Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fun Day with Friends







Yesterday Greta and Valla invited us to Valla's home for Brunch and a visit before going to the Branch Talent Show at 4 PM. They also invited Elder and Sister Koyle and Elder Ellsworth and Elder Christensen. We had a delicious meal of fruits, soup, quiche, breads with cheese, ham, and salad, and pastries and a skyr desert. The picture that includes Elder Ellsworth's grimace is not an indication of his feelings about the food but more a reason why we enjoy him. He is very animated about everything and we can just imagine what was happening as he made this face. After a wonderful and over filling meal we continued to enjoy visiting until time to go to the talent show. It was a fun visit as Valla and Greta are so much fun to be with.

The talent show was fun but sparse. Most of the members did not come due to the snow that was still coming down. When the Koyle's arrive to pick us up they could not get up our street even with their 4 wheel drive van and then as we tried to park on Valla's street the van got stuck. We were able to push it out but gives you an idea why many of the members decided not to come. Those of us who did though enjoyed the show which included everything from skits to items made.

We are certainly going to miss this wonderful group of friends in Iceland. video

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Last District Meeting in Iceland





Yesterday we were going to go to Reykjavik to for YSA's and to help individuals with their family history. The only problem - it started snowing during the night and continued all day. Now I know all of you who have suffered the worst winter ever are just laughing at us but we felt bad because now that we are leaving we are getting more requests for help and we have so few days left to get everything done. This is probably our last snow fall in Iceland and it is definitely the worst snow fall we have experienced in Iceland. We have had many where our walks have been knee deep but this one ended up waist deep. Eileen started digging out in the morning when it wasn't too bad only to have it fill in. Then in the evening our landlord dug us out and when we woke this morning it was even deeper.

This morning we were to go to Reykjavik for District Meeting and our two elders came over to dig us out. When they finished I offered them a ride back to their apartment to get ready as we were running short on time. That was a good decision or we would have been very late to the meeting. When we got to the car we discovered the street was impassable. The elders had to be human snow plows and dig our street out. About 45 minutes later I was back at the beginning of our street and left the car and walked back to our apartment. We got to our meeting on time as the highways were fine. We had a great district meeting with our last training by the Koyle's. They were helping the Elders with teaching about being an eternal families.

When we left to come home the car had a terrible shake. I couldn't find anything wrong so I went to the dealer. He had obviously heard the problem before as he told me to pull up to the service door. He came out with a high pressure hot water hose and after spraying the front tires for 10 minutes he said we were ready to go and everything was fine. When we got home the street was still impassable so we left the car at the entrance to our street and walked home. I check a couple of more times but the street has very deep ruts from the big 4 wheel drive vehicles that are so prevalent here and there is no way for my little car to make it through those. I talked to some locals and they said they are very upset with the city as they have the equipment to clean the streets but not the money to run them. I sure am glad this has been an unusual winter with very little snow. Good news is it is going to start raining next week and supposed to be lots of it so we should be through with the snow soon.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last Tour






I think the Elders were experiencing cabin fever yesterday as they all called and wanted to know what we were doing for the day. They all wanted to go somewhere together. I kept asking where they wanted to go but no one had an idea so I settled on the one tour I knew none of them had been on and yet was close because we had to be in Reykjavík in the evening for a Relief Society class to demonstrate new.familysearch.org. It is always fun to be together with the Elders. When it comes to teaching they do a great job and when it comes to having fun they know how to do it and it is just fun to be around them. Of course touring always involves eating too. Elder Ellsworth is enjoying his favorite - pylsur or as we would call it - a lamb hot-dog. The picture of the Elders sitting and standing is on a bridge that spans the two continents of America and Europe. We do have one more preparation day but who knows what the weather holds and we move out of our apartment on the Thursday following so we will be busy getting everything ready.

After the meeting we discovered it had been snowing and we had a couple of inches on the ground and it snowed all the way home. This morning we were greeted with several inches of snow but worse is the 1 to 2 foot high drifts due to the heavy winds. The drift outside our door is up to my knees. Eileen is supposed to make apple pies for tonight YSA activity in Reykjavík and also teach a member more about using new.familysearch.org but if this snow keeps up we won´t be going.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Last Zone Conference



Today was our last Icelandic Zone Conference. Every Zone Conference the missionaries are assigned a topic on which to prepare a 5-minute talk. We are also asked to be prepared to shorten it to 2 minutes, 1 minute or 30 seconds. This is a training exercise which the President critiques to help improve speaking skills. Sister Bremner and I have never been called on to give our talks while Elder and Sister Koyle have had many opportunities to give theirs. We were busy this week and by midweek had not prepared. We joked about not preparing, as we never are called on anyway. Eileen started on hers though and I joked I will just use yours if you aren’t called and I am. Then I thought no I had better prepare. It was the right decision as both of us were called on to give the 5-minute talks. For some reason the only picture was one taken by Eileen just before the meeting of Elder Koyle going over his talk. Therefore, this post is not very exciting for the parents who like to see their boys.

Following Zone Conference, we had another great baptism. Kristófer Eðvarðsson bore his testimony at the end of the baptismal service and told how he had been praying to find God for over a year and the morning he met the missionaries he had knelt down and ask for help to find God. After he met the missionaries, he recognized the answer to his prayer. He had many family and friends attend the baptism, which was very special too.

This was a great day for our last Icelandic Zone Conference. (This was written yesterday but not posted until today.)

