Today we see BCOM, but prior to BCOM there was only a congregation gathered in a place called Bethany Chapel and a pastor named Theodore Hegre. From the congregation emerged five families with a sincere conviction that the Lord wanted them to do something unique… These five families were: Rich and Carol Dahlen, Theodore (Ted) and Lucile Hegre, Morry and Bettye Johnson, Duane and Virg Lovestrand, and Halvard and Helen Strand. Deeply moved to serve the Lord in any way they could, the five families began gathering together to pray and seek the Lord. They wanted to know how they could fit in God’s plan for global evangelization. What the Lord directed the five to do was a great step of faith that involved nothing conventional at all. In 1945, these five families (10 adults and 14 children) moved into one large house and began a life of unprecedented Christian community. They shared all their possessions, living as economically as possible while preparing for the mission field. Astoundingly, while their Christian friends bogged them down with words such as, “Don’t do it Ted, it’ll never work!”, their unbelieving neighbors commended them for following through with what they truly believed in. They moved forward with their step of faith which lead to the creation of Bethany International, the ministry BCOM was built upon. There wasn’t anything that made them more qualified than any of us. All they had was faith, hope, and love. With these things they simply shot forth into the unknown, hoping that God would make something effective out of it. Here’s an excerpt from With Eternity’s Values in View, the book written in memory of the story of Bethany International:
These five couples were ordinary people who caught a vision that became a passion and set the course of their lives. They did not fit the profile of religious fanatics out to prove that they were right and everyone else was wrong. They just knew that there was a job to do that required sacrificial dedication and a united effort to make it happen. They knew they could accomplish more together than they would alone. Together they were determined to build a ministry that did not call attention to themselves, but to God and His Kingdom. No obstacle would be too great, no battle too hard. They had God. They had each other.