Everything in life and existence is found in "Love your neighbor as yourself." The commandment is not only recited and sung, but also put into practice and passed on.
Norwegian Mission Alliance (Misjonsalliansen) small, inconspicuous, and influential
Compared with other evangelical groups in Norway, the Norwegian Mission Alliance is smaller in scale and less formal as an organization, but no less devoted in following Jesus’s footsteps.
By the time Dr. Kristoffer Fotland set up shop in Taiwan, only four other Norwegians were stationed across the island, including Bjarne Gislefoss. They communicated frequently and came to the aid of each other in their missions. They established working relationships with local and other foreign groups, and sometimes sought financial or medical assistance from the parent organization. Under their watch, Puli and Pingtung Christian Hospitals became regional medical centers and pioneering treatment for several contagious diseases.
Through the Norwegian Mission Alliance and its Taiwanese offshoot, Alfhild Jensen and Bjarne Gislefoss came to Taiwan and brought healthcare and the Word to the poor and sick, fulfilling their calling to overseas evangelism.
The Superpower of 1 plus 1>2
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Alfhild Jensen and Bjarne Gislefoss both came from broken families of little means. Nonetheless, with boundless faith in God’s care and blessing, passed over generations and witnessed by their pastors, both managed to work their way through medical training and embark on chosen careers in evangelism.
Having submitted and devoted himself completely to God, Gislefoss became a valued assistant to doctors. He served in Mackay Memorial Hospital and various sanatoria (for leprosy, tuberculosis, black foot disease, etc.) and midway homes for minors before joining the Puli Christian Hospital at its aboriginal clinic.
God loved this loyal servant and listened to the prayers asking for a companion for Gislefoss who met Dr. Jensen, the love of his life, in beloved Taiwan. They shared the same faith and the same will. Together they helped establish the Bethel Bible School for Tribal Girls, the Mary’s Tribal Maternity Hospital, and the Polio House, laying the foundation of Taiwanese aboriginal welfare ministry. For a long time, the Norwegian Mission Alliance raised awareness and funds for the Polio House at the Puli Christian Hospital, even sending Norwegian doctors over to perform orthopedic surgeries on the infected children.
By virtue of their missionary work, Alfhild Jensen and Bjarne Gislefoss were regarded by thousands in Puli as parents or grandparents, despite not having any child of their own. Without permanent residency, the octogenarian couple had to travel once every year between Taiwan and Norway, withering away in tens of hours of flight. The people of Puli resented it and started a petition for Grandpa and Grandma. Hundreds of thousands of signatures were collected over merely a fortnight. Jensen and Gislefoss were finally granted permanent residency in Taiwan after another six months.
Everyone is made in the image of God and blessed with special gifts. Through the love for God and for fellow people, the work done by Alfhild Jensen, Bjarne Gislefoss and the people of Puli transcended blood relations, race and nationality, time and geography, to make a positive and lasting impact. Only through love and connection with Jesus do people's gifts turn into the superpower of 1 plus 1>2!
Get your children to know God, to live Jesus's teachings. Let them develop a genuine desire to help and share. Then they will experience and obtain love's superpowers emanated from God.
*Dr. Alfhild Jensen passed away on October 31, 2010, at the age of 92.
*There was a video recorded in 2018 by the staff of the Puli Christian Hospital to wish Bjarne Gislefoss a happy birthday.
*Photo credit: the Puli Christian Hospital .