A Scandinavian Welcome from East Asia?: Getting to Know the Andreassen Family
January 15, 2013 | Harvesters
By Jesse Newman
As regular CORE magazine readers are aware, NICS/Oasis is an international organization. Therefore, it is no surprise to find people within the organization that come from all over the globe. The Andreassen family is a great example of the global nature of our “family.” The Andreassens are currently serving at Kunming International Academy (KIA) in Kunming, China.
Curt Andreassen was born in Norway, and was raised both there and in Sudan, Africa. He studied accounting in Norway, and his wife, Solveig (pronounced “soul – vye”), was born and raised in Denmark, and attended college at a design school there. The Andreassens have four children: Elisabeth (16), Jasmine (15), Amanda (6) and Samuel (6), and the couple recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. As a family, the Andreassen’s enjoy playing board games, and Solveig sews and creates jewelry and cards.
CORE: Curt, tell us a little about your family’s time in Sudan when you were younger.
Curt: I moved to southern Sudan with my parents and my younger sister when I was 13 and moved back to Norway when I was 15. My parents worked for a Norwegian aid organization that had about 200 people there so we went to a Norwegian school. The time in Sudan helped me see that there is so much diversity in the world, and that we can all learn from one another. We had to leave Sudan because of the civil war. When we could hear the shooting we were evacuated, otherwise we would have stayed there longer.
An interesting fact in connection with leaving Sudan: I went to 3 different schools, in 4 different locations, in 3 countries, and on 2 continents in TWO weeks (Sudan, Kenya, and Norway)! The school we attended in Sudan continued at the hotel in Nairobi, but then I was transferred to the Norwegian school there for only 3 days before I moved back to Norway.
CORE: How did your family move to China and connect with KIA?
Curt: Both Solveig and I knew that the Lord was calling us to China. We were about 11 years old when this happened. We did not know one another at that time, but He knew that we were going to move here together so He called us and matched us up later in life although we come from two different countries. After we were married, we talked about moving to China for several years, and then one summer we felt that the Lord told us that next summer was the time for us to leave. At that point we started looking into different possibilities and felt that He led us to Kunming. Our children began attending KIA and were students there for two years before I began working there.
CORE: What jobs have you held while serving at KIA?
Andreassens: Curt was the Business Manager from 2004-2006, and then served as the Admissions & Support Service Manager and later the Support Services Director. From 2009 until the present, he has acted as the Business Manager again, and Solveig has worked with KIA member care since 2004 as a volunteer and has been employed with hospitality and member care since 2011.
CORE: What would you say is the greatest blessing you have received because you are serving overseas?
Andreassens: It is difficult to state just one, so here are a few: Knowing that we are where God wants us to be and that God brought Samuel, our adopted son, into our lives. Another great blessing is that we are living in a multi-cultural environment and meeting so many wonderful people.
CORE: What has been the most challenging thing you faced as you served overseas?
Andreassens: Saying goodbye to co-workers/friends when they leave Kunming is always hard.
CORE: Please share a couple of your fondest memories of serving with the NICS/Oasis family.
Andreassens: Going to PFO (Pre-Field Orientation), and meeting so many different people with the same vision; serving God in an overseas setting. Seeing how God has used everyday moments to touch people--a short prayer, encouragement, a hug, etc.,--where God uses us to share his love to the people around us, and them to us, is great.
CORE: Any interesting story/event that you would like to share with CORE readers?
Andreassens: Samuel, our adopted son, has been living with us in foster care since he was almost 9 months old. Samuel has cerebral palsy and is a great blessing to us and many others in a special way. The adoption just went through in October 2012, after having him in foster care for over 5 years. We knew that God wanted to give him to us, but it is so great to finally have it on paper!
CORE: What advice would you give to teachers/staff members preparing to go overseas?
Andreassens: Be flexible. When you move to a different culture and a different setting, being flexible will help you very much. Not everybody is flexible by nature, so for those of you who are not – try to think about the challenges as an adventure. Having a positive attitude is also important, even if things do not go the way you (and sometimes everyone else!) expect. A positive attitude will make the difficulty/challenge more enjoyable. Do everything as if you are doing it unto the Lord.
CORE: It is amazing to see how the Lord connects people to one another in His providence, and then moves them where He desires in order to accomplish His purposes. We are so grateful that the Andreassen family is a part of the larger NICS/Oasis family. If you ever plan a visit to the Oasis school in Kunming, a warm Scandinavian greeting awaits you!