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[Our Mission] [Contact Info.] [Oikourgos means...] [About our Family] [Statement of Faith]

Our Missions:


Provide healthy, effective, natural childbirth prep for expectant parents


Provide scientifically and Biblically sound teachings on our origins (First Days Ministries)


Promote Biblical house-based church fellowship


Promote home education for those called to this service


Provide self-help regarding Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses (T.R.I.S.H.A.)


Share Victorian seed bead butterflies & other projects with the world! (Nancy's Awesome Butterflies)


Honor our Heavenly Father in all that we do and publish on our Oikourgos site and elsewhere.

Contact Information:




call to arrange

Postal address:

Oikourgos, c/o Berntsen, 1017 Howe Ave, Shelton CT 06484

General Information:


Home School Advertising:




I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.  Ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shown you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.   Acts 20:33-35


peter.JPG (5874 bytes) Hmmm.  What does Oikourgos mean anyway?

Oikourgos is a catch-all for any service our  family provides. We have many interests and activities.  Read on to see why the name fits. 

Oikourgos in Biblical Greek means "working at home" according to Strong's Concordance Greek dictionary. I found it when looking up "sons of light" in the passage about a steward (oikonomos) from Luke 16:1-13. Do I know a little Greek? Well, I'm married to one who's a little Greek. (I know, what an old joke!) 

Greek is such a rich, descriptive language. I could speak with fewer words if I knew how to speak it! Little did I know, my first name, Nancy, which in Hebrew (Hannah) means grace and mercy in Greek, translates "Oiktirmos." I prefer Nancy, though! No wonder I was bent toward "Oikourgos." 

Some neat "oik" words listed in Vine's expository Dictionary include: 

bulletoikeios: house, household 
bulletoiketes: house-hold servant, servant 
bulletoikia: home
bulletoikodespotes: master
bulletoikodome: building, edification
bulletoikodomeo: builder
bulletoikonomos: steward
bulletoikos: family, home, temple
bulletoiktirmos: compassion, mercy (i.e.,. Phil. 2:1) 

If you've never used a Greek dictionary or a Strong's Concordance to embellish a bible study, you don't know what you are missing! Our language "looks good, smells good, but just don't taste the same!" And speaking of taste, a hot bowl of Greek lemon chicken/rice soup sounds good right about now!  If you've never had that, well, you ought to try it.  Then have some rice pudding or baklava for dessert!   Mmmm!

About Our Family...

Nancy.gif (28520 bytes)

"I've been a Christian since I was 13. No-one   twisted my arm, to make this choice either!"

That decision means as much to her today as it did  then.  She insists, "It's not just kid stuff, making Jesus your Lord and Savior.   It's for now and for eternity."

Read below to find out more.

(Picture of our boys)
Photo: 1997

We live in northeast Connecticut with our sons, Joel (17), Benjamin (15), Timothy (13), & Peter (10).

Our interests include sailing, hiking, board games, Christian fellowship, computers, cooking, baking, sports,  candy making, photography, art, graphics, creative writing, crafts, baseball, basketball & cartooning. 

We've home schooled since 1991.  George is an electronics engineer. Nancy is a "stay at home" mom with a BS in nursing. Her interest in computers began in the early 1980's when she began desktop publishing.

(Gif of Berntsen's Sailboat recuing motorboat, 1996, Nancy Berntsen)

George became a Christian while in the Navy.  His story will be added in the near future.



Nancy tells it all...

The Best Gift I Ever Got

I grew up in a "stable" family with loving parents, 3 sisters and a dog.  I was #2 daughter so I tried my best to be different but "better" than my super intelligent older sister.  No doubt I was different!   But better???

My dad's side of the family (Slovak) was very close knit.   Dad seemed strict and powerful to me.  His inventive mind was always preoccupied, but I knew he loved me, and he nearly always had an answer to my many and varied questions.   He had a saying that stuck with me.  "We're Bomberos, and Bomberos don't do "___."  (Fill in the blank).  I often felt different from others, but not alone.  After all, there were a 6 Bomberos in our family, and I had a lot of relatives that were Bomberos (and Bumberas as originally spelt.)  I always thought my whole family was really different.  As I got older though, I found out every family is different and many people think somebody else's family is better than theirs.  I have finally concluded after years of study that mine was right for me; that's where God put me, and He doesn't make mistakes!

Mom was quiet, patient, and a great listener.  She was very creative but had such self control.  Or so it seemed.  Her patience was constantly tried by a younger sister who, brain injured from early childhood, was seemingly stuck in the "terrible twos" permanently.  I knew how much my parents loved her though.   I was proud of them for keeping her home with us rather than institutionalizing her as was suggested by the doctors.  Contrary to what the doctors thought, she was able to walk, talk, and "stay dry" by the time she was three.  She remains at a level of between age 4 and 10 generally and now works contentedly at a sheltered workshop a few hours each day.

