Holsby is an international Bible school and camp & retreat center located in southern Sweden. We are one of 25 such centers globally and are affiliated with Torchbearers International, an interdenominational Christian ministry. Our mission is to provide the biblical, experiential and relational context for lives to be changed by Jesus. We are centered in Christ, rooted in Scripture, engaged in discipleship and joined in community.
Our statement of faith is that of Torchbearers International, of which we are a member school:
“…we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…”
—1 Thessalonians 2:8
It is our privilege as staff to invest in the lives of people the Lord brings to Holsby each year. Whether it be through discussions in the classroom, late-night chats in the dorm, serving side-by-side in the kitchen, or dangling high off the ground in the ropes course, we look forward to getting to know the guests the Lord brings here and seeing their lives impacted by Christ.
Life is good, because God is good! I can’t think of anything more fulfilling in life than to observe God work in a community of believers. Watching others being gradually transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ, and as a result being transformed yourself – that is kingdom living at its very best. Holsby has provided me with a unique opportunity to invest in the youth of this generation as I draw on a lifetime of God’s grace and mercy with which He has blessed me.
My life is further enriched by some key relationships. Christine is my best friend and faithful companion in life. And we have three beautiful daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law and four fantastic grandsons who bring us more joy than we could ever deserve.
Currently, I find relaxation through reading theological blogs, riding my mountain bike on forest trails, keeping my woodshed stocked and tidy, and picking or gathering whatever is edible in the forests around Holsby.
I find great comfort and encouragement in a verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (1:6)
We have been blessed through Torchbearer Bible schools as students, and now have the pleasure of serving together on staff. We want to take part in God's kingdom as Christ impacts and forms the next generation. Our hope is that the truth of the gospel remains untainted as it has been entrusted to us.
One of my favorite words when thinking about the Christian journey is the word “discovery.” When departing every moment of every day in dependence on Jesus Christ, one discovers a worthwhile adventure that defines authentic Christianity. The gospel saves us and the gospel grows us, and that is what excites me about life and what takes place on a daily basis at Holsby in the lives of students, staff, and guests.
The Lord has blessed me to enjoy this journey with my wonderful wife Cheryl and our three children, Emmalise, Ember and Hudson. I met Cheryl while serving as an English teacher in Mongolia, where we then spent our first year of marriage and later returned to her home in southern Kansas to work on the family farm. I grew up in Colorado at a Torchbearer school by the name of Ravencrest, which instilled in me a love for the Torchbearers ministry that has now led us to Holsby.
On our irresponsible days we enjoy about anything related to sports and the outdoors. I particularly enjoy a good soccer game, being on a mountain trail, catching up on a good book at the café, or any type of casual time with friends and family. I also enjoy an occasional blow on the bagpipes when there is an eager ear to hear.
Director of Camps & Retreats
Aware of it or not, a life with God is something all people deeply desire - the creation meeting its Creator. By God’s grace, as a young adult this longing was fulfilled. I found God waiting for me. My desire is to see people, young and old, satisfy their deepest yearning and come to God.
I can tell you a few things about myself. First, I’m a big fan of my wife Trista, who is the coolest person ever! I have twins Huxley and Hazel, a toddler named Nox and a newborn named Ofelia. Being a papa is a rewarding adventure and it's getting better (and more challenging) with every new stage of development.
In addition to this, I can never get enough of sports and adventure. I love playing sports or games that have me running around, getting exercise and having fun with people! I also enjoy hanging out in God’s playground - the great outdoors, lounging with people, playing ‘board’ games, and competing... in anything. On top of this, I love my job here at Holsby! I’m responsible for directing the camps and retreats part of the ministry called Camp Holsby. I get to go to “work” outside on the ropes course, hang out with youth and adults, teach and go on all kinds of adventures. That’s me!
Who would have thought that after over 20 years I would return to the country of my birth! I certainly never did! But sometimes the Lord directs our paths in a way that we could never have imagined. We came to Sweden in February 2005 when my husband, John, became the director of Holsby.
After having raised three incredible daughters, we now enjoy being grandparents. So far we have four wonderful grandsons, two in Seattle, WA and two in Winnipeg, MB. At Holsby I work in the office as the registrar. My main responsibility is to take the students through the application process, answer all their questions and facilitate their transition to life here at the school.
In my free time you may find me curled up in the couch reading a good book or a home decorating magazine. I also love to work in the yard, growing flowers and edible things and spending time with people. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. As we delight in the Lord, His desires will become ours and they cannot help but be realized!
I enjoy serving the people who come to Holsby, so that they can experience the love of Jesus. It's also a joy to see people growing and changing.
I love making all kinds of crafts.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 139:14: “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
Sports & Outreach
If I’m not playing sports, then I’m probably thinking about it. I love a great assist, or a buzzer beater and whenever the underdog wins.
Being a student here at Holsby in 2004-05 was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I’m excited to be back and serving in the ministry that has had such an impact on my life.
I’m married to Manuela, who enriches my life everyday, as we try to glorify God through our marriage.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23
Dean of Students/Camps Coordinator
I love seeing Jesus change lives and that’s why I work at Holsby!
10 years ago I was working as a high school teacher in my home country Australia, but then my life radically changed when God called me to live completely by faith and follow Him…and the last 10 years have been filled with an incredible adventure with Jesus – what an awesome plan He has for our lives when we step out in faith!
My history with Torchbearers started in 2005, when I went as a student to Tauernhof in Austria and Capernwray Hall in England. After that, I worked at the Adventure Bible School (ABS) program at Capernwray New Zealand for 5½ years. Now God has called me to the complete opposite side of the world, to continue doing what I love best - telling others about the incredible love of Jesus!
For me it is quite surprising that I, being a forest ranger as well as a carpenter, could ever use both of my professions in one place. I really enjoy taking care of the Holsby forest, but my main work is to maintain our nice wooden houses from the in-& outside.
My family and I came to Holsby to experience the encouragement of the intercultural setting and to grow in our faith and relationship.
From: Skede, Sweden
Has worked at Holsby since 1992.
Petter is our longtime volunteer who lives locally but keeps us connected globally. If anyone has a question, Petter has the answer and, more than likely, an ingenious and creative solution. A good example of his expertise in all things computer or web related is the technical design of this new website.
Too busy to write his own little bio, Petter is an essential and much-appreciated member of the Holsby staff.
In his spare time, Petter likes to host Holsby staff members and treat them to his delicious homemade pizza or pasta.
Torchbearers Eastern European Representative
Being raised in the steel mill city of Gary, Indiana, most of my friends were Europeans. I had a job cleaning chicken coops for a Polish lady, had a Serbian girl friend in 6th grade and sold vegetables with a German friend. It never entered my heart or mind that the Father's plan for my life would lead me to Sweden and Eastern Europe to minister in the churches and schools of just these ethnic groups. His diversity for my life has been a joy beyond measure!
Extension Staff & Editor of News Update
Being in ministry in and around Holsby for about half of my life has been a true joy and I’ve grown in the process. My role is smaller, but it is still an encouragement to be a part of the whole picture – writing Holsby’s NEWS UPDATE, participating with students in the Österliden outreach, and hosting a family group during the school year. Correspondence with Holsby friends around the world, as well as other contacts, keeps my computer going many hours a week – as does keeping our home open to those who want to come. Our family includes 2 children, 5 grands, and 5 great-grands. Wally is my husband, and Psalm 70:4 is our verse.