Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blessing of Skype

Not only do we enjoy seeing our family as well as talk to them on Skype, we are now using it to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those that are too far away to visit personally on a regular basis. We have a family we have been teaching in the Westman Islands and last night our new Elders came over to teach Andy and Doreen via Skype. It was a new experience for them and a little challenging not having that closeness that comes from being in their home but they were excited for the challenge and the opportunity to teach this fine family. They will be going to the Westman Islands in a few weeks. This was a good opportunity for them to meet prior to going.

Monday, September 28, 2009


We woke up to below zero this morning - that is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for you in that mode. We didn't know it until we took our walk and we started noticing all the frozen puddles plus the fact we were very cold. But that is not the reason for this post. I just wanted to share one of the blessings of being a missionary - even a senior missionary. Not only do we spend a lot of time with these fine Elders in our mission, we get the blessing of Missionary Correlation every week. It is a special time each Sunday morning we meet with our Elders to discuss the past week and the great teaching that has taken place. We also discuss what the members can do to help the missionaries and then as the Branch Mission Leader I go to the members and ask them for specific help with either teaching or fellowshipping or having individual in their homes for Family Home Evening or some other activity. We have such great members in the Selfoss Branch it is always easy to ask them to take an assignment or just ask them to make friends with those the missionaries are teaching and they do a great job. The picture is Elder Fillmore and Elder Walsh and myself meeting in the Young Women classroom. As you can tell it is small. Sister Bremner is taking the picture from the teachers position. We only have 3 Young Women so it works for now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Backing Up To Last Sunday

President Olauson, President of the Denmark Copenhagen Mission traveled from Reykjavík to Selfoss early last Sunday morning for interviews and then to speak in our Sacrament Meeting. I then drove him to Reykjavík to speak in their Sacrament Meeting and do interviews. I conducted the semi-annual branch audit and then President Olauson and I returned to Hveragerði (a small town in our branch). Sister Sveinbjörg had invited us and our two missionaries assigned to Selfoss for dinner and to hear her testimony and story of when she helped translate The Book of Mormon back in 1979. She is such a special lady and her testimony and story are so special - the Spirit testified to each of us of the truth of her story. We first had dinner and it was fantastic. She was very concerned because she says she doesn´t cook any more (she is turning 80 next month). We had the best trout dinner I have ever had - for that matter the best fish dinner I have ever had (for those who don´t know it, the first 18 years of my life I spent two weeks every summer in the Wallow Mountains of Oregon and we ate Rainbow Trout every night for dinner)! She then told the story of how The Book of Mormon was translated into Icelandic and her experiences throughout the translation and how she gave up her dream trip to Salt Lake City to be sure the translation was done on time. She then told how she was rewarded four fold for her sacrifice with four trips to Salt Lake City none of which she ever anticipated. It was a special evening for all who were blessed to be there just as it had been the first time she told us. During the first time, Sister Bremner asked her if she had ever written it down and she hadn´t so Sister Bremner has been encouraging her to do so. She finally wrote it in Icelandic for her children and she graciously allowed us to tape her this time. I have been transcribing it which has not been easy due to the equipment we had to work with. Another few days and it will be ready for her approval and disposition as she considers it a very sacred experience and indeed it was for us to hear too. After we drove President Olauson back to his hotel and we return home after 11 PM. A full day to say the least but one to ever be remembered.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Just a quick note - yesterday we saw Mt Hekla for the first time in several days. We noted there was new snow on it. No bid deal as it is a big mountain far in the distance and it always has snow on it. This photo was taken in June and up until yesterday there was quite a bit less snow, but yesterday it was starting to look like this photo again. This morning though is another matter. We were exercising and looked up at the foothills not far from us and the tops are covered in snow. This is earlier than last year as there wasn't any snow until the first weekend of October last year.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Training for a Center for Young Adults

We have been trying to establish what used to be call an Outreach Center since back in January. We had what we called Outreach Centers in Romania that were not official and somewhat the same here too. In March the senior couple Brother and Sister Koyle who are assigned to Reykjavík really went to work to find out the requirements to have an official center. The last requirement that need to be done was training by the Area office in Frankfurt Germany. It is usually done before all the other requirements are completed but the Koyle´s moved right through all the requirements so when the training was completed on Saturday we were officially recognized as having a Center for Young Adults as they are now known. The Koyle´s are the missionary couple assigned to the center and Sister Bremner and I are part of an advisory committee as the Seminary and Institute Coordinators. Those who attended the training included the Mission President and his counselor, the Branch Presidents, the missionaries, and the young adult leaders. The schedule called for 3 hours of training but because of the previous work by the Koyle´s it went much quicker. That was good because everyone wanted to keep going after it was over and we didn´t get to dinner with the trainers Sister Hanson and Sister Guthrie, President Olauson, the Koyles and us until late thus making for a late night. As this posting is late I will finish Sunday´s activities tomorrow.

