Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Return to the Holidays- Part 2- Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow !

---JJ and Elder Francis

For months our good friend and neighbor, JJ, has helped us learn all kinds of things about Denmark. He has taken the missionaries out on one of his school's boats. He has taught us many things that he has learned as he prepares to be a captain of his own ship someday. He knows the sky, the stars, and the weather. Many times he lets us know, before the weather man, what kind of day it will be.

The first part of December was crisp and green. Our weatherman and future sea captain, prepared to return to his home in Greenland for the holidays. He has been a member of the church for almost a year, and he was anxious to get his Patriarchal Blessing before he left for home. We decided to take a two hour trip to Esbjerg where the Patriarch was available to give him a blessing. It was a beautiful, "blue sky" day.

After church, we took our "Seaman" JJ to visit the giant four white "Seamen" along the Esbjerg sea.
(See our story about them in April, 2009 blog post)

It was sunny but there was a chill in the air. The sky was full of the most unusual "cloud sandwich"... a flat white layer of clouds on the top with a dark, ominous cloud on the bottom.
Our weatherman called this a weather front caused when hot air meets cold air- creating a cold front.

Little did we know the power of JJ's words.

When we returned home to Odense our home was still green. We began to get busy decorating for Christmas and planning a traditional Danish Christmas with our friends.

We were very comfortable as we began to "Deck the Halls." Even our borrowed cat enjoyed the mix of warm and cool air of the Danish winter. We have loved the seasons here.

(This is JJ with his two sisters, Melissa and Thresa, and his artist grandma- Thalitha)
JJ left for Greenland to be with his family... but before he left, he put a Christmas message in our mailbox. (Click on the letter to enlarge it).

He prayed that Santa would bring a "Tiny bit of snow" so that we could feel "the warmth the
Christmas brings."

While he was flying over Iceland, on the way home, his prayer was answered...The snow began to fall. Our cat is less than a year old, and she had never seen the snow. She spends a lot of her time on our window sill or walking on the fence railing to avoid the wet, cold snow on her feet. She has white furry feet- and no warm boots.

The snow covered our yard.

It covered the old blue car and prevented us from picnicking and outdoor barbecues. (Not that we have been doing that lately).

At one point we had to get to the center. We planned an "International Christmas Night" and there was a lot to decorate and cook. Once we tried to go down our white road. When we got to a small hill we began to slide we came home. We were buried in snow.

Carl tried to sweep the snow off of our car. But it just kept coming.

What a beautiful sight. Thank you, JJ, for your prayer. I don't think you have any idea how far a "tiny bit of snow" goes here in Odense.

We were snowed in for two days. We cancelled our International night and just settled into our cozy indoor mission home. There is nothing like a few surprise snow days, especially at Christmas time.

When the sun finally came out we found wonderful icicles dripping from our roof.

-- Sister Hatton, Liljenquist, and Stewart
The sisters rode their bikes out to see us. They found our giant icicles.

When we returned to the center there was no place to park.. and many members took and early Christmas Holidays. A few houses down from our Church is The Greenland House where students from Greenland live and where we can buy dried seal (not so tasty) and other unusual Greenlandic foods. Little "Greenlanders" come there once a week to study their language. They built the first two snowmen that we have seen here.

You know that JJ was flying into Santa territory when he flew home. On the way, there was a bit of turbulence, and the pilot announced that a sled had landed on the plane. In walked Santa himself with balloon animals and Christmas cards for all.

JJ spent several months in Greenland. He went to a traditional event on December 23rd, when all the people in town gather at the cemetery with candles. They place their candles on their family graves and sing sweet hymns in remembrance of their loved ones- at midnight. At the top of a small hill, traditional Christmas music is heard by the city choir to welcome in Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve they dance around their tree which is covered with real candles.

On a shelf in their home is an old Christmas couple with sheep's wool hair and woven shoes.. sold at Christmas time by a local neighbor. I want to order one of these little couples for my mantle next year. Behind them is the red and white flag of Greenland.

In almost every window in JJ's town you can see a large lighted star. When New Years begins to arrive the sky is filled with fireworks all over the city. He comes from quite an amazing place. Maybe next year we can all gather in Qaqortoq with his Dad (the mayor of three southern Greenland cities) and JJ's great family for a delicious Christmas feast.

I hear that Greenland has had quite a warm spell this winter. I think that JJ brought the cold back with him when he returned to Odense.

We have had the longest, "snowiest" winter in history this year. This is our snowy street in front of the Riedel's home (the owner of our little cottage and JJ's apartment- behind their house).

It is February now and the snow just keeps falling. We haven't seen the ground since JJ prayed for a "Tiny Bit" of snow to warm our lives. We have loved this weather...we love the change of seasons here. Our furnace stopped working a few days ago, and even then, the snow and our good friend JJ, continues to warm our lives.

We took a walk a few days ago by the Odense river - in the middle of town. For a while it was frozen over and the birds had a hard time finding food. But the swans and ducks are floating down the river now. I think that spring is on its way.

Until then, we are so grateful for our white, snowy mission. We have been truly blessed.

Join us in the next post- another "return to the Holidays." I want to remember our Holidays here in the land of Denmark. Even though the snow may begin to thaw and the daffodils return. I want to remember these precious days.
Love and miss you all. Have a great February

1 comment:

  1. What fun! We also have had a 'tiny bit of snow' here in DC. We got 36 inches inside of 5 days. I love the snow and a chance to stop everything and enjoy our family (and food storage chocolate)for a few days. I think Nick enjoys the chance to shovel our cars out.