I don’t even know what it really was. We called it a Conference, but obviously it wasn’t. It was some gathering of men mostly from Alta, and also from some other places of Norway around. I was the only non-Norwegian resident at the meeting.

We have been planning this meeting since last spring. In May, we met in Alta with our team to brainstorm our future work. There was also a guy who joined the team then. I don’t remember who exactly, but someone came out with the idea of a regular style conference for men in winter. This idea was largely accepted, so we started planning on it.

Of course, there were difficulties during preparation time. My biggest challenge before every event: I have to fight my own fears. Who am I? Why in the world do I do it? Why should I, a small Russian guy, teach those Norwegian men something? How can that be possible??? And of course, it’s difficult to prepare a conference with other guys, being in 3 different places, and me being in a different country. As always, we had no idea how many men will attend the meeting. The online registration was open long before the meeting, but very few dared to use it.

Anyway, the day of the Conference had come. I arrived in Alta with Marius and another guy at about noon on Saturday Jan 14. The conference was supposed to start at 2 pm. There were already guys from Kirkenes. So, we had enough time to make some preparations. I brought two 0,7×2 meter banners to decorate the hall. We had to put them somewhere by the stage, I thought. I also brought our logo stickers.

When it turned 2 pm, it became obvious that what we are about to do is something else, but a conference. There were very few men. In the end, there were about 20. So we had to rearrange the format, and we didn’t use the main hall and sat on the sofas at the back, around low tables. Those who have been in Betesda Church in Alta might imagine how it looked. There were seats just enough for everybody. And, you know, that was good. We were planning to have a more or less formal meeting, with the audience and the pulpit, but God decided do do it His way. And it was, as always, good! There was much more intimate and trustful atmosphere than it could have been in a large room.

After short worship, Steinar led the first session. His message was about David and his way before the Lord.

Then it was my turn, and I shared mostly what was going on in my life recently. My message was about the Heart of the man. Then we had a break for lunch, after which there was time of Marius and Nils. I must admit, I was so focused on delivering my message, that I didn’t expect to receive much at that meeting. But all the things the guys were sharing really touched my heart and I didn’t only serve, I was served!

Most left after all was over, but some stayed and we talked till very late. Very good time indeed.

Some facts about the meeting

There were four speakers: me, Steinar from Alta, who runs a men’s group in his home, Marius from Lakselv, who hosted the Base camp last summer in the camping he runs, Nils from Levanger, southern Norway, who joined our team in spring. He is just joining and catching up, but he is an interesting guy.

There were about 20 men. Most from Alta. A guy from UK, now living 120 km north from Alta. Another guy from Bodø, a city in the middle of Norway. Two from Kirkenes, a city near Russian border.

The next day Marius shared with me something. He said, before the meeting they had decided with Steinar: if the meeting goes well, they would start prioritizing this ministry over other activities. Then he said, it went really well! So, our next March meeting will be on a lake between Alta and Lakselv.

Blessings from men in the North!

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