Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gratitude Chronicles- Looking Back- "Farvel"

On August 11, 2010 we landed on American soil for the first time in many months. It was so good to be with everyone. All of our children were there to greet us.
God bless America!

Thank you for meeting us in the nation's capital...what a great place to be, what a family. We visited the Washington DC temple where Nick and Emily and Nan and Robert were married.

When we left for Denmark, we left behind five children and fourteen grandchildren. What a group. It has been so fun getting reaquainted with the best kids in the world. (I am not biased- they really are the best kids in the world). Now we have an even fifteen perfect grandchildren. We are truly blessed.
During our Washington DC week.. we held a "Sisters Cookbook Night." There are many cooks among us (see We like to make food, read about food, write about food, and debate about food.
With the help of Nan, we have had chocolate tasting parties, root beer tasting parties, (never buy Ikea Root Beer)- and now thanks to all our children we gather to remember one cookbook ...The Sisters Cookbook...given to all of us by my mom- (She is a seasoned homemaking history teacher who loved to cook- a favorite daughter of Sisters, Oregon- where she spent the last part of her life- thanks Mom for the legacy)

During our visit we tried to pose for official family pictures. Here is the Nick Wilberg Family posing for posterity.
--Zoe, Emily, Nick, Max (perfect smile), Zack getting squised by Abby

On Sunday, we went to Kathy's ward right next to the temple. There the men in our family held our newest little grandson and gave him a "name and a blessing." His new name is "Seth Matthew Brooks." In Kathy's family there is a "Samuel the Lamanite", "Jacob- the father of the ten tribes, Cameron- can't find his name in the scriptures (but I am sure it is there), and now there is "Seth."
When they decided to name our new baby "Seth" I discovered that he would carry the name of Seth, the son of Adam. Here are a some of the things that I learned about our ancient brother "Seth."
1. Seth is a good son of Adam
2. Modern revelation provides additional insight into the life of Adam's noble son, Seth.. He "was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things and could be distinguished from him only by his age." (D&C 107:43, Moses 6: 10, Gen. 5:3)
3. Seth was second only to Adam among the great patriarchs who met in the valley of Adam-ondi-ahman, three years prior to Adam's death. (D&C 107: 53)
4. He was an obedient son who "rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice, like unto his brother Abel." (Moses 6:3)
5. Seth was born when Adam was 130 years of age. (Moses 6:10, Gen. 5:3-5)
6. Seth was "ordained by Adam at the age of 69" (D&C 107:42)
7. Seth lived to be 912 years old and was survivved by his son Enos, whom he taught "in the ways of God." (Moses 6: 13, 16)
8. President Joseph F. Smith saw Seth as one of the "great and mighty ones" assembled in the "congregation of the righteous" at the time of the Savior's visit to the spirit world following his crucifixion. (D&C 138: 38,40)
It has been a pleasure having Samuel the Lamanite, and Jacob- father of the twelve tribes in our family. Now we have "Seth" the perfect son of Adam. What a name ! What a boy!
On August 11, 2010 we flew home to Sacramento, California.

We are home...we left our home in Denmark -a simple cottage with a field of pheasants, rabbits, and horses. We were truly blessed with dear neighbors that became our family.
Now our "Cup Runneth Over"... our Sacrameto Home - has Stephanie, and Vaughn, an almost teenager Jonah, two lovely creative girls- Gretta and Sasha, and a little busy two year old boy named Simon...I forgot to mention the two new dogs, Penny and Olly, and four tame chickens who have names like fluffy, red, Dottie and Gerty. The other day I came out in my family room and Fluffy climbed out from under the buffet. It is a wild and crazy world that we have moved into...but we just left a wild and crazy world in Denmark. We are again, truly blessed surrounded by loved ones and animals. Heavenly Father must have a smile on his face as I learn the "Star Spangled Banner" in homeschool with all the rest of these eager little students. I don't think we ever grow up. Tomorrow I think that we will learn about bones. I will keep you up to date.

This Sunday we gave our homecoming talks. So many memories, so hard to leave behind. We still have one foot in Odense and one foot in Sacramento. I am so happy to be here...I am so sad not to be there. I am so happy to be with my dear family, ...I miss so much the dear friends we left behind in Denmark. I will include our homecoming remarks when I get a chance. I am so grateful that we have ways to communicate with those who don't live near us. I am learning the ways of keep up with those who are use to short text messages, and quick chats to keep me up to date on the news from Denmark. It is a good time to live. In a few days we will have a chance to call by phone - Denmark, and all of the USA. I am anxious to talk to Paul from China- I think he is still in Orlando. I want to talk to John Elvis who has been found in Copenhagen. I need to talk to Kim and help him feel comfortable in a white shirt. I haven't talked to the Reidels, or the Andersens, and on and on and on. This is an eternal experience, a mission. Looking back, I can see things I didn't see when we were in the middle of our mission. I am so grateful for the privilege of being with you all for a short time. But our job is not over...I didn't realize that until I got home.

