Odd Hoftun – A UMN Hero
Odd Hoftun – A UMN Hero

Anyone compiling a list of UMN Heroes would have to include Odd Hoftun, the small, wiry Norwegian electrical engineer who broke all the molds of mission in the 1960s. Odd is a remarkable man – passionate, visionary, with the creativity and boldness not just to imagine how things might be, but with the drive to make them happen.
After being turned down several times for mission service, Odd and Tullis Hoftun arrived in Nepal in 1956; his role was to manage the construction of the new UMN hospital at Tansen. His experiences there taught him how lacking in basic skills young Nepali workers were. And his eyes showed him the potential of the rushing rivers of Nepal for hydropower, the critical ingredient that was lifting his home country from poverty to wealth.

Odd and Tullis’ story can be read and enjoyed in a new book released this week – Power for Nepal – the long-awaited English translation of the Norwegian book by Peter Svalheim. It’s a great read. If you thought a book about engineering might be a little dull, think again. This is the story of a man of ideas, humble and committed, who used what God had given him in the service of others. It tells about the triumphs and frustrations, the joys and the heartbreaks. It will take you from scrapyards in Norway across the deserts of the Middle East to the mountains of Nepal and even into the King’s palace itself!

Copies of Power for Nepal are available through UMN for NRP 700 (USD 7), plus postage: contact communications@umn.org.np.

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