Bort – On The Way To The USA

Just for a change, we’ve had a busy weekend (!).

Friday dawned golden. Most of the day was taken with a concert in the neighbouring parish of Sørreisa (for me) and washing / packing (Sarah and Susanna).

The concert was a group of 4 ‘geezers’ – Odd Fredriksen and friends. Odd is the guitarist the church band and a fantastic player, vocalist and friend. I played organ and piano, and we were joined by Sven Arild Berntsen (local artist and musician – vocals and mouthorgan) and Steinar Steffensen (electric guitar). It was eclectic mix of hymns, original songs and a bit of rock / blues / gospel. For me it was a little reminiscent of Prince George, with the organ at the back of the church (up a spiral staircase), and the piano at the front, so an opportunity for a bit of exercise between songs!

On Saturday the church band took part in a missions celebration evening with a Norwegian missionary who works in Japan. Whilst language learning is slow for me, I understood almost everything he said (apart from when he spoke Japanese!). We sang in Norwegian (a setting of John 3:16 by Odd, a translation of When I needed a neighbour and a new song) and English (Shout it from the rooftops, from the album we recorded at Prince George, which we explained to the audience as equivalent to shouting from the mountain-tops in Norway).

Today we had 3 services, and a visit to a group of confirmands on a weekend away, to teach them some new songs and hymns. After that it was a race back to Finnsnes so that Sarah and Susanna could catch the airport bus to begin their two week trip to visit Ruth and friends in the USA (Bort = away). As the bus pulled away it was really cold (allegedly -17C) and the whole sky was green with the northern lights. It’s hard to get good northern light photos in the town because of the street lights, so I took a walk on the bridge.  There’s also a long exposure shot of the hurtigbåt (the ‘fast’ boat) as it set off for Tromsø.

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