NOT JUST 2nd …  BUT EVEN 3rd!!

by Donna Schoon - Support Staff

One of my favorite subjects to write about is the second generation students who come to Holsby. After being able to share all these years of history and God’s great work in individual lives at “Fackelbärarna,” there is great joy to see that HIS truth is being shared from generation to generation.

Waffles with Wally and Donna

Waffles with Wally and Donna

This year we have not only two “2nd Gens,” but also two “3rd Gens”!! We had the privilege of hosting them last week in our home for the traditional waffle supper. We had such an awesome time reminiscing and reflecting, laughing and rejoicing! We could have continued a lot longer, but it was time for evening lectures to begin!

Come and meet these lovely young people, and learn a bit more about them through their answers to a couple of questions:

Who/what influenced you to come to Holsby?

What are your expectations for this year?

Morgan McCornack

Morgan McCornack

MORGAN MCCORNACK, from Bellingham WA (USA) is one of our first ever “3rd Gens.” Both her parents attended Holsby – Scott McCornack in 1982-83, and Diana Lilja McCornack in 1986-87. (A couple of her aunts also attended – Sharlyn McCornack Roberts and Dawn McCornack Woyke). In the spring of Scott’s school year, his parents – Jerry and Greta McCornack – attended the spring term as well. Jerry, who is now with the Lord, was a retired pastor and simply desired to have some extended weeks of being refreshed with God’s Word! They were a wonderful addition to that school term. Morgan shares:

  • I have wanted to travel since I was 8. Strangely enough, Holsby was not my first choice, but I’m so glad I came here. Part of my influence to come was seeing how Bible school really changed my sister.
  • For this year, I want to have a better understanding of the Bible and what I believe on my own, not just what comes from my parents. I want a deeper relationship with God, and better foundation in my life.
Eryk Schoon

Eryk Schoon

ERYK SCHOON (a.k.a. ERIC) was born in Sweden, and lived at Holsby until he was 7. Then as a family, they moved to China where they spent the next 8-1/2 years. Now the family is in Chico CA (USA) until all the kids are out of high school, and then the Lord knows what the next step will be. Eryk’s “3rd Gen” status is a bit different – and you notice his last name is Schoon. Yes, he is our grandson! Although never students in a Holsby classroom, Wally and I have been at Holsby since its inception, with various roles to serve – the current one being that of support staff. Eryk’s parents were both students, but in different years – Ric Schoon in 1983-84, and Keli Hignell Schoon in 1987-88. Ric and Keli met at Holsby when Ric was on staff for Keli’s school year. Keli also worked summer staff in 1989. Together they joined Swedish Torchbearers in 1993, and directed Holsby’s ministry from 1994-2004. Eryk’s response to the questions …:

  • I really had no influence from home on my decision to come here, but Holsby has been so much a part of my life that there was no reason I would NOT come back!
  • There are few places in the world where one can get as much in-depth Scripture study as at a Torchbearer Bible school. I, being a seeker of knowledge, came to create a stepping stone for the rest of my life. It will give me a foundation on which I may build my “floor,” as to know how high I may truly build my “roof.” I want to be able to both gain and give the most in the short life I live.
Dainer Duff-Dings

Dainer Duff-Dings

DAINER DUFF-DINGS comes from Bellevue WA (USA). Dainer’s parents – Kenny Dings and Doreen Duff-Dings –  also began their relationship at Holsby in their student year, 1978–79. (Holsby Bible School has also included other family members – Dainer’s sister, Dania Duff-Dings, and Kenny’s sister and her husband who met here as well – Claes Paulsson and Kathleen Dings Paulsson). Dainer went right to the point in answering the questions:

  • I had the choice to move out or come to Bible school! I wanted to go a ways away also. My sister really had an influence on my coming here.
  • I would like to be strengthened both physically and mentally. And I would like to strengthen my knowledge of the Bible – I never really cared before. I want to know HIS Word, know where I can find certain verses, etc. Would love to be able to “argue” the truths of HIS Word.

