Posted by: merrymission | November 3, 2012

Fall is definitely here

Yesterday some of our plans were cancelled due to weather. We heard that in Reykjavík several people were injured by the strong wind. Elder Merry decided to cancel his trip to Reykjavík when the wind, gusting to 36 meters per second (80.5 miles per hour), tossed our light car around somewhat. It was just difficult to steer, but why fight the weather! We have been advised to not drive over the pass if the wind is 20 m/s (44.7 mi/hr) or more. Our car could be blown off the road. The wind at one of the weather stations was 26 m/s (58 mi/hr).  Today is another cloudy and windy day.

I finally finished one of my missionary projects–16 sweaters in 11 months. When I finished my sweater, one of the missionaries asked me how much I would charge to knit a sweater for him. I said I wouldn’t charge anything, but I wouldn’t knit one because I would have to knit one for each of our six missionaries! I reconsidered and decided I would do it. After all, if I could knit one a month, I would be done by June. I found that they take only about 10 days to two weeks to knit, so I offered the opportunity to the senior couples and our mission presidents and their wives, also. Now I have finished with all 16 sweaters! We just received three new missionaries, but I don’t have time to knit them sweaters, plus do my other responsibilities and clean and pack. So, I am knitting them hats, which will keep them warm this fall and winter.

The final p-day together for a hike on Reykjadalur before three return home and three new missionaries arrive.

We  brought the missionaries to Reykjadalur and are eagerly anticipating returning to our warm cars.

The other six sweaters are in Utah (2) and Denmark (4).  Our missionary effort, as member leader support missionaries (mls), encompasses many opportunities. I have learned to knit Icelandic sweaters and to alter the directions for lighter weight yarn. I have definitely increased in learning, as Elder Bednar suggest we do.

 

Posted by: merrymission | August 10, 2012

Service

In Selfoss we have a lot of opportunity to serve people. Our missionaries were walking down a street and saw an older lady mowing her lawn. She was having trouble, since she has a weak leg. They offered to help and she accepted. Since then we have been over to help with her lawn several times and have taught her several lessons. She really enjoys the peaceful and happy feeling we bring. She has also been to church several times and will be going to the branch outing Saturday. She likes the feeling she gets when she goes to church and visits with our members.

Our most recent service is with another sod roof. When the three sod-roofed houses in this area were built, the builder put gravel against one of the outer walls, then put a short rock wall to hold in the gravel and look like an old fashioned Icelandic house. In the 2008 earthquake two of the houses had trouble with their gravel walls sliding down, pushing down the rock wall, and giving too little support to the sod. We helped finish one roof when we helped re-sod it for our pioneer day activity. Now we are beginning the second sod roof. We are getting in at the very beginning, clearing away the sod.

This is the “before” picture. It doesn’t look too bad but it isn’t supported very well. When it is finished, he will have the option of putting in a new room where the gravel was.

Cutting through 4 to 6 inches of sod is muscle-building work.

This is our first day on the job. We have since gone over and have more than half of the sod off. One more day and that part will be finished. The next part will be taking out all the gravel. Gisli thought it took them 500 wheelbarrow loads to get their gravel removed. The elders from Reykjavík will also come over and help. As they say, many hands make light work. We mentioned this project to them today at our zone meeting and they were excited.

This sod roof project was begun at the end of our group p-day. Once a month we are allowed to take a group p-day to see interesting and relatively close places in Iceland. We have been on the Golden Circle, Jökulsárlón (Glacier Bay), and now Snæfellsnes, which is the first peninsula north of  Reykjavík. Obviously, we don’t take one a month, but we really enjoy the ones we take. I noticed that the mountains are more pointed there than the ones between Selfoss and Reykjavík. It was interesting to see the different style of mountain; ours are flat-topped. All of them that I have seen so far are very different than Alaskan mountains. In Iceland we have very few trees and the mountains are made from volcanic activity.

 

There are several seals lounging in this lava field. If you click on the picture and zoom in you should be able to see them.

If you zoom in on this, you can learn about Báður, the diety of Mt. Snæfell.

An elder walking back into Báður’s crevice. The further back one goes the narrower it gets. We didn’t walk back very far, since no one wanted to get wet or get stuck.

 

The caption of his plaque calls him Báður, the diety of Mt. Snæfell

The rock formations here, as in many places in Iceland, are beautiful. It is interesting to see how the lava flowed or layered in the area.

