15 April 2009

Blanda og Para (Mix and match)

Imagine arriving at the MTC and going to your first day of classes as a new missionary called to Iceland. You get to your classroom with your companion and find out that it will just be the two of you with the teacher. In the classroom next to yours is a rowdy bunch (comparatively) of 14 missionaries, some of them sisters, all going to Denmark officially (you got your call to Denmark but likely will never see it). This is how it was/is for most called to Iceland and then arrive at the MTC since the early days.

Because there were always so few who were called to go to Iceland, there were bound to be some problems with keeping an even number of missionaries in the country. What if someone got really sick and had to go home? It has happened. What if someone chose not to stay on their mission for the full two years? It has happened. Having five or seven missionaries in Iceland is not a good thing.

From the early days in the 1970's this was an occasional problem. The mission presidents in Denmark began to send over a Danish missionary who would be going home before too long to even things up. These were apparently strong missionaries who were willing to spend a few months in Iceland at the end of their missions where they understood almost nothing of the Icelandic they were hearing.

One of the first to do this for the work in Iceland was a missionary named Grant Grow. He left Denmark 29 years ago this month to spend an extra six months at the end of his mission in Iceland. Orell Anderson was a missionary at the time in Iceland and would have had to go home early had not Grant agreed to extend his mission six months. There were nine missionaries at the time in Iceland and he made it an even ten. Not so bad to be able to spend an extra six months on your mission in Iceland during the spring and summer there. A beauty incomparable.
This is a picture of Grant with his wife, Monique, and their two youngest kids. Grant spent a good part of his career as a Master Gardener. He owned an orchid-growing business for many years but is now retired. Thanks to some of these great and willing Danish missionaries like Grant Grow, the work in Iceland was and is able to run smoothly. Takk fyrir, Grant!

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