It’s been a positive tour de France…or should that be Iceland?

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An Icelandic sheep

An Icelandic sheep (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, it’s been some time since our last blog post proper. So, we were thinking, that perhaps the best way to introduce you to the lovely people we have been visiting would be to give you an overview of the people, places and events that have populated our diaries and then to dedicate one blog post to each family or group we have been visiting. On our travels we have met some really interesting people. To be fair, you only have to turn a corner to find interesting people in Iceland. There are, for example, relatively few people who don’t play an instrument, tend a small-holding, keep a summer cottage for family gatherings or who are aren’t imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit. On the contrary, when in Iceland, chances are you will rub shoulders with an instrument playing, museum keeping, singing, fishing, hiking, skiing, career-changing superhero/heroine just about every day. In fact, so frequent are these meetings that we have (sort of) got used to the vaguely troubling thoughts that accompany such meetings such as the impulsive desire to learn to knit, sew, hike, glacier-climb, keep sheep, play an instrument, etc etc. Thoughts such as these (you will be relieved to note) are quickly dismissed, although I will admit to buying a book of Icelandic knitting patterns published by the Hand knitting Association of Iceland. The only problem is, I will have to improve my understanding of Icelandic before I can knit any of them…phew, saved by my terrible Icelandic skills!

Anyhoo, I digress. Here is a list of the Churches we have been involved in supporting since Christmas 2012, together with the dates that either Chris or Chris and I visited:

Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) – February 15-17.

Ísafjörður – February 22-24.

Höfn í Hornafirði – March 8-10 and April 26-28: Home Mission gathering

Stykkishólmur – January 25-27, March 18-20, May 10-12.

Kirkjulækjarkot í Fljótshlíð – February 1-3: Lost Generation conference. March 1-3: Pastor’s AGM. March 28-31: Prayer conference. April 12-14: Leaders training w/e.

Coming up!

Ísafjörður – May 24-26: supporting the local Church.

Stykkishólmur – June 8, 9 + 10: development work. July 4, 5,6 +7: helping at the national Pentecostal summer/family camp.

Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) – June 14, 15 + 16: development work

The work we have been (and continue to be) engaged in varies from Church to Church as it depends on what the people of the Church feel they need. Future blog posts will focus on the development work Chris has been involved in at each Church and will include interviews with Church members on how the work they have done with Chris has helped them to become more outward facing.

Some articles they may be of interest:

 

The Parkers have landed…

Greetings from a very snowy Iceland! Well, we thought you would like to hear a bit of what we have been up to so far, so here is a bit of news from the other frozen chosen! We arrived in Iceland to share the joy of the coldest, snowiest winter to hit Iceland since 1984…now where have we heard that before? Oh, I know, the first time we went to Iceland in 1999, haha. There is much speculation now as to whether there will also be a volcanic eruption in Jan/Feb and a sizeable earthquake on 17th June (Iceland’s Day of Independence), so that we feel really at home. Weather aside, we are settling in very nicely to our little flat, which is warm and cosy and right in the centre of the town, so we are not far from the shops and other facilities.

The welcome from people we know, both in and out of the Church has been overwhelming. Everyone is so pleased to see us back in Iceland, or as our Icelandic friends are saying, “þú ert komin heim til Íslands!” Or, “You have come home to Iceland!”. Very cute and also very encouraging.

In terms of ministry, we already have a number of engagements in our diary. Two weeks ago I gave a short talk at our local Church in Icelandic on what we had been doing in England and what we hoped to do in Iceland in the coming months and years. Last weekend, Chris preached at a Men’s Breakfast at our Church and also preached on Sunday morning at our current Church and in the afternoon at the Church we attended when we lived in Iceland before. As you can imagine, they just loved hearing him preach the Word of God. We’ve also had an invite to a birthday party of a lively two-year old and were treated to a great pizza at the famous (to the Parker family anyway) Gallery Pizza in Hvolsvöllur, our old home town. When I say town…the town has a population of just over 700. The last weekend of the month sees us attending a leadership conference facilitated by two AOG USA missionaries, an American couple called Mike and Sheila Fitzgerald who founded Lindin, a Christian radio and media station in Iceland and who we love dearly. Good times indeed!

Chris and I have both been asked to contribute to the teaching at a Bible School in Reykjavík and Chris has been asked to work with a friend of ours on ideas for developing the local and national Church in Iceland. So, we should have plenty to report back to the folks at home when we come back in May.

We heard on the radio earlier this evening that Iceland is going to be hit with a BIG storm, with lots of fierce winds and a lot of snow. Given the amount of snow that has fallen since we arrived…we are a little worried by the snow warning. Until that is, a friend pointed out that in early December 2011 temperatures in Iceland plummeted to -22. Oh well, at least we can listen to Radio 4 as we snuggle under the duvet 🙂

Prayer needs at the moment
Our prayer needs revolve around adequate financial support and the development of a strong peer network within the Christian Churches here in Iceland. So, please remember to pray for both and to consider partnering with us, particularly in relation to raising enough finances for transport. Because of the geography, weather and limited access to public transport, Iceland is not the place to live without a car.

Until the next time, be blessed, be safe and love God with all your heart, strength and mind. Because at the end of the day…nothing else matters.

Chris and Eth’s leaving/sending do…

CelebrationUnless you have been living on Mars these past months, you will know that Chris and I are planning to move to Iceland in January 2012. We will be going as AOG GB missionaries. In the first instance we will be living in a lovely town called Selfoss which is in South Iceland, about 50 km from Reykjavík. Now that we have sorted out somewhere to live, we thought it was time to turn our attention to more important matters, like…having a party to celebrate God’s provision and plan for our lives. We would love it if you could join in the celebrations which will be held at Cornerstone Christian Centre, Swan Street, Evenwood, Bishop Auckland, DL14 9RN on Wednesday 28th December, 2011. The party starts at 18.00, so be there or be square 🙂