A radio star is born…

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Those of you who keep up to date with our meanderings will know that Chris is in the UK at the moment. He is busy catching up with our families and friends and those who generously support us with prayer, love and finance. One of the Churches Chris visited last week was West Auckland Community Church, an awesome Vineyard Church tucked away in the dales, who support us in prayer, with finances and by keeping the visibility of our blog high in their internet community. West, as it is affectionately known by us, host a community radio station (yes, they are that cool) called Breakout Radio and they invited Chris to update them on what we have been up to in the past two years. You can find a recording of the interview here. Hope you enjoy it! I am flying to the UK shortly to join Chris and Kim as we celebrate the wedding of our son James to the lovely Emma. Good times indeed. Be blessed. God loves you ❤

 

From Iceland with love…

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IMG_0041I’ve been thinking a lot recently about life, or to be more precise, about the many amazing opportunities we have had since we decided to become Christians and get involved with mission. For the past twenty two years we have (or to be fair, Chris has) flitted around the globe, met no end of interesting people, tried some really strange food – pickled sheep’s testicles anyone? And, generally had a ball. And, while all this is true, it hasn’t been a breeze. Far from it. Moving to another country, whether it be for a couple of months or several years, is hard. It’s especially hard if you move to a country that does not share your mother tongue. A few days ago, I was asked if I would like to contribute to a web campaign run by HiFx who are collecting tips from expats on ways to make moving abroad easier. My tip was:

Once you have decided which country and which region you want to live, contact local organisations for help. On two occasions we contacted the Pastor of a local Church and on both occasions their support was invaluable. Both Pastors helped us to find cheap accommodation and were instrumental in setting up employment opportunities. Fifteen years later, we remain friends to this day. So, don’t be afraid, reach out to someone in the local community and you may be pleasantly surprised by the response you receive.

If you are interested in reading more tips on living successfully abroad, you should definitely check out their tips page. Reading the tips from other expats made me think about our own experience of moving to Iceland, first in Dec 1999-Feb 2004 and again in Jan 2012. When we first moved to Iceland in Dec 1999, we spent two years getting ready financially, practically and spiritually. We got ready financially by clearing any outstanding debts that we had, car loans etc and by saving every single month until the day we left. We got ready practically by thinking about what household items might need replaced before we left. For example, white goods such as washing machines and fridges are ridiculously expensive in Iceland, so we decided to replace them beforehand. But, as we didn’t want to pay any import duty on them, we had to plan ahead and buy those items at least one year before our leaving date. Receipts will be checked by customs officials, so whatever you do, don’t lose them! This time around, I lost the receipt for a £16 electric kettle, which resulted in our container being retained at the docks in Reykjavík until I found the kettle on-line to prove how much it cost in the UK! We also spend the two years before we left researching every aspect of Icelandic culture and life. We prepared ourselves spiritually by signing up for a three-month mission training school just before we landed in Iceland in Dec 1999.

Looking back, I’m not sure that we could have done any more than we did. In fact, I’m pretty much convinced that there is nothing we could have done to prepare our little family for flying into the worst winter on record for almost one hundred years, waking up to an erupting volcano just two months later in the February and then finding ourselves at the epicenter of an earthquake measuring an impressive, 6.7 on the Richter scale in the June. Believe me when I say, there were more than a few startled sheep that day. It would be fair to say that Iceland and Icelanders have filled our lives with all kinds of surprises and adventures ever since.

I mean, where else can you have your photograph taken inside a gigantic ice cave?

Chris in cave in Hofn

Where else can you pop your head outside on a winter’s night and witness the northern lights in all their glory?

Northern LIghts over Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where else are you faced with the most exquisite land and seascapes at every turn?

The main settlement on the Westman Islands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where else can you get a photograph of yourself and a cardboard cutout of President Obama?

