Wartime Evangelism in Norway

A report from Norway.

By ALF LOHNE, Departmental Secretary of the Norway Conference

Before the war the West Nordic Union comprised Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. But when the Germans came, we in Norway were cut off from the rest of the union. In 1942, at the be­ginning of the year, when the Germans began to make traveling difficult in our country, Norway was organized into four conferences instead of two, and instead of the union committee we had the Fellesradet, which consisted of the conference pres­idents and the leaders of the institutions. We are now reunited with Denmark, and P. G. Nelson is president.

You will be interested in how we conducted evan­gelistic efforts during the occupation. The Ger­mans permitted us to preach, but our preachers had to be careful with the advertising. The space in the papers was strictly limited. Headlines in our advertising were not allowed in most of the papers.

Public meetings were allowed, but it was impos­sible to get satisfactory halls. The enemy had taken over. In Trondheim the Germans took our beautiful church for a hospital, but the effort con­tinued in the cellar, and many souls were won. As not all could be seated in the cellar, another room was also used where the sermon could be heard through a loud-speaker, though the listeners in this other room did not see the speaker.

It was almost impossible to move or transfer workers. They had to stay in the same place for the duration, even if that place was small. It was extremely difficult to travel. Because so many Norwegians fled westward to England and Iceland, to join the Norwegian army there, we had to get a special passport for visiting the churches along the coast. And because thousands upon thounands fled eastward to Sweden, we had to have another pass­port to travel in the east of Norway. And besides that we had to have special permission to travel on busses or trains for distances longer than twenty kilometers (about 12 miles). If you will look at a map of our long, long country, you will understand what that meant. During wartime, it took about fourteen days to travel from one end of the country to the other. In normal times it takes but one week.

Time and again I was denied travel privileges. But at last I made a long report of our social work to show to the authorities, and then I got permis­sion to travel. At that time I was glad to have the reports from the churches.

In spite of all difficulties, the work has gone on mightily. We have won more souls during these years than ever before.

God has used the lay brethren and sisters of the church to do a great deal of the work. In one city the young people's society held a series of Bible studies in private homes. As a result, seven young people were baptized.

The membership in Norway was 3,421 in the first quarter of 1942. By the middle of 1945, we had 4,150, or a net gain of 729 members. We have never before experienced anything like that in Norway. We thank God for the results, for it is all done by Him, and we marvel at His wonders.

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By ALF LOHNE, Departmental Secretary of the Norway Conference

March 1946

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