About me, though...

We used to have a teenage baby-sitter, Jill, who'd tell a particular story with such passion.  She described a man bleeding and dying on a wooden cross with nails in his hands and feet.  She said he died for me because he loved me.  I knew Jesus loved me; I learned that in kindergarten Sunday school.  Why did my baby-sitter have such a burning desire to share that story with me time and again?  I involuntarily and subconsciously held onto these memories.

When I was about seven, our family was camping on "Long Island, " Lake George, New York.  A severe summer storm was on the way, and we needed to get some groceries before it hit.  My dad and I left the campsite in a dinky little motor boat.  The sky was bright, and the water was unusually calm.   The lake looked like a giant pan of wobbly deep black raspberry Jell-O as we motored across it.  We got to the store and brought out 3 or 4 bags of food.   The sky was unbelievably darker and the wind was now blowing.  The lake was covered with whitecaps.  I sat on the front bench of the boat with the bags at my feet and Dad got us off.

We found ourselves surrounded with three to five foot waves coming at us from every direction.  My dad had to carefully maneuver the boat across the waves.  I was scared stiff, my hands tightly clenched to the hard bench.   I had always had a deep trust in my father, but this crisis called for someone bigger to put my trust in.  All I could do was pray.  I imagined if I moved to the back of the boat with my dad, the whole boat would tip back on us.  I had to work hard at pushing aside thoughts of my mom living the rest of her life without us.

Finally after what seemed two hours to me, we slammed into our neighbor's dock. My dad quickly lifted me and the groceries onto the dock.   In the next moment, the boat was submerged by waves.  My dad had to lift the boat up onto the dock to keep it from sinking again.  The next morning, we discovered that our own dock had shifted in the water about six inches from it's original location.   I had slept poorly and had no appetite for the next day or so.  But I had no doubt that God really loved me and answered my prayers.

I also remember some deep thoughts I used to ponder riding a yellow public school bus at the age of seven or so as though it were yesterday.   I hated school nearly all my life and used to dread going.  (I often stayed home sick with a stomach ache that was real.  I loved doing missed assignments and studying with my mother.)  The daily ride to school could be long and lonely, but somehow I found pleasure in certain thoughts I only had on the bus at a certain point on the route.  I pondered my heritage, or rather my existence.  I thought over and over how my grandmother had come to America as a young adult, and met and married my grandfather.  The last of my ancestors to come to the states, I reasoned, had she not immigrated here, I just wouldn't exist.

I realized there was more to me besides flesh and blood; I had a soul.  My soul was unique; it could only belong to me, and I wouldn't be me if my parents had never been born or united in marriage.  It "blew my mind" to think that I wouldn't be able to think about those things if I hadn't existed.  I couldn't be someone else's soul; I could only be me, and how mind boggling and awesome it was to realize that I did exist-- that I was real!  I couldn't help but think God had something to do with all this.

At the age of eleven, I distinctly recall being sent out into the yard with my older sister to rake leaves.  I always worked harder than her when it came to cleaning house, and she seldom played outside.  I had my doubts what kind of team we'd make out there together.  But at least there were no books or newspapers to distract her outside!  On the other hand, she got rather chatty with nothing to do but rake.  She started to tell me about how we are all sinners destined to go to hell, and how the devil is a fallen angel who wants to trick us into just that.   She also said there was a way to eternal peace through Jesus Christ.  I remembered about that from our baby-sitter years before. 

My sister was really rocking my boat.  That stuff about Satan really didn't make sense at all.  I already figured out who he was.  He was just another character like Santa Claus that parents tell their kids about so they won't disobey.  So why did my sister insist that he was as real as God?  That was a scary thought!  She had already "shared" enough about this Jesus stuff with me weeks before.  I was really angry and yelled as loud as I could for her to leave me alone.  She humbly asked if she could at least continue to pray for me and I couldn't say no to that.  I needed all the blessings I could get!

Amazingly, my sister did not bother me anymore.  She diligently read her bible every night (in my presence).  I silently said my prayers as usual-- "Gentle Jesus meek and mild, look upon this little child.  Pity my simplicity, suffer me to come to thee, Amen.  Bless Mom & Dad..., ..., ..., ..., and all the plants and animals, Amen."  I tried to cover everybody and everything!   Sometimes I think my prayers were more thorough back then than today!  At the age of twelve, I was confirmed into a Protestant church.  I felt a little guilty saying "yes" and "I do" when I hardly understood what I was agreeing to.  But this was the time to do it when every other 12 year old in the church was doing it...  If it weren't for my older sister, perhaps I wouldn't have known any better.  But the fact was that I did know better.  I wasn't saved.  And I lied to my congregation.  Yuck.