Rachelle Collins

RACHELLE COLLINS is our Canadian “2nd Gen,” hailing from Abbotsford BC. Her mom, Carol Fast Collins, attended Holsby in 1982-83. It’s always good to be honest, and so Rachelle was as she answered the questions:

  • Because my mom went here, I really didn’t want to come to Holsby. I was thinking of Greece, but that was only 5 weeks of Bible school. So I came here anyway and it’s really great! I’m so glad I’m here!
  • When I first came, my thoughts were that I wanted to be changed and transformed. But then I realized I was making it all about me. I want to make my life more about God and where HE wants to take me. Then I will focus more on HIM and let HIM work in me.

We are totally delighted to have these young people in this year’s student body. I’ve paraphrased a verse for you (and your classmates as well) from the Old Testament. These words are my prayer for you …

I pray that you will daily choose HIS Life,
So that you may live!
I pray you may love the Lord you God,
Listen to HIS voice,
And hold fast to HIM.
For the Lord is your LIFE!!
Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a

26. October 2015 by Donna Schoon - Support Staff
Categories: Bible School, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Holsby is building a gym

by John Poysti - Director

“Holsby was the best year of my life! My life was changed.” That’s been the story for so many young people over the last 40+ years. Holsby is a quiet place where God shows up, and then big things happen.  

Our students, campers and guests from around the world come to Holsby thirsty for godly teaching and Christian community. And they meet the only One who can satisfy our deepest needs. Jesus changes lives.


A beautiful addition to the Holsby campus

Holsby is a great place with a beautiful campus. Now, imagine adding a bright and welcoming gym so that our young people have space to get active and stay healthy – no matter what the weather, especially in the darker months of the year. We are getting ready to put up the first major new building in the history of Holsby. We are calling it “The Well,” or “Brunnen” in Swedish. It features a full-size basketball court, a workout area and a café for enjoying Swedish fika. And this is where we need your help.


View from the gallery

Would you consider a gift of 20 x $50? That’s 20 monthly installments of 50 dollars (or euros). More to the point, it’s an investment of 1000 dollars into the lives of our future students, so that big things can happen in their lives too. Every gift counts!

We are “well” on our way to reaching our total building cost of 1.9 million dollars, but we need your help. Your gift of 1000 dollars will be added to the 300,000 dollars that we have already been able to set aside for the project.


View from the historic well

In the end, we know that God makes big things happen. And He invites us to be part of what He is doing. Your investment in this new facility will continue to bring refreshment for life to so many young people in the years to come. Pray with us for God’s blessing and supply for this project as we build for the future.

Donate correct blue

For more details about this exciting project, go to our website and check it out: The Well at Holsby.

28. May 2015 by John Poysti - Director
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 comment

Another 2nd Gen at Holsby!

by Donna Schoon - Support Staff

This spring term’s 2nd Gen is a Swede – Johanna Ewens!! She even grew up in the area around Holsby and is no stranger to our center.

JohannaJohanna writes:

  • I, together with my family, live relatively close to “Fackelbärarnas Centrum” (The Torchbearer Center) in Holsby. Ever since I was a little girl, my family and I have been going there and hanging out with the students. I knew at an early age that Bible school was something I wanted to do, but that I was going to be at the same school my mom had attended many years ago was something I decided on last summer. I am really enjoying my time here, being able to be a part of that which I’ve only seen from “the outside.” What I especially like about Holsby is the sense of family community we have here. Though we are different and come from different backgrounds, we all have the same Lord – Jesus Christ. That kind of unity can only be found in the family of God.

Holsby class 1986-87

Teresa Rilling

Johanna’s mother, Teresa Rilling, is Canadian, and was a student in 1986-87. Teresa also has Swedish roots, and ended up settling in Sweden not long after her year of study at Holsby. For some years, she has been working at the Christian humanitarian organization in Holsbybrunn – Erikshjälpen – and being mom to six kids.

