´ve had very long days with the TESOL-course and everything. But it´s all been very good, but we´re looking forward to come home again to Norway. Marina has been having good results on her course, and is always very happy to be teaching English again.
Ana has been having a good time at school, even though it is all so different from what she has been used with in Norway. She is happy to have made new friends, and have new teachers.
But the thing that really motivates her is reading books. When I pick her up from school at the end of the day, the first thing she does it to show me the new book the school sends home for us to read.



Before we travelled, we made sure we packed
our Norwegian flags, so we could celebrate the
Norwegian national day.
 



One of the pictures I drew for Wycliffe.
 

What I have been doing

I have had my taste of «Stay-at-home-dad» while I have been here. Taking care of our apartment and of my family. It´s been a new role for me, but it´s been good. Once Ana is in school I´ve had the time to make more illustrations for Wycliffe´s list of keywords for bible translation. More on my tumblr-blog.
For YWAM Norway, our second issue of Mot Målet got moved to the summer, so I don´t have to stress with that now. With the available work-time I´ve got now I´ve instead given a little hand the Norwegian version of the 30 Days of Prayer project. Next week, Ramadan will start, and during those 30 days many christians around the world are praying for the Muslim world.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TESOL England: First impressions



This is «the clock building». This is where we are staying on the second floor.
There is a café on the bottom floor, and I´m using the office space on the top floor (behind the clock).


TESOL

We´ve been here for a little more than one week, and it has taken us some time to get settled and into our new routine. Marina has started the TESOL-course, and Ana has been going to one of the public schools in the town.
Marina her class is quite small, only three students and two staff. But she´s very happy to be able to be here. As part of her course, Marina will be teaching English on the ECO-course (English Cultural Orientation), which is a course where people learn English. People take this course either before their DTS, or before joining a missions team where English is the team language.
The ECO-class that Marina will be teaching has six Brazilians and one Chilean, which is nice.

We´ve already made really good friends with one of the Brazilian families that is here for ECO-course. They have two girls that are around the same age as Ana. Marina will be giving classes together with the mother. And I hang out with the dad, he helps me with my Portuguese, while I help him with his English. And we talk about bicycles.



Ana is going to a British public school while we are here.
The day after we arrived,
we went to the big mall to get her a school uniform.


Wood End School

We see it as a miracle from God that Ana has gotten a place at one of the public schools in town. We had been a bit anxious about how the whole transition would be. The British school-system is quite different from the Norwegian YWAM-preschool that she is used with. But she is happy to go to school, and takes in all the new thing quite well, the uniform, the homework. The school is a little more than a mile away. So, with a borrowed bike I bring her to school in the morning, and pick her up at the end of the day. We feel so blessed with all the people have helped us getting started here.


Some of the illustrations I have been making for Wycliffe this past week.
It´s so cool to be able to contribute to bible-translation with what I am good at.


What I do

In the first week I have been helping the girls getting started with their schools and schedules. I´m happy to be able to support my girls in this way. As a husband and parent, I want to make sure they can get the best out their time here.
Besides all the organising, I have started to contribute to an illustration-project for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Of the total of 6887 languages in the world, 3287 do not yet have a bible-translation. To speed up the global bible-translation work, they have asked artists to illustrate a few thousand key-words. The words that are the most important to bible translation. They hope to get all the drawings in by the end of this year, collect them and put them all in a kit that the translator can use to speed up their work of bible translation.
I am really excited to be able to be part of this project. Imagine that in our lifetime (perhaps only five years from now), there will be a bible in every language on earth.
I´ll be posting my illustrations for Wycliffe in my tumblr-blog.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Our family is growing


We can´t hide it anymore,
there is a little Middag-baby on the way.


A baby!

Whoohoo, we´re excited to tell that we´re expecting a baby in October! Just some days before my birthday. We had found out ourselves just before we were in the Netherlands for my sister´s wedding.
Marina and the baby are doing good. We have visited her doctor and the midwife here in Norway, we already got to hear the baby´s heart beat. Despite it being so early in the pregnancy.