On July 26, 2010- We left Odense for Copenhagen to spend our last night in the mission before we left for Norway. As we were packing and boxing up our lives in Odense, and Carl and JJ were driving back and forth to the post office to send home the stuff that we had collected -- we decided that we didn't want to leave JJ we brought him to Copenhagen with us.
The next morning he would be the last, hardest goodbye that we had to make at the close of our mission.

Until we made this trip, I did not realize how unique and pristeen the Scandinavian Countries were. We have been living in a "garden of Eden" and didn't know it. Denmark is very Danish, and Norway is very Norwegian. I have learned to love the sea. We were surrounded by water on our mission. Little canals and rivers go in and out of Odense. We were only a half an hour from sea ports and boats of every kind. Swans, sea gulls, ducks and geese loved the wet, cold weather and I have always thrived on green. I loved Norway...the home of the first Wilbergs.
The name "Wilberg" we have been told is "Wild Mountain" in Norwegian. All of our blogs begin with "wildmountain."

Near the water in Oslo, is the Kontiki Museum. It was built to house the famous Kon-Tiki and other rafts built and used by a Norwegian named "Thor Hyerdahl." a famous explorer and archaeologist who organized an adventure to prove that the currents and tradwinds of the Pacific could float a primitive papyrus reed boat...tied together only with ropes- that would sail from Peru, South America to the Polynesian Islands- a four thousand mile trip. This fete was accomplished successfully in the year 1947... with a Parrot and a pet crab aboard.

These explorers read all about ancient Peru and were convinced that some Peruvians drifted on primitive reed rafts from the American mainland to the Polynesian Islands. For three months they sailed across the Pacific depending on the ocean currents and trade winds for their power.
They proved that this ancient boat design could successfully survive a 4,000 mile trip during the long voyage to the pacific islands.

Now that you have had your history lesson for the day... you might want a scripture update. What does this voyage have to do with the Book of Mormon.
1. It proved that long voyages can be successfully made in ancient boats across the sea.
2. It proved that there were trade winds and currents that could sail reed boats in the direction of
the Polynesian Islands.
3. It proved that both the Jaredites and the Mulekites could have sailed using trade
winds on their inspired voyages to the Promised Land. And that there are many things that we
can yet learn about ancient boats and the people who traveled the seas to settle in new lands.
Helaman 6: 10, Ether 6. (Hagoth in the year 55 BC.. built and launched many boats-
Alma 63: 5-8 )
From Oslo, we traveled through the green farmlands of Norway to a little harbor town of Moss- home of the first Carl Wilberg was born.

We stayed near this great little park in the center of town. In this square lives a full sized statue of a moose. It probably is the first place where they would sing our familiar family song..
"Land of the silver birch,
home of the beaver,
where once a mighty moose
wandered at will,
blue skies and rocky shores
I will return once more..." (boom - da- dia- da- boom, boom).
(Not sure if they have beavers, and silver birch in Norway.. But we know they have moose, or meece- plural).
I think that you need to watch out for the moose in Moss. I wonder how they say that in Norwegian.

We found the street where our first Carl Wilberg lived. His father made roof tiles for a living, and had a home big enough to house his own family and other tenents.

He lived on one of the few cobblestone streets left in Moss. We loved this beautiful pattern of cobblestones that the Scandinavians meticulously place on their old streets. They have a great imagination.

There were many old homes on this street and we discovered this old fancy home now used as an art gallery and restaurant. What a quaint little town.

There were old rock walls and dancing ladies in front of the library.

This is Norway by the beautiful sea.

We visited one of the only cemetaries in Moss. Though we did not find any Wilberg tombstones, we know that many of Carl's ancestors were buried in this town.

Many Scandinavian burial plots are like little rooms carefully landscaped with seasonal flowers. This was the season for hydrangeas...what a site. There are no silk flowers and flat insignificant tombstones in this garden. Some are made out of giant boulders with names of family members carved simply in stone.. Others are pyramids, or round sculptures with rotiron gates. This place is ready for resurrection day all nicely trimmed and polished with green grass and ivy. Maybe there will be a Wilberg Reunion right here on this spot when that day arrives.

It was a wet, rainy day in the beginning of August when we visited the shores of Moss. What a peaceful place. It was guarded by a watchful "Norwegian Lady" who promises to wish all men at sea a safe return home.

There were many fine homes in moss covered with beautiful flowers spilling over their balconies and along their drive ways. We found many Wilbergs in the phone book. We wondered if they lived in one of these fine garden homes.

Or this beautiful farm..

Or maybe some of the Wilbergs live here. Who knows. Wilbergs come in every size and shape.