Johanna attended the Torchbearer school, Capernwray Hall, in the fall/winter term of this school year. We are delighted she chose to finish the year of study here in Holsby. Johanna is very musical and has very quickly stepped into opportunities to serve. Being bi-lingual is also very helpful in outreach opportunities. A wedding is awaiting Johanna in August, after which she and her husband will serve as youth ministers in a local church in a village not far away from Holsby.

Johanna, we’re glad you are a part of the Holsby family this spring! Keep on shining for Jesus!

11. May 2015 by Donna Schoon - Support Staff
Categories: Bible School, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Another 2nd Gen at Holsby!

Holsby Resurrection Day Outreach

by Luke Thomas - Bible School Principal

We are halfway through our much-enjoyed Spring School with long, sunny days and new growth beginning to show on all the trees. This year Spring School began with the celebration of Easter and a much-needed reminder that though the bodily appearance of Jesus was a benefit to those early followers, we are at no disadvantage, because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Fika and fellowship over a display of the empty tomb was what launched us into Spring School, but the message of the resurrection has continued to be our celebration and hope.


Resurrection Day fika in the Chapel


Empty tomb centerpiece on each table

This last week, we sought to capture the significance of the resurrection by looking at these four “harmonizing voices”: the resurrection of hope, the resurrection of the spirit, the resurrection of the body and the resurrection of life together. With each “voice” there was an image that helped us internalize what is very real but not yet complete and, at times, beyond the reality of our tangible human experience.

The cross pictured below has various Old Testament prophecies nailed to it that Jews would have expected their Messiah to fulfill. When Jesus was crucified, all hope of Him fulfilling these prophecies was lost until His resurrection three days later.


Hope is restored three days after the cross

Based off of 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, the graveyard scene symbolizes the final death of God’s enemies and all that is contrary to what He intended for His creation. Christ’s triumph over death turns this graveyard into a place of rejoicing.


“Graveyard” in the forest representing victory over death

On the final day, we took the message of the resurrection into town and surveyed over 300 people on what they thought about death and the resurrection of Jesus. Along with the survey, we handed out cards that the students had made, along with their personal stories of how God has changed their lives. On the front of the card is written, “Have you ever been glad that something is empty?” When opened up, one sees the empty tomb and Jesus’ words, “I have come to give you life and life abundantly…I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…” The student testimonies were then rolled up behind the empty tomb.


Students making cards for distribution in Vetlanda


Jesus said: “I came that they might have life.”

You will see the results of the survey below, and as you read through the results and finish your fika break, I ask that you pray for Sweden and the 340 individuals who received a resurrection card. There were a handful of meaningful conversations and individuals who genuinely said that if the resurrection of Jesus is true, then it would change their life. Pray that what has been planted in their lives through these cards and testimonies, would grow to become decisions to follow Jesus, our hope and resurrection.

Results of the Survey

1. Do you think there is life after death?

Yes: 128

No: 75

Don’t know: 26

2. Christians believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead? Do you agree or disagree?

Agree: 91

Disagree: 99

Don’t know: 29

3. If Jesus did rise from the dead, what would that mean for you?

Not much: 126

I might read the Bible to find out more about Jesus: 33

It would change my life and how I think about life: 49

01. May 2015 by Luke Thomas - Bible School Principal
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First Holsby online applicant

by Christine Poysti

Just two short weeks ago, we told you about our new online application system. Now I am happy to tell you that for the first time in Holsby’s history, a student has applied and been officially accepted using this online application.

EmilyOur principal, Luke Thomas, likens the change from paper to online applications to changing from drying your clothes on a clothesline to using an electric dryer. Well, as the registrar here at Holsby, I am happy to be finally using the “electric dryer method!” After all, we are all accustomed to filling out applications of various kinds online and not having to wait a long time for a reply.