Meeting President Obama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it all worth it? You bet it is…

This post was written in partnership with HiFX. Revenue from the post was donated to charity

We three kings of Orient are. Bearing gifts we traverse afar…

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DSC06841Alongside Facebook and Skype, the blog is one of the ways we keep our family and friends in the loop with what we get up to ‘on the mission field’ while introducing them to the wonder that is Niceland/Iceland. Because the blog is often written ‘after the fact’, it acts as a sort of potted history of our lives, offering readers snippets of information on this and that. It also gives us an opportunity to take time out and reflect on why we are in Iceland, what we do here and what shape our future may take. Being reflective is such an important part of life as it helps us to think more consciously about what we are doing in the here and now and, as a result, can help us develop a more thankful attitude towards the many blessings we experience. Without the benefit of reflection, it is all to easy to see the thorn and not the rose.

In addition to being a useful way of summarising the many and varied things we get involved with here in Iceland, the blog has also enabled numerous people to contact us and (in some cases) visit us and/or Iceland. As a result, Chris and I have been greatly encouraged and blessed to have facilitated, hosted or otherwise cajoled a number of lovely people to visit us here in Niceland, each one bringing their unique gifts of friendship, teabags and more besides!

IMG_0123Our first visitor of 2013 arrived in Iceland at the end of May this year. Ian Koh, a recent Master’s graduate from Singapore had contacted us via the blog as he wanted to hook up with a Christian Church while he worked for a month as a volunteer on an Icelandic farm holiday. Here is a photo of Ian looking cool and sophisticated in Stykkishólmur. One of the great things about being a Christian, is no matter where you go in the world, you have a friend(s) who are ready and willing to help. To help Ian get the most of his trip to Iceland, when possible he accompanied Chris on his visits to the country Churches around Iceland. This enabled Ian to see much more of Iceland than would otherwise have been possible and to make many friends. Ian has an incredible testimony of how God sustains him daily through the challenge of chronic illness. As it happens, I got chatting to Ian via Google while I was writing this post, so I asked him if there was anything he would like to share on the blog. He messaged back that it would be good to let people know that Singapore is not in China and that Arsenal is the best football team in the world! It was a blessing to get to know Ian and we look forward to getting to know him better when he returns to Iceland next year for another volunteer holiday – við sjáumst Ian!

1146585_623170849851_1171753600_nOur second visitor was another young Christian interested in doing some volunteer work alongside experiencing something of Iceland. Janelle Burris was her name, teaching music was her game. Janelle is currently in teacher training school. She is also a independent contractor (music and voice) and a professional musician. Listen to samples of Janelle’s music here and here. Like Ian, we were able to arrange for Janelle to stay with our Christian friends all over Iceland, and as a result, she was able to get behind the scenes and experience something of the ‘real’ Iceland and the people who live within her borders. As a gifted musician, Janelle ministered in song to several Church congregations and volunteered at the lovely and now quite famous Nytjamarkaður. Janelle is also knitting a lopa peysa…she is one talented lady. Janelle took many unique and beautiful photos during her visit to Iceland. If you are very nice to her, she might just befriend you on Facebook and let you see them 😉

IMG_00000479 (1)One of the things we love to do is invite people we know and respect over to teach and preach at events we are involved in here in Iceland. This year we were blessed by the ministry of our friends Barnhard Steenkamp and Laurence O’Brien. We have known Barnhard for many years. Chris and Barnhard were trainee Pastors with AOG GB (both of them have now graduated) and both of them share a passion for mission. Bernhard and his wife Bridget moved to London from South Africa to work with YWAM. Twenty years later, they are still serving God in London, although they are now Pastors of West London Family Church in Fulham. Laurence serves as a leader/elder in Bernhard’s Church and is passionate about local Church and mission. Chris and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Assembly at Fulham for the generous financial gift they sent over with Bernhard. Thank you for thinking of us and for blessing us with your resources.

Chris invited Bernhard to Iceland to teach at a weekend conference for young people, on the topic of leadership. Bernhard’s teaching was very well received by everyone who attended the conference. Although Bernhard and Laurence were only in Iceland for five days, Bernhard also preached at Selfoss Church on Sunday morning and Kot Church on Sunday afternoon. In between teaching and preaching, the thee boys managed to take in all the sights Iceland could offer in the short time they were there including a trip to the Blue Lagoon and of course a trip to Gulfoss and Geysir. They also managed to find time to stand at the foot of the glacier at Eyjafjallajökull.

