Six hundred young Latter-day Saints descended on Aalborg, Denmark, recently for a week-long youth conference known as Festinord ’75 (Festival of the North ’75). They came from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Many of them came at a considerable sacrifice. They spent their time in dances, roadshows, games, songs, athletic contests, and activities of all kinds, including some proselyting in downtown Aalborg. There were also seminars and workshops on gospel-related subjects. Perhaps most important, they spent their time establishing ties of brotherhood with one another.
They stayed in two local schools and were fed by local members. The resources of the town were gladly put at their disposal by the mayor, who said, “The Mormons are one group that can be counted on to leave any place better than they found it.” They held a ball at the magnificent North Jutland Museum of Art, which was designed by three famous Scandinavian architects, Elissa and Alvar Aalto of Finland and Jean Jaques Baruël of Denmark. The town council had allowed the museum to be used as a ballroom only once before—at a ball honoring three prime ministers!
Each group of young people displayed amazing talent and determination. The group from Tønsberg, Norway, was typical. They decided to build a ten-meter-long horse costume and do a dance in it for the circus to be held as part of the conference. It was impossible, of course. There were only four active youth in the town, and they needed ten people to fill the costume. Not only that, they had no building in which to build the costume and practice the dance. Being too hardheaded to simply give up, they promptly recruited non-Mormon youth to build and dance in the costume with them. They built the horse and practiced the dance in the open fields around Tønsberg, and when the time came, they all went to Festinord, members and nonmembers alike.
Communication proved to be no problem for the young men and women of three nations. Their languages are similar enough that they could understand each other with some hard listening, and whenever that didn’t work, they simply switched to English, a language in which they all were fluent.
As a result of Festinord, the people of Aalborg have a warm feeling for the Church, while the young people, many from very small branches, were strengthened by their association with one another. Per Herry from Frolunoa, Sweden, said it all: “It’s wonderful to have a festival with so many LDS people.”