Nov 27 7 Comments

The people who change the world are the ones the world seldom hears about

Last night we had a Partners Norway board meeting. Board meetings are seldom a blast. We are supposed to stick to an agenda, speak about serious issues only, and come to conclusions. We must sign legal documents and think words such as governance, budget and policy. An almost impossible situation for me who usually get so sidetracked that I forget what I was trying to say myself, and who like to follow my feelings rather than my intellect.

But a Partners board meeting is a little different. We plough through all these legal documents, yes, but behind them are hearts that burn for something worth living for. The board members I was with last night were people that I would describe as generous, servant-hearted, passionate and committed. Some of us, like me, feel terribly illiterate when is comes to certain board issues, others are so talented that they ought to be professional board members. Together we have been able to compliment and help each other as we are splitting brain cells to come up with how to make this organization become more of what we are good at, and better at what we are not so good at.

There is a young mother, Ragnhild, who works fulltime as a teacher who drives on windy and dark roads almost three hours each way to get to our meetings four-five times a year. This she does after a full workday. And she is happy to because she is so excited about Partners and the work we do. She has never been to Burma or to Thailand. She hasn’t even met anybody from Burma. But her heart is on fire.

This is a committed woman. She has contagious joy!

Jon runs his own company and, at his own expense, flies from the south of Norway to our place equal amounts of times. He misses a whole day of work every time we have a meeting. In his spare time he goes to preschools and talks about Partners and help them raise money for projects that matter to the children of Burma.

Jon is also very sporty. Here he is on top of the tallest mountain in Norway together with some other sporty men: My husband and my brother.

There is a widow, Britt, who has raised her three kids pretty much on her own. She has become a fulltime politician, spending her life going to meetings, doing political stuff. Bravely she has spoken of this small organization called Partners to politicians and lawmakers who are not easy to convince of anything. Last night she joined our board meeting after going to five other meetings.

Britt likes to conquer all kinds of mountains!

Then there is Gunnar—headhunted by companies and more analytical than an operations researched analyst. He works long days and nights at times. He is a dad and a husband. In his spare time he spends hours on Partners legal documents and database torture. He makes sure that we remember what boards are supposed to do, and gently pulls us back to the agenda or the issue we were supposed to deal with.

Here is Gunnar. He has a very funny sense of humor too.

Anne Sofie works at a human rights resource center and is a well of gifts and talents. On her own initiative she approaches people of influence and ask them for favors and money, as well as advice. That she shares with us. Whenever we are stuck in a rut, Anne So is the one to ask. She knows how to do about everything, and she does it with joy. She makes it look fun to make a budget. She never keeps her opinions to herself.

Anne Sofie, she loves being a Norwegian. Among other things she loves.

Lastly, there is Linda, our board leader. She is an American lady who has been living in Norway only three years. Not only has she said yes to lead the board, but she also has to do it in a language that is not her own, having to read and understand documents that are difficult for us natives to understand. She spends countless hours on Partners issues every week and her own vacation time to go to see our work in Thailand besides. She too, works fulltime and is a mother of young kids.

This is Linda. I had a different photo of her here, but it turned out it wasn't even her on the photo. It was her mother in law. 🙁

I look at this list and feel humble and proud at the same time. What a blessing to know these people, and what sacrifice they have made. My prayer is that their efforts will be worth it and that they all, one day, will see the results of all their work. I am thankful that God has put them in my life, because, God knows, I need them. To me, it almost fills me with reverence to think that all over the world there are people similar to the people on my board who are giving sacrificially of themselves, their time and resources to help the people of Burma. I wish the people of Burma would know. One day they will. I also know the One who knows and who smiles when he sees it.


  • john van dinther says:

    Praise to the unsung heroes who change the world! A BIG thank you to those of you who are faithful, persistent, hidden, almost unnoticed but whose lives speak volumes of true followership!
    Thanks for being who you are! Love from Sweden!

  • Rick Granger says:

    Rev 7:9 shows the board members and the Burmese standing together! What a great introduction to a great group of people! It was a privilege to read it!

  • lynnie says:

    I am all the way over in California and am so grateful for your board and see their faces. What a joy to hear about the wonderful people that are such a big part of this organization. I remember when Oddny and Steve first went down to the border. I remember with a humble heart, the beauty of watching the many people who decided that they wanted to help with the two of them in the beginning. Mostly I remember and am grateful for the unfailing love that both of them have instilled in all of us for the less fortunate. Thank you, everyone that reads this blog, for caring for these forgotten people who fight just for their daily lives, and also for continuing to help Partners efforts on their behalf.

  • Dorothy says:

    Oddny, thank you for your thought on your blog today. They came floating into my inbox at a time that I really needed to hear these words. We all need to know that no matter how small we think our contribution is or how inadequate our gifts are, we can always help in some way. God sees and smiles. Dorothy

  • Elizabeth L. Baker says:

    Thank you for the wonderful report. It is so amazing to think about all the various gifts that God has placed in the body of Christ. As we each do our little part a great Big work gets done!!! Thank you to all of you on the front lines and behind the scenes at Partners and Oddny for telling us about it 🙂 Elizabeth in Alaska