Dave and MadelineDave and Madeline Russon contacted us via the blog to let us know they were planning a short ‘Northern Lights’ tour to Iceland and would we like to meet up. Of course we said ‘Yes’. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to meet up on the day, but Chris and our good friend and fellow missionary Paulo Sicoli were able to. Dave and Madeline have  been in Christian ministry for over thirty years. Dave has served as Regional Superintendent for the North East region of AOG. He also served on the AOG World Mission Team. In relation to this, Dave was the Director of AOG World Ministries for several years. Together, Dave and Madeline have been involved with Church planting in the North East of England. They have also travelled and ministered in over 100 countries around the world. Catch up with the latest news from Dave and Madeline here. Dave and Madeline fellowship at Victory Church in Horden, Peterlee. Horden AOG is Pastored by Steve and Gabriel Sinclair and is one of the Churches Chris preached at when he was conducting an itinerary in the North East of England just before he came back to Iceland in July 2012. Steve and Gabriel sent a generous financial gift with Dave and Madeline. We were both surprised and very thankful. Thank you Steve and Gabriel and the Assembly at Horden for your generosity. The financial gifts we received from Bernhard’s Church and from Steve’s Church will help to cover the cost of Chris’ trip to the UK next year to attend the AOG annual conference.

Although Dave and Madeline were in Iceland on a ‘Northern Lights’ tour, not everyone who visits Iceland on a ‘Northern Lights’ tour is lucky enough to see the awesomeness that is Aurora Borealis. But, the night before they flew back to the UK, on the way back from a trip to the Blue Lagoon, Dave and Madeline were treated to a fantastic display. They couldn’t have been happier! Like many before them, Dave and Madeline have been smitten by Iceland. We look forward to seeing them again (and not just because they brought teabags and a big bag of money) in the not to distant future.

1422340_10151807537691903_2043823958_nTowards the end of the summer, we found out that Paul and Jenn Weaver were booked to teach/preach at Fíladelfía Church in Reykjavík. We immediately booked a hotel room for two nights and spent the intervening months looking forward to hearing Paul teaching and (hopefully) getting to know Paul and Jenn in person. Paul is a retired General Superintendent of AOG GB, although from his current teaching/preaching/consultancy workload, you would never guess that either he or Jenn were retired…Jenn is a retired nurse. Booking the hotel was the best thing we could have done, as it meant we caught most of Paul’s sessions at Fíladelfía plus we got to hang out with them for the day in the city. You can hear Paul preaching at the Sunday service here. You can either watch the video of the whole meeting (including the worship) or skip ahead to the 38 minute mark which is where Paul starts preaching. We really enjoyed getting to know Paul and Jenn and have no intention of letting them visit Iceland only once. Be ye therefore duly warned Paul and Jenn…you will be back!

DSC06855I hadn’t met Paul or Jenn before we met up with them in Iceland, but Chris had. Chris remembers talking to Paul about Dyslexia – a disability they both have and to this day remembers how enormously encouraged and comforted he felt when Paul shared with him his own challenges with the condition. It never ceases to amaze me how important our conversations are. Paul never knew how much solace Chris drew from their brief interlude and yet, it was one of the most encouraging conversations Chris has had. And now, many years later Chris was able to tell Paul, just how much it meant to him. We live in a small world, that seems to get smaller by the year. God is Good! Until next time…be blessed.

It feels like home to me…

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Well, it’s been a bit of a strange year so far for the Parkers in Iceland. We arrived in Iceland in early January 2012, to be greeted by one of the coldest, snowiest winters to hit Iceland since 1984. Snow started falling in Iceland in Oct/Nov and forgot to stop until the end of May. Although those poor souls who had bravely pulled on a snowsuit every day for almost nearly seven months were getting a mite tired of the ever present white stuff, Chris and I were thrilled. We had missed Iceland and we especially missed the white stuff. Sad, I know. I am pleased to report however, that the blessed white stuff is back with a vengeance and as you can see from the photo taken just a couple of days ago, even the sheep were taken by surprise.