Bit by bit we are preparing for the new member of our family, and the small apartment we have is filling up with clothes and other things that our generous friend have donated to us. But all of that will have to wait for another six weeks, as we are travelling to England tomorrow. Then at the end of May we will be back in Norway.



Our group «Burning Bright» was performing at the
local refugee-centre last Tuesday.
 


Burning Bright

Just last week we were at the local refugee-centre with the dance and drama-group we started half a year ago. It´s a dance group for young children, inspired on what is internationally known as King´s Kids. We´ve named our group Burning Bright.
Our group has twice perfomed simple dances and dramas during the dig dinners that we at Grimerud organise for the refugees, and twice our group has performed at a local church.
But over the weekend we took contact with the board of the refugee-place, and to our surprise they allowed us to have our Gospel-presentation now on Tuesday. After the presentation we had an easter-egg hunt outside with the refugee-kids.

Alright, that was the news for now. We are flying to England early in the morning tomorrow. In the next post I´ll share with you our first impressions of the place.

Happy Easter everybody!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back to England, with my family this time


The YWAM Harpenden base.


What Marina is going to be doing

The tickets have been bought, it´s real. We are going to be in England from the 14th of April til the 30th of May. Marina has been accepted for the TESOL-course that we have been applying for since the end og last year. It´s going to be an exciting time for our family to be on a training-trip together for this one and a half month. It´s a little crazy to think that we have not been married for half a year, and we´re already travelling out together. Quite the YWAM missionary family.

TESOL is not just a YWAM-thing, it´s a internationally recognised method to train non-english speakers in speaking english (Wikipedia link). But english-teaching is in high demand in non-english speaking countries, as knowing english will potentially give people many more opportunities and advantages. Many of our missionary friends in the Middle-East and Central Asia have been involved with TESOL-training. It´s a great tool in missions to reach people.

Marina has for many years felt that God has been leading her to be a missionary by using english-teaching. The bible-passage that has been very central for her was from Ezekiel 3, where God calls the prophet that his mission is "not to people of a strange language".

What me and Ana are going to be doing

Ana will not be able to join an English public school while we are there. The application process is just impossible. So, our six-year old will hopefully be happy to mostly be with Marina in the classroom, and sometimes with me at the place where we are going to stay. There are several schools for Ana only a mile away, and I (as a Dutch dad) had been really looking forward to bicycling her to school and back every day, but that´s just not going to be working out. For most of the time I will be quite busy with the next issue of YWAM Norway´s magazine. Doing all the layout from across the North Sea.
It´s not the first time that we´re working this way, with me not being in Norway. It´s been done before two years ago, and I also was in England at that time. I was in London at that time for the Arts Internship.

Thank you to everyone that has been praying together with us in this step of our journey as a missionary-family. We really appreciate your prayers and support.

Friday, March 3, 2017

We started our year with parties and big plans



Both my girls enjoying a little pretend winter-snack in the igloo.

Ana´s Party

Hello again, it´s March already and we´ve been very busy with a lot of things, above here is a picture we took on Ana´s birthday. On the lawn outside where we live some people had made an amazing igloo.
For her birthday Ana had invited a good dozen of her friends, and we had two very busy hours with food, presents and crafts.
At the beginning of the year, when we started to ask Ana about what theme she wanted to have for her party she said she wanted a Bible-story party. Which was pretty good, considering that she wanted a Troll-themed party the year before. Marina found a bible-story series
that was written especially for girls of Ana´s age. It´s called Bible Belles.
Seeing her at her birthday this year made me think back of how she was on that day last year. And it has been so clear how much she has grown in her fifth year. I feel very privileged to be the one to parent her together with Marina.



Ana wanted to invite only girls at first,
but then wouldn´t allow herself to not have boys coming too.


We are looking like a proper international family here,
With both Marina and Ana from Brazil and Donal from Ireland.


Annemarie´s party

My sister´s wedding was the week before Ana´s birthday, and we were very happy to all be in the Netherlands for one week. Because I am living abroad, I don´t get to see my siblings as much as I would like. Especially not my little sister, who now lives in Ireland.