Iceland Zone Conference

Saturday morning was Iceland Zone Conference. It was approximately 5 hours long but we hated to see it end. Our Mission President, President Olauson is a great teacher and he still had more to say when we had to end due to the next scheduled activity. Sister Bremner and I had a 15 minute training session that did not go off as planned as the wireless connection failed and our connection to LDS.org lost just as we were introducing our training with a song. If you are wondering about those in non-missionary attire, we invite members to join our Zone Conferences. At each Zone Conference we are all asked to prepare a 5 minute talk on a specific subject. This conference Elder Christensen who just arrived Thursday was asked to give his in English and Elder Ellsworth who has only been here two months was asked to give his in Icelandic. Elder Fillmore who arrived in January was ask to give only 1 minute in Icelandic. All three Elders gave great talks. It is wonderful to be spiritually fed by our president and these great Elders.

Wow Have We Been Fed!

I am so far behind on posting the last several days. Friday night we didn't get home from Reykjavík until after 2200 and that posting kept me up too late. Then Saturday was another full day. We left for Reykjavík before 0800 and returned home after 2200 and I was too tired to do anything but go to bed. Then Sunday we made two trips to Reykjavík getting home after 2300. It was all worth it though as we were spiritually fed in so many ways. As the couple in Reykjavík said this afternoon we are beat. I again forgot to take pictures at the appropriate times but will comment on each activity in separate posts with what pictures we have.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Remember the Svið

Remember our post back in January about Svið - sheep´s head dinner. The Danish Elders who just left had the same treat as we did and insisted our mission president should enjoy the same. So this evening we served Svið to President Olauson and all the missionaries including two sisters who came to train us tomorrow on running a Young Adult Center. There were mixed comments including the sisters and the couples (except me) who did not eat it. We also served leg of lamb with all the trimmings (it was a feast) - I think we thought we had to redeem ourselves for serving the Svið. Enjoy the pictures. The last two pictures are Elder Fillmore eating the eyeball. He said served on a scone with lots of jam it wasn´t too bad!

Elder Christensen and Elder DeCelle

We met our other new missionary to Iceland this evening at a special dinner for President Olauson and the new Elders. Elder Christensen has been assigned Elder DeCelle as his companion and trainer and they have been assigned to Reykjavík. Elder DeCelle is a great Elder and will be a great trainer. We worked with him when he fist arrived back in January. He didn´t let the language hold him back as he went right to work. He is excited to serve the Lord and to be a trainer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Elder Fillmore and Elder Walsh

Our two new Elders arrived in Iceland today and Elder Walsh was assigned Elder Fillmore as his trainer. Elder Fillmore has served in Selfoss before and has now returned. Selfoss has not been the favorite area of the mission but Elder Smith and Elder Ellsworth were sad to leave as they have been having great success teaching and were excited with the progress. Elder Fillmore is a great missionary and will be a great trainer so we are excited to see the progress continue.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trunky ??

I think the Church must have sent out our travel itinerary for the end of our mission really early in order to keep us from getting trunky. We still have over 6 months left to serve and we received our itinerary yesterday for our trip home. We leave Monday March 22, 2010 at 5 PM and arrive in Boston at 6:35 PM. We then spend the night in Boston with a flight out at 5:55 AM the next morning arriving in Rochester at 12:25 Tuesday afternoon. Maybe the idea is to get the anticipation over when we really aren't ready for it and then we will keep on working without any thought of going home. Will be interesting to see how well it works. We had anticipated our travel would be dependent on when our replacement arrives - maybe it could change or maybe there is no replacement. The bottom picture is our departure airport. At least we won't have to cram all our luggage into a train compartment that only left enough floor space for one of us at a time when it was time for us to leave Arad Romania for that trip home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Elders From Denmark Returned Today

Yesterday we had our last District Meeting with the two Elders from Denmark. Elder Meyer and Elder Smedley have been providing training each week at our District Meetings. Having been Assistants to the President before coming to Iceland they know how to teach and gave another excellent training session - this time on planning. We will miss these fine Elders as they have taught with the Spirit and blessed Iceland with their love of the Gospel and their love of the Savior Jesus Christ. The picture of them all together is the last time for this Zone. Thursday morning we receive two new Elders from the MTC. Elder Fillmore and Elder DeCelle will be the trainers and Elder Smith will continue training Elder Ellsworth who is doing great for only one + month in Iceland. Our three trainers have only been here since the middle of January and their language and teaching skills are fantastic. Sure shows what the Lord can do with willing young men. Each District Meeting and Zone Conference Sister Koyle and Sister Bremner provide lunch, but as a special treat for this District Meeting the Elders in Reykjavik made lunch or shall I say a dinner feast. They had a pork roast, potatoes and gravy, peas, corn, fruit salad, and punch. They did ask Sister Koyle to make her delicious cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls and Sister Bremner her famous brownies. So needless to say we didn't need dinner last night.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September Birthdays

