I don’t think that St. Patrick’s Day is well-known by the old guard in Norway. Well, that was my impression this morning when I waltzed into the church meeting area a little early for their bi-monthly Missions Meeting. I had donned a lime-green satin sash with “I’m a wee bit Irish” written across it along with a forest green scarf around my neck and a handful of green and gold mardi gras beads as a necklace. Nothing too ornate. 😉 I was asked if St. Patrick’s Day was a Christian holiday, and I said, not really, but I could sing an Irish song for them. So, I burst into singing “When Irish Eyes are Smilin'”, (and those of you who know me, know that I would really do this!) to which they all applauded, even though most of them would not have understood the words.
I would have also been wearing a green felt leprechaun hat and a green sequined bow tie, but Paul was using them. Seriously, he was. The college had put out the word that there would be free green waffles during lunchtime for anyone who was wearin’ the green today. And in this here high-priced area, when there is free food, one takes advantage of it!
The average age of the attendees at these bi-monthly Missions Meetings is about 75. I may bring that average down a bit. I have so enjoyed the passion and love of these dear folk for their missionaries and those whom they serve. Each meeting, as far as I can tell (I’ve been at three so far), consists of prayer, announcements, a testimony (I gave mine at the last one–Stig Andreasson did a bang-up job of translating for me), the singing of several songs from the songbook (accompanied today by a guitar and a mandolin), updates from the missionaries we support, a devotional, taking an offering, and having a little treat with coffee (today it was julekake with cheese, bløtkake, and some lemon bars I brought).
What has been especially rich about these meetings is that there are real, long-term missionaries in attendance. Today, we had Stig and Åsa Andreasson who were church planters in France, Per and Alice Andresen who are missionaries to Brazil, and Kai and Sonja who are missionaries to Swaziland. It has been a joy to listen to the wisdom of these exceptional sisters and brothers in the Lord. I may not understand everything, but I can follow along in the Bible as well as with the little Norsk I know.
As was said today, we had with us missionaries from France, Brazil, Swaziland, Norway, and America. We can all be missionaries.