 

 

 

Posted by: merrymission | June 20, 2012

We just had a wonderful Zone Conference. Elder and Sister Jensen of the Seventy were here for their last assignment. He will receive emeritus status in October. Elder Jensen had visited Soldotna Stake years ago and now he and his wife visited here in Iceland. We thought it was wonderful to hear from him again.

President and Sister Andersen are completing their calling as mission president and wife. President Andersen will still be coming to Iceland, but now as the seminary and institute director. We all said our good-byes to them and thanked them for the wonderful job they have done.

Thank you for serving us as our mission president and wife.

Good-bye, President and Sister Andersen and Elder and Sister Jensen

Last week was a very eventful one; Zone Conference on Thursday, seminary graduation on Friday, and Þjóðhátið on Sunday. While other places celebrated Fathers’ Day, we celebrated the Icelandic Independence Day, which is June 17th. Each town has its own celebration. In Selfoss we had a fair-like celebration in the park behind the library. People performed musical numbers until late at night. A biplane flew over doing acrobatics and a monoplane later flew over several times tossing out candy. There were also jumping events for the children. On Þjóðhátið people with national costumes wear them. One of the sisters in our branch, our Young Woman president, has a beautiful one.

If you click on the picture and enlarge, you can see the beautiful designs.

I serve in Young Women and work with two, soon to be three, wonderful young women from one family. Our Sunday schedule is that each of our young women teaches the lesson one Sunday per month. Our YW president teaches one lesson and I teach the another. Each of our young women speaks 4 languages; German is their mother tongue; the family moved to Denmark so they speak Danish; they moved here to Iceland and so speak Icelandic; and in school they learn English. I am so impressed with their ability! One Sunday when I was the only adult in class the young woman teaching the lesson was going to give it in Icelandic, but knowing that German is her mother tongue, I mentioned that she could give it in German. It didn’t matter to me; I didn’t speak either one. Half way through the lesson I realized that she was translating the lesson from the Icelandic manual into German as she taught! They both are thoroughly amazing! I now have downloaded the German manuals onto my iPad so they can teach from the German manual!

Most of the people in Iceland speak several languages. Whenever I express my admiration for their language abilities, they tell me that Iceland is a small country and if they want to communicate with people from other countries, they have to learn another language. English seems to be a common language for people in Scandinavian countries to learn. Elementary school children start studying Icelandic, English, and Danish. At the high school-college level they can add two more languages. Many people practice their  English by watching TV, movies and videos, and by playing video games.

We are grateful to be here in Iceland, serving our branch, enjoying meeting the people, and helping the young elders.

 

Posted by: merrymission | June 5, 2012

Senior Couples’ Conference

During our temple trip to Denmark in April the Iceland senior couples, the Callaways and Merrys, stayed with some of the Danish senior couples. In the course of conversations, the topic of a senior couples conference in Iceland was discussed.  The area presidency gave permission and it actually happened; a first time for this.

Everyone arrived on Thursday evening, May 24th, for dinner and Zone Conference. So the couples from Denmark could begin their Icelandic adventure in an authentically Icelandic way, sheep head was the first course. This was cooked by an Icelander and the way to eat it was explained in Icelandic by the cook and translated by his daughter. Almost everyone ate some; some even ate the eye! Generally, they are not served with a cherry and lettuce!

The rest of the dinner was also typically Icelandic, fish, pork, rutabagas, and Icelandic pancakes. The rest of the evening was devoted to Zone Conference and the spiritual message for the beginning of our Senior Couples Conference. It was wonderful to have so many missionaries there. Our zone is small; only 3 young companionships and 2 senior couples. The visitors from Denmark more than doubled our group.

After a day of travel and a Zone Conference we all arose early so we could leave early to catch the 10 AM ferry from Landeyjahöfn. That is a 1 hour drive from Reykjavík to Selfoss and a 45 minute drive to the ferry at Landeyjahöfn. The day was a little stormy so some of our group had trouble with seasickness. After a half an hour we were in Westmann Islands to visit the museum and learn about the first LDS members in Iceland. After this our guide took us to the Mormon Monument, first for lunch in the Viking huts, then to the monument.

 

One of our sisters, Sister Jensen, has a great-grandmother who came from Vestmanneyjar. She was able to walk on the farm of her ancestry! How exciting for her!