Last Birthday



President Olauson has many more birthdays ahead of him, but last night we celebrated his last birthday as President of the Denmark Copenhagen Mission. It was a great evening with all the missionaries gathered. We also had the President and Vice-President of the YSAs in Iceland with us. Then to top off the evening President Olauson presented a fireside for the YSAs. As always he taught great principles the YSA could apply in their lives to help them move forward and enjoy what Heavenly Father has in store for them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Northern Lights




OK I didn´t take these pictures but they are from Iceland and we saw the most beautiful Northern Lights Wednesday night very similar to these pictures. A member called us about 10:30 PM and said "I am sorry to call this late but the Northern Lights are beautiful." We quickly wrapped up and went outside. At first they seemed like those we have seen before and Eileen started back into the house when I said, "look!" She turned around and saw the beautiful beginning of a spectacular light show. We decided to go outside town so at not to have the city lights interfering. From there we could see the Northern Lights stretched across the sky from the eastern horizon to the western horizon. Most of the time it was basically a long band of greenish light that was very fluid and varied in intensity similar to the first two pictures. Then there would be areas that would begin to modulate up and down and as they did so change color intensity and colors. After viewing this show for sometime we headed back into town and right in front of us was this spectacular movement of lights changing from light green to yellow to pink and then purple. We had to stop and continue to watch the show. Finally we headed home and just as we came around the corner to our house we saw this huge ball of green that suddenly began to change colors in stripes across the ball much like the colorful picture above. Yesterday we mentioned to another member about the ball we saw and she said, "OH yes that was beautiful. I was driving and it just showed up in front of me and OH Wow!" I called the friend who called us and told him that was the most spectacular Northern Lights we had seen and a great finale to our mission in Iceland.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Great Baptism Tonight




Ghomsi Guy Rodrigue was baptized this evening - the first to be baptized in Iceland in 2010. He is a student at the University of Iceland from Camaroon. He has been in Iceland the last 5 months and will be here 2 more years before returning to Camaroon. Courtney (baptized Ghomsi) and Betty Ward and their family have been fellowshipping Ghomsi since the missionaries first brought him to Church. They have become good friends. As Betty said in her talk on the Holy Ghost, they share a common thread both being from Africa. The reason for two pictures of the Elders - we could not get them all in the picture at the same time. One of the fun things about being such a small mission is all of the missionaries in the mission usually get an opportunity to teach everyone who is baptized. The only ones who usually are not involved in all the baptisms are the couples as we usually only teach those in our own branches since we do not transfer like the Elders.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Goodbyes!



Today we attended a very beautiful funeral for a member of the Reykjavík Branch. Gísli Ragnar Pétursson was only 72 years old. He was very active in the community and well loved. During the planning of the funeral it was projected there would be 130 people attend. Since our chapel is not big enough for that many people the funeral was held in a Lutheran Church (first picture outside the church). The Masons wanted to participate in the funeral services because of his membership in their organization. After the very beautiful Mormon, Mason, Lutheran funeral we went to a small cemetery for the burial (picture of the church at the cemetery). Our 6 young Elders were asked to be the pallbearers which was a new experience for them especially when there were handed the ropes to lower the casket into the grave.

Gísli was still working at the time of his death and his employer wanted to make sure there was a nice meal after the services, so we set up our church with every available table plus some and served an amazing amount of food. Over 200 people attended the funeral but we were so busy keeping the two food tables stocked and washing dishes, glasses and silverware no one counted how many came for the meal. We had 80 seats full all the time and many people stood and talked and ate. When you look at our small Church kitchen, you know it was a miracle to accomplish such a feat.

Monday, February 8, 2010

HP Madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of you who follow our blog (which can't be many with the few comments we get) know about the motherboard dying on our HP laptop we bought the week before we left for Iceland. In September it started doing some weird things. I just thought they were glitches and didn't think much of them. I wasn't paying attention to our warranty though and when I called HP because they were worse than glitches, the computer was out of warranty by a few days and HP said OH SO SORRY. Luckily I had bought a 3rd party warranty and after 3 months they authorized me to have it fixed and send them the bill. The HP authorized service center in Reykjavík took 3 weeks to install a new motherboard. We were very happy to have our laptop back and to reinstall and update everything. Well the happiness was short lived as we had the computer 10 days when it all began again yesterday and today it went back for a new motherboard.

I think an Apple maybe in our future!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Our Elders






Just wanted to show off our great Elders. We had a great District Meeting this past Tuesday and after lunch the Elders went to work cleaning up!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ölfusá River





The Ölfusá River flows in front of our apartment. It provides a wonderful view and soothing sound as it passes by every day. No matter how high or low the water level, it always moves quickly by. The level changes constantly though through out the year depending on precipitation and temperature. I find the ice formations some of the most interesting times. As we look out our windows we are always greeted by a small island that seems to go up and down. There have been a few times we have noticed it almost disappear and begin to wonder if we are going to have to prepare for flooding. The three pictures with ice were taken today but they could have been easily taken in mid January as it appeared much the same until January 26 - the day the island looked like it was going to go under.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hnefatafl or Viking Chess



When we arrived in Iceland, Elder Redford would pick up interesting rocks on Preparation Days. I asked why, he said he was collecting them to make a game called Hnefatafl or Viking Chess. We later came across the game in a museum. The price was $50 and it was just made of a cardboard game board and 1/2" dowels cut about 1/4" thick and painted just on the top - very cheaply made and not something that would last. I started collecting rocks too. This week even though I have nothing to make a board out of but paper, I decided to make the game up and try it. Elder Ellsworth and Elder Christensen came over for dinner on Preparation Day yesterday an hour early so they tried out the game. It doesn't look real challenging when you first start playing it but as you begin to learn the rules if does become very challenging.

For dinner we had salmon. Eileen does not like fish and won't fix it, but I felt we needed to try some before we left. We bought it frozen in the discount grocery store we shop at. I was concerned it might not be that good but when I opened it and there was no smell I thought that was a good sign. There was no smell cooking it either and it was very good - no fishy taste. It is a shame Eileen doesn't like fish as I think we could have enjoyed many more varieties while we were here.