As you know from the last blog post, we returned to England to itinerate in the NorthEast of England. We managed to visit 20 Churches, the majority of whom we had a good working relationship with already and 2/3 we hadn’t had previous contact with. Five Churches decided to support us financially for at least the next twelve months. A select group of family and friends have decided to support us with a monthly gift for at least the next twelve months. We know the financial situation of our friends and we know that they are not giving out of abundance, they are rather, giving sacrifically. We are thankful for every one of them for their financial gift and for the way they have supported our vision for Iceland. Thank you one and all. We are also thankful for every Church donation we received and for every Church that has decided to support us into the future. Thank you so much for investing in us and in the Icelandic Church.

When we first moved back to the UK, the idea was to itinerate and try to raise the finances necessary to cover Chris’ salary for at least twelve months. Because only 5 of the 20 Churches in our region decided to support us financially over the longer term, we were left with a big gap in our finances. Others (aka sensible people) may have taken this as a sign to give up. But not Chris and I. Instead we choose to remember something we believed God had spoken into our hearts many, many moons ago. So that you understand the significance of what Chris believes God said to him, you need to know something about this lovely man of God who I am blessed to call my husband.

When Chris first became a Christian way back in 1992, he believed God spoke into his heart about how he would be trained up for ministry. Those of you who know Chris, know he is dyslexic. Chris’ dyslexia was compounded by the fact that he had attended more schools than most people have hot dinners (Chris’ father was an NCO with the Army). Unfortunately, this meant that no one person/teacher took responsibility for Chris’ education and as a result, when Chris emerged from the education system at 16, his general level of education was low (mainly because he was frequently sent out to work with the gardener or whoever else was around at the time) and his literacy skills were very poor. In fact, when Chris and I married in 1981, he was unable to write a cheque as he couldn’t spell well enough to fill in the amounts. Not to worry though, I wrote enough cheques for both of us 🙂

Several months after Chris became a Christian, he started to feel pretty down. He desperately wanted to preach, teach, lead ministry and get involved with various projects in the Church and start a few of his own. But, knowing his literacy skills were poor, he despaired that he would ever amount to anything. One day, as he sat quietly mulling things over with God, Chris felt God say (and here I take the liberty of paraphrasing as I wasn’t actually there), ‘Stop feeling as though you can’t do anything. I am going to teach you everything you need to know.’ The words were a gentle salve to Chris’ hurting heart, filling him with hope and, as you can imagine, quite a lot of questions. Just how would God accomplish this?

Over the years, God has proved Himself faithful in so many ways and when Chris needed to learn a particular skill, God sent a special man or woman to equip Chris with everything he needed. More than that, in every project Chris started or contributed to, God surrounded him with an endless supply of helpers and encouragers. Those of you who know Chris personally, will know he started, or contributed to multiple projects in England, Romania, The Gambia and Iceland and in each of those projects, God has used Chris’ unique skills to bless many hundreds of children, young people and adults. Over the years, Chris has developed and grown into a gifted preacher, communicator and mentor. He has though, never forgotten the day that God told him to stop fretting.

Because we have seen the outworking of this promise on an almost daily basis, we had no reason to believe that if God had asked us to go to Iceland, He wouldn’t sort out the things we couldn’t. So, Chris returned to Iceland and simply got on with the job of making the vision God gave him a reality. Within days of arriving back in Iceland in July, Chris discovered that the Church in Kirkjulækjarkot (Church by the river) had been planning ways to raise financial support for us as a family. Chris was invited to a meeting at the Church and was informed that the Pastor (Jóhannes Hinriksson) had decided to give up his salary at the Church so Chris could be appointed as a part-time Assistant Pastor. Jóhannes was about to take up a new job that would leave him with less time to run the Church on a day-to-day basis. So, he really needed someone on the ground. The Church Council was unanimous in their decision to appoint Chris to the post. Chris has been in post for approximately five weeks and he couldn’t be happier. Because the work at Kot will take up approximately two/three days a week, Chris has plenty of time to get on with developing the vision of the mission movement. As you know, Chris was appointed as an Elder to the Church in Selfoss earlier in the year. He will continue in that role, supporting the Church in Selfoss for the forseeable future.

