Heart Choices: Sumstad Family Gathering -->

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Sumstad Family Gathering

Several members of the Sumstad family gathered together at The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona.  As I sat under an umbrella on the patio of The Farm Kitchen eating lunch, I couldn't help but consider that it was a farm in Norway that united each one of us.  Sumstad, Sor-Trondelag, Norway was the birth place of my paternal grandfather.  This was the place where he was born and raised before leaving with his younger brother Konrad for a new life in the United States.  I am a descendant of this family.

Bill and Sharon Sumstad were visiting Reidar in Arizona.  I'd never met Bill or Sharon so this was a great opportunity to get to know them.  My Aunt Ruth (my father's sister) and her husband Bob decided to travel from southern California so they could join us. Barbara Finney, another cousin who winters in Arizona from Wisconsin was able to attend too.

I was given a packet of information on our family history dating back to the late 1700's!  We poured over documents and shared stories.

We laughed and had a great time.  We each had visited Norway at separate times over the years and so we shared our stories.  We tried to piece together what this Sumstad family was all about.

How thrilled I was that the Sumstad family was a family of faith. Faith in Jesus.  How often that faith begins with one person and spreads to others.  Not all members of our families continued in that faith for themselves but there are many.  And for that I'm grateful.

My own grandfather came to America through Ellis Island.  He settled in Brooklyn, New York where he met my grandmother.  He began teaching the Bible in his native tongue to other Norwegians who had moved to this land.

Brothers Reidar and Bill had a sense of humor that I enjoyed.  We share the same great grandfather.  Or was it our great great grandfather?  I must admit that I'm new to understanding ancestry.

Here are a few photos I took during our afternoon at The Farm.

Bill Sumstad and his wife Sharon from the Seattle area

My father's sister Ruth and her husband Bob from southern California

This is not the end of our Sumstad family gatherings.  Bill and Sharon have planned a reunion for this August in Seattle.  I love that the family of Ingebright Tomasen Sumstad have decided to take the time to get to know one another.  As we said our goodbyes, I knew that we would gather again in the future.

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. Good morning! How wonderful to have been able to spend time visiting and getting to know these people. Can't think of many better ways to spend an afternoon. Glad you got to do this! Enjoy your day!

  2. Dear Debbie,
    My heart rejoice with you. What a valuable heritage, Christians for generations. "He will bless till thousand generations, those who fear him." I also see the rare true blond hair is a Norwegian heritage. Beautiful.
    I am truly thrilled on your behalf getting to meet all these relatives. You are good at bonding, so I know, you will not let them go.

  3. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Is it August yet? I cannot wait for the reunion. It is going to be mind blowing for several of Jacob Thompson's family :-)

  4. peace and prayers to all the Sumstad Clan! A beautiful story!

  5. Oh my....HOW AWESOME IS THIS?!?!?!?
    What a wonderful treasure and blessing

  6. I think it's just wonderful that you all were able to gather together like this. The pictures are all so sweet. I know you'll remember being with your precious family for a long time. Everyone looks so happy to be together.

  7. Family gatherings are just the best. Love that you got to spend time with them. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  8. This could be my own reunion! Aren't our Norwegian relatives a blessing?? I'm so proud to have the viking blood running through my genes, just as you are. :) What a special time, Debbie. I hope you have many more to come!

  9. Debbie,
    What a wonderful family reunion and how blessed you were to get to know so many extended family members. Great pics, too!

  10. That's awesome sister Debby...that you were able to get together and learn more about your family! How awesome most of all that you are believers! Beautiful family and may you have many, many more "reunions!"...


  11. Dear Debbie,

    This is such a wonderful posting of our family gathering at the farm house, we will never forget our wonderful time together. Most of all Sharon and I so much enjoyed our time of Christian fellowship with all of the family. Thank the Lord Jesus that there was an out pouring of the the Holy Spirt in the early 1900's in Sumstad,Norway. Through that experience, my Grandparent's, Ingebrigt and Jorgine passed that on to my father Reidar who lead my Mother to the Lord and they passed that teaching on to there 4 children who all came to have a personal relationship with the Lord. Praise God. Bill and Sharon Sumstad.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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