I received the following emails from Carm who was a co-worker in the ministry with us at Pine Ridge Bible Camp when we worked there in the late 90's.
From Carm: Sure. You may share on web.
Mary Beth and Nate and kids,
I love the place where Shalisha is!!!! We have been to Bodo. I have many relatives there. My Great Grandma came from there, we saw her childhood home high on a mountain (2 hr. hike) under a cliff along a mountain fishing lake. Her family made a living fishing and logging until they could afford to move back down and do crop share farming.
When asking the Norwegians where we should spent most of our time, they said Bodo. It's the most beautiful place in Norway...it's actually all beautiful!! There's a glacier visible from Bodo. When we were there in early August of 2004 the temps reached 80 degrees, unusual. The earlier summer had been much cooler though. I have lots of historical tales to tell of our ancestors in Bodo.
I sure wish I could be a mouse in Shalisha's pocket. She's going to have a wonderful experience. Those Norwegians are precious people and rugged people. The old folks can climb mountains as good as the young ones...do it all the time. We were the soft Americans.
Green with envy of Shalisha!!! but God bless her anyhow!!! :-)
Another email from Carm:
I feel very attached to Bodo and surrounding area.
You may be interested to know some more of our experiences there.
Actually, my 1st cousin from Michigan City was in Scandinavia 2 years before us. With our long time close cousins in Sweden, she made a trip to Bergen, Norway and looked up records of ancestors on Great Grandpa's side. She even visited one of those distant cousins. She learned of Great Grandma's ancestry in Bodo.
When she got back home she emailed the newspaper in the Bodo area asking them to run an ad: Any decedents of Ole and Grete Davidson who would like to communicate with USA relatives please email _____________. She got 4 responses. One of them she talked to on the phone and communicated often.
When we announced our 3 week trip to Sweden and Norway, she contacted the talkative one. Subsequently when we met our close cousin in Goteborg Sweden and he shuttled us to Oslo by bus, 5 relatives met us for a 6 hour visit near the Kings Palace and train station. The visit was wonderful even though we were very jet lagged and tired. Didn't matter...we were too excited to be there and meet them. One 3rd cousin was the curator of the Norwegian Resistance WW2 Museum and invited us back to Oslo after Bodo for a personal tour around Oslo (that was amazing she would do that, let alone that spontaneous part of our trip was indescribably wonderful). At midnight we boarded the sleeper train headed to Bodo, passing through Lillihammer. When we woke up in the morning, the scenery was incredible. The train even stopped about 5 minutes at the arctic circle crossing as a special event! Certainly special for us since we'd never been across the arctic circle.
We arrived in Bodo at 7:30 PM with 17 relatives there to meet us!! They were as excited to meet relatives from USA as we were to discover them. No one had ever been there from there family they didn't know existed in USA either.
Oh my, the quaint house we stayed was at the bottom of a high waterfall using that water directly into the house for drinking...no pollution. The house was painted red like 3/4 of the houses in Norway, cheap paint, a bi-product of iron oxide red dye. We hiked to Great Grandma's Davidson cliff dwelling, still there! Then had a potluck outdoors with very old time traditional foods and 36 relatives. (Many of them didn't know each other either and some were from 5 hrs. away). Each relative had on a name tag with their lineage to Ole Davidson. The older folks were 2nd cousins to my Mom and couldn't speak much English, but understood more than they would let on. Then 3rd, 4th, 5th cousins could all speak English, some very well. Together they celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, one second cousin sang "Ten Thousand Red Roses" in Norwegian and gave us a huge bouquet of red roses from the back of his house (Norwegians like red), and then they gave us a wooden hand carved large bowl hand painted with Old Norwegian design...Beautiful! If you come visit us remind me to show it to you.
Next 2 days we toured the entire area including a 1000 year old church where Ole Davidson family went to church. We toured cemeteries where ancestors were buried. We visited family homes & farms with so much history family history that it was truly nostalgic. One 3rd cousin who had spent 4 yrs. in Kenya on humanitarian mission spoke English really well and had planned our personally narrated tour immaculately every where we went. Truly amazing. We visited his Mom, age 94 in nursing home. She held a picture of herself when she was age 4 wearing a dress my great grandparents had sent her from the USA.
Another amazing thing I forgot about our 6 hours in Oslo...a 2nd cousin historian of our Norway family, brought along pictures. He had no idea who they were. I recognized the 4 young women immediately...my Grandma and her 3 sisters!!! He was delighted to identify the family picture he had just kept...because!!!
We took the coastal ferry (like a cruise ship) from Bodo down to Trondheim, then the train back to Oslo. Our Norwegian family even though they'd never known us treated us like royalty! They made all arrangements for our travel by phone (speaking Norwegian helped much better than our English would have) and saw us off and greeted us on the other end.
Back in Oslo, that 3rd cousin even took us on a sailboat sunset cruise out in the Bay of Oslo where we ate unlimited shrimp out of huge tubs. We tramped 2 days seeing a lot in Oslo also. Then we took the train to Stockholm and enjoyed relatives and travel just as amazingly all over Sweden for the next 1 1/2 weeks before leaving Goteborg for home.
It was truly an anniversary trip made in heaven!!!
Although another group of Americans on the train from Oslo to Stockholm were very disappointed in their relatives in Norway, cold and calculated, charged them for everything. Go figure!
Sadly we could not detect any believers in our group of relatives. Just seemed so friendly, loving, yet so secular. Most the churches in Scandinavia are state churches where people are baptized as infants, married, and buried. They value their churches mainly as historic architectural landmarks. The churches are the center for keeping genealogies though and are open to looking up anybody.
We'd go back to Norway in a heart beat as missionaries. People need the Lord there!!!
If Shalisha falls in love with that country you may find her a missionary there. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
If you ever get the chance to go there by all means do. What an experience!
Be blessed again,
Carm and Lysle JohnsonMissionaries at: Camp Michawana