Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Inge Herman Rydland - Collection 440

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Inge Herman Rydland

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Oral history interviews with Rydland in which he describes his family's Lutheran evangelistic work in Norway, his own call to become a missionary, his and his wife's departure to Ethiopia as workers of the Swedish Evangelical Mission in 1977, his work in Ethiopia as a teacher and as a community development work, the work of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Meaken Yesus, church state relations, effect of the Ethiopian political situation on the church, observations on the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s, relations between missions and the national church, medical care in the country, and comparions between American and Norwegian missionaries.
Vol.: 6 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 440
[February 10, 2000]
Rydland, Inge Herman; 1950-
Interviews; 1991

Audio Tapes

Restrictions: None


Full name: Inge Herman Rydland

Birth date: October 14, 1950, in Toten, Norway

Parents: Father was a missionary with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, mother was a homemaker who in later life became a concert singer
Siblings: Two brothers (both older) and three sisters (all younger)
Marital Status: Married Signe Persson, who had growth up as an mk (child of missionaries) in Ethiopia
Children: Four - Camilla (1973), Jonas (1976), Magdalena (1978), and Christina (1985)

Conversion: At the age of 14

Education: Graduated from secondary school in Bergen, Norway
Missionary School of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, did not graduate
Malmo Technical Institute, Sweden, majored in mechanical engineering, B.SC.
Wheaton College Graduate School, intercultural studies; MA in Communications, 1991
Northern Illinois University, Ph.D. in Education, 1993

Consultant for Westinghouse in Sweden, helping to build nuclear reactors
1976-1977 Swedish Evangelical Mission (SEM) Youth Secretary in W. Skaane, Sweden and language study in England
February, 1977 Went to Ethiopia with his wife and family as a worker with the Swedish Evangelical Mission, a Lutheran institution
1977-1983 Served as technical advisor and teacher at Negjo Technical School in Negjo, Ethiopia
1983-1985 Development coordinator at the Lutheran Synod Center in Bodji, Ethiopia
1985-1989 Coordinator of SEM's nationwide projects, based in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia
1989-1993 In the United States for education at Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University
1993-1996 Program director and deputy resident representative for Norwegian Church Aid development projects in Ethiopia, based in Addis Adaba
1996- Left Ethiopia to take a position as senior advisor to the Director General of NORAD, the Norwegian agency for international development

Scope and Content

Inge Rydland was interviewed by Paul Ericksen in 1991, at the Billy Graham Center Archives office. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1954-1991.

T1 (65 minutes). Family information, father's work for the Norwegian Lutheran Mission, difficulties caused by father's long absences, changes in family life caused by Rydland's illness, father's later work training religious teachers for the public schools, realities and joys of farm life in western Norway, forming a quartet with his father and brothers that did evangelistic work in eastern Norway in the late 1960s, description of different types of services in churches and prayer houses, father's work of organizing voluntary mission groups in eastern Norway, indifference to Christianity in the region, growing up as a missionary's kid and a Christian in a secular country, influence of his mother's parents, grandfather's involvement in the Norwegian resistance during World War II, mother's character, development of her musical career when middle-aged, family devotional life, ministry of Rydland's various siblings in Norway, male and female mission groups in Norway, conversion at the age of fourteen, spiritual influence of his parents and other missionaries, recommitting his life to Christ during the BGEA's 1970 Dortmund crusade, humorous moments during crusade counseling, education at Bible school after high school, decision to be a missionary, training at the missionary school, meeting the woman who would be his wife, leaving missionary school to be with her

T2 (30 minutes). Reaction at mission school to his leaving to be married, training and work as a mechanical engineer in Sweden, preparations to go to Ethiopia as a worker with the Swedish Evangelical Mission, work as a youth secretary for the mission in Sweden, training received before going to Ethiopia, political situation in Ethiopia, Ethiopian languages, difficulties caused by not knowing the Ethiopian languages, illness of his son after their arrival in Ethiopia, effect of this experience on Rydland's understanding of his work as a missionary

