Hospitality, Faeroese Style
“Good-bye! God bless you!” cried our Faeroese hosts as we boarded the tour buses. Our new friends braved the steady downpour to bid us a tearful farewell. During our five-day singing tour of the Faeroe Islands, Calvary Bible Church choir had been the recipients of hospitality we would not soon forget.
While flying back towards Scotland, I thought back to the day of our arrival and relived the sweet memories.
With anticipation our choir had left Chicago O’Hare to fly an indirect route through Scotland to our final destination: the Faeroe Islands.
The incredible view of the rugged, treeless terrain made me catch my breath as the plane descended through the clouds. The airport seemed completely isolated. A welcoming party of Faeroese, however, met our flight and embraced us like long lost relatives.
The landscape mesmerized me on the winding trip to Torshavn, the capital city. The long summer day tricked my inner clock, as the sun shone high in the azure, evening sky.
As we drove into the cobblestone town square, we were serenaded by Ebenezer’s choir, standing on its
church steps, singing familiar Christian music in Faeroese.
A light supper had been prepared and was served inside the church basement. Needing sleep, instead we consumed luscious soups and bread while smiling and nodding zombielike at folks we had just met.
Finally, we were parceled out to various families. Judy Hiatt, another single gal, and I were honored to stay with the Christiansens: Johann and Yordis.
I believe Johann attended all of our concerts in the Faeroe Islands. While carting us from place to place, he played tapes that he had recorded at our last concert or one of our C.D.’s he had purchased. It made us feel like celebrities.
About every three or four hours, we were offered another cup of tea or an additional meal. The Christiansens never wanted us to suffer hunger. As we caught onto the dining schedule, Judy and I learned to pace ourselves. More cheese, bread, and seafood delicacies would follow in close order. At the end, our tight belts and skirt bands symbolized our appreciation of their culinary hospitality.
Each evening, after hours of touring, practicing, and singing at various churches spread throughout the islands, we returned to Torshavn and our host families. We staggered off the buses into the waiting cars. I chuckled at the incongruity of being chauffeured after midnight by relative strangers. I couldn’t imagine that happening in the U.S. We were humbled and thankful for their generous sacrifice of time and resources.
The highlight of the adventure came the evening before our departure. Several churches joined together to provide a banquet fit for kings. Our host families lovingly prepared their special dishes for our enjoyment. Johann had spent hours frying up pans of fish to share with his newfound American friends. The tables were laden with every kind of seafood imaginable. More unusual than the familiar shrimp, lobster, and scallops, were two strange dishes: whale blubber and air-dried leg of lamb. I gingerly bit into a piece of the rubbery blubber; the pungent smell of the lamb, however, turned my stomach. Amazingly enough, the Faeroese children piled the raw meat onto buttered bread and ate it with gusto. Our pastor assured us that some delicacies require an acquired taste.
More precious even than the feast, however, was the fellowship. As a symbol of our friendship, American and Faeroese flags donned the tables. Johann had also purchased little flag pins for the choir members, which showed both flags. The bond that had formed naturally over the last few days helped me anticipate heaven, when we would celebrate with believers of all cultures as we worshipped around the throne of God.
Even today, nearly two years after the event, I can visualize that party and remember the joy that filled the room. The Faeroese are not shy about performing at social gatherings. Self-appointed groups stood and regaled us with choruses and hymns. Even with the unfamiliar words, the familiar melodies drew Americans and Faeroese together in worship of our one God and Savior.
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