Plans for England (TESOL)

In my last post I mentioned that we are hoping to be involved with translating YWAM´s sourceview bible-app into Norwegian. This project won´t start until after the summer, and even then we are not certain how we will be able to contribute. But getting people excited about the bible is always good. Another bible related thing that we are going to be involved in the next few years is that we are going to offer a bible to each house in Hedmark (the county we live in).


YWAM Harpenden, here is where we plan to be for six weeks
in April and May of this year.

Another plan of ours, is that we have applied to be part of a TESOL-course. TESOL stands for Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages, and aims to train people to teach english. Marina has worked as an english teacher in Brazil for years before her and Ana came to Norway. Now she wants to use her love for languages to reach the people that don´t know Jesus yet. In many countries (and especially in the middle east) extra english classes are much sought after, so working as an english teacher is a good way for many young christians to come in contact with people, that would otherwise be difficult as a "regular" missionary. Then after taking this course in England this year, we plan to be teaching the same course in Norway at Grimerud the year after.
The TESOL-course takes only six weeks, and we would go the YWAM-base in Harpenden with the whole family. Ana should be able to join school there, and I will work with Mot Målet from there.

Mot Målet (which I am not going to stop talking about)

It looks like it´s going to be a big year for our magazine. We (not me) got to dig into a big list of subscribers that we had lost contact with. And from working with that list we managed to gain back as many that we are now well over 10.000 subscribers. And that´s a really good number.
And while someone else has been doing that amazing job, I have been making a new website for our magazine. It was actually the first time that I designed a website. The new website should make it easier for our readers to read and share the articles online.

You can visit the site from www.motmalet.no


The look of the new website for Mot Målet.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Mot Målet 04 2016, the beginning of a new year


Happy new year everyone!
 






Mot Målet 4 of 2016

First of all, here is the latest issue of YWAM Norway magazine (click on the image above). Last year´s last issue. This time, the theme has been «Hearing God´s voice», and we got a lot of good responses on the issue, so that was really nice. Besides doing the layout for the magazine I also wrote a short post as the editor. Here is the english translation:

The first time I heard God´s voice he spoke about missions. I was in Iceland, standing on the roof of a barn. For the last days I had been scraping the weathered paint off the old planks of the outer wall. I had taken a gap-year to adventure around Iceland. And now I was thinking about expanding my gap-year into a lifestyle of travel and experiences.
A thought struck me where I was standing on that roof in Iceland. «If I could do this for myself, then I can also do it for God.» It came as a challenge, and hit me with conviction. At the same time, I also felt that God gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to do with what he had just spoken.
I took the challenge and got myself ready to take a DTS in Norway the year after.


Twelve year has passed since that summer day. «Hearing from God» has today become a pretty normal thing for me and my family. Something so precious that I would not want to let go, or go without it.

In this issue of Mot Målet you can read how we continue with fulfilling what God has called us to do. We train young people for missions, contribute to (literally) give God´s word to the people of Norway. We send missions-team to the foreign places in the world, and with hospitality we meet the foreigners that have come to us.
God has given us a big job to do, and with our own eyes we can see it developed and fulfilled step by step. It give us great joy and thankfulness when we for ourselves can see how God´s kingdom is growing.

In March I will be working on the next issue of our magazine. In the meantime, I am slowly getting more into digital publishing (finally). The online issue of the magazine is over at www.motmalet.no

Bible apps in Norwegian

At the beginning of the year we had the annual YWAM Norway staff conference again, and that was really busy and good. We were 400 people here at Grimerud. We had some really cool talks with a lot of people, but for now I will just mention one of them. YWAM international has developed a bible reading app which allows you to read the text as a story told. It shows who is talking to who, how much each person says, and the things each of these persons talk about. It is the same bible, but the way you read it engages you more into the biblical narrative. See sourceviewbible.com for more info about this app.
As a goal for this year, YWAM Norway is hoping to translate this app to Norwegian, so we have an engaging bible-app that we can present when we continue handing out bibles door to door in the rest of the country. This is a project that I hope I can be involved with.


