Remembering Odense, Denmark

23 years ago I was a missionary in Denmark. For the only Christmas I was there, I was in the city of Odense ("OH-dens-ah", for you pronunciation folks). Why am I thinking about this? Because I was browsing around this morning, and I came across a funny letter, appearing to be one of those letters read in sacrament meetings every once in a while, an edict coming down to the lay-folk, expressing some new policy or something. This letter was asking members to please forgo the use of live camels in sacrament meeting Christmas presentations. I had a bit of a chuckle at that.

When I was in Odense, the six of us missionaries were given the assignment to guard the LIFE-SIZE NATIVITY SET that was set up by the local ward on the church grounds. We are talking camels, sheep, donkey, wise men, Mary, Joseph, manger, baby Jesus, etc. The whole nine yards. We were told that, in the past, there was a problem with theft of some of the elements of the set.

So, we were tagged as the best way to protect the little plastic baby Jesus. Which was fine with us. Why? We were asked to sleep at the church for the entire month of December. The local members brought food and treats every day the entire time. And we did nothing but stay up all night playing Uno, eating too much, and then playing flag football with a Nerf ball all night long. Every hour we would make the rounds outside to count noses. What an easy job.

Until somebody stole a damn sheep. On our watch.

Then the shit hit the fan. And it wasn't fun anymore. Funny, the things one remembers with fondness.


for what it's worth said...

Did you think to check in the trunk of your Grandmother's car? Isn't that how she brought the sheep home?

Reach Upward said...

I also had an occasional odd assignment during my tenure in Norway many years ago. (I can remember being assigned to pick up a sister from the west coast at the train station and transferring her to a private bus that took her to a mental facility. She had lost contact with reality.) But nothing I was assigned to do matched guarding a nativity set for a full month.