There are a number of reasons for sharing this information with you. First, we want to be transparent in the things that we do, so that you know what our needs are and so that you can rejoice with us in the many blessings we receive.  Second, it is good to give God the glory when we see His plan working out in our lives. Too often, His intervention in our lives goes unrecognised. Lastly, we hope that in sharing something of our lives that you will be blessed and encouraged to keep going. Be encouraged that if God has asked you to do something, then even if things seem a bit bleak at the moment, His plan will come to pass. Still your fretting heart and know that He will sort out the things we cannot.

“For the eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” (NLT) Chronicles 16:9.

Enjoy the video below, it captures perfectly the sense of peace and strength we experience when resting in the centre of God’s Will…it feels like home to me.

Vitnisburður Ethnu á íslensku

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Ég hef aldrei haldið bakgrunni mínum leyndum og þegar ég starfaði í Darlington AOG birti ég vitnisburð minn í fréttabréfi kirkjunnar. Í gegnum árin hefur Guð notað vitnisburð minn til að færa mörgum konum lækningu og von og þó ég þakki ekki Guði fyrir að hafa upplifað misnotkun, þá er ég þakklát fyrir það góða sem hefur komið út úr þeirri lífsreynslu gegnum árin.

Ég hef ákveðið að fara ekki út í smáatriði misnotkunarinnar hér, það nægir að segja að þegar ég var 7 ára gömul var mér rænt af nágranna og haldið fanginni í nokkra klukkutíma. Á þeim tíma varð ég endurtekið fyrir kynferðislegu ofbeldi og mér hótað. Mér voru gefnir peningar (til að ég þegði) og sagt að ef ég segði frá yrði fjölskylda mín drepin. Ég kom frá mjög fátækri fjölskyldu, svo það fyrsta sem ég gerði þegar mér var sleppt var að eyða peningunum sem ég fékk í búð á staðnum. Ég kom heim nokkrum klukkustundum seinna og hélt fast um stóran poka af nammi. Móðir mín sagði að hún hefði strax vitað þegar hún sá mig að eitthvað slæmt hefði gerst. Það var hringt í lögregluna og pabba minn. Þegar þeir komu var árásarmaðurinn flúinn. Það kom brátt í ljós að hann hafði misnotað mörg önnur börn á svæðinu, en óttaslegnir foreldrarnir höfðu ekki þorað að hafa samband við lögregluna. Þegar hann var farinn komu þau öll og sögðu sína sögu. Þetta var sorgardagur fyrir bæinn. Seinna var hann eltur uppi og skotinn í höfuðið af óþekktri manneskju og hann liggur í ómerktri gröf nærri staðnum sem við bjuggum.

Áhrif þessa atburðar á fjölskyldu mína voru hræðileg. Engin orð fá lýst afleiðingum þess sem gerðist þennan dag. Ég varð mjög lokuð, talaði ekki við neinn, varð hrædd við allt og alla. Foreldrar mínir ásökuðu sig, faðir minn barðist í þögn árum saman. Það að ég hafði verið fangi í húsinu á móti og hún ekki vitað um það, nærri eyðilagði blíða og kærleiksríka móður mína. Að hún hefði verið að sinna sínum daglegu stöfum meðan mér var nauðgað var eitthvað sem hún fyrirgaf sjálfri sér aldrei. Já við þjáðumst öll og vorum særð, en á mismunandi hátt. Misnotkun hefur ekki aðeins áhrif á manneskjuna sem brotið er á, heldur alla fjölskylduna. Eftir nokkra mánuði, lokaði hugur minn á allar minningar frá þessum dögum og það var ekki fyrr en ég var nærri sautján ára og reynt var að nauðga mér (og tókst ekki, þar sem ég sparkaði í klofið á honum og hljóp inn í búð eftir hjálp) um hábjartan dag, í afgirtum garði fyrir framan búð, að minningarnar byrjuðu að koma til baka.
Ég bað mömmu mína að útskýra hvað hafið gerst þennan dag fyrir mörgum árum. Hún gerði það og í fyrsta sinn gerði ég mér grein fyrir stærð málsins. Svo mörgum börnum nauðgað eða þau beitt líkamlegu ofbeldi, svo margar fjölskyldur niðurbrotnar, einn maður látinn, fjölskylda hans sundurtætt. Þetta var of mikið til að meðtaka. Í þetta skipti, ýtti ég minningunum djúpt niður. Núna vissi ég hvað ég var að gera. Þetta var eitthvað sem ég vildi ekki muna … aldrei nokkurn tíma.

