Thursday, December 29, 2011

MTC Sweet MTC (Taken Directley From Hannah's Email Heading)

First things first. JEG ELSKER JER!!
E-mail works two ways, like a telephone. I know it's easiest to just dearelder me, but my poor district leader AEldste Swenson is getting sick of going to the post office three times a day to get all my letters. Maybe e-mail will help him save his shoes. Usually we can print the e-mails out in the morning, read them, then take the remaining 28 minutes to answer, so don't worry about taking up my precious 30 minutes on the computer. I love hearing from you however I can.
P-Days are beautiful. Today we accidentally (sorry, Danish is killing my spelling. Blame Scandinavia. I do. Every day.) slept in until EIGHT!! It was insane and beautiful. The one person who heard an alarm (we have four, so I don't know how this happened) decided to lie in until Zuster Stout turned on the light. Then Sister Campbell came and knocked on the door to see if we were done with breakfast and ready for laundry. How embarrassingly wonderful.
So, my district. I've told you the names of my AEsdster (plural of AEldste), but I haven't told you much about them. This is a pity, since they're absolutely hilarious. Every last one of them. And my Sostre. Last night Soster Arbon came in from the bathroom with a new Scripture Mastery memorized (we have a goal to do 2 a week). When she went to recite it to Sister Arbon, she started off "Second Nephi ... something." Soster Arbon had just taken a drink and totally lost it. She sprayed all over Soster Taylor, who started jumping around and shrieking, looking for a towel. Soster Arbon was laughing so hard she literally peed her pants a little. I saw the whole thing while reading my scriptures (or as Soster Taylor would say, my scrippy-scrappys). We've been laughing about it ever since.
One of our teachers instituted a policy that if you're late to class, you have to contact to get in. If your introduction and mini presentation is good enough, you can come in. If not, you're mocked and sent back outside to try again. We've adopted this policy to get into our dorm too. The best was when all four AEldstre were late with our more strict teacher, Bror Stacey. I'll write it in English, but bear in mind that this all took place in terribly broken Danish.
B. Stacey opens the door - "What do you want?"
AEldste Christiansen - "Hi, we're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of the ... uh ..." *looks down at his name tag*
B. Stacey closes the door.
B. Stacey opens the door - "What?"
AEldste Swenson - "Uh ..."
B. Stacey closes the door.
B. Stacey opens the door - "What?"
AE. C. - "Hej hej!"
S. - "If you say so." (Hej means hello, but saying it twice means good bye)
B. Stacey closes the door.
B. Stacey opens the door - "What?"
AE. Petersen - "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day -"
AE. S. - "Did anyone order a pizza?"
B. Stacey closes the door.
B. Stacey opens the door - "What?"
AE. C leaning on doorframe seductively - "Why hello there."
Eventually AEldste Holyoak got in with Swenson, but it took another try for Petersen to get Christiansen in. We were dying the whole time. Then they had to sing "As Sisters in Zion" in Danish. And when Bror Stacey laughs, he squeaks. He looks like a brunette version of the giraffe in Madagascar. And that's not being mean, he told us that's what he's always compared to. I would almost say he's my favorite teacher, but Bror Pullan and Bror Birk are amazing. They all teach so differently and so well. I can understand how missionaries come out of here nearly fluent in Danish.
Oh! And fantastic news! I said the prayer yesterday and Bror Birk (a native Dane from Odense) said he couldn't hear my French accent at all! I've been working really hard on that, parroting the teachers whenever possible and reading my Danish Book of Mormon aloud every night. I'm still in Nefis Forste Bog, and I understand about every fifteenth word. Mostly because every thirtieth word is a form of God. Bror Stacey said my teaching is coming along very well. When we have to practice contacting them to gain pretend investigators it seems like I have no trouble with the language. It's odd, because Soster Taylor and Soster Arbon are better at Danish in the classroom than I am (I'm so distracted trying to get the accent that I tend to forget word order), but it comes to me so naturally during lessons.
Yesterday we had a workshop here that explained in concrete terms the change in my Danish fluency over the last week. We were to ask a question, study a few passages about revelation, then pray to receive our own answers to the questions. I asked how I can be a more effective teacher, despite the linguistic limitations. The answers/promptings I got were to:
1. Love the Lord and the people, then let that love show in everything I do.
2. Search the stories of Paul in Acts.
3. See how the Savior taught and study his teachings in the Gospels for the method, not the message.
4. NEVER forget that the Lord is the one who is really teaching. I realized that I'd asked the wrong question, but He was answering the one I should have asked. "How can I step back from it all and let the Savior teach more?"5. Don't even worry about the language. Just keep working on it steadily. Regardless of language, the people you're teaching are all God's children and the Spirit will teach them without words. I also felt that this revelation came last for a reason.  It's true. When I focus on what I know or how to say it all in Danish, I lose that fluency and confidence and the lesson dies. When I focus on the investigator and try to puzzle out what they need to hear most, the language just comes. I've read all the phrases and vocab before, but I need to teach by the Spirit (not by Danish) in order for the Lord to "bring all things to my remembrance."
It hasn't always been easy, but the MTC has really changed how I view missionary work and the gospel.

Merry Christmas From the MTC--Letter From Sister Hannah Morse

Glaedilig Jul, familie!
Just a heads up, I've been sending my e-mails to my lovelyladyluck013 address too. I guess I got your address wrong on the last one, but I'm sending them to your kcstar23 now, as per your request. Please make sure you forward these to Dad, as well as any other letters to the family I send. I want to be sure he's in the loop without having to send duplicates of everything. If possible. Oh, and will you send my letters to the O'Very's so that Katie can get them? Thank you for sending me all those addresses. It might be a little late for Christmas cards, but I'm excited to write them. We gave cards to our teachers and Elders though, so they all came in handy.
Christmas at the MTC has been one to remember. We had a full on surprise Christmas Nativity Pageant last night, and guess who was Mary? Uh huh. Guess when they told me? The night before. They called me out of class and my companions were teasing me about being in trouble. Serves them right. They were assigned to be angels. They'd been scouring the MTC for Mary's and someone had walked past me that morning and seen my name tag. I didn't have to say anything, just move around the stage, sit there looking serene. People around here (people I've never seen in my life) keep calling me Mary. It's kind of become a thing. I can't wait for it to die down with New Years. We also got to watch A Christmas Carol (the George C Scott version) and I've never appreciated or missed the relative maturity of my friends and family so much. Yes, Ignorance and Want are under the robe of Christmas Present. It's a metaphor! Deal with it! I did, however, appreciate when Christmas Future came on screen and half the audience yelled "Expecto Patronum!" Seriously. Half the audience of two thousand missionaries. It was beautiful.
This morning we brought all the Christmas food we'd received and all the chocolate milk and donuts we'd been hording from breakfasts into the common room and had a huge Christmas Breakfast Junkfood Feast Extravaganza with the whole floor - Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, German, Phillipines. Everyone but the Swedes, who decided they'd rather have cereal in the cafeteria. Psh. Swedes. We sat around our tiny little Christmas trees and open all our presents. You'll be pleased to hear that I was well represented under that tree. Thank you for everything! This has been one of my favorite Christmases ever. I could wish for only three things right now - my family, music, and snow.
After Music and the Spoken Word (a Sunday tradition I want to keep up), a surprise apostle came to speak. There was much anticipation and speculation, but as soon as Elder Bednar's name appeared on the screen, the audience broke into cheers. It was one of the best talks I've ever heard. He talked about developing Christlike Character. "The Character of Christ is to turn out in love and compassion when the natural man would turn in." The scriptures are full of examples, like in Matthew 4, the temptation of Christ. See the footnote in verse 11. After all that, he sent the angels to John. After suffering in Gethsemane and all he went through, he still took the effort to heal the guard's ear - his enemy's superficial wound. I would've told him to grow up. Clearly I've got a long way to go. He also taught the difference between having a testimony and becoming conterted to Christ. A testimony isn't enough for anyone. You can still fall witha  testimony. But if you have faith in Christ himself, nothing anyone or anything can throw at you will be enough to make you fall away. He sealed an apostolic blessing upon all of us that "According to our desire and diligence, we will learn the character of Christ unto the developing of any gift for which we ask and that in so doing, we will never fall away from the church." Best Christmas present EVER!! It's true of anyone though, I feel.
Ha ha! An elder behind me just wrote something poetic and proclaimed himself a modern day Cassanova. His companion asked, "Uh ... Elder? Do you know who that was?" "Yeah," he said, "some poet dude." Not here, Elder. Not here. Everyone cheered when Bob Cratchet kissed his wife in the movie. Oh dear.
I love you all and can't wait to see you!
O'Very's - Thank you for the fudge and the socks! I'm so excited to wear them! The socks, that is. Not the fudge too.
Katie - Thank you for the unbelievable socks! I've been wearing them all morning and getting lots of compliments. Your long letters and gifts arrived just in time for Christmas (Dec. 23. How lucky is that?). My whole district (even the Elders) have listen to that card a million times. That's only mild hyperbole. Thank you for the music, for giving it to me.
Mom - How was playing the flute? How was Christmas? Can I see any good pictures you took? Did you get snow? Thanks for sending me all those bags! The Mission President's wife here has taken to given motherly hugs to all the sisters whenever she sees us. They're good, but not yours. Oh, and one of my good friends here, Sister Campbell (Norway-bound) is in Grandma and Grandpa's stake! She played with the Pridy (no idea how to spell that) girls too. I've also met the Nally's, who used to be the stake president there. I don't know if you know them, but they know G&G very well.
Greg - Did you get to do the turkey rotisserie this year or did you deep fry it with the ... uh ... I forget whose. I miss real meat!
Katie - I'm so sorry you were that sick! And I wasn't even there to read you Secret Garden. Expect a belated get-well card as soon as they open the mail here. I could only find one without cats. How was the Psych mid-season finale?
William - SatW, please! And maybe an appropriate failblog or two. Or XKCD? I miss real-world humor that isn't based on something the Elders did (though those are always funny. I'll share some in my next e-mail on Wednesday) or the cafeteria food. We did learn some fun Danish ones though. I'll have to teach you when I get back. They're really only funny in person. I wish you could see how perfectly all the districs have already fallen into the cultural stereotypes.
Dad - I'm still dying a little over those last two Dr Who episodes I missed. Quick question - Has George C Scott done any Sherlock Holmes anything? The Swedish elder sitting by me swore he recognized him from something along those lines.
Cheryl - Thank you so much for the photo book. I look being able to see some of my family whenever I want! Thank you for your letter too. That was a fantastic quote. I had to share the cookies and Tiger Butter with the Elders in my district and they greatly appreciated it. It must've taken forever to make all those. Can you send some photos from Christmas?

The MTC Drop Off

We picked her dad up and entered the MTC grounds. We pulled up to the drop off zone and by the time I turned the car off, popped the trunk, and walked to the back of the car, the Elders had the luggage unloaded. A few quick pictures and a hug for her mom and dad and she was off. The whole process took about 5 minutes. They have this procedure down to a science!

Last Minute Pictures Before the MTC

We took pictures before she entered the MTC. As I  was getting back in the car, I turned in time to see her waiving. I said, "That was so cute. Let me get one of you waiving good-bye." She was facing the MTC and I said, "Honey, you need to turn around." She replied, "I'm not waiving good-bye. I am waiving hello to the MTC!" She was so excited to be a missionary and she wanted to get going.

MTC, Here I Come

The morning started with Hannah's request of pumpkin waffles with buttermilk syrup. Her younger sister, Katie, stayed home from school for most of the morning to squeeze out a last few minutes with Hannah. William, her younger brother, didn't have to leave for work until later that afternoon and was also able to spend time with her. Last minute things were done, the car loaded, and off we went. William stood by the garage door, eyes tearing up, watching us drive off. He will miss her greatly. One last Turkey Chipotlle Panini and a Strawberry Italian Soda from one of her favorite lunch places-- Barnes & Noble and then MTC, here we come!

Meeting with the Stake President and Getting Set Apart

Hannah met with the President Scorseby the night before she was to leave for the MTC. It was a great interview and she received beautiful blessings and promises along with a caution when she was set apart. It was a wonderful evening and the spirit was very strong. Hannah was told that she was specifically sent to this mission. Her talents, personality, and gifts that the Lord has blessed her with would match with the culture and people of Denmark. She would love the people and they will love her. As we were driving home I asked her if she felt different now that she was set apart as a missionary. She thought for a moment and answered that she did! She said that with other callings and other times she has been set apart, it didn't feel that different. We were blessed this night!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Snow Miracle

Hannah wanted to see the house blanketed in snow one last time before she left. There has not been much snow this year, but the weather forecast predicted a chance of snow and Hannah included the snow request in her prayers. As the week progressed, the chance of snow decreased from a "slight" chance to almost "no chance." When she woke up the morning before she went into the MTC (Tuesday), she was surprised to find a little snow had fallen. We teased her saying that the request of an almost missionary was heard. It wasn't the blanket of snow she wanted, but a little skiff is better than nothing. She then confessed she didn't think the snow would happen and quit praying for it. First thing we did was dress for the weather and grab the sleds. Even with all the packing and last minute things to do, we had to take advantage of the "Snow Miracle."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Setting the Tone for the Season

This was one of the last family activities that Hannah wanted to do before she left. Temple Square with her brother and sister set the tone for the season to come.

Packing up and Getting Ready!

The entire front room of the house was dedicated to the task of packing and getting things ready. It was both an art (rolling the clothes and using every inch of space) and science (space saving bags was a great gift from one of her friends)--and a few prayers--that helped fit everything into 2 suitcases.

I Hope They Call Me On A Mission

With much excitement and anticipation, Hannah received her mission call to serve the Lord and His children in the Denmark, Copenhagen Mission! She has a l-o-n-g time to wait. She received her call during the summer and will not leave until December. We will enjoy having her around for as long as possible.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MTC Address

Hannah leaves for the MTC this Wednesday (December 14) and she would love to hear from everyone!

Sister Hannah Elizabeth Morse
MTC Mailbox # 106
DEN-COP 0214
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793