12 October 2008

Josep í Egyptalandi (Joseph in Egypt)

I was recently rereading the story in the Old Testament of Joseph who was sold into Egypt (you know, Joseph Isaacsson). I'm sure you remember the story. Joseph's dad loved him best of his many brothers; His dad gave him the coat of many colors; He had dreams that made his brothers really mad, etc. The part of the story that I was fixating on recently though was the part where his brothers wanted to kill him. One of them said no, let's just put him in this pit. They eventually saw the caravan coming and decided to sell their brother into slavery instead of killing him. Ultimately this puts Joseph in the right place to save his family and everyone else from starving to death during the famine.

I got to thinking about how the situation for the Icelanders (and most other countries in the world right now) is kind of similar. A number of people in the "family" of the Icelanders were only thinking of themselves which then caused a huge problem for another part of the family. But the family members who were strong morally and ethically weathered the very painful and difficult period of time that was thrust upon them, and in the end, those good folks were put into a position to take care of the rest.

A lot of good folks have been thrown into the pit and are just now being sold into captivity. But there are a LOT of moral and ethical people in Iceland who are even now coming together with their insights and wisdom to provide a solution. After a period of time, where the pain will be very real and intense, those good people will bring everyone through it. They will be looked up to for leadership in the future because of their integrity and will bring Iceland forward with important lessons learned. All of this can, of course, be applied to the U.S. as well.

All of us go through really hard times sooner or later. It's how we decide to respond to these hard times that makes all the difference. Are we going to keep on doing the types of things that get us in trouble? Or are we going to hold to our morals and be part of the solution?

11 October 2008

Tími minn á Akureyri (My time in Akureyri)

During the winter of 85-86 I moved out of Reykjavík for one of the few times during my mission and went up to Akureyri in the north in Eyjafjörður. I was doing some translating for a family here in Orem this week who have Icelandic ancestry. A good number of the Icelanders in their line lived in Eyjafjörður. I didn't know which fjord that was so I googled it to get a better idea of where these people had lived. It was only then that I realized that Eyjafjörður was the fjord where Akureyri was and where I have lived during that winter in the eighties. A lot of the really well-known Icelanders of history lived in the towns in that fjord, like Nikulás Þormóðsson, Björn Einarsson, Einar Eyólfsson, Eyólfur Einarsson, etc. This Eyólfur created quite a name there through the years, even as far back as in 1300. Just thought I drop in a few pictures from my mission when I was there and some more recent photos that I found on the internet today. Gerið svo vel!





09 October 2008

Ennþá á lífi! (Still Alive!)

Wow, September 8th seems like a long time ago (since my last post). Once BYU was back in session and I started teaching the Icelandic 201 course on campus, my life was no longer my own.

I did take a break though recently at the end of a long week on a Friday night and went over to the MTC at the request of another RM who served in Iceland and is one of the Icelandic missionary instructors there right now. Craig Holdaway is his name. He asked me to come over to help out the Senior Couple who was there for just a few days by acting as an investigator and going through scenarios with them. Their names are Rick & Eileen Bremner. They apparently were only going to be in the MTC for a few days as opposed to being there for two months like the seniors I taught back in the late 80's. Good folks, these, and eager to serve. They served a mission in Romania before getting this call to Iceland and were just happy to head out and do their best. During my discussion with them I discovered that they knew one of my student employees at BYU, Henry Bartholomew. He served in the mission office in Romania while they were there and they know each other well. What a small world.

I hope all of the Icelanders are hanging in there with the bank problems there and all over the world. You'll make it through. We are all praying for you (and ourselves a bit too). And if you want a little help with your personal or family finances, Ólafur & Björg in Iceland have set up a financial and debt counseling website that you might want to check out. It is at http://www.financialdebthelptips.com/. Let me know what you think and I will forward the comments on to them.