5th May 2016

Reykjavík has a humid subarctic continental climate with cool summers and no dry season. This is the typical description of the weather around April every year. When the pastors from the Scottish, Irish and Welsh Missions descended on the island in the last week of April, Iceland left no stone unturned, no volcano at ease, to provide its visitors with what is estimated to be the best weather of the entire year.

DSC_9456-copyFor three days in a row, these pastors, accompanied by Dr Daniel Duda, Adventist Mission and Education director of the Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists, and Pastor Llew Edwards, Ministerial director of the British Union Conference, experienced sunny warm weather that allowed them to explore the best Iceland has to offer.

The team met together in the Hlidardalsskoli Adventist Retreat Centre. The centre is a school that is the property of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Iceland, and it provides wonderful facilities for groups to enjoy retreats, and a centrally positioned platform from which to explore this beautiful island.

One feature of the school is that it has a natural hot water supply that never runs dry, and provides more hot water than the school can cope with, so a long hot shower is the order of the day. The hot fountain also provides a constant plume of steam where the excess hot water runs into the stream and down the hill.DSC_9414-copy

Dr Duda, as expected gripped every listener as he challenged, explained and unwrapped current issues and trends in very understandable ways. The question he grappled with for most of the meetings is simply "Why?"

Why are we doing what we are doing? Why is the Church teaching what it does? These questions ought to be raised when we do church. It adds value to our values and it provides perspective in the important work of the Church. Pastor Edwards added his wisdom to the already excellent content Dr Duda had already provided. The pastoral team eagerly took part and it was evident that they benefitted greatly from this interaction.

DSC_9495-copyThe afternoons provided the perfect opportunity for the visitors to explore the island. Pastor Eric Gudmundsson offered to act as tour guide for the team, and he did a wonderful job taking everyone to the various spots of beauty. They quickly discovered that Iceland has a lot to offer. After lectures each day, the teams got into their rental cars, swimming gear in hand, ready to test the warm waters of an active volcanic island. Trips included visits to Geysir, where, if you wait a few moments, the earth provides you with a free instant shower of warm water and steam.

The pastors also decided to visit a farm near the spot where Eyjafjallajökull  errupted in 2010, which caused thousands of flights to be grounded and affected much of Europe. Here, after a walk of about 2 kilometres, waited a pool of warm water that allowed visitors to have a swim in the heart of Mother Nature, mountains covered with snow on all sides.DSC_9638

As the week drew to an end, the Scottish contingent were preparing to visit the Blue Lagoon, as the rest of the pastoral team already did so on Sunday when they had arrived. Spending some time in the water and pasting their faces with silica mud masks, the pastors indicated their intentions to look good for their congregations and families on their return.


[Jimmy Botha]


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