T3 ( 59 minutes). Decision of Swedish Evangelical Mission not to withdraw from Ethiopia; political turmoil in the country; Rydland's developing trust in his Ethiopian friends among a situation of great distrust; government reaction to a story about a revolutionary who became a government official and then a Christian; anti-American and anti-foreign attitudes in the country; Rydland's job description as a teacher at a vocational school; adjusting to working for Ethiopian superiors; learning to listen and read between the lines; hierarchy in Ethiopia; example of the place of language and family in the culture; Rydland's problems with the Oromo language and the history of the language; experience of supervising Ethiopians and the need for consensus decision making; method for handling disagreements and working through a mediator; introducing farmers to the use of carts with donkeys; society implications of this change; gold mining efficiency; preaching at regional churches; comparison of Lutheranism (or the Evangelical denomination) in Norway and in Ethiopia; typical Ethiopian worship service in a rural church; the importance of a choir; government suspicion and supervision of the churches; development of house churches; political, economic, and religious changes in government policies in 1990; church youth programs; supporting role of missionaries in local churches and in evangelism efforts; Ethiopian's church's expectations of missionaries

T4 (31 minutes). Commitment of the national church to serve both the spiritual and physical needs of the people, African view of the human nature, tendency of the church to assume positions it cannot maintain, tribalism in the church, tendency of trained leaders to leave the country, spectacular recent growth of the church in Ethiopia, reasons why few Ethiopians go to African theological seminaries, strong lay involvement in the Ethiopian church, willingness even of the poor to give to the work of the church, voluntary evangelists, attacks of the Orthodox Ethiopian church on Evangelicals, government support of the Orthodox church, conflicts between the churches of the Kale Heywet churches (growing out of SIM work) and those of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (churches growing out of SEM work) in the country over baptism and communion, comity arrangements between missions for work in Ethiopia, beginnings of the Mekane Yesus church, problem of syncretism in the Orthodox church

T5 (68 minutes). Gender roles in Ethiopian society, role of women in Mekane Yesus church, viewpoint of other Ethiopian churches on the roles of women, minimal nature of medical care in Ethiopia, availability of different types of medical workers, lack of medicinal drugs in the country, church investments in drugs for the country, church's clean water program, folk beliefs about medicine and healing, Signe Rydland's responsibilities and experiences as midwife and nurse, development of a church clinic in Addis Adaba, Mekane Yesus church belief in the connection between people's medical and spiritual needs, missions' tendency to value evangelism above social development, influence of mission's medical work on the society, Rydland's work as a development advisor in Bonji, 1985 move to Addis Adaba to supervise church development projects nationwide, church assistance to people affected by drought and cholera, determination of people to survive and rebuild, international effort to assist during drought, assessment of its success, sources for possible development projects that the church should be involved in, example of a project - introducing clay stoves for cooking, evaluating projects, problems with implementation of projects, tension between Oromo and Amharic tribes, western misconceptions about development, missionaries should not be portrayed as more important than they are in national churches, difference between being an American and a Norwegian missionary, Rydland's study of the relationship between missionaries and the national church in the countries where they serve, conflicts between missionaries and Ethiopians as a clash of cultures, influence of an Ethiopian housemaid on his children, children's enjoyment of Ethiopia, exposure to racism in the United States, sending children to boarding school, adjustments of children to living in the United States

T6 (32 minutes). Wife's language skill better than his own, influence on him of his wife's experiences as a mk in Ethiopia, history of the SEM in Ethiopia; recruitment for the SEM; fields of the mission; furlough and financial support of the mission; comparison of mission support policies in Sweden and the United States; observations on the state of Ethiopia's society, politics, and economy from his January 1991 trip to that country; church growth as a result of these changes; church criticism of the government; effect of his salary on his status and contacts with people in Ethiopia; effect on the Rydlands' children of living their entire lives in Ethiopia but being of another culture; differences between ways of speaking in Ethiopia and the United States


The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Inge H. Rydland in February and March 1991.

Accession: 91-17, 91-21, 91-25
April 9, 1997
Robert Shuster
M. Bergstedt

Accession: 91-17, 91-21, 91-25
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. February 20, 1991. Approximately 65 minutes.

T2 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Conclusion of interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. February 20, 1991. Approximately 30 minutes.

T3 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. February 27, 1991. Approximately 59 minutes.

T4 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Conclusion of interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. February 27, 1991. Approximately 31 minutes.

T5 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. March 7, 1991. Approximately 68 minutes.

T6 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 1 side. Conclusion of interview of Inge H. Rydland by Paul Ericksen. March 7, 1991. Approximately 32 minutes.

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Last Revised: 2/17/00
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