top of page

The Royal Merit Medal

Photo: Georg Ferdinand Nilsen

Well over a hundred people filled the church hall for the mission service at Senterkirken Eiker on Sunday 28th of January, when Mission Director Gunnar Enok Nilsen was presented with the Royal Merit Medal! The medal, diploma and flowers were presented to him by the Mayor of Nedre Eiker municipality, Bent Inge Bye. In April Gunnar Enok will be invited to the royal palace for a personal meeting with His Majesty the King, King Harald V of Norway.

The mayor was extremely impressed by Nilsens extensive engagement in charitable work. This medal was presented on basis of Gunnar Enok’s big efforts for the poor and the orphans of Kenya, Easter Europe and Latin America through the work of New Life Mission - Aid for almost 40 years, and more than 21 of these as director. The Mayor read out the rationale for the presentation of this award. After the presentation ceremony Gunnar Enok held an acceptance speech where he, amongst others, thanked his wife, Gunnhild, for always supporting him both with practical arrangements and in prayer. He also thanked all those who have been, and are, a part of the work of New Life Mission; prayer partners, donors, the board, present and past employees. Even though the medal is presented to him as an individual, it is really a common commendation to all who regards themselves as being a part of the great work of New Life Mission – Aid.


Gunnar Enok Nilsen was, at the age of 19, the youngest master carpenter ever in the country and has since had a lengthy career in the building industry. However, he has been awarded the Royal Merit Medal for his tremendous effort in the charity organization New Life Mission – Aid.

Gunnar Enok has been engaged in New Life Mission right from the start in August 1978, first as treasurer and later as deputy chairman of the board. During the periods of 1994-96 and 1999-2000 he served as constituent chairman/director because the chairman of the board, Henry Kransberg, was sick. From the year 2000 Gunnar Enok took over as chairman/director when Kransberg died.

Through New Life Mission Gunnar Enok has used almost 40 years to help the poor and the orphans in Kenya, Eastern Europa and Latin America. For over 21 of these years he has been the director, and for 33 of these years he simultaneously worked full time as a master carpenter. He has taken part in the startup of all the projects which are running now, always in close cooperation with local people. His great eagerness to help children, young people and the poor has made an enormous difference in to the lives of thousands of people. There are no words to express the gratitude for all the time and efforts Gunnar Enok has used in the service of others.

Today there are more than 2000 children in the projects run by New Life Mission – Aid. These children are, every day, dependent on our help for food, clothing and schooling. Almost 500 of these children are in a special situation, in that they are orphans and have no other home than the Ebenzer Children’s home or the street boys centre. There is a reason for Nilsen being called «Papa Gunnar» when he arrives at these places. He has done just about everything that their biological fathers should have done, like giving the children the possibility of growing up in a safe environment med love and care. He has given the children hope in a hopeless situation. He has dedicated his life do follow the slogan of New Life Mission: "Love is action!" There is no doubt that Gunnar Enok’s engagement, willingness to act and his great heart has made an enormous difference to thousands of children over the years.

We are proud to have a director who can wear the Royal Medal of Merit on his chest!

/Board & Staff

bottom of page