On our way home that evening we stopped at Seljalandsfoss. (Foss is the Icelandic word for waterfall.) As we turned onto the road to go to the falls our guide mentioned that up the road quite a ways and after fording several streams there is a farm that was another ancestral home of Sister Jensen. Since several of us had already seen Seljalandsfoss and while the Danish senior couples visited it, our guide, Ronald, took the rest of us to a close, but different waterfall. It was partly hidden behind a rock that the water had eroded away over time. It was beautiful; I couldn’t get an adequate picture of it.

To go in to the falls we walked on a rock path built in the stream.

On Saturday we toured the Golden Circle, Þingvellir, Gullfoss, and Geysir. This is a very interesting and enjoyable tour.  Þingvellir is the historical seat of the government. Groups would come once a year to conduct governing and law making and enforcing duties. Iceland has never had a king. At various times the Norwegian and the Danish kings  ruled Iceland, but when governing themselves, Iceland never developed a monarchy. Their rule was very democratic.

One of the larger fissures at Þingvellir. There are fissures in many places, small, medium, and large.

Þingvellir is the place that the European and American plates separate.  Iceland is growing by 2 cm per year. We in Selfoss are on the European continent and Reykjavík is on the American continent. It is so interesting to visit and walk around  Þingvellir.

Gullfoss (Yellow Falls) is a very popular and famous waterfall on the Golden Circle.

Gullfoss is the falls we have for the banner for our blog.

Geysir was the third spot we visited, but I didn’t take many pictures because Strákur felt a little weak and wasn’t erupting very high.

Sunday we had 2 senior couples speaking and teaching elders quorum/relief society. This was a treat for all of us. That evening another couple taught a fireside. This couples’ conference was wonderful–for the socializing and for the spiritual feast.

 

 

Posted by: merrymission | May 21, 2012

P-day 9 May 2012

Once a month we are able to take a special p-day with all the missionaries on Iceland–10 of us. This month we went to Glacier Bay to see icebergs. On the way over and on the way back we stopped to view waterfalls which are always interesting. They are always surrounded by cliffs and interesting rock formations and are really enjoyable to view.

An interesting waterfall with cliffs and farms.

While at this first stop I took a picture of our elders in their Icelandic sweaters. This was a fun project and only took 6 months to do 12 sweaters.

The next stop was a glacier viewing area called Skeiðarársandur. These glaciers are part of a larger glacier that is out of site called Vatnajökull.

These glaciers were the remains of a volcanic eruption that happened under the glacier above these and caused flooding.

Under it are the Grimsvötn lakes which fill with the water due to the geothermal heat and overflow during eruptions. One flood washed out a long bridge and twisted the supports.

Twisted bridge parts

The next stop was Jökullsárlon, Glacier Bay.

Click on the picture and enlarge to read interesting information about Jökulsárlón.

The first stop on the way back was Kirkjugólf, Church floor. The floor is formed by limestone from volcanic eruptions pushing themselves up through the soil. It is amazing to see. I have often wondered why so much here is build with rectangular rocks. Evidently, the rocks are often formed that way by nature.

Close to Kirkjugólf is another beautiful waterfall, Stjórnarfoss.

The last new (for us) waterfall that we stopped at was Skógarfoss.

There was a trail and stairs up the right side of this fall with over 400 steps.  I questioned at first if I would have the energy to climb them, but I went anyway. It was beautiful and there was a second fall above this one.

As we travel to Glacier Bay we saw many farms. One very interesting one had old buildings built into a huge chunk of rock. We decided to stop on the way back. They had not been used for a long time.

Just around the rock from these were two more.

Our last stop was Seljalandsfoss. We see this fall often because it is on the way to the Westmann Islands.

When we first saw it I wondered where the water came from. Actually, out of sight above and behind it, there is a large mountain. It would take quite a hike to get to the top of this fall.

This was our day–tiring, but very enjoyable.  Iceland is beautiful and very intriguing. The scenery is very different from Alaska, but also just as engrossing. We passed moss-covered lava fields that looked sculpted into many short and round trees. Most of the lava fields are moss-covered, but these were greener and very beautiful.

The zone p-days are fun and a time for enjoying friendships with our missionaries. Soon we will all be back to our normal lives, but for a short time be are bonded together by serving our Lord and the people of a small part of Iceland. Right now we have two branches with fewer than 300 people total who belong to the church. The Icelandic saints have been told that when there are 5000 saints, they can have a temple. This is a wonderful goal to aim for.

 

Posted by: merrymission | April 30, 2012

Time to catch up

We have been busy with the Elders teaching single sisters and our other responsibilities. Now, we will catch everyone up on what we have been doing. We don’t mention particular people, generally, because of confidentiality.

