Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fest I Nord 2009 - 500 Helping Hands

On Thursday, July 30, 2009- five hundred young people, with a few older folks, went out to save the world from garbage.. in the cleanest town in Denmark. It was a "Helping Hands" project from the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. As we put on our yellow vests and new leather work gloves we were ready for the day. Kim Holst, our Fest I Nord leader, gave us final instructions and encouragement as we prepared to face a stormy day.

This was our schedule for the last part of Fest I Nord. What a week !
(click on the schedule for a bigger view of the events)

Rene (originally from Esbejerg) and Mark (from Greenland) are ready for the big day. We are the biggest Mormon Helping Hands project that they have ever had in Denmark, and the largest Helping Hands ever held in Europe at one place on a single day.

We gathered in our big hall with a false ceiling from our "Under the Sea" dance the night before. (I will write about the evening events in the next post) There were newsmen and city workers to hand out our gloves and orange road jackets ( a law in Denmark for road workers).

Everyone participated in some way. There were grave sites to clean (maybe some of Elder Wilberg's family sites- His Grandfather, Dines Peter Talboe, was born in Randers). There was play equipment to paint and garbage to collect.

It was a great day for friendship, fun, and working in the rain.

This would be one of our last dry pictures of the day.

Seven busses took us to roads all over the community of Randers.

The two girls on the left are from Estonia. They drove 30 hours from Estonia to Randers for this experience. What a cheerful part of our group. I think one of them just joined the church about four months ago. I'll show you a dry picture of them later.

As the clouds began to gather, two by two, we walked the streets of Randers. This was our street. Where is the garbage? Our charge was to walk two hours into the town on one side of the street, eat lunch, and then walk two hours back on the other side of the street..picking up anything that wasn't growing.

The trek was hard. We felt like pioneers blazing a trail through this treacherous weather. (Notice how much garbage Elder Wilberg has collected).

There were wild snap dragons along the way and little gardens of potatoes, beets, strawberries, and the smell of fresh dill.

The bag was heavy and we were tired and hungry but we had no time to rest. It was a dark and dreary day. The clouds were getting darker and we saw some lightning. But we kept moving down our path looking for garbage hiding somewhere in the bushes.

Four horses saw us from far off and came running to thank us for a job well done.

Twice, large rain clouds dumped buckets of water on us. The wind howled around us. I tried to find shelter in the bushes and Elder Wilberg created a black plastic bag rain coat...but we found no relief. We began to laugh in the rain. This was our mission...miles from home, hiding in the bushes against the trials of the day. Every day is a surprise when you are on a mission.

Many people saw us working on the road. Some asked us "What in the world are you doing?" Others invited the "soaking wet helping handers" to come into their barn out of the rain. The city workers commented on some of the young people singing "Singing in the Rain" as they cheerfully picked up McDonalds cups and straws. McDonalds was our biggest garbage offender. Next time we will invite them to put on the Helping Hands Vests and join us along the roads.

The day was done. The busses picked us up and took our bags. Later they weighed them. Together we picked up 1.2 tons of garbage in the cleanest town in Denmark. (according to Elder and Sister Wilberg). The world should remember 500 kids who spent the day giving a little service to the beautiful little city of Randers, Denmark.

If you click on each of these pages below, you can read the article that appeared in the Deseret News about our event. Now the world does know.

See you at the next post. It will describe the amazing evening events of Fest I Nord.

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