“You are ready to go at four today?”
“Where? Go where?” I replied.
“You are to preach tonight. I told you, don’t you remember? We go must go to Horten (I thought he said “Horten” but he did not. It sounded like Horten, a village about 20 kilometers to the east.).
I was immediately panicked and I raced through my mind. “Why didn’t I know this? Did he tell me? Well, probably, yes, he did but somehow I didn’t hear him. Nevertheless, I will have to quickly throw myself together appear calm and prepared.”
I thought through what I might talk about, put on presentable, pulpiteering clothes and ran out of the door at four with Jeanne close behind me.
We happily settled ourselves into the van and away we went down the hill and onto the highway in the direction of Horten. We went right through the city of Horten, took the van onto a ferry and floated across to Moss on the other side of the Oslo fiord.
I knew I had it wrong again. No doubt, the appointment was not in Horten. Horten wasn’t even close. Instead, we drove and drove until we came within five miles of Sweden finally arriving at a small church called Betel. Cross cultural communication has its complications.
By 7:30 I was up and at’em with what I think turned out to be a happy outcome. People seemed to be edified and blessed. I have been invited back and that’s always a good sign.
Following the hour and a half service we went for “bread” at the pastor’s home. They call this “bread” and they have it three times a day. Generally it is the same fare at all three occasions and in every home in Norway. The big meal is around 3PM and they call this meal, “Dinner.”
One can expect these items to appear on the table, bread, butter, jelly, cucumbers, red peppers, tomatoes, lunch meats, cheeses (a brown one for sure), pickles, liver pate’, perhaps caviar, honey and sometimes boiled eggs. It’s all good but I’m not used to this lack of variety.
Truth is, in Italy, it is almost always pasta of one kind or another and in Viet Nam, rice done this way or that. Bread was undoubtedly the historical nutritional mainstay of Norway in times past. Perhaps now it is mostly a hold over from tradition.
At any rate we had this wonderful spread of food at the pastors house (Norwegian coffee is terrific!) and were advised that if we didn’t leave immediately we would miss the ferry. At break-neck speed we were down the highway toward Moss and home.