March:  for the Relief Society Birthday we went to Sólheimar, a village started by Sesselja Hreindís Sigmundsdóttir in 1930 for children with special needs and orphans. It is a peaceful community, still dedicated to helping adults with special needs. In 1985 Reynir Pétur walked around Iceland to raise money and awareness for the community. He started and ended in Selfoss, walking 1,417 km in 32 days. Today the residents raise much of their money by making candles, soap, woven articles, and other artistic creations.  They also grow their produce organically. To learn more you can visit their website, solheimar.is. April: from the 4th to the 7th many of the Iceland saints went to Copenhagen for a temple trip. How wonderful to go to the temple again after almost a whole year! Our days were a whirlwind of temple sessions, meeting the Copenhagen senior couples, and visiting other friends. We were ready to come home and rest, briefly.

Monday after the Denmark trip all the missionaries took a travel p-day to see several interesting Icelandic sites. Gummi Sigurdsson, who has a tour company, Gateway to Iceland, mapped out our course for us and the young elders directed our way. There are many very interesting places to see.This is the upper two falls. The first one was larger.

This part of the falls comes from water seeping through the moss and running out over the lava.

If you click on the image, it will enlarge and you can read the story of the falls.

To be there is so beautiful and engrossing, lava fields all around and falls cutting through.

One of the last places we visited was the largest hot springs in Europe. Most of my pictures are so full of steam that the boiling water is blurred.

There were so many boiling water spots and wind that most of my pictures of this place are not clear. It is amazing to me to see water boiling outside on a chilly spring day. I'm sure it also boils in the winter.

The last place was a Viking burial spot.

This is in Borganes. His horse is buried with him.

April 14: Super Saturday. About five times a year our six seminary students meet with the Institutes and Seminary director from Denmark. This month was his last time coming so we had a special time, hiking to Reykjadalur. We had tried to boil eggs in a hot springs, but didn’t have the right equipment. The hike was beautiful and afterwards those that wanted could swim in the pool at a guesthouse in Hveragerði.Our month ended with a very uplifting zone conference. We had a visitor, Elder Olson from Sweden, who is an area seventy. The training given by our zone leader, President Andersen, and Elder Olson was so pertinent and uplifting. We are grateful for such meetings.

Posted by: merrymission | February 20, 2012

Update

It has been almost 2 months since our last blog! Time speeds by on a mission! The other senior couple, who lives in Reykjavík, will be going home in the middle of May.  We were thinking they would be here until about the time we return, but as it is we will meet a new couple and make more friends.

After a strong wind we were drifted in

About a foot and a half outside our livingroom window we had a drift about 2 feet high.

This winter was very snowy and windy.  Several times we had to shovel part of our street to be able to leave. We also had to shovel the snow away from our doorway so we could leave and also to keep the snow from falling inside. One friend had to exit her house by the back door, shovel the snow from her front door, and by 10:30 am had to reshovel it to be able to use her front door!

In our last blog we explained about Christmas in Iceland.  Now we will explain about New Years and more.  New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration.  All the missionaries gathered at the Callaway’s, the  Reykjavík senior couple, for dinner and games.  Later in the evening we went to visit a family and watch the fireworks.  They live on a hill and have a wonderful view.  From close by their house we could watch 270 degrees of fireworks.  I thought the city of Reykjavík put on a fireworks display, but that is not so.  Almost everyone who lives in the area shoot off fireworks! The population is about 114,000 people. If even half shoot off fireworks, that is a huge show. From where we stood, we could watch fireworks in Reykjavík, Garðabær, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, and other suburbs in the greater Reykjavík area.

Fireworks is such an important tradition that most of the people of Iceland celebrate this way.  After the fireworks are over, other celebrations continue, of course.  We missionaries had permission from our president to stay out until 1 am to watch, but then we needed to be home. Thankfully, we from Selfoss had places to stay in Reykjavík. One of our branch members told us that when she was in Utah for her first New Year’s Eve celebration there, she was so shocked when everyone left the dance by 1 am and went home!  In Iceland things just begin.Unfortunately, I don’t know how to take good pictures at night.  Just realize that there were fireworks all around. Even behind us someone was in an unpopulated area shooting off fireworks.