Our first student is Emily from Austin, TX. Her older sister, Anna, is a student at Holsby this year and now Emily has decided that she would also like to experience the great community at Holsby and to study God’s Word with students from around the globe. Anna, in turn, heard about Holsby through their aunt, who is a friend of mine from my university days. This is how most of our students hear about Holsby and decide to apply. One of our students tells a classmate, who tells their uncle, who tells their grandson, who comes to Holsby and goes back home to tell a cousin, who tells… I think you can fill in the rest of the story, because so many of you have been a part of this kind of chain. So, please pass on the news about Holsby to the people that you rub shoulders with. We would love to have a full house of students next school year – and every year!

Gift voucher 2

As a prize for being the first student to apply online, Emily will receive a 100 kronor voucher to be used in the Bik (Holsby’s kiosk filled with lots of goodies). Emily: your voucher is here waiting for you when you arrive in September!

22. April 2015 by Christine Poysti
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Holsby Online Application for Bible School

by Luke Thomas - Bible School Principal


Have you ever wondered how the dryer ever sold out over the dependable, never breaking clothesline? About a year ago we bought a dryer, not because our clothesline “broke down,” but because the time it took to hang socks and underwear for two little kids outweighed the cost efficiency of the clothesline.

All that to say, here at Holsby we’re anticipating a similar question with much the same answer, but also with great excitement, “how did the online application ever replace the faithful, in-your-hand application?” Don’t worry, we’re not pondering that question too much, because we are more than ready to finally announce that our online application is up and running!

You can check it out on our Holsby website and apply for another year of Bible school, or better yet, tell someone whom you think would benefit from a year of Bible school. The old “clothesline” is still there if you want to print it out and give it to them, but I think they will probably prefer our online version that is, of course, accessible on all their devices whenever and wherever they might be. We do need more students for our 2015-16 school year, so get the word out: “Holsby has an online application.”

You can check out the application page on our Holsby website, by clicking on the screenshot below. You will find instructions on how to apply to Holsby and a direct link to the online application. Share this with potential students:

Apply screenshot

09. April 2015 by Luke Thomas - Bible School Principal
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Carol Collins – Holsby Alum

by John Poysti - Director

Collins FacebookOur recent effort to encourage our 40+ years of Holsby alumni to reconnect with each other has resulted in the renewal of many old friendships and connections. If you haven’t already joined the Facebook group for your school year, I would urge you to do so. You never know whom you might “meet” again. Just search on Facebook for your class year. Most of the Holsby Facebook groups will be in the following format: “Holsby Bible School 1973-74.” Just fill in the year you attended.

One of the renewed connections is with Carol (Fast) Collins, an alum from Canada from the 1982-83 year. Carol recently shared an update with her classmates on their Facebook group (Torchbearers Holsby Brunn 82/83 – Capernwray Sweden) and I asked if we could share it with a wider audience. I think you will find her words as encouraging as we did. And maybe it will prompt some of you to share your story with our readers too. Here is what Carol writes:

“As I have been thinking back over the years and just how the time I spent at Holsby has actually affected my life today, I have been surprised by the impact that year has had on a number of areas of my life. The teaching definitely molded and shaped my spiritual understanding. But it went beyond that to breaking and reshaping my personal relationship with God. I first learned to listen to His Voice and begin a deeper communication with God there at Holsby as I was exposed to the spiritual walks of staff and different speakers that came.

Carol Collins - Holsby student 1982-83

Carol Collins – Holsby student 1982-83

I can still remember sitting on the edge of my seat as a Romanian pastor spoke of his relationship with God in the midst of terrible persecution. It shook my safe, North American view of God and created a deep hunger for a more honest and authentic relationship with Him.

Carol (Fast) Collins 1982-83

Another area at school that impacted my life almost as much, were the friendships and connections I made with fellow students and staff. Deep, honest conversations, challenges faced and walked through together, laughter and acceptance of weaknesses, love and shared fun, spiritual obedience that acted as a catalyst in my life to walk more faithfully… this living life together impacted and shaped my outlook on life.

Class of 1982-83 - Click for a full size image

Class of 1982-83 – Click for a full size image

As I look back over the pictures that remind me of the crazy, creative things we did, the fun and the laughter, I realize afresh how lucky I was to be a part of an incredible group of people from so many different countries and cultures that grew to love each other.