Then we went crazy--on the wrong side of the street going around in circles (round-abouts) in England. We will show you some of the sites later, the disappointing London Bridge, the fine Big Ben, the mass of humanity by the Queens Palace, and the huge ferris Wheel along the river.. that was the taste of London that we had for just a few days.

We followed our ancestors to Preston, England and witnessed the place where my grandmother heard two elders preaching from the steps of the town square.

Here she heard for the first time, that a new gospel had been restored. When she and her family did join the Church, her husband lost his job as a caretaker in a cemetary- because they were "those crazy Mormons"...
As I look back at the last 18 months and ponder over that experience,... after our grand homecoming, and living with the chickens, the new dogs, and all the sweet grandchildren and children here in this fine country...I realize that we are still "those crazy Mormons." I often say, "I am going crazy" when I have had a day full of disappointments or computers that refuse to work... but I am so happy and proud that my great grandmother decided to become a "crazy mormon." My life has never been so full as it is right now...full of rich memories, and good people who have decided to become "crazy" like me and our ever so "crazy" family.
To those we left behind...

On our last Sunday in Denmark we gathered with some of our best friends in the basement for the last time. We had said our "goodbyes" upstairs to the ward members and then Elder Christiansen and Oakey, and Sister Reed and Williamson, prepared a little goodbye time downstairs. These are some of the most lovely people I know. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you all. Each of you have been such a great example of what the gospel is all about. I have learned so much from you. I cannot let you go. These are eternal bonds. It has been a fine ride. (click on the small square below this and it will enlarge this these faces)

I am so grateful for this little house out in the country where we lived so comfortably during our mission. The Lord has blessed us with the best weather in the world, the most beautiful backyard full of living surprises every day- rabbits, horses, cows, our dear little adopted cat, quarelling pheasants, deer,.. two bats that visited us everynight on schedule to see what we were doing. Thank you for this peaceful place where we could settle in for night, have long conversations and ponder the moon.

I am so thankful for the Riedels who provided this home for us...for Yvonne, who has such a kind gentle heart...who longed for all of her family to enjoy the full blessings of the Gospel. She is such a cultured, well organized, concerned friend. I enjoyed many long conversations with her through our open window..when she came to stay a minute, and we ended up talking for an hour. Hope to see you again soon.

I am so grateful for this man. Detlef Riedel...for his stories from Germany, a hard childhood during and after World War II, for his testimony and the many things he shared in our Family Home Evenings with Kim...for the wisdom that he has. I loved the evening visits as we sat outside with JJ watching the bats go by talking about all of our experiences and remembering bits and pieces of our childhood.
We come from so many different cultures- It is always so surprising how much we have in common.
Thank you for your friendship. You will not be forgotten.

Kim never wants to say "goodbye." It was a hard thing to leave Kim and Lotte. We have had such a wonderful time with them. They are amazing people who don't know that they are amazing. Kim, you have given us so much care and attention. You are always on our minds. We are so grateful that you were in our lives while we were in Odense. You have so many can gather a group of people in a moments notice, bring them together to share friendship and great food. You have been one of the most reliable friends that we have ever had. We have loved your phone calls, your concern for people who are in need, your willingness to come by and hear our little Family Home Evenings. You were our first friends in Odense...bringing chocolates and help in the parking lot of the center- on our arrival. You were our last dinner appointment in Odense- with a real Danish goodbye.. good food, flags, candles on the was a feast of food and friendship. I will remember your black shirt forever...looking forward to the time when you wear that white shirt in the temple. Keep doing the good things, and moving past the bad have the courage and energy of a hundred men- you can do it. We love you both and pray for you often. We brought you home with us --so many good times, so many things to remember.

What a privilege it was to have a car in Denmark. Our elders and sisters had to go out in all kinds of weather. Their bikes were often unreliable. Our home became the repair shop for many sick bikes. For them the weather was sometimes wet and uncomfortable. We had many times at the center that they would have to come in out of the rain to dry off and begin again.
We, on the other hand, loved all the weather...the snow, the cloud bursts, the sunshine, the ice-cycle days, the late night drive home- We were in this little car, or the cozy center looking out. I am so grateful for the car- it helped us get acquainted with our students as we drove them to a once a month Sacrament meeting in Fredericia- fourty five minutes of talking and singing old primary songs.
We learned about Bishop Held (who has never driven a car, he is a bus man) coming home from a long day at the church. We learned about old Danish Folklore and spirit of missionary work from Emil, and Aske, and JJ- (who all were nearby neighbors) home from the center. We used the car to take us over what we called the fifty dollar bridge (really a thirty seven dollar bridge-one way and thirty seven dollars on the way back)- we used it every time we went to Zone Conference or to the temple in Copenhagen. I am so grateful that we had this luxury. I would never have been able to fit a large pan of sloppy joes, potato salad, "Tequilla Sunrises"- (a newly discovered drink), and all of our computers and stuff that we carried every day to the center. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful car. I forgot to include driving Dan home everytime he missed his bus. It was a real time to talk and learn about what was on his mind.

