01 June 2006

Day 3 - Iceland Trip with Steve Andersen

I brought my mission journal on the trip with me, and read the entire thing from cover to cover in the days before the trip. Twenty two years ago today, Steve and I had a baptism. Brother Emil Þór Emilsson, who now lives in Utah with his family, joined the church, and his family eventually followed. I need to call him when I get home, and share all these wonderful experiences with him. Bróðir Emil lives in Cedar Hills Utah, and does a bit of offroad racing. See his business at www.icelandoffroad.com

Today was fantastic. After breakfast, we drove to the church to meet with the Elders, and cook lunch for them. I made some Penne Carbonara with Italian Garlic Bread, Salad and Fresh Fruit. It was good. I also made some hángijöt on flatbrauð and fiskibolur. I was shocked to find out that several of the elders had nver had either of them, and did not even know what it was. It is surely a sign of how things have changed for the Elders. They now live on frozen pizzas and other such foods that were not available 21 years ago. I remeber eating fishballs at least once a week.

At 7PM, 'Fire on Ice' was to be shown at church. For some it would be their first opportunity to see this powerful film. I spent the day preparing some nice horsd´oeuvres and finger foods. Very simple. Very nice. Used smoked Ýsa, Hángikjöt, shrimp and rugbrauð..all my favorites. We had left word with President Grimsson´s office (President of Iceland) about the screening of the movie. We were told that he was out of town, but the message would get to him.

Just a few minutes before the start of the movie, up pulls the Presidential Limo, in front of the church....WOW! After the film was over, Sister Gíslasson stood to address those assembled. Our jaws hit the floor, when the first few sentences out of her were in Icelandic. We always knew how hard it was for her to do. She loves these people though, just like Byron did. She talked about Byron, and how proud he would have been to see the building and the people. After Melva, Gummí asked Preseident Grimsson to say a few words. He started in Icelandic, and finished in English. He spoke of his great love and admiration for both President Hinckley, whom he had met several times previously and Byron.

He told of President Hinckley coming to Bessastaðir in 2000. Toward the end of his visit, President Hinkley told President Grimsson that he and Sister Hinkley would love to retire to such a beautiful place. President Grimsson said that for many months he carried that memory, and was very flattered, until one day he realized that President Hinkley´s calling is for life. He said that surely he could learn diplomacy from President Hinkley.

So many members showed up for the film. It was so good to see everyone again. The years melted away as we spent an enjoyable evening, just getting reacquainted. It was very special to have Dan and Dave Gíslasson there as well. These are fine men. They have so much of Byron in them. They have likewise inherited their dad´s love for these people, and this special work.

An amazing thing happened to me today, much the same way it happened 22 years ago. I had been very tentative about speaking. It just didn´t sound right, coming out of my mouth...until the members starting showing up for the movie. All of the sudden, the little box in my head that contains my Icelandic opened up. Not only did I understand what was being said, I WANTED to respond, and could feel my brain racing ahead to calculate responses in Icelandic. I truely feel blessed that this gift was returned to me for this special trip. I love these people, and want so much to be understood while I am here...