Tveim árum seinna kynntist ég og giftist Chris. Lífið hefði átt að vera draumur en það var það ekki, fyrir hvorugt okkar. Chris komst fljótt að því hvernig það er að búa með manneskju með dimma leyndardóma fortíðarinnar. Sífelldar martraðir, ástæðulaus ótti við allt sem hreyfðist og dapurt geð sem skyndilega snérist í svartnætti. En ég hélt áfram að ýta minningunni niður, þangað til börnin okkar tvö fæddust. Þegar ég horfði á þau leika sér hamingjusöm í garðinum dag einn, varð ég allt í einu yfirbuguð af reiði yfir að barnæska mín hafði liðið í einmannaleika, ólýsanlegri sorg og tilfinningalegum sársauka. Frá þeirri stundu varð ég þunglyndari og þunglyndari.

Á þessum tíma var ég farin að sækja föndurhóp hjá Darlington AOG. Í tvö ár sótti ég þangað eða þar til börnin byrjuðu í skóla. Dag einn, ákvað ég að fara á kvöldsamkomu á sunnudegi. Allir voru hissa á að sjá mig þar, ég hafði aldrei talað um kirkju við neinn þegar ég sótti föndurhópinn. Ég var alin upp í kaþólsku kirkjunni og var búin að fá nóg af trúarbrögðum (eða það hélt ég). Á samkomunni þetta sunnudagskvöld heyrði ég rödd sem sagði skýrt “ég elska þig”. Ég heyrði þetta eins og talað væri upphátt og ég þekkti þessa rödd strax. Þetta var sama röddin sem ég hafði heyrt þegar ég var sjö ára, og hendur árásarmannsins voru þétt vafnar um hálsinn á mér. Þá heyrðum við bæði einhvern kalla ákveðið nafnið mitt. Það dugði til að brjóta þau illu álög sem við höfðum bæði verið föst í. Hann lét mig detta á gólfið og leyfði mér að fara. Þessi rödd hafði bjargað lífi mínu einu sinni og þarna bjargaði hún mér aftur. Ég tók á móti Kristi þá strax. Ég hef aldrei efast eða hikað í trú minni síðan. Hvers vegna ætti ég að gera það? Ég á allt sem ég þarf í Drottni mínum.

Líf mitt breyttist á undraverðan hátt eftir að ég frelsaðist. Þunglyndinu var létt af mér og kom aldrei aftur. Jafnvel líkami minn virtist léttari, það var eins og miklum þunga hefði verið lyft af öxlum mínum. Ég lærði að hlæja og gráta. Það mikilvægasta af öllu fyrir mig var að ég lærði að elska án skilyrða. Það var ný reynsla. Eftir að hafa alla æfi vantreyst fólki og ekki getað snert það, gat ég treyst fólki og sjálfri mér í aðstæðum sem ég hafði aldrei getað áður. Innan nokkurra mánaða sótti ég um í hjúkrunarnámi. Þegar ég lauk námi eftir þrjú ár, 1995, hófst það sem átti eftir að vera ótrúlega gefandi starf innan heilbrigðis og félags sviðs og í fræðimennsku.

