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“Foreigners Build Well”

“Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel…and he counted 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.”

2 Chronicles 2:17-18 NLT

In 1891 Olafur Isfeld Hallgrimsson and his wife, Skulina Skuladottir left Iceland and set sail for the USA. By 1915, fourteen children had been born on the farm they homesteaded in Nebraska, and thirty-three years after that I became the third daughter of their lastborn, Carl Hallgrimson.

Not speaking one word of English upon arrival, my grandparents knew what it meant to live as foreigners. And yet, like the foreigners in Israel who built the world-famous Temple, they built such a beautiful farm that a fellow-Icelander described my grandfather as a wealthy landowner.

The glory of the Temple built by the foreigners of Solomon’s day did not come from the expensive gold on its walls, but from the One Who dwelt inside those walls. Likewise, the beauty of my grandparents’ farm was not in the buildings but in the God they met in 1904. When they invited HIM to dwell with them, His presence influenced many generations—five of their children became pastors, many of their grandchildren became pastors and missionaries, and those grandchildren then birthed more pastors and missionaries. What two foreigners built is still touching lives around the world!

So, whether you are a foreigner in a land far from home, or you feel like a foreigner in your homeland, if you house GOD’s presence, HIS influence through you will build something eternal!

I know—foreigners build well!


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