Missions training

After the staff-conference, I was part of leading a missions training course for 22 students at the Nordland-DTS. This is the same Kairos-course that I had taken in November last year. Classroom teaching and leading small-groups aren´t things I do often, and I wanted to step out about practice both. At the same time, I got to learn understand more about missions, and God´s heart for all the people´s of this earth.


At the end of the Kairos-training week
all the students got their certificates.
These guys were in the small-group that I lead,
now they are in Nepal for their DTS-missions trip.

A family visit

Next month, we will be in The Netherlands for one week, from the 14th til the 21st. My sister Annemarie is getting married to Donál on the 18th. He is Irish, and they met in Ireland where she has been living for some years now. We are excited about being at their wedding, and meeting all of our new family.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Hey everyone, we want to wish you a very merry Christmas!

We are so overly happy that we are now spending the holidays together as one family. It´s the first time we have our own Christmas tree, build our own «pepperkakehus» (gingerbread-house), lighted our own advent candles and a few things more.
We also continued an advent tradition that we started when we were still dating. Last year we did an advent devotional for which I drew one illustration every day. Those illustrations have now become and important part of the decorations for our Christmas tree. Every evening we have coloured one of the drawings and read the devotional together.



The Middag family Christmas tree.



We recorded all the whole Norwegian advent song for you guys, enjoy!






Our Christmas dinner with both Grimerud-friends and refugee-friends.


On Christmas-eve we first went to «The Mercy house», where Marina volunteers on Thursdays. Here we sang carols and told the story of Jesus birth to a small group of refugees that had come for the celebration. At the end of the program we handed out gifts to them.
Two of the refugees came with us to Grimerud with us and spent the rest of the evening here.

We are looking forward to some days of rest now, until the next big Grimerud-events start. Then in the new year I will make a little change in my work, and become part of the book-publishing team Proklamedia that YWAM Norway has. I´m will still be making the YWAM-Norway magazine, but at the times that I am not working with that, I´ll be involved with the publishing team.

Financially we have been able to come through the year. Being full-time volunteers that depend on gifts and sponsoring for their finances is still a challenge. But just like the last ten year, it has worked out this year too.
For me, it has also been the first full year that I have been tithing off all the money that has come in.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

LTS at Grimerud

Whoa, long time since I´ve posted anything. We have been busy with a lot of things, and it doesn´t look like it´s going to calm down until after Christmas. So, here is a short view of the things that we have been involved in:




As part of the LTS-program we had a huge (5x10 meter) map of Europe,
rolled out on the floor. We took of our shoes and prayed for all the countries.

LTS-Europe

In November we hosted a ten-day course called «LTS» (Leadership Training School). For this, over a hundred YWAM-leaders came together at our base for leadership training. It was very nice to meet so many people that work with YWAM at different places in Europe. Especially The extra cool thing was that Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, had come to speak at the school too.



Bucket-list photo: A family-picture with Loren Cunningham,
the founder of YWAM.
Ahead of the course, I did the design for their student-manual, a twenty page folder with info, names and pictures. During the days of the course I was present at most sessions, and took pictures and notes, which I later posted on the different social media for the rest of YWAM internationally.
Marina was doing an amazing job in the kitchen, organising the three meals every day for over a hundred people.

The fourth issue of Mot Målet has dropped into people´s mailboxes by now. The theme of that issue is going to be «Hearing God´s voice», a typical topic for us in YWAM. I´ll show you guys mor of the magazine in a next post.



After one year, I´ve learned through all of the
Portuguese lessons on the Duolingo-app.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Inktober 2016, part two


This month is almost over, and with a little delay I´ve finished the important part of my Inktober project for this year: the wedding vows that we have given each other. Above here are the eight lines of Marina´s vows to me.

I feel so much loved by the commitment and love that Marina is showing me.



Last Sunday I turned 35, and we celebrated with balloons, cake, singing and gifts.

Life goes on at Grimerud, we are back to our regular commitments here after the "Harvest Feast" we have had last week. This was a week where we all layed down our work for some days to look back on what has happened in the last year, and share about what we hope to see happen in the future.
One of the things we talked about during these days was the "Bible to All" campaign in our region. We are planning to offer a bible to all the thousands of homes in our county.