From January 18th or 20th for about a month is the Þórrablót time when those that want eat Þórramatur do so.  Matur is the Icelandic word for food. This time of the year is traditionally when the “rotten” or “sour” food is eaten. In the “olden” times, before modern preservation methods, food was preserved in whey and other ways. This allowed people to survive when food was scarce   It is actually not bad tasting. The best of it is most of the lamb products. The smoked lamb meat taste good; also the lamb liver is good, both fresh and marinated in whey. The marinated lamb testicles, to my way of thinking, were not that good.  The whale blubber tastes ok; the shark is the worst of all the Þórramatur. The process that makes the food taste “rotten” is the marinating in whey. However, at potluck after church the second Sunday this month, a sister brought a fish soup that had whey in it. It was delicious! I am now going to experiment with cooking with whey. We can buy whey in the grocery stores here. If I learn to like cooking with it, I will have to start making cottage cheese at home so we can have whey. I’ve never seen it for sale in our stores.

This week–today, we’re told–is pastry day. We have to go to bakeries to check out the new pastries they have available. What a wonderful tradition after Þórramatur time.

LATER

We went to all three bakeries in our two towns–and have tried the special, whipped-cream-filled buns.  Delicious! We have extra to share and for tomorrow.  Also, one of our investigators, who is a chef, invited us over for buns he has made.  We are trying all sorts of new and fun foods. The Þórramatur is new and the pastries are fun.

The Merry’s

Posted by: merrymission | December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

We can finally write our Christmas blog and wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We are not late because in Iceland Christmas is from 12 December until 6 January. Instead of Santa Claus they have 13 Christmas trolls that visit children. Over the years there were as many as 80 trolls, but the present 13 Jólasveinarnir are the ones that have survived. They visit, one a day, from the 12th until the 24th of December. Then on the 25th they begin returning and the final one leaves on the 6th of January and returns to the mountains.

Valla's Christmas Trolls

We gave each of our children’s families a troll, made by a lady in Reykjavík, for Christmas to be opened on the day the troll appears in Iceland. We also hungout with them on their day to open their present, which we really enjoyed.  This also extends the joy of giving and opening presents to seven days, not just one.

 

The trolls we sent our children

Once upon a time a long time ago when people were really hungry in December, the trolls were credited when neighbors stole food from one another. Nowadays, they have a better image. They bring children small gifts. If a child has been naughty, he gets a lump of coal or a potato. In previous years the cat or mother would eat the naughty children. Good children didn’t taste good.

 

I asked several people if the trolls still came; they said they do. They bring a small toy or treat. Each child leaves their shoes in their bedroom window with a treat for the troll. Each morning the children are eager to find the present, hoping for the best.

 

On the 24th of December at 6:00 pm the family gathers for dinner, dressed in their best clothes. After a delicious feast they open presents from Santa Claus. The jolly old elf is alive and well in Iceland and also delivers gifts here.

 

The look outside is very Christmasy–lots of beautiful snow. The temperature is moderate, cold enough to keep the snow around and warm enough to be comfortable, generally in the 20’s F. The main problem is the wind. On Christmas day we invited an investigator and the missionaries to lunch with us after church. We ate, the missionaries taught a short lesson, and I took her home. Two and a half hours later when we were wanting to visit a member family who had invited us to dinner, we could not drive out of our road because of the snow drift. Some neighbors and the missionaries shoveled and then drove a pick-up through the drift and we were able to leave. We were also able to return to our own driveway. The next morning we had to shovel again to leave, but have not had any trouble since.

 

Our missionaries are teaching about seven different people, who want to learn but are not eager to be baptized. One mother and daughter, both with health problems, love to visit with us, and feel physically stronger when they read the Book of Mormon. However, one of them is having trouble with the word of wisdom. Others will set a baptism date, but get cold feet as the day approaches. We are beginning to feel that we should help our investigators build a strong relationship with our Savior, and help them see Him and His love for us as the reason to keep the commandments. Hopefully, we can find those who are prepared to love and serve God.

 

Yesterday we drove in the country through snowy back roads with our definitely-city-style car. God was with us and we did not get stuck and we did find the man we wanted to teach. He is a wonderful person who wants to change his life. He reads the Book of Mormon in Icelandic and German to try to understand it better. He reads it for about an hour and a half each morning, sitting with his plants in his indoor greenhouse, under their grow lamp. Most of our lessons are conducted in English, with parts in German (with a friend who is also a member) and Icelandic (with the missionaries). His main question yesterday was–is there a God. We gave him some suggestions, asked him to plant the seed and cultivate it and explained that it takes diligent effort, line upon line and precept upon precept. We are also trying to help him realize how he feels when he feels the Holy Ghost.

