A Visit to Norway

One of the highlights of the past few months was a visit to northern Norway to attend the Executive Committee meeting of the European Baptist Federation (EBF). CBM has considerable input into the ministries of the EBF through the youth leaders training program that Jeff Carter designed and leads, and the refugee coordination and capacity building of some national Baptist unions (conventions) that I facilitate. The meeting was at the invitation of the Baptist Union of Norway and was held in Sommarøy, beyond the Arctic Circle.

The setting was absolutely stunning with the sea, fishing inlets, and mountains with snow. We were blessed for three days with blue skies and sunshine.

Above: The Baptist Church in Sommarøy

Sommarøy is a small community of about 450 people with a Baptist church at the center. The only grocery store in town and the Arctic Hotel are owned by members of the church. There is very little else in the town. They jokingly refer to it as the Baptist island. The Sommarøy church is part of a group of churches clustered around the Baptist Church in Tromsø (45 minutes away by bus) which make up the northern most Baptist Churches in the world.

The work in northern Norway started in the 1890s when a fisherman encountered Christ in one of the ports he visited. He came back and started a small Baptist church in Tromsø. This church over time grew to over 800 members – drawing people from the surrounding areas. They also planted churches all across northern Norway, including the one in Sommarøy. It was a powerful reminder for me that Christ is the One who is building His Church, and that it is not because we got the strategy right. We are seeing the same thing among the Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, where God is working in spite of our strategies.

The EBF plays a critical role in encouraging and assisting the Baptist churches across Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Besides the traditional ministries to women, youth, and children, EBF also facilitates the planting of new churches across the region by supporting and encouraging church planters and their families in some of the most challenging contexts. Over 200 church planters have been assisted. EBF also advocates for religious freedom, while also helping those who have been marginalized from the mainstreams of society (refugees being one such group). Finally, EBF facilities theological education and reflection across the region.

With all the social and political changes and challenges across Europe and the Middle East, the churches (not just Baptists) are uniquely placed to respond. It is for such a time as this that we find ourselves involved in the mission of God here. My latest book Strangers in the Kingdom: Ministering to Refugees, Migrants and the Stateless (coauthored with Brent Hamoud) has just been published by Langham Global Library. It is also available on Amazon. Besides providing biblical, theological and missiological foundations for ministries to those displaced, it also has case studies of how local churches are assisting refugees. Two of the churches featured are from Canada. The book is designed to be used as a study and refection tool for churches and organizations ministering to the displaced. Thank you for praying and supporting us as we are involved in the mission of God.

My latest book Strangers in the Kingdom: Ministering to Refugees, Migrants and the Stateless (coauthored with Brent Hamoud) has just been published by Langham Global Library. It is also available on Amazon. Besides providing biblical, theological and missiological foundations for ministries to those displaced, it also has case studies of how local churches are assisting refugees. Two of the churches featured are from Canada. The book is designed to be used as a study and refection tool for churches and organizations ministering to the displaced.

Thank you for praying and supporting us as we are involved in the mission of God.

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray for Tony Peck, Helle Liht and the leadership of the EBF that they may have wisdom and grace in addressing the challenges of such a diverse region. National politics often intrude into the relationships between member churches and unions. Pray for unity – John 17:20-21. 2.
  2. I teach quite a bit this summer. Pray for open hearts and for the Spirit of God to move deeply in the hearts and minds of the students.

About Rupen & Mamta Das

Rupen and Mamta were appointed by CBM in 2009 to serve in Lebanon. At the beginning of 2015 they were reassigned to work with CBM’s partner, the European Baptist Federation (EBF) based in Amsterdam, where Rupen serves as a consultant for Mission and Development. As part of his role with EBF, Rupen is on the faculty of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) where he teaches in the area of missions. Mamta has a background in teaching and with home schooling their children when they lived in remote locations.

Learn more about the Dases