Christian Home Exchange Founders Do Home Exchange in Norway

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Christian Home Exchange founders turn dream into reality with family home exchange to Norway.

Christian Home Exchange

In 1988, Dell and Diane Shiell—the founders of Christian Home Exchange—had a dream. They wanted their children to experience life in another country. Without the benefit of support by a home exchange organization, the Shiells set up a home and work exchange with a Norwegian family. Dell Shiell, a Lutheran pastor, did a ministry exchange with a Norwegian Lutheran pastor. Both families swapped homes as well. The experience was pivotal for members of both families, as each had the opportunity to live as a local in one another’s country.

In the summer of 2013, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their first home exchange, the Shiell family returned to Larvik, Norway. Returning to the town where they had lived, Dell and Diane were accompanied by two of their children, their spouses, and four grandchildren. The oldest two grandchildren were the ages of their parents, 25 years ago. The Shiell grandchildren walked with their parents to the school their parents attended. Together, all three generations attended worship at the church where Grandpa had served as pastor.

Not all dreams come true, but the dream of living abroad as a family did come true for the Shiell family because they explored the world of home exchanges. The Shiell family could never otherwise have been able to afford such travel apart from their home exchange.

Similarly, the dream of returning to their home exchange home with their grandchildren, as well as their children, came true as well by arranging a non-simultaneous home exchange. This kind of home exchange does not require all the participating households to stay at each other’s home at the same time. For the Shiell family, this made it possible for their party of 10 to stay in a couple of homes, while the home owners were out of town on vacation—even though they did not chose to make Florida their vacation destination while the Shiells stayed in their homes.

Though the home exchange experience during the summer of 2013 was brief, the Shiell grandchildren had the privilege of staying in a Norwegian home, visiting and eating a wonderful meal in the home of old Norwegian friends of Grandma and Grandpa. The grandchildren played soccer (Norwegian “football”) with Norwegian children, living next door. They also were welcomed to worship by a Norwegian pastor who took turns speaking in Norwegian and in English—so the whole family could get the most possible benefit from their participation in worship.

This summer, the Shiell family traveled full circle—generation to generation, from one home exchange 25 years ago to two home exchanges in the same Norwegian city today. Memories were shared and new memories were created—all because of a home exchange.

A home exchange does not have to be for a year—but it can be. Even two weeks abroad, living as a local, is sufficient to fill life with a sense of purpose and memories for a lifetime.

To read more about the Shiell family home exchange in 1988-1989, visit Amazon and purchase the book written by Dell and Diane Shiell, Fair Exchange: A Ministry Exchange Between the USA and Norway.

To make arrangements for your own home exchange, visit and become a member of a directory with more than 40,000 home exchange listings in 146 countries.

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