As for the rest of my life… Holsby created in me a desire to care for and help kids that are struggling or hurting. I went to university to get my Social Work degree and met my husband there. For the next 16 years I worked as an Educational Assistant at a teen parent program run by the school district for teen moms who had come back to school to get their high school diploma. As I got to know these girls I realized that for many of them intervention in the elementary years would have changed their predicament now.

God opened the doors and nudged me to get my teaching degree and teach. I had always thought that I would spend my life overseas, but God has had other plans. I am in my fourth year teaching grade 4 in an inner city school. What a challenging and rewarding experience!

God has impressed upon me that my time as a teacher is not about me at all, but rather, it is about Him being able to love and touch children that do not know Him. I am just to be obedient each day and listen to His Voice. It is no fluke that every year I seem to have the most difficult behavior problem students in my class. However, I feel honored to be able to partner with Him as I witness God working miracles in people’s lives. Yes, there is stress, tears and frustration but there is also laughter and joy.

Carol Collins family

Through all this I have been blessed with an amazing husband who supports and loves me and three incredible kids who have enriched my life beyond measure. I know that life isn’t easy or perfect after Bible School; for many there will be deep valleys and tough challenges. But I am so very thankful for the living foundation that I gained, which has filled me with the courage and faith to weather life’s storms and seek to impact the relationships in my small corner of the world for Him.”

27. March 2015 by John Poysti - Director
Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Carol Collins – Holsby Alum

Holsby Outreach Week 2015

by Danny Stephens - Basketball/Outreach

Near the end of our winter term each year we do a week of outreach. The students are split up into different teams and sent out to churches and ministries in Sweden and Denmark. Although most students don’t really know what to expect going into the week, it turns out to be a real highlight for many of them as they are given the opportunity to reach out and minister to others. Here are a few reports from this year’s students: Continue Reading →

22. March 2015 by Danny Stephens - Basketball/Outreach
Categories: Bible School, Uncategorized | 1 comment


by Donna Schoon - Support Staff

“Gift of God”! That is the meaning of the name of our new little Holsby “Teebee” …


NAME:  Matteo Zachary Strohm

DATE:  4 March 2015

TIME:  9:24 a.m.

WEIGHT:  3435 grams (about 7 lbs., 14 oz.)

LENGTH:  49 cm. (about 19 in.)

PARENTS:  Brad & Cece Strohm

SIBLINGS:  Kayley, Oliver & Tobin

This time, the ride to the hospital was not for a broken bone. Little Matteo was delivered by C-section at the scheduled time and – praise the Lord – all was well both at the hospital and at home!


The significance of a name is important to the Strohm family. Besides the indication of Matteo being God’s gift to them as a family, the name Zachary comes from the Hebrew word “zakar,” which means “to remember.”  Cece shared with me:

 The celebration of Passover is soon here, and the theme of this feast is “to remember” – to remember God’s deliverance, but also to remember to share it and teach it to the next generation. Together these names are also a New Testament reminder that God has remembered and redeemed us and that is a GIFT of God. Zachary is also a little “wink” to Brad’s friend who led him to Christ.

Kayley, Oliver and Tobin were quite excited to meet their new little brother in the hospital. Can you tell?!




Yes, to remember God’s faithfulness in redeeming us is important and to share that redeeming love with future generations is vital. We know that is Brad’s and Cece’s desire – that God’s truth will flow on down through the generations of their family. Why?

That they might set their hope in God

And not forget the works of God,

But might keep HIS commandments …

And remember that God is their Rock,

And the Most High God their Redeemer.

(Psalm 78:7, 35)


Congratulations to the whole Strohm family!!

20. March 2015 by Donna Schoon - Support Staff
Categories: Bible School, Camps & Retreats, Uncategorized | Comments Off on TEEBEE #17

Perry the Platypus and the Holsby RAs

by Ingelis Ahlseen

Our experience as students at Holsby was a peaceful and restoring adventure loaded with learning & laughter, meaningful conversations & friendships, and personal growth. All of these aspects facilitated a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and fostered a desire within Johnny and me to stay on as the 2014-15 Resident Assistants.