Surprisingly we only have one September birthday in our family - hard to believe with 35 people in our family now. So it shouldn't be that hard to guess who the birthday person is this month.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Böðvar Ragnarsson´s Baptism

We had another baptism in Selfoss today - well we had to go to Reykjavík for the baptism but Böðvar lives in Selfoss where we have been teaching him. He is another individual where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has truly changed his life. When we picked him up today to go to Reykjavík he was standing outside his apartment with a big grin on his face. He is so happy now. When we first started teaching him that was not the case but having the Holy Ghost teaching him the truth of the Gospel has brought true joy into his life.

The other picture in this post is Sister Bremner preparing treats for the baptism. Somehow a spoon fell into the chocolate batter unnoticed and when she turned on the beaters the spoon and the beaters flew all over the kitchen. When she saw the picture she said that doesn´t really show the mess and I will agree - it was much worse

Friday, September 11, 2009

Myths and Reality About What We Believe

This video does not answer all questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but it is a start.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seminary and Institute Opening Activity

Following the great teacher training we received from Brother Jensen we had a potluck lunch and then moved into our opening Seminary and Institute activity. We began with an introduction of teachers and classes and then showed the movie The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd. Then Brother Jensen spoke about the value of Seminary and Institute and how our testimonies of the Savior will grow as we participate in these classes. The movie and Brother Jensen's comments were a special spiritual beginning for the new year. We then moved to activities that an energetic fun couple had planned for the afternoon. We asked them to plan outdoor activities with a back up for indoors. Just as we went to leave the building it started raining and we made a quick change to indoor activities. We ended the day with a pizza dinner.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Excellect Teacher Training

With our Seminary responsibilities, Sister Bremner and I were excited to see our planning unfold this Saturday. We were not disappointed when the first of the two big events was very successful. It started with the blessing of having Elder Eckehard Jensen provide a two hour teacher training session for all the teachers. Elder Jensen is a previous Stake President and Regional Representative. He is currently our Church Education Director. The two hours went by so fast as he is an excellent teacher. Saturday was a very busy day so we started the training at 10 AM (which some Icelanders told us is too early to start meetings) but attendance was great and then we enjoyed a potluck that I think you can tell by the pictures was enjoyed by all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

District Meeting/Pizza Tasting

As I said in the last post this is how we tasted the least expensive pizza for our Seminary/Institute opening activity. Today we had a great District Meeting with training by our two Danish missionaries (past Assistants to the President) and our own Assistant to the President. All three gave excellent training and as always the Spirit testified to the truth of what they were teaching - great meeting. Then after the meeting we treated the missionaries to pizza. All the missionaries said it was very good pizza and I thought it was good too except the banana ham one was a little odd. It seems bananas on pizza if very normal here in Iceland.

Ice Cream Day

I am not sure why I am so far behind on up dating our blog but we have been busy with missionary work and branch work. We are also in charge of the opening activity for Seminary and Institute in Iceland which is tomorrow. I think we have it all together now so we can relax a little. We never know how many people will actually show up so we took a different approach on the food this time. For the closing activity in May we were told 50 people would come and we prepared more than enough food in case more showed up. We didn´t have 50 and we had food left over. So this time we decided to wait until just before it is time to eat, count how many we have to feed and go get pizza and bread sticks. We had one of our young ladies take us to 3 pizza places to find the best prices and then in the next post you will see how we tried out the pizza from the least expensive place. Based on the numbers projected we will be far enough under budget we could have another 10 people surprise us and still have money to cover it.

Any way the pictures are from last Saturday´s Flower Days closing celebration in Hveragerði. The flowers are not looking so good as the weather has turned cold but they make up with it by the local ice cream company serving free samples of the various ice creams they make. I will say we have actually seen very few of these in the stores. One is rather surprising sounding - Tuna-fish. There was also rhubarb which was one of my favorite because you could actually taste a distinct difference as the others all tasted similar. Never did taste the Tuna-fish as the crowd was almost too much and after getting ice cream on my suit I decided to get out of the way. The young man (17) with the young lady is one of our great members. He is German/Icelandic and speaks German, Danish, Icelandic and English.