This fella was right outside the door of my hostel this afternoon.
I arrived in Vagar in the Faroe Islands yesterday afternoon, and found that I had just missed the bus to Thorshavn, the capital. The next bus would be in two hours. A taxi driver told me that he had room in his taxi to take me the hour’s drive for the equivalent of just under $30. Considering that I would have to somehow find the way to my hostel from the bus station, a drive straight to the door of the hostel seemed like a very good deal.
He stuck my suitcase in the taxi and told me that I could wait in the taxi if I wanted. However, I love to people watch, so I stayed near him in the airport until the other people who had booked a ride arrived. In about ten minutes they arrived and we all piled into the taxi, which was a nine-seater van. I sat in the back with an English lady, and a Faroese couple sat in the seat in front of us. My seatmate was very nice, and we made pleasant conversation.
About halfway to Thorshavn, we realized that we are here for the same purpose: to attend the Nordic Prayer Conference. Then we realized another very happy God-incidence (not coincidence!): her hotel is right next to my hostel. That turned out to be a very good thing because we had to somehow get to the church for the first session a couple of hours after arriving. So after a rest we had a light dinner together then shared a taxi to the church.
Meeting Fiona had been strategic for another reason: the whole conference has turned out to be in one Nordic language or another—without translation. Fiona has lived in Norway for the past thirty years near the border of Sweden. So she is fluent in both Norwegian and Swedish, and serves as a translator at her home church in Oslo. So Fiona translated for me and a few other English-speakers.
Fiona is very good at translation, when you consider that she’s translating from all different Nordic languages: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese. She has difficulties in a couple of them, and cannot translate Finnish at all because it’s the only language of the region that is not Nordic. But the Finnish people here have been speaking Swedish in order to be understood by the others.
Meeting Fiona has been strategic in another way: she was originally coming with a friend, but at the last minute her friend had to cancel. Since she had already paid, the hotel told her that they could give her credit to use in the hotel or vouchers to use in town. We haven’t seen much of town yet, but Fiona doesn’t really want to have to go shopping to spend the vouchers, so she opted for hotel credit. And since she’s not likely to be able to spend all the hotel credit on herself, Fiona has invited me to dinner and breakfast. That has turned out to be a big blessing for me because we’re pretty far out of town and there is no store or restaurant in the area besides the one in the hotel.
As I look back on it, if I had decided to wait in the taxi as the driver had suggested, I probably would have sat in the front seat by the driver, and would not have gotten to know Fiona on the drive from the airport. She would have been another person at the conference, but we probably wouldn’t have developed the kind of friendship that we’ve got now. In fact, it’s pretty amazing the way that God has blessed me with a new friend who has herself been such a blessing. As they say, we are blessed to be a blessing, and dear Fiona has truly been a living example of that. God is good!