30 July 2008

Nokkrar trúboðamyndir í viðbót (Just a few additional missionary pictures)

I have just received the following three pictures from former missionaries and an Icelandic member or two who went through their photo albums for me. In this entry I thought it would be fun to name all the people. So in this first one from a 1980 zone conference in Iceland we have on the top from left to right: Bret Leifson, Court Skabelund and Mike DeYoung. On the middle row L-R: Danish AP, Curt Hutchings, Orell Anderson, Kevin Barton, Ted Davis, another Danish AP and President Jensen from Denmark. Bottom row L-R: Grant Grow, Arthur Hansen, Bob Farris and Bryan Beck. Bryan is one of only two missionaries (of the 163) who has passed away since the mission opened in 1975. He died of cancer some time ago. The other who died was David Chadwell, who I taught in the MTC, who also died some time ago a few years after he was married.

This next picture was taken in early 1993. On the top from L-R: Danish AP, Chris Smith, Eric Ball, Mark Patey, Andre Geurts, Thomas Eastmond, Joe Staker. On the bottom L-R: Ben Johnson, Kristján Mathieson, Phillip Papenfuss and Nathan Taylor.
This last one I really like. It is from May 1980. From left to right on a great day of baptisms in Iceland: Snorri Einhversson (ha ha), Bryan Beck, Jóhann Karlsson, Gerhard Guðnason, three Icelandic girls, the little one named Halla, Bret Leifson and Ýrr Bertelsdóttir, the mother of Halla. I remember Snorri, Jóhann, Gerhard and Ýrr from my mission from 1984 to 1986. All together, a good looking bunch of Icelanders and faithful servants.

22 July 2008

Svo Mörg Orð (So many words)

There were so many Icelandic words that missionaries had to learn quickly upon arrival in Iceland if they wanted to be able to carry on the most simple of conversations. We had to know the difference between sæll and sæl when greeting people. You didn’t say “sæll” as a greeting to a woman your first time in church trying to make a good impression for example (I never did that, of course).

As we went along, we learned lots of new words from our companions and from the people we met with. We frequently would go to our dictionaries in the mornings during companion study and write down 10 new words that we thought would be useful to learn and try to use them during the day. Every missionary new the following Icelandic words or phrases in a very short time and how to inflect them:

Ég skil ekki = I don’t understand
Aftur = again
Áfram = onward
Áætlun = plan
Að þekkja = to know
Bók = book
Drukkinn = drunk
Erfiður = hard
Að gefa = to give

I was having a hard time focusing in a meeting one day at work about a year ago and I decided to write down all the Icelandic verbs I could think of. I don’t remember how many I wrote down that day, but I remember it being a lot. Every missionary hits a plateau though, being able to communicate well in almost every conversation without feeling stupid, but never being able to get close to a native’s ability because we usually spent most of our time talking about spiritual topics.

I loved certain words or names like:

Sáluhjálparáætlun = plan of salvation
Frón = Iceland (the way poets said it)
Hlakka til = look forward to
Hallgrímur = (a man’s name)
Ævintýri = adventure

On my 2004 trip to Iceland, I was walking through a churchyard early one morning and saw a number of names on the gravestones that I really liked but that were not so common in Iceland any more. One was Guðfinna (one who finds God) and Friðfinna (one who finds peace). They sound really nice in Icelandic, but say them with an American accent and they sound stupid. So needless to say, only one of my children got an Icelandic name and it is her middle name. She still says it is hard to say, but I am letting her grow from the experience. Kristjana.

21 July 2008

Wohlgemuth Trúboðshjónin (The Wohlgemuth Missionary Couple)

Þegar ég var trúboði, fékk ég þá blessun til að kynnast þremur trúboðshjónum á Íslandi. Fyrstu hjónin voru Byron og Melva Gíslason frá Spanish Fork, Utah. Þau þjónuðu þrisvar sínum á Íslandi sem trúboðar. Þá komu Austin og Geniel Loveless sem voru þar á miðju trúboðs míns frá Logan, Utah. Síðast komu þau Don og Mary Dilworth from Pocatello, Idaho.

Síðan ég kom heim, hef ég ekki haft samband með trúboðshjónunum mikið fyrir en síðasta þrjú ár. Ég byrjaði þrjú ár síðan að senda email til trúboðshjónanna öðru hverju. Þegar ég for til Íslands í 2004 voru Shirl og Mary Holt hjónin að þjóna á Íslandi, að hafa komið frá St. George, Utah. Þá komu Mike og Kristi Simkins frá Washington ríki. Núna eru þau, Lee og Marti Wohlgemuth þar að gefa íslendingunum og kirkju þeirra tíma og peninga þeirra til að kenna íslendingunum um Drottinn og það sem hann er að gera fyrir börnin sín í dag.

Ég er búinn að taka eftir því hvernig hver hjón koma til Íslands með hæfileika sem eru afar ólíkar en þeir sem síðastu hjónin sýndu. Þetta blessar líf þeirra sem eru í og fyrir utan kirkjuna þar. Wohlgemuth hjónin sem þjóna í dag eiga hæfileika við að „skipuleggja”. Þau eru búin að skipuleggja trúboðsheimildirnar sem voru í íbuð þeirra og hafa verið þar í langan tíma. Þau nota mikinn tíma að hjálpa ungu trúboðunum með ábyrgðar þeirra og að standa í stað fyrir foreldrar og afa og ömmur þeirra.

Ég er mjög þakklátur fyrir hjón eins og Gíslason, Loveless, Dilworth, Holt, Simkins, og Wohlgemuth hjónin sem eru öll fús til að fara á trúboð og þjóna á þennan hátt án þess að hugsa jafnvel pínulítið um það sem þau vildu frekar vera að gera. Guð blessi þau og hin sem eru eins og þau um allan heim.

17 July 2008

Helmingur Trúboðanna (Half of the missionaries)

I have been gathering a collection of photos over the last 3 or 4 years of all the missionaries who have ever served in Iceland as Mormon missionaries. There have been 161 of the young missionaries to have served thus far since 1975. I have at least one photo of all but 13 of them. Still working on getting at least one of these elusive thirteen.

Here is a collection of 14 pictures which include about half of all those who have served.














12 July 2008

Gamlar myndir út í sveit (Old pictures from the country)

Rural life in Iceland has changed dramatically from what it was even 20 years ago. Environmental concerns are taking hold in the minds of Icelanders like never before. But sometimes it's important to stop...to think about yesterday...and then to consider what is most important in life.