Eins og hjá flestum hefur líf mitt mótast af reynslu minni, bæði góðri og slæmri. Sagt er að það sem drepur þig ekki gerir þig sterkari og í mínu tilviki þá held ég að það sé satt. Ef ég hefði ekki orðið kristin á þessum tíma er ég viss um að líf mitt hefði orðið allt annað en það sem ég nýt í dag. Kanski hljómar það eins og gömul lumma en styrkur minn kemur frá sambandi mínu við Krist. Án hans reikna ég með að hryllingur fortíðar minnar hefði yfirbugað mig. Eins og annað fólk (dýrðlingar sem aðrir) er ég sterk á sumum sviðum en veik á öðrum.

Ég er sterk í því að sjá aðstæður í heild sinni og geta um leið komið auga á hluti sem þarf að laga, þetta er hæfileiki sem ég nota stöðuglega í vinnunni, bæði í veraldlegu og kristilegu starfi. Ég er sterk í að viðurkenna mistök mín og er ekki hrædd við að bakka og leiðrétta það sem miður hefur farið. Ég er t.d. fljót að gera mér grein fyrir því þegar ég hef ekki rétt fyrir mér og alltaf tilbúin að leiðrétta og jafnvel ganga á minn rétt. Ef mér er stillt upp við vegg, þá vil ég frekar láta einhvern halda að hann hafi rétt fyrir sér, jafnvel þó svo sé ekki, því ég veit af fyrri reynslu að Guð mun seinna sýna viðkomandi villu hans. Mér hefur æfinlega fundist að það “að hafa rétt fyrir sér” sé ofmetið. Þó ég segi þetta, þá eru sum atriði sem þarf að berjast fyrir og vinna, málið er að velja hvaða málefni eru þess virði að berjast fyrir. Ég trúi því að veikleikar fylgi einfaldlega styrkleikunum; það er ekki hægt að hafa annað án hins. Þannig gerði Guð okkur. Í veikleika okkar köllum við til hans, í styrkleika okkar gefum við honum dýrðina, hvort heldur sem er þá er sigur á báða bóga.

Líf mitt heldur áfram að vera varðað ævintýrum á göngunni með Guði. Þegar þetta er skrifað er ég að ljúka doktorsgráðu í rannsóknum á heilabilun (PhD in dementia research). Heilabilun skiptir mig miklu máli bæði af persónulegum og faglegum ástæðum. Þegar þessu er lokið vonast ég til að geta unnið á Íslandi og notað þekkingu mína og hæfileika svo að fólk með heilabilun og umönnunaraðilar þeirra geti notið þjónustu sem er hönnuð fyrir þarfir þeirra. Ég vonast einnig til að vinna með fólki sem ekki er með minnissjúkdóma til að kenna þeim hvernig þau geta dregið úr hættu á að fá heilabilun síðar á æfinni. Verkefnin eru mörg og ég óttast að fólk með heilabilun mæti afgangi. Ég á samt stóran Guð sem þráir að blessa börnin sín og að vita það, er hvatning til að vinna eins vel og ég get og skipta máli þar sem hann hefur sett mig.

Hvað nú um veikleikana sem ég sleppti að tala um áðan…? Þrátt fyrir veikleika minn fyrir ódýrum matreiðslubókum og eldhúsáhöldum, þá eru eftir 21 ár á göngunni með Guði mínum fáir ytri lestir eftir, það er þó nóg eftir af þeim hið innra. Ég forðast samt líkamsþjálfum á næstum sjúklegan hátt, þó fór ég einstaka sinnum með Chris í morgungöngu þegar við bjuggum á Englandi. Ég skammast mín fyrir að viðurkenna að það var svo sjaldan að þegar sonur okkar James sá minn hluta af rúminu mannlausan kl. 6:15 einn morguninn fyrir nokkrum mánuðum, gerði hann ráð fyrir að ég hefði dottið fram úr og sofnað aftur á gólfinu hinum megin við rúmið. Honum datt aldrei í hug sá möguleiki að ég hefði farið á fætur snemma til að fara í göngu!

Þýðing eftir Lilja Óskarsdóttir