Johnny Peebles and Ingelis Ahlseen - Holsby 2014-15 RAs

Johnny Peebles and Ingelis Ahlseen – Holsby 2014-15 RAs

Last April, I (Ingelis) wasn’t sure what my next step was after Bible School. One morning I was journaling a prayer, asking God for guidance. Immediately afterwards I read Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 and this encouraged me. “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong in Christ Jesus.”

Here are a few tales of thankfulness.

Back in June, Johnny & I prayed together for this class. We asked God to prepare us and the hearts of the young men and woman who would be coming. We asked that we all would love each other with a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. Through the guys’ honest and sincere prayers during the first worship evening together, it was evident that God had been working. The men of Ekhaga are fun-loving, creative and respectful. The women of Brunnsgården are caring, thoughtful and responsible. For example, they each took turns honoring each other by organizing a Guys & Girls night. Without prompting from either Johnny or myself, they creatively planned a couple of unique activities.

The Holsby Ladies 2014-15

The Holsby Ladies 2014-15

The girls organized notes of encouragement so that every guy received three notes. These were presented to them after a favorite dinner of the guys: Shepherd’s Pie. They also made a chocolate cake. Afterwards, the girls impersonated each guy in a friendly yet competitive game where the guys had to guess whom the girls were impersonating. A “Man-Cave” time around a campfire with stick bread and hot dogs followed, along with a movie showing.

Waiting for dessert - chocolate fondue and fruit

Waiting for dessert – chocolate fondue and fruit

The Men of Ekhaga showed a strong initiative with Girls Night and took it upon themselves to entertain the Ladies of Brunnsgården for an entire evening. The night began with dinner in the candle-lit dining room as soft piano music serenaded the formally dressed students, and then moved on to a dessert of fruit and chocolate fondue. The evening flowed into the Chapel with a flash mob dance by the boys– complete with unicycle– and an original rap of appreciation by Triple A & Zephanizzle; oh how the crowd did roar!! Not content with stopping there, the event segued into swing-dancing lessons with the musical assistance of DJ Micah. Meanwhile back in the girls’ dorm, each lady received chocolate, a rose and a handwritten note of encouragement from one of the guys. The vigor and thoughtfulness with which the Men of Ekhaga led this event for the Ladies is enough to make any RA’s heart smile!

Holsby rap artists

Holsby rap artists

Swing dancing

Swing dancing

As the RAs, Johnny and I plan different activities. We organize and lead TAP hour, which stands for Testimony, Announcements and Prayer. We incorporated a time of praise and worship before and after the testimony time, and this has been a blessed addition. Songs such as, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us, Pure and Holy Passion and Future/Past are a few favorites.

Dorm Life is another time when we can be creative in our planning. Dorm Life is a time when each dorm is together. Some nights are filled with light-hearted games or activities, and others have a more serious tone with a topic and discussion.

This last Dorm Life was unique. Earlier in the week, an innocent joke turned into a funny rumor about a platypus named “Perry” living on the Holsby campus. Some students claimed to have seen it, and Johnny & I went along with it. Before we knew it, some students half skeptically believed “Perry the Platypus” truly had taken up residence at Holsby.

We decided to send all the students on a riddle quest to a few different spots on campus, leading to Perry. Once all the students arrived to the final destination, Johnny instructed them how to coax Perry out of the grove of trees with gentle words. Perry glorious crawled out with a royal trumpet fanfare!

Perry the Platypus about to be unveiled

Perry the Platypus about to be unveiled

Afterwards, each dorm shared a time of reflection and encouragement for the students who were preparing to leave around a campfire with cornflake cookies baked by yours truly. We both have cherished the memories as the RAs of the 2014-2015 Holsby Bible School.

17. March 2015 by Ingelis Ahlseen
Categories: Bible School, Uncategorized | 1 comment

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