Commemorating Ninety Years in Tromso
Ninety years ago, three women went to Tromso, Norway, on a mission. Tora Garde, Anna Folgero, and Ingeborg Johannessen did not know anyone in the city, but they wanted to meet people because they had a message they wanted to pass on.
The women belonged to the Apostolic Faith Church in Stavanger, Norway, and felt God had called them to take the Latter Rain Gospel to Tromso. There, they sought out individuals who had requested literature or prayer from the leaders in Stavanger and the United States.
After seven days, the situation looked bleak: their money was gone and they had no contacts and nowhere to live. Then they read the account of Joshua walking around Jericho seven times on the seventh day, and they felt encouraged by the Lord. Shortly afterward, they were told of one who wanted prayer, and soon they were able to rent a building that formerly had been a grocery store. In July of 1929, they held the first Apostolic Faith church service in Tromso.
The first few years of the work in Tromso were full of trials. Resources were scarce, and the women had little food and fuel. Once, Anna went to the town square to buy fish with less than a penny, but she returned with both fish and potatoes without paying anything—a butcher in town (who was not a Christian) gave them the meat for their Sunday dinner, and repeated that favor for a long time!
Now ninety years have passed, and the congregation still meets at the same location, though over the years the building has been renovated. To commemorate the anniversary, a celebration was held at the end of the summer in 2019.
The special anniversary weekend took place August 31 to September 1. Invitations were distributed prior to the event, and many visitors attended, including representatives from neighboring churches.
The Saturday activities included a presentation on the history of the Tromso work given by Steiner Bruvoll. LeRoy Tonning, the Scandinavia District Superintendent, was also in attendance, and preached during a service held on Saturday. In the sermon, he told about the many beautiful churches he had seen while in Denmark this past year, noting that they were well-maintained, but hardly used. He said the house of God should be well-maintained, but more importantly, it should be filled with people and the Spirit of God.
Two services were held on Sunday and both featured beautiful music. Among the specials were a flute duet, baritone solo, and several organ pieces. In addition, vocal ensembles sang in English, Norwegian, and Yoruba. One attendee commented that the Spirit of God was the same in every language, bringing unity.
In the Sunday morning service, Hanne Hansen preached. She has led the Tromso congregation since 2010. She and her husband, Ragnar, have gladly given themselves to the service of the Lord. In the afternoon, Bamidele Opeifa preached. Originally from Nigeria, he and his wife, Lola, moved their family to Tromso from England in 2017. Their three sons have also been a blessing to the congregation through their musical talents.
Between the Sunday services, lunch was served in a room that had been beautifully decorated with fresh flowers, and everyone enjoyed a delicious meal as well as good fellowship.
As the congregation in Tromso looks back on ninety years of service and God’s faithfulness, they also look forward, hoping to be a light to their community for many more years, should the Lord tarry.