Opera Singer’s Mansion Turned into Adventist TV Studio
By Andrew McChesney
In early September 2018, Seventh-day Adventist leaders joined several hundred guests in rural Sweden for the opening of a new headquarters for LifeStyleTV, a supporting media ministry, and to celebrate the remarkable story of how its Adventist founder turned an opera singer’s mansion into a television studio to proclaim Jesus’ soon coming to Scandinavia.
LifeStyleTV founder Claus Nybo described the new media center as a miracle from God in a stirring Sabbath morning presentation in a concert hall-turned-television studio in Brunskog, a Swedish town located about 110 miles (180 kilometers) east of Norway’s capital, Oslo. “God has done something that we couldn’t even imagine.”
The miracle began when Nybo and his team began praying in 2011. They asked God to give LifeStyleTV a bigger studio to replace its cramped makeshift studio in the southern Swedish town of Hörby, where it had been airing lifestyle-focused and Bible-based programming around the clock on satellite for five years. By 2015, LifeStyleTV managed to obtain half the funds needed to construct a larger building. Then nothing progressed further.
Blueprints for the new building were drafted and redrafted. The amount of money on hand required a studio that was too small for the equipment. But plans for a larger studio cost too much.
Finally, Nybo received a building permit and decided to step out in faith. He organized a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building on Nov. 5, 2017. The plan was to open the new building in early September 2018. It rained heavily on Nov. 5, and the ceremony was held in rubber boots and under umbrellas. Unexpectedly, the ceremony resulted in a surge of donations.
“That step in faith inspired other people, and we raised the rest of the money to build in one month,” Nybo said. But the rain continued throughout the rest of the month and December, making it impossible to start work on the foundation.
While waiting, the LifestyleTV team looked online for other options and found a mansion built by an opera singer on sale. Several team members wanted to inspect the property in Brunskog, located about 310 miles (500 kilometers) to the north. But others argued that there was no need to visit because all plans were in place to construct at the current location.
At last, Nybo and his wife, Theresa, called the real estate agent and arranged a visit to the mansion. When they arrived, however, the real estate agent called to say that the owner was in Spain and couldn’t provide a tour. The couple walked around the property but couldn’t see much. Even the curtains were drawn. As they got back into the car to leave, the phone rang. The real estate agent said the owner had unexpectedly returned a day early from his trip and would arrive at the property in a few minutes.
Moments later, the owner pulled up in his car, took one look at Theresa Nybo, and exclaimed, “Where have I met you?” The two had never met. It turned out that the owner had been watching LifeStyleTV and recognized her from a cooking program that she hosts. “This meeting has to be providential!” the owner said.
Nybo prayed about what to do. He sought the advice of church leaders. He also asked major donors whether they would mind if he bought the mansion instead of constructing the new studio. “The response was beyond anything we could imagine,” he said. “The excitement in their eyes and [people] saying, ‘We will help. We are going to secure this together.’”
LifeStyleTV opened its new headquarters in the mansion on Sabbath, Sept. 8 — in early September just as Nybo had announced at the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2017. But instead of moving into a new building, it moved into a mansion that far exceeded everyone’s dreams, Nybo said.
“If there is anything that I have learned from LifeStyleTV, it is that God wants us to dream big but start with what we have,” he said.
Andrew McChesney is the editor of Adventist Mission. This story is reprinted with permission. To read the full story and see more photos, visit: www.adventistmission.org
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World Church Prayer Requests
October 7-14, 2018
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please continue to pray for the upcoming Annual Council leadership meetings that will be taking place in Battle Creek, Michigan in the next couple weeks. All the leaders of the world church will be gathering together from around the world to plan, pray, and make important decisions for this coming year and beyond. Pray especially for the Holy Spirit to guide the meetings and the agenda.
• PRAYER REQUEST: The theme for Annual Council this October is “Looking Back to Move Forward.” As leaders contemplate Adventist History and where we have come from, pray that God will bring fresh vision and passion for the mission to share the gospel with all the world, and prepare people for the soon coming of the Lord.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Also, please pray for wisdom and clarity for the Annual Council Executive committee as they discuss sensitive issues on the agenda. Pray for patience, love, and a Christ like spirit to be felt in all the meetings, and that God will be glorified in every discussion and decision made.
• PRAYER REQUEST: There are also many individual board meetings and committees that will be meeting at the General Conference in this coming week. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead in each meeting and in each committee.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Sabbath Oct. 20th is Spirit of Prophecy and Adventist Heritage Day for the world church. Please pray that church members around the world can find fresh inspiration from the past as we look to the future. (For sermon and materials for this special day, click here: https://www.revivalandreformation.org/resources/all/adventist-heritage-sermon)