Well, eighth grade came and finally ended.  I had hated every day of it. I never really liked school. I felt too confined, like I was in prison. Our class had been so rebellious that the principal decided to discontinue graduation ceremonies that year.  Diplomas were handed out in homeroom the last day.  What a "rip off" I thought.  But thank God it was over anyway.  It was the toughest year of school I ever remembered.  I was so glad my older sister had advised me to join the band that year.  I took up the glockenspiel as she said it would be easy for me to catch on.  Band and art class (and sometimes gym) were the only joys I knew while at school that year.  I was so glad band was first thing in the morning.  Music had a way of giving me peace and strength.  But I knew band and other electives were not going to get me through high school.  Something was going to have to change if I were to "survive" the next four years of school.

That summer I was drawn to my cool basement bedroom.   Not because of the heat upstairs.  For some unexplainable reason, I had a strong desire to find out more about God.  He wasn't in my room, but I had collected colorful pamphlets in there from the back of our church over the past couple years.   Some had cartoony flowers all over them; another had a picture of the earth as seen from the moon by the astronauts.  One had a picture of a boy on it, called "The Captain."  Another was a booklet for adults about a secret, and yet another about destiny.  A simple one was called, "The Four Spiritual Laws."  I read them all cover to cover and re-read them.  I knew that these books contained answers I was looking for.  Answers to my quest for peace in my soul and a desire to make things right with God.  These booklets were filled with scriptures and explanations that finally started making sense to me.

I carefully read through the steps to becoming a Christian. So this is what my sister meant about "accepting Christ."  I needed to repent and believe that God's only son, Jesus, bled and died for my sins, and that he was now alive, preparing a place for me in heaven.  I needed to receive his gift of the Holy Spirit.  I was so excited.   After a couple weeks of reading and studying, I knew what to do, and I wanted to do it!  I selected a prayer from one of the booklets; the one I liked best.   I rewrote it, prayed it, and signed and dated it.

prayer.gif (8735 bytes)

I was so elated!  I now knew how much God loved me.  And I knew he had been working on me over the years, gently revealing himself to me in my thoughts and through my trials.  I did it!   I repented of my sins and accepted Christ.  Or rather, I realized he paid the price for my sins and accepted me!  And that I was forgiven as though I had never sinned!  I declared him savior and Lord of my life then and for always.  It was a day as important as my birth; it was my spiritual birthday August 21, 1971.

I couldn't wait to tell my sister! I had to wait until she got home from camp.  I did tell my mom, who tried to act like she knew what I was talking about but apparently hadn't been there herself yet.  After I did get to tell my sister, we agreed to pray for our parents and two younger sisters.  Within three or four years, my whole immediate family had made Jesus Lord and savior!  What a blessing!  I also decided I would only marry a growing Christian whom my parents agreed was God's choice for me.  I spent many an hour waiting upon the Lord for that answered prayer.  Believe me, when the time was right, things happened fast!   God is so good!

Being born a Bombero had made me feel different from others but being born of the spirit really made me different inside and out, for the better, and for eternity!  Salvation through Jesus Christ is the best gift I ever received.  This gift is available to you and everyone you know!  If you have not experienced forgiveness of your sins and the Lordship of Jesus, don't waste away any more of you life without Him as Lord and Saviour of your life.   It's time to make things right with God.  Don't wait until you are elderly and forgetful.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Don't put off til tomorrow what you can take care of today. 

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot...   Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the work of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  1 Peter 18, 19, 23.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.   1 Peter 2:9

Ephesians 2:19
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Favorite Hymn:  To God be the Glory (Fanny Crosby).

Favorite Old Testament Passage:  Proverbs 3: 5,6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not on thine own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

Favorite New Testament Passage:  Ephesians 6:12, 13 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Statement of Faith

  1. We believe in one God, the only true God, as having eternally existed in three persons:  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14)
  2. We believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as God incarnate, being fully God and fully man.  (John 1:1, 14; Matt. 1:18-23).
  3. We believe that salvation is offered as a free gift, by personal faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ alone, and not by works of man.  (Eph. 2:8; John 3:16)
  4. We believe that all men are sinners by nature and practice and are in desperate need of God's saving grace through Jesus Christ.  (Rom. 3:23, 24; Gal. 5:16, 17.) 
  5. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God; that it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  we believe the Bible is the final authority in all matters and is completely relevant to today's culture.  (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:160)