 

We are busy with branch members, new members, and investigators. The missionary life is wonderful and the work is energizing.

 

Merry Christmas again to everyone.

Posted by: merrymission | December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

The picture is taken from the back of the room looking toward the food table. On Sunday this room is our chapel. During the week it is the multipurpose room.

 

Close to the end of October Öldungur Merry decided that it would be nice to cook Thanksgiving dinner for our branch, missionaries, and investigators.  I agreed.  We were busy for several weeks, but we had a basic idea of dinner for about 25 people.  The week of Thanksgiving we realized that there would probably be closer to 30 people.  By Thanksgiving day we realized that there would probably be close to 40 attending.  As we cooked the food and found out that more people would be coming, we started becoming concerned.  Would there be enough?  I think there were quite a few silent prayers said to Heavenly Father to please bless our “loaves and fishes”.  We had food left over and many people thanked us for the delicious meal; they were full.  Everyone was talking, eating, and having a sociable time being thankful.  One of the missionaries tried to count those who attended and counted 50 as a conservative estimate.  Heavenly Father blessed us to have the food enough for everyone.

Three beautiful ladies, one from Thailand, one from the Philippines, and one from Iceland.

Those attending were all the missionaries for Iceland in our zone–10 people, 6 young elders and 2 senior couples.  (Our zone has recently grown to include Greenland, which has 2 young missionaries and a senior couple.)  There were more investigators attending than there were missionaries, thankfully.  Also, most of our branch attended.  We were also grateful for this.

The Selfoss missionaries

Most people could speak Icelandic.  The secondary languages were German and English.  One of our friends there couldn’t speak English, so we talk with her through someone who spoke Icelandic or German and English.  Another sister speaks Thai and Icelandic, but only a little English, so the missionaries help with communication.  It is so interesting learning to communicate when so many languages are represented.  Don and I are both continuing with our Icelandic lessons, but the progress is slow.

Our Icelandic teacher with a missionary from Reykjavík

Although it was a busy month, including even a Super Saturday with the seminary students just 5 days before, dinner was fun to do and one of our most enjoyable Thanksgivings.

 

Posted by: merrymission | October 25, 2011

Time has gone by so fast and now more than a month has past since our last post.  We have been very busy teaching with the young elders.  We are learning some better time management.

The weather has been getting colder, wetter, and windier–with some beautiful, sunny days.  About a week ago the wind tipped over a truck.  When we drive to Hveragerði, half the trip is past a long mountain.  It is known for the forceful wind that blows down it’s sides.  There are two windsocks at the beginning and end of the difficult areas to warn drivers.  Often the windsocks are standing straight out.  On that particular night the truck was blown over and it was the next afternoon before it was righted again.

There has been a lot of discussion these days about drilling that is occurring at Hellisheiðeverkjum (the spelling is approximate).  The plan is to force cold water down into the earth to be warmed by the magma and used to produce hot water and electricity.  The electric company is concerned that the natural hot water will run out in 25 to 50 years.  Unfortunately, it is causing many small earthquakes and releasing poisonous gases.  The people in Hveragerði are very concerned.  Even though the earthquakes are too small to feel, we can know when they happen because there are more steam vents open then.  Usually there are only a few vents to see on the drive to Reykjavík, but lately there have been many.

Don has been teaching with the young elders.  They have found several young mothers who are interested in learning about our church, so Don is listening to the lessons in Icelandic.  Occasionally, he can understand what they are discussing and can comment in English.  We are both grateful that so many people here speak English well.  We are also hoping these young sisters will choose to be baptized. Two of them have set baptismal dates.

We have all been teaching Kjartan, who was baptized on Sat, Oct 22, 2011.  He is a wonderful man who, as the scriptures say, was prepared but didn’t know where to look.  We will start discussing the new member lessons with him soon.  To the right of Don is Kjartan.  To his right is President Andersen, our mission president.  He comes almost every month for zone conference, interviews, and visits.  At the far right are our two Selfoss elders, Elder Høj and Elder Anderson.  All six of our elders are very diligent in finding and contacting people and inviting them to learn about our church.  They are also diligent in speaking Icelandic–even speaking it when they are in their apartments.  President Andersen asked them to make that commitment and so they do.  They speak English when they are speaking to us or to the Callaways, the other senior couple, but otherwise speak Icelandic.  All our elders are very impressive..

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