I will never forget this blue-eyed boy. I am so grateful for Dan. He helped me to understand how to be to speak it, (the few words that I knew), how to celebrate Danish holidays-we never knew why the stores were closed or what the next "festi" was going to be. He showed me how to use the internet to find Japanese poetry, and how to use "Facebook." He was a very patient friend who spent hours talking to me about all kinds of things. Once we didn't see him at the center for about four months- We talked to him often on the phone, but he was having some struggles. One day we called him and invited him again to Family Home Evening at the center. He sounded not sure...then I said, "Dan if you don't want to come to the center can we bring Family Home Evening to you..." He said: "Of course." That night he came out to the center and he has been coming ever since. We asked him what he did to bring him back to us. He said, "He began to read the Book of Mormon again. and with every chapter he would say to himself- "either Joseph Smith is very, very, smart or the gospel is true." With every chapter he decided that it was true. Now we have him back. I am so grateful, Dan, that you would miss the bus often, so we could take you home. It gave us the opportunity to talk all the way out in the country, and to see this wave goodbye when we dropped you off at your apartment. You are missed. Thank you so much for creating a blog just for us- It is such a tribute to your sweet kindness and your many talents. Continue to grow and learn. Next time we see you you will be a famous graphic computer man.. but you will still be a "blue eyed boy" to us.

When it is time to leave a mission you worry about who will take over your job. By the time we were ready to leave, and go home to our family we discovered that our family was right here in Denmark. What a hard thing it is to leave home and return home. These new friends have been chosen to take our place. They are full of humor and fun...ready to jump in with both feet. We are leaving in their hands all of our good friends...our old concerns and problems, unfinished business, lots of things to fix and people to bring back to the center. A mission is never done...thank heavens. In Denmark this little center helps to provide a safe haven for lots of kids who pop in and out of our lives. We never know what impact the center has on them. Some may never return, but there is a sweet spirit in the Young Adult Center in is the most wonderful center in Denmark-I am not biased at all. Thank you for bringing some of Canada to Odense. Welcome to Elder and Sister Gronnestad from Vancouver, British Columbia. I will remember you fondly when I think of red poppies growing by our neighborhood "lake."
Give my love to all the boys, and handful of girls that we left behind. I will continue to write about our experiences with them, but you get to continue to feed and help them to find their "eternal companions." We were not too good at that. I know you have already discovered what responsible leaders you have. Rene is a fine man to work with...and there are many from the Young Men and Women who are already great leaders and trained "EFY"ers who may be still wearing their EFY writsbands from this summer's spiritual feast at EFY. Much love to you, much success with your Danish, and may God be with you as you discover what your mission in Odense is.
And now to the son of Greenland, our dear friend and neighbor- Jens Jacob Simonsen. He has been a missionary since he joined the church a little over a year ago. I have never heard him say a harsh word or criticism about anyone. His eyes are always open looking for someone he can help. He comes from strong roots in Greenland, his grandparents, his parents, and his good friends have prepared him for who he is today. He is such a willing listener..sometimes I do all the talking while he patiently listens- and then he offers a solution in one sentence.. and we both become wiser. Whenever my computer turns on me...I will remember to Reboot. (his one word answer). Whenever I need to heat up ableskivers ...I will remember to put them on a rack with a little water under them to keep them moist in the oven. Thanks to JJ-I know where to find Jupiter and Mars and what to watch for during a full moon. Can't wait to see what he does with the "windows of heaven" in St. George, Utah-where he will take two years of his well planned life, to serve the Lord.

Here, in this little basement, I have been with some of the best men in the church.
On this day Paul (Li Cong) was just given the Aaronic Priesthood surrounded by Elder Wilberg, Elder Francis, Paul, Bishop Held, JJ, and Elder Valgreen.

Another sacred day ---with JJ, Sister Riedel, Bishop Held, Brother Riedel, and Elder Wilberg...JJ is given the Melchizedek Priesthood and is ordained an Elder by Elder Wilberg.
I think that JJ is now the only native Greenlander to hold the Priesthood in all of Greenland. He is the only native Greenlander that has had the privilege of going through the Temple...and I am pretty sure that he is the first native Greenlander who has been called on a mission. What a fine young man Heavenly Father has chosen to be his messenger from the largest Island in the world.
These are some of the memories that fill my heart as I look back (and look forward) ...I am so grateful for all of you. I will not forget. Thank you for spending your time with us.

Good bye for now...

God be with you,

Till we meet again.


  1. a perfect recap!! i love all these stories and pictures! welcome home!

  2. Thanks for sharing your exsperiences and thoughts, and thanks for your good work in Odense. There are some pictures of Emil arriving in his mission in Greece here: