Monday, December 3, 2012

The Binky Tree - When a child gets old enough that the decide to give up their pacifier, they come with their mom and dad and tie it to the branches of this tree in the park. I've even seen children wave goodbye to them as they walk away.

Sister Johnson and me on that hill shaped like a giant. Guess where we're standing.

Me on the hand. It really was a cool hill.

 All around Odense are statues based on H. C. Andersen's stories. This one is just so well done.


Week 33

Kære Alle Sammen,

Some of you have heard by now, but I will be coming back home on Friday on temporary medical release. 

Let me explain. No. There's too much. Let me sum up.

It's no secret that I've been sick lately. I've talked with a bunch of doctors over here and gotten a bunch of different tests and diagnoses too, but my Danish doctor and the Mission Doctor in Germany have no idea what it is. We've been able to work half days, but that's still just frustrating. It's been going on for about 7 weeks now, and the Mission Presidency decided last Thursday to offer me this temporary medical release to go home and get the problem fixed, then reapply and hopefully come back to Denmark. This decision was only reached after a lot of prayer and after trying all we could here, and I feel like it's the right course of action. Whatever happens though, I've definitely felt the peace of the Lord in in. Even if we have no clue what's going on, He has a plan. 

Back to the important stuff.

Je blessed the sacrament yesterday. That was ... amazing beyond description. He was really nervous, but he did a great job. The ward now has 3 young men involved in blessing and passing the sacrament, which is more than I've seen in any other ward here. Two of them are converts. We've really been blessed.

Do you remember the story of Je's dad, Ku, and how he was so opposed to Je being baptized that he stopped Je's first baptismal date from happening? Since the baptism he's been giving poor Je hell. He still thinks that it's not possible to really be a Dane and a Man without the drinking and swaggering pride. Je's holding fast though, and he has his step mom, step sister, and half sister who are all members supporting him. Hopefully Ku doesn't get to Da though, Je's step brother. He's been taught on and off by the Sisters here for a while. He comes to church and everything, but doesn't really have that desire to get a testimony for himself. Weirdly enough, Ku also comes to church most Sundays. There's hope for him yet though. Yesterday the bishop announced the news of my temporary medical release and went through all the parts of a normal farewell -- including having me share my rather teary testimony (not fair! The Priesthood choir had just sung a really touching rendition of "Praise to the Man", and that song always gets me) and having everyone sing "God Be With You 'til We Meet Again" at the close of the meeting. "I'm not dead yet!" After Sacrament Meeting though, Ku came up to shake my hand. He actually seemed really sad. His eyes were even a bit misty. I've never seen him show any emotion like that. He said I fit in in Denmark, and that they'd miss me. Okay, for ANYTHING to be remotely Danish makes it automatically divine in his eyes. That might have been the biggest compliment I've ever gotten in my entire life. I'll miss him and his family too though. He really is a good man with a heart of gold beneath the scruffy Viking exterior.

On Wednesday we had a really touching experience with Ol too. You know how much I love that guy. We'd planned to meet up for a lesson, but there was a miscommunication somehow and it didn't end up happening. When we texted Ol, he said he was too depressed to schedule another appointment right then. We were a bit freaked out. That's not at all like him. We apologized with everything we had, but he reassured us that it wasn't our fault in any way. He wasn't sad about the meeting. You all know Ol is crazy, right? Like how he biked from Aarhus to Copenhagen? He's also run in the New York and Boston marathons and LOVES running. The Berlin Marathon was this weekend, and he had been training up to go to it for 3 years, and had plans to go with 2 of his friends. He's been super excited for it. However, he injured his hip a few months ago, and his trainer and doctor told him it wasn't strong enough yet, and he couldn't run in the race. He was crushed, of course. We were at the train station to catch a train to Aarhus, but he really wanted to see us before we left. He rushed all the way to the station to catch us before the train. I just wanted to hug him when he got there! Poor guy. Apparently, he's been in a lot of pain for the last few weeks and just didn't want to tell anyone. We chatted for a little bit, and he brought us a gift he'd been planning on bringing to our appointment. He remembered that we said we liked Harry Potter, so he gave each of us a children's fantasy book he'd found. Seriously, Ol is the sweetest guy. We said a prayer with him right there on the platform before the train left and you know what? I don't know if I've ever felt the Spirit stronger with Ol than on that noisy platform. He also said he would love to get a Priesthood blessing, so we've worked that out for Wednesday. It'll be sad to say goodbye to him. 

This is all so surreal, but ... I guess I'll see you guys soon!

Jeg elsker jer!
Søster Morse

Mom - I just responded to your e-mail, but if you have any more questions, you can also e-mail the mission office at . They'll be able to answer you sooner. I love you!

Dad - How funny is it that we just barely miss each other? Don't worry about it though. I'll see you guys when you get back. Thank you so much for your e-mail. You were the first person I got to talk to after getting the news (besides my companion and the Elders who were with us at the time), so I'm sorry I was so emotional. You know exactly how it is though, and how much you come to love every part of your mission. Thank you so so so much for your words of comfort. And yes, Gloria's sounds perfect, but only if you think you'll be able to go back to American Italian food so soon after the real thing. I love you.

Katie - Have fun in Italy! That sounds stupid. Who needs to be told to have fun in Italy? Anyway, you'll have loads of fun. I can't wait to hear all your stories when you get back. The tables have turned! Now I'll be the one waiting for YOU to get home from Europe!

William - Everyone else will be in Europe or back at work, so plan on spending a loooooooot of quality time with your favorite big sister. Just a heads up.

Supreme Mugwump - Yeah, I definitely need to send your package now, huh. I've also got a letter for you. And none of this news should come as a surprise to you, but thanks for your encouragement through it all. I'll write you even more while I'm State side. Promise.

Week 32

Kære Alle Sammen,

Wow. Søster Moore and I were just giddy during sacrament meeting yesterday.
We just got back from lunch with the Elders and the Senior Couple in Odense. It was the Senior Couple's last P-Day here before going home, so we celebrated with pizza at Mama's Cafe. They were joking that it was just like a family. In a weird way, it kind of was. We were cheering Ældste Sorensen on to finish his whole pizza. Elder Pitts was just teasing us. When Søster Moore asked what he ordered he answered, "It's looks really good! I'm excited. It's this thing that looks like bread dough, but it's not. It's called pizza dough. And then they put a sauce made out of tomato stuff on it ..." and had to wait until the very end to hear the toppings. Meanwhile Ældste and Søster Olsen were telling us stories making sure Søster Moore and Ældste Pitts didn't set anything on fire while playing with the candles on the table. Yep. Just like home.
Søster Moore has been Eurofying her wardrobe for when she goes home in December (at her parents' orders), so last P-Day was our big shopping adventure. I get to be her personal stylist and explain how it all works. Mom, I know I rebelled against all of your advice, but I DID listen. Thank you for not giving up on me. I may not care about mixing summer and winter fabrics, but at least my companion knows about it now.
On Friday we met with Ol in a cafe for hot chocolate. He just wanted some help practicing English for his American Studies class, so we hid from the rain and just chatted about American culture. There are so many things we do that I never thought were weird. For example, Ol ran the Boston Marathon a few years ago and while he was leaving the hotel a sweet old guy patted his shoulder and said, "You know, you look like you could win it!" That totally freaked Ol out. He still remembers it. His response was , "Are you kidding me?! I'm way to white!" He just didn't get why some random guy was being so personal. And optimistic. Danes a such realists. And I never realized just how loudly we talk. It's true though. It was a wonderful experience though, being able to sit and talk about books and movies and just get to know Ol like a normal person. Regardless of where he ends up gospel-wise, we're so being friends post-mission. I love that guy.
This is totally random, but I also love the ward here. Søster Johnson knew everyone and all of their family across Denmark after 10 months here, so it was mostly just following her lead. With Søster Moore though we've gotten to know them all more personally, and they're all so great. There's an older lady in the ward with Alzheimer's who always flirts with Ældste Sorensen. It's hilarious. Every time she sees him she leans over and whispers to me (just loud enough for him to hear, "Er han ikke en flot fyr?" ("Isn't he a good-looking man?")
We had Mutual with the Young Women this week, which was also just a blast. Our ward has the best Unge Piger nogensinde! We also got a call about 45 minutes before church started, asking if we'd teach the lesson in the 14-16 year-old class about 3 Nephi 1-7. Fantastic. Søster Moore stressed a bit, but it actually turned out really well. We just have the best ward in all of Denmark. No contest.
Jeg elsker jer!
Photos: Danish kroner!

Mom - Don't worry too much about me being sick. It's just a mystery thing, and we've been able to work a lot of half days, so I still feel like I can kind of be a missionary! I know you've had that package waiting for ages, but would you mind waiting just one more week? Hopefully by then the doctor will know exactly what it is, and I might need you to send me some *ahem* "American candy" to treat it. ;) Highland sounds absolutely beautiful right now. I love the land and climate here, but I do miss the mountains some times. They're just so majestic! Thanks for the 3 p's. I'm going to have to put those up in my apartment somewhere!
Katie - I can't believe your Italian trip is so soon!! Send me a postcard or something! And that's so cool that Madame is having twins!!! Poor AP student though. That'd be hard - teaching a high school French class while you're only in high school yourself. Still, that's awesome!
William - Don't ask how I know about it, but you should watch the VGHS (Video Game High School) series on Youtube. I saw the first episode at a member's and it reminded me so much of you.
Greg - Have you taken the ATV up in the mountains for fall yet? Next time you do, will you send me pictures?
Dad - Sorry to hear everyone's been sick. I didn't know you lived in Brigham City, actually, but that's really cool that they've finished another temple. I've always loved them, even more so after going through for myself, but after being here I think I'm just beginning to understand what it's all about. And thank you for the quote from the church in Stanford. I've never heard that before, but it's so true. I can't tell you how many times we ask people during contacting, "Do you believe in God?" only to have them answer, "Not really. I believe in science". It seems like only half an answer. As it said, no widening of physical understanding can compensate for the narrowing of the human soul. That's the norm here, but there are also so many people who do believe and have an open horizon, but no destination. Enter the missionaries. :) Have fun in Italy! It must be beautiful at this time of year. I'm almost jealous, but let's face it. Nothing beats Denmark. You know what I mean. Denmark ftw!
Søst T - Thanks for the super cute card! You're my muse. You've inspired me to get a coloring book. I'll write back soon! Oh, and I got more of those pony cards. None were quite as funny as your pack. I think you guys got the winner.
Sost A - So I blatantly plagiarized your e-mail from a couple weeks ago and e-mailed the photos of the money to my parents. 1. Because I don't want to take the photos myself. 2. Because yours look awesome. 3. Let's face it, when am I ever going to get my hands on a 500 kroner bill? I'll send some photos of the coins though, and you can steal those if you want. Fair trade?
Supreme Mugwump - Okay, I PROMISE I'll get the year mark package off soon. I'm finishing up the last gift as we speak. ... As I type. How are you settling into Bellevue? Say hi to Hna Weagle for me! Have you been able to see the photos I sent you on Google+?

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Issue of the Denmark Mission Newsletter

Here is the link to the September issue of the Denmark Mission Newsletter.

Week 31

Kære Alle Sammen,
This week has been really slow, actually. We've been stuck inside because, wonder of wonders, I'm sick. Again. Seriously. An awesome member (the wife of the man who plopped the helmet on my head when he saw I was riding home without one) is a nurse at a clinic here, and she set us up with one of her doctors here. We're starting to get the hang of the socialist medicine system, and this new doctor has taken a personal interest in the missionaries. He's the most clinical, stern person I've ever met, but that's exactly what we need after other doctors who literally told me, "That's not my problem." Sigh.
Half the mission is in mourning after BYU's loss to the U. Elder Sorensen told me all about it at church yesterday, and Mom added a few details in her e-mail. Seriously? It bounced off the upright?! That was so sad. Our bishop is a BYU fan, so he was a bit sad too. Half way around the world, and the BYU/Utah game is still big emotional news. Wow.
Mom, Dad, you two are absolutely brilliant. Psychic too. It's scary. Both of you shared your own spritiual thoughts about pressing forward in faith and turning your life over to the Lord. That's something I've really gained an appreciation for as a missionary. That, and that the Lord blesses us for our faith and our efforts, not for what we think we accomplished. He has a plan and it's His work that we're all engaged in in some way or another. He only asks for us to  I won't go into detail, but that's something I've really been thinking about lately. You two are the answers to prayers, seriously. Thank you for all of the encouragement and uplifting thoughts you send. They really are appreciated.
I just have to share the quotes you two sent. They're wonderful.
“God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.” -- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life." -- Ezra Taft Benson
Jeg elsker jer!
Photo: Us at Burger King after Zone Conference. We got kids meals. And the glasses glow in the dark!
Mom - Yes, Denmark does have a seasonal autumn. It's beautiful! To get to church we cut behind a cathedral and through a park full of aspens. It's absolutely breathtaking right now, all the fallen golden leaves. There's a WWII memorial statue there too, which only adds to it all. Autumn up in the mountains and canyons though is beyond compare. That's so cool that you got to go up to that conference. That must have almost been like a vacation! I LOVE the quote you sent me. Thanks. And I loved your math comment too. I totally agree. There's a reason God only gave us ten fingers and ten toes. That's all we need. As for the package, you might want to hold off just a bit on sending it. I'll get back to you next week. And thanks again for the guitar music!
Katie - Hearing about your AP History test subjects makes me miss history so much.
Dad - Thank you. I love you guys too. It's so true about the Lord being able to make more of our lives than we ever could. I'm sorry you had to come home to BYU losing, after jetsetting around to the conferences. That's a great welcome home gift.
Supreme Mugwump - That's so cool about Eliza!!! And that you got to go! What a miracle. Give Hna Weagle a giant hug for me. She sounds amazing. I love her already for taking such good care of you. And that dog bite is crazy. I'm just so glad it wasn't worse. Good luck with the sore and the mystery bottle. Blegh. I'm sooo glad you got the last piece of the puzzle. Apparently I left one in Frederiksberg when I transfered, but got it again on splits. Thank Søster Guesne for that one. I was seriously worried another one had gotten lost somewhere though. Sorry you've had a crappy time lately. Wish I were there to give you a hug.

Week 30

Kære Alle Sammen,

This week has definitely been the most unique of my mission.

Yesterday we met with a reporter from TV2 Fyn - the regional tv news station for the entire island of Fyn. She was doing a 10 minute interview with us and following us with her cameraman for the day as we went about our work. That's a lot of time, tv-wise! It's all in connection with the Mitt Romney thing. So on Thursday we met with a representative from the Church's PR devision here who gave us coaching on the interview process, techniques to respond tactfully, and how to answer her questions while staying in control of the interview and getting the message across. It was aaaaaall in Danish too, so that was just a blast. She was actually really fun, and the cameraman was so sweet. They started by interviewing us one-on-one, beginning with personal "getting to know you" questions, like "Where are you from?", "Tell us about your family.", and "Now tell me, why did you decide to serve a mission?", and switching to more controvercial topics like "Why can't women be priests in your church?", "What's the deal with you not drinking alcohol and coffee?", and a bunch of questions about homosexuality and divorce (with my family background). She also asked a lot about how the whole Mitt Romney thing is affecting our work, our political views (which we can't share), and the church's standpoint on it all. Søster Moore and I actually feel like we did pretty well. Søster Moore had given a talk in church that Sunday, so they filmed her reading a bit of it from the pulpit. They also filmed her playing "I Am A Child of God" on the piano and singing (she majored in Drama education, and taught at a high school before coming, and has a gorgeous voice) while I sat and listened. And a bunch of random opening and closing shots she'll probably voice over where we walk into the church, sit down, and start reading in the Book of Mormon, then a few where we close our books, stand, and walk out. The camera man said he knows what he wants to do with it, so I'll trust him. Then we showed them around the church, telling about the baptismal font and everything. They also filmed us with photos of our family, telling a bit about everyone. That's right. You guys will all be on the Danish news. The best was of me walking into a bathroom while Søster Moore waited outside, since that's the only time we're only allowed to be apart. Whatever. The weirdest part was when they filmed our faces as we watched a clip of Romney's and Obama's acceptance speaches. Both were them just trying to make themselves seem like everyone else to get that connection. Søster Moore and I were not at all interrested, so I don't think she got what she was looking for.

It was really cool contacting with them though. Awkward, but cool. Hey, you try explaining the Book of Mormon to someone on the street while you've got a camera four inches from your face! It went well though. They also got shots of us knocking, which was hilarious. The reporter went and knocked on a few doors to ask if she could film us knocking at the house. Everyone just shut the door in her face. NOW she knows what it's like to be a missionary! In the end she gave up and just filmed us from the street as we knocked. It was weird doing it with microphones on our jackets though!

In the end we visited the bishop's family. This was something we'd really been pushing for, since this is the heart of our work. We can knock on doors all day, but the real success comes when we're in the homes of members, less actives, and investigators. He's pretty young too. His kids are 11, 9, and 4. We held a Family Home Evening with them where we prayed, shared a scripture and a spiritual thought, and sang a song. That was the best part of the whole interview.

It will air some time before Nov 6 with elections, but she's not sure exactly when. The whole news reel will be in their website. It'll all be in Danish, but I'll send you guys the link anyway.

So the trainings, pre-interview meetings, and interview work has taken up most of our week. I don't have much else to write about.

I love you all! Thanks for all of the e-mails and photos this week!

Jeg elsker jer,

1. Søster Moore and me at the beach in Kerteminde
2. Fun with the statues in Kerteminde
3. Our bikes don't play well with others
4. The fishermen on the docks in Kerteminde

Mom - Thank you soooo much for all the photos! I loved seeing everyone. Seth was adorable! And the camel is so cute. I'm looking forward to seeing him. I've decided to name him Alma. Don't worry about sending the package off. It will get here when it gets here, and you have a lot on your plate right now with school and helping Greg and jetsetting around the country. I love hearing from you, and every package is a treasure, but it's not worth stressing over. You're amazing either way.

William - Mom said you were going to write, but that's fine. My half way mark isn't until the 14th, so you've got a few days before I get offended. ;) I love you!

Katie - I'm so glad school is going well! It's crazy to think you've gotten so old and mature-ish (I say mature-ish, because everyone tells me you're becoming more like me, and I would never describe that as fully mature). I remember the beginning of my Junior year at AFHS so vividly that it's mind-blowing to think that you're in the same place now. Wow. By the way, that is such a cute picture of you on the 4-wheeler! I absolutely love the picture of you and Camilla laughing though. That's so cute.

Greg - I'm glad you're close to being back to full speed again! I was a bit sick this last week, and spending a few days inside drove me absolutely crazy. I can't imagine 3 weeks. Ugh. Seems like you're a trooper though!

Grandpa M. - Thank you for your story. It's always so good to hear the impact one person can make, especially without knowing it. That's every missionary's dream, you know? I'm so glad that you are feeling better after the treatments and working back in the temple again. That brings its own sense of peace and strength. I love you!

Dad - Hahaha! I love the diagram of the brain. It's sadly true. I've been getting some notifications that my e-mails weren't delivered to your address, but you kept responding as normal, so I didn't think much of it. Sad. Well, just so you know, I also died laughing at the license plate photo you sent. Now that's clever. That's so cool about the Dr Who cast! Poor Søster Moore is also a huge Harry Potter fan, but left right before the last movie came out. She's been living in tragic un-knowing-ness (hey, that works in Danish ... just not English) ever since.

Supreme Mugwump - Thanks for the half-way card and the cd! I'm so excited to listen to it! I just got it in the mail as we left to e-mail, so it was perfectly timed. I have a year mark package all ready for you, but your gift is taking a bit longer to put together than I thought. I got your birthday package in August though, so but that timing, I have until mid December to get it to you. ;) I'll try to get it off next P-Day though.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sisters Morse, Johnson, Guesne and Olsson p-day visit to Anderson House 8_12

Sisters Morse, Johnson, Guesne and Olsson p-day visit to Anderson House 8-12-12

More Photos--Aren't these statues cool?

This is just a cool bench. 
The Little Mermaid
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Clever Hans (not sure if that's what it called in English, but that's how it translates)

More Photos--Odense is beautiful

Odense is beautiful.

This is the bridge we cross on the way to church just after sunset when the mist comes.

Vacuuming the baptismal font. This photo is becoming a tradition.
 This is the graveyard across the street from our apartment. Graveyards in Denmark are nothing like American ones. There are hedges and trees and lights and they're the most beautiful, well-kept places in the city. We walk through this one all the time. We also have a friend here. Every time I've been in, a little grey tabby cat follows us around. She recognizes our voices, and comes when we call her. Her name is Hecate, after the Greek goddess of magic and also crossroads. (Dad, it's all your fault.) I wish I had a picture of her to send too.

Vacuuming the baptismal font. This photo is becoming a tradition.

Interesting Facts From Denmark

P.S. Here in this wonderful country of Denmark, you can only name your children from a government approved list of names.  Here are some of the names that got added to that list this year: Girl names - Aloha,Charme, Cirkel, Dyne, Engle, Europa, Fan, Fe, Fri, Gift, Ninja, Ny, Ok, Panda, and Pop. Boy names - Awesome, Cello, Cobra, Dreng, Faktor, Fru, Jazz, Kamel, Laban, Lurifax, Memo, Offer, Og, Skat, and Sok.  And here are the famous people's names that you can use: Afrodite, Aladdin, Allah, Aristoteles, Bilbo, Buddha, Cirkeline, Cher, Cæsar, Frodo, Gandalf, Hamlet, Jesus, Judas, Kermit, Kleopatra, Lancelot, Lucky Luke, Messi, Obama, Pippi, Ra, Rocky, Saxo, and Snoopy. Ha yeah I just thought you might get a kick out of that. Have a good week! :)

Week 29

Kære Alle Sammen,
I wish I could've been there! The invitation was so cute. I loved the photos. Will you do me a favor and send (you can just use e-mail) me photos from the wedding? The best of luck to you two!
Thanks for the correction, Dad. Yes, the week number in the subject line is the count from when I arrived in Denmark, not the MTC. For Sisters the real life/mission life conversion is about 4 years to one month, meaning the first two months in the MTC is all before you reach the age of accountability.
You guys remember Ma, right? The incredible young woman who was baptized in February back in Copenhagen? She and Kim (remember me saying she was engaged?) prayed and fasted about where to live after the wedding, and both got the clear impression that Odense was the right place for them. I'm so proud of her. Seven months ago she'd dropped all contact with the church and was living with her boyfriend. Now she's happily married to a great guy and fasting about where to begin her family. Crazy!! I nearly died of shock when she came up beside me at church and whispered "hi". Søster Moore was almost in tears. She was one of the first investigators Søster Moore ever taught, and the first (of many) she's taught to be baptized. If you'd seen Ma before, you wouldn't even recognize her now. She's amazing.
Things are going well. Gi is now a regular at the YSA Center, and she and I really got to bond last week. We were playing crud and she was my coach, giving me pep-talks and mockingly rubbing my shoulders. I pretended to dump a cooler of Gatorade on her after I won. It was a pretty dramatic show-down between Lee (the awesome assistant ward mission leader - he and his wife are easily my best friends in Odense) and me.
We had another fantastic miracle this week. That feels wrong to say, since I think we have a miracle every day out here, easily, but this was a big one. After our district meeting on Tuesday morning, our whole district got to go out and contact around Odense in different companionship combos so that we could learn from each other (yay! Elders splits!) So I was contacting with Ældste Sorensen and one of the other Elders, when a young woman and her boyfriend stopped us. She had a lot of questions about what we did as missionaries and especially what we did when we weren't out missionarying ... that doesn't work in English ... whatever, you get the idea. Anyway, we talked for a bit and invited her to our church's open house. She wasn't very interrested, but accepted a card and left. That evening on the way to an eating appointment, Søster Moore and I get a call from the CUV who got a call from the Mission Office from someone who was interrested in the Center info they found online, so we definitely had to be there that night. Turns out it was the girl, Ra, and two of her friends, An, and Na! They're all from Sweden here studying medicine, and they all got a copy of the Book of Mormon. We showed them around the church and they stayed for dinner and to play crud. They fit right in. Na took the rest of the YSA by storm in crud! They all plan on coming back next week, and said that after they've had a bit of time to read in the BoM, they'd love for us to come teach them more. It just goes to show that you never know the difference one conversation can make! It doesn't really matter what the situation is - your example will always have an effect.
So, you remember that eating appointment we were on our way to? She lives in a 100 year old house built by her great grandparents that has always been and will always be in the family. That's easy, since her family is about 1/4 of the ward here. Seriously. Everyone in the ward is somehow related to the Karnill, Barkou, or Andersen (as in our former mission president) families. The best thing about the house is the basement, which was built along the lines of an old monastery with all the arches and cool niches everywhere. The best thing about the basement the wine cellar, which is can only be accessed through the secret door behind the swinging bookshelf. I'm not even joking. The best thing about the wine cellar is that back during WWII, Sister Karnill's great grandfather used it to hide a business friend of his who was a Jew during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. We got to go tour her basement and wander around the little wine cellar. I wasn't able to get any good pictures, but Lee and Ximena live there with her right now, and they promised to show us some time. We're over there for dinner with them pretty much weekly, so I promise I'll send some soon.
We had another big exploratory adventure (no more jokes from you, Dad) - but this one wasn't actually my fault and it was all on bikes, so it only took about an hour. We've started enjoying them, actually, because 1. we always meet people we wouldn't have if things had gone according to OUR plans, 2. we often find great new areas to knock or contact, and 3. we get to burn off some of the calories from the eating appointments. The members play dirty. When we lean back from the table or even slow down, they look us in the eyes like they're challenging us and say, "Eat, if you like it." Our usual response is, "We LOVE it, but we don't think we can fit any more in!" Then the member affects a disappointed air and retorts, "I don't believe you. If you liked it, you'd eat more." This is usually done by hilarious old Danish ladies (80 year old firecrackers, every one of them), and usually after about 4 times what a normal person would eat. I love the members here. The Danish rule of hospitality is that if your guest spends more than 30 seconds in your home without food or drink in their hands, you, as a host, are a waste of a body. I love the Danish culture, and I'm so excited to introduce you to some of the members when we visit. You'd love them too.
Jeg elsker jer!
Mom - Thanks for the talk. It's true. My attitude toward coming to church has totally changed since becoming a missionary and going in with the attitude of looking to serve others. I get so much more out of it. I'm sure it will help her too.
Katie - You little player! Wow. Crazy high school parties, dating up a storm. Your life is just like a high school tv drama. With AP classes. Yeah, Atwood loves to call on people he thinks know the answer, even (especially) if they don't raise their hand. So you're turning into a mini-me, huh? It was scary hearing you on Skype. It was like talking with myself. I'm super curious for what it will be like when I get home! P.S. You'll have to keep up on music for me and show me all of the good stuff when I get home. My music tastes will be so 2011. Tell Brother Andersen that Hannah Morse and Katie O'Very say hi. If he doesn't remember us, then tell him it's the two girls who always pulled their desks together. It sounds like you're doing lots and doing it all well. I'm so impressed and so proud. You're seriously the best little sister ... pretty much ever. When's your European debut? (Translation: When are you going to Italy?)
Dad - Thank you soooo much for the photo you sent. I cracked up ... when I finally got it. Thanks too for the story you shared about the Sacrament. It's true. I was doing some church history reading and found out that the Sacrament didn't used to be given every Sunday, simply because it was so sacred. It's awe-inspiring too to think that this is one of the most sacred ordinances of the church, and it's given with very few limitations to almost anyone who wants to renew those covenants. It's the perfect symbol of the Atonement, and it's definitely underappreciated sometimes. That young man's story really puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?
Andrew - Way to go! Dad told me that you got up and shared your testimony with everyone all by yourself. A testimony is a very powerful thing to have, and it only gets better when you share it. Do you remember how good you felt when you shared your testimony? That's how you get to feel aaaaaall the time as a missionary! You'll get to feel like that for two whole years! And as you're doing it, you'll help people find testimonies of their own. That, and you get lots of letters from home, so that's really fun too. I'm so proud of you!
Caleb - I got your letter! And I mailed one back. Are you still living in Provo? It's actually addressed to Ryan, since there are a few letters in there for him too. It was great to hear from you!
Supreme Mugwump - Ha! I wrote. That's so cool that you were able to see Lulu and Hilda Franco! They're actually on the roadtrip list I forgot I made in the back of my journal. We'll talk names for the roadtrip later. I tossed out a few suggestions in the letter. Thanks for the scriputure reference. I know it's talking about bulls, but I can't seem to get "The Last Unicorn" out of my head. Korihor is doing well. He misses you, and says to tell Hna Palacios hi.

Week 28

Kære Alle Sammen,
Oh my goodness. Can you believe it's already been 28 weeks since Mom and Dad dropped me off at the MTC? That's insane.
Life with Søster Moore is awesome. Our outlook on life and misisonary work is pretty similar, and we've had a lot of fun together. We both like cooking, and have even been adventurous enough to try our hand and home made hummus. So far so good! It feels more like living with a friend than just a companion. She's super fun and always up for an adventure (which happens a lot with my sense of direction), and it's hard to believe we haven't even been companions for one week yet.
You know that sense of direction I mentioned? Yeah. It got us into trouble. We had plans to help a less active woman in the ward who is only less active because she's pretty old and can't get out to the church anymore. We were going to mow her grass and clean up her garden, which would ordinarily be no problem. The bus drives right past the end of her street, after all. Or so we thought. It was our first day together and we were both keeping our eyes open to make sure everything went well. We were about five stops before the one we were supposed to get off at. Then, all of a sudden, we were about 12 stops AFTER ours. We hopped off the bus and checked the schedule going the other way. We were way out in the country, so the bus only came once an hour. We decided to just walk back. After all, about 3 minutes before we'd been way before our stop. We'd find it.
Two hours later we were still walking on the shoulder of that country road with nothing but trees and cows. We sang old Girls Camp songs to keep us entertained though, and we were in jeans for the service project, so it wasn't too bad. After about another hour we came (with NO sign of the less active's street), we were back at the stops before the one we wanted in the first place. We found a "Pick Your Own Flowers" patch though, so we plucked ourselves a bouquet of gladioli and sun flowers. When we got back to the city we got ourselves some bubble tea (not real tea!) to reward ourselves for not complaining, then went home and died. And that was just the first day!
On Saturday half of Denmark had medieval festivals of varying sizes. The one in Odense was held in a few old, winding, cobblestone streets behind the Catholic church. It was fun to wander through all the stalls and see the reenactors dressed up all Viking. They even had an entire roasted pig, which was disgustingly awesome and sooooo delicious. Søster Moore and I also wove our own baskets. Legitimate baskets. Yes, Dad, I was singing "They're Coming to Take Me Away" in my head the whole time.
Later we helped a family move and clean up their house. We were in the upstairs bathroom with a clogged sink full of black water, spiders everywhere, and a good half inch of solid fuzzy dust/mold on the pipes and counters. Uuuugh. One of the most disgusting things I've ever done in my life though. But Søster Moore and I still managed to make it fun by doodling in the dust as we mopped the walls and trying to eat the potato chips the family left upstairs with us without touching them at all.
On Sunday we had another one of those monthly sacrament meetings down in the southern half of the island for the members down there. Only one 90 year old woman came, bring the total head count up to 5 with her, the Senior Couple, and us. Ældste Olsen conducted, blessed, and passed the sacrament in about a minute and a half, Søster Moore played the right hand of the first verse of a hymn, and Ældste Olsen shared a spiritual thought from his scripture study in place of a talk. The whole meeting took about 10 minutes, but the Spirit was still strong. It only underscored the real purpose of SACRAMENT meeting. Afterward the 90 year old woman (who was still as sharp as every) invited us over to have cake at her house. Two of her good friends had passed away that week, so she just needed the company. We're teachers and representatives of the Church, but a good part of what we do is just being the friend some people really need. It may not lead to a baptism, but you know what? I can't think of any better way to represent the Savior or fulfill my call to serve. Those have been some of my favorite times on my mission and when I've felt the Spirit strogest. This woman was so fun too. Ældste Olsen said we weren't that hungry, and she didn't need to make a fuss about getting food ready. She just started going faster on her walker and called out behind her, "Well, that's not up to you to decide, young man." She also ordered us not to help with the dishes, but I grabbed a stack of plates and said, "Sure, but if I run with them I don't think you could catch me!" She just reached out and spanked me as I dashed past. She gave us the biggest hugs as we left, and told us to drop in again any time we were in the area. She had the coolest life story too. She married a German who'd spent most of his life in Denmark, but after World War II none of the universities would let him study here, since he was technically German. So they used her half Swedish citizenship from her mother's side to escape a lot of the anti-German persecution post-war and just lived in Sweden for a while. She's still fluent in German and Sweden, and travels all over. I'll be satisfied if I'm half that cool when I'm 90. All of the time driving and setting up for the sacrament meeting was more than worth it for this one Sister who needed us.
The Olsens told us a cool story from another sacrament meeting down there too. They were just about to begin when a van pulled up to drop off an old sailor crippled by arthritis and strokes. They couldn't get his wheel chair up into the church building, and the van couldn't take him home again until the scheduled time on the next hospital route. He was devestated, but trying to keep a brave face as he turned his wheelchair to just try to start on his way home. Ældste Olsen just got the strongest feeling from the Spirit to do everything possible to fix the problem. "If you can't get him to the meeting, then you just take the meeting to him!" So they set up a chair outside and he and Søster Olsen listened to the service from the windows. He barely managed to take the bread himself, but just shook his head as the water was brought out to him. "I can't do that," he said, "I just can't." Ældste Olsen just smiled and took the cup for him, lifting it to the man's mouth to pour it in. As the man swallowed, he began to cry. "This is why I came. This is it. This is worth all of it. Thank you." Like you said, Dad,  some people's greatest need is simply to be know that their Father in Heaven and their Savior love them. Seeing those moments when that love is put into action makes everything else worth it.
All in all it's been a long, messy, super fun week!
Investigator updates.
St is still committed, so it's just keeping him on the path until he feels his life is sorted out enough. That's one thing about Danes. They have everything in their worlds very organized and very much in control. If that balance of control is shaken at all, they have a hard time keeping a grip on everything else. So it makes sense for him to feel like he has to have everything in order before proceeding farther. The government structure here and the social priviledges they enjoy as a country underline that, ensuring that no one needs to worry too much. There's a reason Danes are statistically the happiest people in the world. When you don't need to worry about your physical, monetary, or educational stability, it's very easy to maintain a steady grip on your world. That's why it seems like most of the people we teach are either really young or have been forced to be humbled by circumstance, because most Danes simply feel they have no need for a religion to fix their problems, and belief in God is popularly seen as weaker people looking for a way out. I love the Danes though. They are also a very generous, giving people, even if they are a bit more reserved with how they express affection. They're wonderful.
Gi came to Family Home Evening to say goodbye to Søster Johnson and had a great time with the YSA's there. She's come for ages, and they all see her as one of the group. The Senior Missionary Couple who run the Center here were thrilled to see her. As Søster Olsen told her, "You're one of our girls, Gi. It doesn't matter what you do, you'll always be one of our girls. You know you're always welcome here." We hope she keeps up contact with the CUV here, if nothing else.
Si is doing well. We haven't been able to meet with her, but she came to church last Sunday and plans to come again next week too!
Ol is still Ol. He's busy with school starting up, but is trying to fit us into his schedule. He still keeps up with his reading in the Book of Mormon though, so that's fantastic. He's also started calling us the "M&M's". Sigh.
We're working with a few  less active members in the ward too. One, Mi, came to all three hours of church last week! She's in her 50's, from northern India (lived her most of her life though), and really wants to come back. I think I've written about her before. In Relief Society she was warmly welcomed, and even commented during the lesson. I was just sitting behind her grinning the whole time.
Jeg elsker jer!
1. The pick your own flower patch.
2. God bless nerds.
3. Svendborg, the city in Southern Fyn where we have our meetings.
4. "Bring out the pig!" (William, you might not want to see this one)
Mom - It's good to hear that the students are doing well, even if the teachers are a bit on-edge. You've always been great at calming people down and finding the heart of the problem though, so it's good that the school has you. You might want to get some other pictures for your screen saver. After 8 months of life as a Sister Missionary (no dentist, no hair cuts, etc.) I'm afraid I'll just traumatize your computer.
Greg - I hope you get well soon! I'm sorry you the surgery knocked you off your feet for a few weeks, but it'll be nice to have some down time, however forced it may be. Netflix makes those down days easier though, doesn't it?
William - It's so good to hear from you. What's your new address? I'll have to write to you! Isn't it fun living on your own? What are your roommates like? Where will you be going to school? Man, I miss that "electric green gold". There are so many things you'd love about Denmark. It's a really crazy, fun place. Everything Humon stereotyped is totally true. You'd like it, I think. It's such an easy place to kick back and just enjoy life. Outside of central Copenhagen, no one really rushes for anything and life just comes as it comes. I miss watching movies with you and just hanging out, but I'm sure you're keeping yourself busy and the time will be over before you know it. The assistant ward mission leader here has become a really good friend of mine. On Sunday he joked that when he woke up that morning his hair looked like a Saiyan. He and his wife are also devout One Piece fans. Remember watching that together? We'll have to get back into it when I get home and have some good quality hang out time. What comes before part B? Partay!! Yes. Good times when I get back to real life. "Get out of my room!" Going into my room is easy enough. Finding your way back out of the maze of stuff is just my revenge. Thanks for the story. I even copied it down in my day calendar so I have it on hand. It's totally true. A good percentage of the Danish population here struggles with depression (I can't blame them. They have to deal with Scandinavian winters with only 4 hours of sun), and you can really see how discouragement just takes is steady toll. When people forget who they really are and forget how much they're worth, everything else just ceases to matter. That's a lot of what we do here - sharing the meaning of the Atonement with people to just remind them that they are loved. Just knowing who you really are makes all the difference in the world. Seriously, send me your address. I would love to write you! Love you!
Dad - I just about died laughing at your Finding Nemo quote. I really miss going back to school, actually. It feels so unnatural. That's so weird that Madeliene is coming back soon. Crazy crazy crazy. And I'll keep Carter in my prayers, of course, as the hurricane comes in. It sounds like all the back to school stuff is keeping you guys super busy, but that's half the thrill of this time of year! The other half is new school clothes. ;) Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. Say hi to everyone for me tonight!
Supreme Mugwump - I wish you could've been at that medieval festival with me. It just took me back to all those other fun, nerdy times together. Søster Moore her boyfriend on his mission in Spain exchange videos through some Google plus page thing that's totally white handbook kosher. She's going to show me how to set it up today. Let's do it! I took a bunch of fun videos for you on that H+K memory card to mail to you, but it randomly went missing from the secure location where I kept it. I'll keep looking. This is probably better though. You've been in my thoughts and prayers a lot lately, and I really, really, really, really, really miss you. Er ... that is all.

Søster Arbon and Søster Taylor - I'm so jealous you guys got to go to Kronborg AND meet Elder Groberg. You got to meet Jean! THE JEAN!! You guys are just living the blessed life over there on the Devil's Island. We won't have splits, so we'll just have to be better about writing ... heh heh ... yeah right. Well, we'll try! (Not so secret message: you guys are awesome too!)

Week 27

Kære Alle Sammen,

Okay, the big news.


I need to make that bigger. It doesn't quite convey the excitement. I have honestly never seen someone so happy - especially a 17 year old punk. He wanted Ældste Jespersen (who first taught him, and one of my favorite Elders here) to baptize him. His mom suggested someone from the ward do it so that they could continue that connection, but he wasn't compromising. It had to be Ældste Jespersen. Seeing Ældste Jespersen down in the water, helping Jesper down the steps, was a powerful experience in itself. You could just feel how much they loved and respected each other. When Jesper came up out of the water he was just grinning. Then he gave Ældste Jespersen the biggest hug I've ever seen. When they came out of the font someone put a towel around Jesper's shoulders and his sister hugged him from the side and tousling his hair and saying how proud she was. He just stood there dripping and smiling. I wish I could convey the scene to you. Better yet, his sister isn't a member of the church. Only his step family. He really is such a special guy, and we're so excited to see him in the ward now.

The other big news. It's transfer time again. I'm staying in Odense! Søster Johnson is going to Frederiksberg to serve with Søster Guesne. Can you guess who's replacing her? No less than Søster Moore herself. The members all laugh when we tell them. "Oh great. Moore and Morse. We're going to have fun with that." Ældste Sorensen (also staying in Odense) has already started referring to us as the M&M's. Ældste Hammond is going up to Århus to be replaced by Ældste Pitts, who has been here 2 months less than I have and has a reputation in the missionary for his passion and devotion to missionary work. The ultimate Greenie (even though he's not a Greenie anymore). I'm excited.

Last week also marked the 6 month anniversary of my MTC group's arrival in Denmark. It's so strange to think that I've been in Denmark for 6 months already. I really do love this place. I wish you guys could see it. Not just visit, but have time to enjoy the culture and scenery and ... well, the language and food are a bit weird, but you can enjoy those too! 

I really love Ol. He's totally crazy, but we get along so well. He's the first investigator I've taught where I feel like we have a genuine friendship as well. He's, like, 40, but that's okay. He's our crazy ginger. I've missed that in my life since Hermana O'Very abandoned me to go serve God in Seattle or something. (I love you, Katie!) Yesterday we got a text from him saying he'd just biked 120 miles that day, plus another 25 to go get ice cream and head to his favorite park. To give you an idea, pull up a map of Denmark on Google. He biked the whole way around the island in the middle, Fyn, where we live. He's also studying diving and kyaking and German and American Studies, which we can occasionally help with. He also has a necklace that says "42". When I asked him why, he just started with, "Well, have you ever heard of Douglas Adams ... " I think you guys would like him too. He tries to break things down and see them from every possible angle. He just wants to know everything. He's so attentive and really wants to learn. I love that guy.

No real word from Gi, but she is coming to the youth center tonight to say goodbye to Søster Johnson, so we'll see.

We started working with a new investigator - Si. She's the friend of a woman who was just baptized in February! She's originally from Brazil, and she's really fun and has a strong faith in Christ already. She's had a really tough time though. She married a Dane and they had two children together, but just after the birth of their youngest, a daughter, he just walked out. That was a few years ago, and Si has sinced moved on. However, a few months ago her daughter was sexually abused at the day care. Si had no idea because no one told her and her daughter was too young to know to say anything, and when the day care reported it they went straight to the police. The court's solution was to declare Si unfit as a mother and send her daughter to Copenhagen to live with her father, who was never a part of her live and doesn't even know the girl. Needless to say, Si was beyond devistated. Right now she's really trying to rely on her faith in God and try to put her life back together in a foreign land without her family. Ag, her friend who introduced us to her, came to Odense to escape a abusive ex and met the church again (she'd investigated before her sudden and secret move), so she really knows how much the gospel can bless a broken life. We're really excited for Si though. She's so sweet and has so many questions and really spiritual experiences that her priest back in Brazil couldn't answer.

The adventure of the week can just after meeting with Si. She lives way out in the boonies. The nearest grocery store is 10 kilometers away, and we're just lucky there's a train that runs through it. We missed the train back and it was raining like crazy, so decided to knock on the street by the station. Søster Johnson also had to use the restroom. The first house we got to we asked, rather pitifully, all soaked like that, if we could use their bathroom. They were super sweet, and as Søster Johnson was in the bathroom I noticed a DVD about Christ on the table. We got to talking. Of course. We found the one Jehovah's Witness family in the entire town. They invited us to stay though so we chatted for a bit (about everything but religion) before heading back into the rain. They really are kind people.

In other news, we met a really old inactive member who lives out in the country and is going to teach me how to knit wool socks. Sweet.

Jeg elsker jer!

1. Us with Ol.
2. I'm going to miss having Ældste Hammond and Ældste Sorensen together in Odense.
3. "Have you heard of the Book of Mormon? It's a really good story too, Mr. Andersen."
4. Just a normal companionship study.

Mom - Thanks for the quote! I really liked it. And for the guitar tabs! I think I know almost all of those chords now, so I'm really excited to try it out. How's school going? How was your time with Beverly and her family? If Greece is still on the agenda, the recent RM from Greece in the ward recommended some places to visit. I'll pass them on if you decide to go there. He said it should be totally fine.

Katie - I am so jealous of your new schedule. You really ended up with all of the best teachers in the school all in one go. And I'm so proud of you for getting the red skinny jeans. Did you know that ever since I was a kid, it was a dream of mine to have red pants? Unfortunately, I look terrible in them, but I'm so glad you found a pair! And that you're going to Italy! And Switzerland!!!! That's awesome. Beyond awesome. I'm so jealous. Ugh. Oooh. I could just tell you. Okay, so there's this American in Copenhagen who lives here because she married a Dane. She's super cute and does interior design, and she has a blog called "The House that Lars Built" where she does crafts of the week and cute designs for random things. I wrote it down to check out after the mission, but you might be able to enjoy it now.

Dad - Congratulations on the paper! As I told Katie, I am so far beyond jealous that it's not even funny. You and Katie are going to have such a great time traipsing around Europe. Please send me pictures! And thanks for taking care of all the worldly things for me. I love my mission, every day I thank God for the opportunity I have to be here and serve His children, but that doesn't mean that I don't really want to see Hunger Games when I get back. The YSA's in Copenhagen were all talking about it. It's nice to know though that I won't have to worry about finding it all when the time comes. Thanks. And your other picture didn't just make me smile, it made me giggle. In the library. Nice. "You make me lol out loud."

Cheryl - You're training for a triathalon?! Crazy woman. That would be really fun though. You'd love Ol. He's crazy too. One of the women on his biking team was just in the Olympics. It's true what you said though. Our work out here is pointless unless we have the Spirit with us. I think every missionary learns that pretty quickly. He really does become a friend though, just like any other. You can always feel the Spirit in church or when praying and studying, but never before have I been able to feel his presence just like I would if my companion were in the room or not. And not just in church either, but 24/7. Well, maybe not quite 24/7. I'm not perfect. Trying to be, but not quite yet. That's something I'm really grateful for here, and what makes all the hard times worth it. Thanks for what you shared about your mission too.

Andrew - Dad sent me the picture of your baseball team. That's so cool! Have fun in school!

Matthew - Are you liking school? How is your new class? Is it fun to be with all of your friends again?

Grammy and Grandpa Morse - Congratulations Grandpa! It's amazing that you were able to keep working through it all with such a positive attitude. You deserve your rest now, and have fun on that 50th Anniversary cruise!

Supreme Mugwump - I ate bloody steak. You'd be so proud of me. The member was from Iceland, so I couldn't really turn it down. And you know what? It was delicious.
This one needs to be on the blog, right with the letter. This is Jesper just after his baptism, along with all the missionaries who taught him. Ældste Jespersen is the one in the middle of the back row, just so you can better visualize the story. And lying on the floor like a supermodel was aaaaaall Jesper's idea.

Supreme Mugwump - I ate bloody steak. You'd be so proud of me. The member was from Iceland, so I couldn't really turn it down. And you know what? It was delicious.

Week 26

I love splits. Søster Arbon and Søster Taylor (from the MTC!) are crazy.

And this is just a little sign a member's daughter made. Smart kid. I just had to take a pic to show you all. (hint: read the red letters)

 Photo 1 - Søster Johnson, me, Kurt (Malene's Husband), and Jesper on a big rock in a corn field next to their lake. I can't even describe how beautiful it was.

Photo 2 - A picture's worth a thousand words. This is a photo of the lake. The blue speck is Jesper.

Photo 3 - Yes, they really do worship Hans Christian Andersen here. This is a cross walk sign in the city - they're all H.C. Andersen.

Photo 4 - We found a store that sells American candy while on splits with the Horsens Sisters. I think we all went a bit crazy ...

 Week 26 Letter

"Miracles happen once in a while, when you beliiiieeeeeve!"

It's so true though. So last Sunday in church Malene told us that her step son (17 years old), Jesper (I can use the name here, because it'll be in Det Danske Banner anyway), had just moved in with them. Jesper had investigated the church back when he was living in Sønderborg with his mom and had had a baptismal date before, but been talked out of it. Malene was beyond excited. Apparently when he moved in he asked her to call him any time she was doing her scripture study so that he could read with her. Just a bit of background, Malene's nine year old daughter, Emalie, was just baptized a few months ago. Her daughter from her first marriage is a member, and her son has been investigating the church with us for a while. Well he was until he left to Latvia for the whole summer to visit his dad. He's starting up again though. Malene's current husband, Kurt, is not a member. He's hard-core traditionalist Danish. He even has an small gold hoop earring (the tradition behind that is that Denmark used to be almost entirely fishermen and sailors, who had a small gold hoop in their ear to pay the ferryman to the afterworld in case they ever were lost at sea (a tradition going back to the Vikings and adopted by pirates pretty universally)). They live on a big farm out in the countryside, horses and corn and all, so it's tough to get out there. They're such a great family though. Anyway, the other day the Elders in Sønderborg who were working with Jesper woke up to a text from him, saying, "I want to be baptized. I will repent and join the church. I know it's true. I don't care what the opposition is anymore. Can I be baptized this Saturday?" So everyone in Odense and Sønderborg has been in a huge craze trying to get it all ready. He agreed to postpone it to this coming Saturday though, so that his mom will be able to come to his baptism. Søster Johnson and I went out to their farm to meet Jesper and go over the baptismal interview questions with him, and he is amazing. Søster Johnson knew him before, and she didn't even recognize him when she saw him, he's changed so much. I'll let you all know how the baptism went next e-mail!

So the big news with St is that he agreed to be baptized - as soon as he actually finds a place of his own to live and gets a job. He feels like he needs to get his feet under him before he makes these committments with God. He understands what it means, and understands that it has to be something he's ready for. We've prayed about it and feel like that's right. So pray he finds it!

Ol is also doing well. He wants to just learn everything, so we're having a hard time finding out how interrested he really is. We're having a "DTR" next meeting though.

Gi has stopped responding to our calls and texts. Unfortunately, her parents were evidently able to persuade her to get out of it. However, she has a lot of good frienships with the youth in the ward. I don't think she'd drop that. That's how Da came back to the church after all, through the friends who loved her enough to support her for who she was, no matter her choices. I'm gaining a new appreciation for that. Like with Mi, a less active member we're working with now. She comes to Sacrament meeting because she knows it's important and is really striving to get to the temple. Her dad died last year though and she went through a rough time when she pulled away from the church. Now that she's trying to come back, it's like she's an outcast. She's in her 50's, unmarried, with only her mother and sister in Denmark. The rest of her friends and family are still in India. She manages to slip in and out of meetings without a single person acknowledging her existence. We can usually drag her to the second hour, but helping her be strong in Relief Society will only come through the other members. She tries to stay, and really has a testimony of it, but it's hard when she feels so alone. Søster Johnson and I have a new focus on the less active members in the ward, and we're really praying that the whole ward follows the example of the young adults and opens their hearts back up to them. Do you have any idea how much easier our lives would be as missionaries if everyone in the ward actually did their visiting and home teaching?!

Adventure of the Week: Danish Doctors Offices. Søster Johnson has had bad stomach aches for the last month or so, but lately they've been bad enough that we can't go out and work. Good news though - I finally got caught up on all the calling that didn't get done when she was training! She finally caved and went to the doctor. Okay, for all the terrible rumors I've heard about doctors in socialist countries, this doctor was fantastic. He was professional, educated, and efficient. It was still an adventure though. And I'm proud to report that her tummy is doing fine now. Okay, so this week was pretty tame if our biggest adventure was a trip to the doctor's office.

On Sunday for Stake Conference we headed up to Herning with the Jensens (actually President Andersen's sister and her family, who are one of my favorites in the ward here). The speaker was Elder Craig T Wright of the Quorum of the Seventy. His talk was absolutely amazing, advising all of us to have enough faith in Christ to let go of the things in our lives that are good, but might be taking up too much, in order to find the best things that matter most. Søster Johnson and I went up to say hello to him afterward and he took Søster Johnson hand in one of his hands, mine in the other, and held onto our hands as he told the story of how two sister missionaries converted his parents and promised that each of us had a unique calling to fulfill on our missions here to Denmark, and that the spirit of the Lord would bless us as we tried to fulfill it. It's times like this that I wish my life was a movie and someone followed me around to get that moment on film. You all should check out some of his talks. He's great.

Jeg elsker jer!

Photo 1 - Søster Johnson, me, Kurt (Malene's Husband), and Jesper on a big rock in a corn field next to their lake. I can't even describe how beautiful it was.
Photo 2 - A picture's worth a thousand words. This is a photo of the lake. The blue speck is Jesper.
Photo 3 - Yes, they really do worship Hans Christian Andersen here. This is a cross walk sign in the city - they're all H.C. Andersen.
Photo 4 - We found a store that sells American candy while on splits with the Horsens Sisters. I think we all went a bit crazy ...

Mom - Thanks for your sweet card! I love getting letters from you. They're always so uplifting and exactly what I need to hear. Thank you for the talk too. I remember reading it in the Liahona when it came out, and even sharing it with a less active member we were working with, and was just thinking the other day as I shared it with one of the mini missionaries that I ought to get a copy of it for myself. Lo and behold, you turn out to be psychotic. I mean psychic. Freudian slip. Oops. Or as they say in Danish, "Ups". Good luck with the new school year!

Katie - Mom told me you've been all dolled up for the new school year! That's so exciting! What classes are you taking? How'd things go with your youtube mission?

Dad - You read our minds too! Our next lesson with him will be about the priesthood. He remembers receiving a blessing back when he first investigated the church again and remembered the peace and support he felt "like a wave". He was thrilled when we suggested it. Definitely on the agenda asap, but it will be from a member he remembers from round 1, who can't meet until next week. Going strong though. What you said about challenges is true. It reminds me of a quote I heard in a talk just recently. "Satan doesn't kick no dead dogs." WHAT?! I didn't even know The Hobbit was going to be in two parts, and now it's a trilogy?! That's going to be so cool.

Cheryl - Good luck with all the renovations. I'm sure it will be beautiful though! I made your potato soup last night. Well, I tried to approximate it. It was okay, but not like yours. Would you send me the recipe?

Supreme Mugwump - I found out that my assistant ward mission leader and his wife are fans of One Piece! He's a recent RM and she's from Bolivia, raised in Spain, and they're both absolutely awesome! I wish you were here to meet them! By the way, in the photo on the rock I'm wearing the blue shirt you sent me. I love it!

Week 25

Dear Everyone (I'm on an English keyboard again),
Not much to update this week, actually. Things are still going well with our investigators, for the most. Ol has been in England for the Olympics to cheer on a friend of his who's in one of the races, but he seems to be doing well. St has had problems with his back, so he hasn't been able to come to church. However, he's still reading and praying, and is going to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully things pick up again. Personally, I think all the new opposition he's been facing is coming because he's on the right track. Sometimes when we're doing our best is when the devil does his worst. But if we stay faithful and have God on our side, then His is enough to make our best better. I don't know if that makes sense at all, but it's how I see it anyway. That's the situation with Gi. She's been invetigating for a while now. She's 20 years old, comes to church, has a lot of great friends in the CUV, and is open with her friends and family about going to an LDS church. The Elders only transferred her to us because their relationship became to "buddy buddy" and she needed to get serious. Which she did. She's really been studying and praying, and we were going to invite her to pray about a specific baptismal date at our next meeting. Her parents now feel like she might be getting in over her head with it though. It feels like Ni all over again, but Gi is tough. The girls studdying to be a car mechanic. If she wants to continue with the church, no one is going to stop her. At the same time though, she's been getting a lot of pressure from her parents. She hasn't dropped us though. She texted to tell us what was going on, and we told her that it wasn't up to us or even her parents. This is her development and her choice. We simply asked that she include God in her decision. She's been praying over it, and will let us know when she can meet. Please pray for her.
The Sisters from Horsens came on splits here to Odense. Sister Moore plays the guitar, so she was able to teach me a few new songs. We couldn't find graham crackers, but we were able to use Digetive biscuits and make s'mores. Oh. My. Goodness. It was a little piece of heaven. We're spending our Pday and Elder and Sister Olsen's house, and we brought all the suplies. We're just waiting on the Elders.
We taught Primary on Sunday and it was such a blast. There were only four children, and one of them couldn't talk yet, but they were a riot. In place of a talk (since everyone's on vacation) one of the younger fathers in the ward came in with a puppet dog looking thing on his hand. The kids flipped. Apparently, that puppet dog thing is the star of the Danish People's Church's equivalent of Veggie Tales. It's kind of like Blue's Clues, where a man sings the songs and tells the stories and the dog goes along with it and is adorable. He popped the DVD in (as the kids were all hugging the puppet and giving it kisses and high fives) and let them pick a video. One chose the story of John the Baptist. The Elders were there to help with our part of the lesson, and a soon as the clip started we all looked at each other in horror. The guy read the children's version of the story well enough, but then went on to explain that although we're baptized like Jesus was, we no longer do it all the way under water because that's not necessary and it's really uncomfortable, and why it's  good thing to be baptized as  baby. Then they sang a cute little song that's often sung at babies' baptisims and while the music continued, the camera showed a dollhouse style church interior with two hands holding three beanie baby bears - two parents holding a baby bear and one bear dressed as a priest. The priest bear dipped his hand into the raised font and dripped some water on the baby bear's head, then blotted it off with a cloth and bowed to the parent bears, who were hopping and moving like they were just so happy. All this time the four missionaries are trying not to laugh, the primary teachers are horrified, and the kids are staring raptly at the screne and smiling. Thank goodness the guy jumped back in with the puppet afterward to explain that it WAS necessary to be baptized all the way under the water and that we do it when we're eight so we can choose. He then demonstrated with one of the girls who was seven how the priesthood holder holds your hand and helps you come up out of the water again. The kids didn't notice anything was weird about the whole thing, but that was hands down one of the best days in church ever. For our lesson Sister Johnson and I talked about the Strippling Warriors, and how we can always rely on God when we have to go through hard times. Then as we told the story we had the kids help us act it out. I was Antipus, Sister Johnson was Helaman, and the Elders were the Lamanites. So I snuck past, the Elders followed me, then the kids took over the pulpit (the city of Antiparah). When I didn't come back from the back of the classroom, the kids decided they had to go rescue me, which they courageously did, crawling all over the Elders and hitting them with stuffed animals. We even cut up an old sweater left in the apartment so the kids all had headbands like Lamanites. It was a beautiful sight, seeing them run out of Primary with their headbands on. Mission accomplished.
The Olsens invited us over for dinner on Sunday night, since none of us had an eating appointment. With the Senior Couple and the Elders here, it felt almost like a big family Sunday dinner at home. I miss all of you, but know that my family here is taking good care of me. I wish you could somehow meet them all. You'd love them too.
I love you all!
Grammy and Grandpa Morse ~ I'm so glad to hear that the treatment is finally over! If you ring that gong loud enough, maybe I'll be able to hear it over here. You never know until you try. Congratulations to William! That's great news about his mission call! It'll be an exciting area too.
Dad ~ It's true. No one gets Finnish. Thank you for your sweet email. You'll always be Hannah's Daddy.
Mom ~ I responded to your questions in your email directly, but this is just another opportunity to say, "I love you!"
Supreme Mugwump ~ You are the bestest bestest bestest friend in the whole wide world. I loved your birthday package. I'm really excited to dress up Korihor. By the way, yesterday was Friendship Day. I hope you noticed it on the calendar. I know for a fact that it was on there, seeing as we have the same one. Expect a letter soon and thanks for being so patient with your prodigal friend.
O'Very family ~ Thank you for sending the package off! Katie keeps me updated, and it sounds like everyone is doing well. You're in my prayers!