Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 4

Kære Familier,

Thank you again for all of your fasting and prayers with my last investigator I wrote about. I hate to say it, but more prayers would always be appreciated.

If there ever was a prepared investigator, it's ***. I hate that I can't use his name, but whatever. *** is 19 years old, and he's studying medicine with a specific focus on cancer treatment. The most soft-spoken, sincere person I've met. You can just feel the Spirit as soon as you enter the room. He has such a strong testimony of the gospel, even before he learned much of it. He pretty much lived the Word of Wisdom already, except for the occasional cup of tea with his friends. He explained that it was always important to him to keep any altering substances out of his body, because his sense of self was very important and could tell the difference. He was also excited to keep the Sabbath. He read over his lectures last Sunday though, and told us in the lesson today that he definitely gained a testimony of the Sabbath after noticing the change it made. Already. He's only known about it for 2 Sundays. And he want's to be baptized. He really, really does. He REALLY does. But his parents are against it. His mom was baptized years ago and has since gone inactive and harbors strong feelings against the church. *** talked to her about it, which was not easy for him to do at all, and her verdict was that he could continue to meet with us and attend church, but she put her foot down on baptism. He's far too unselfish to be baptized against their wishes. It's just so frustrating!! He asked us to pray for him and we taught him about fasting today. Would you keep him in your prayers?

Last Tuesday was exciting. Søster Ronstrom is the coordinating sister, so we went on splits with the Odense sisters. I don't remember if I mentioned that last time or not. We got to leave Copenhagen (for my first time!) and the island of Sjæland behind to go to Fynn. It's beautiful. I love Odense. It's still a city, but slower paced, less gratified, and a bit older feeling. And the people there actually pronounce the whole word and speak slowly enough to be intelligible! Here in Copenhagen they tend to swallow the end of the word (which is pretty impressive, since it's already a fairly guttural language) and talk, well, rather like New Yorkers. Every conversation is an adventure. Anyway, we spend the night with Søster Taylor (my old MTC comp, whom I haven't seen since we said farewell on day one) and her trainer. Very cozy. I like Odense a lot.

Yesterday evening we met with a JW family again. They'd invited us the first time just to chat and see what we believed. It was really just the husband, but he was pretty open to listening, though of course interjected his own beliefs and refused a copy of the Book of Mormon. This week was the Plan of Salvation (answering his questions from the week before) and it was less than pretty. I'm pretty proud of us for not declining into Bible bashing, actually. We had a Biblical base for everything we said (as did he, though he conveniently would ignore some of our points and changed the subject when he couldn't counter it), but the discussion didn't get very far. He was trying to convince us we were wrong, and we were trying to hold our ground without crossing the line and going on the offense. I love debate and philosophy, but when he started using tricky rhetorical questions that were intended to trip us up, I got a bit fed up. It made me think of the scripture in Matthew 10:16-20.
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
Completely true. We were able to end the discussion amicably and bear testimony, while still letting him feel like he could keep his beliefs. I honestly don't think I've ever been so diplomatic and tactful in my life (yes, Supreme Mugwump, it's true). If Søster Ronstrom and I could teach like that all the time, Queen Margarethe herself would be baptized!
Rumor has it that she's actually heard the lessons and likes the church. She can't be baptized, or that would mess up the state religion of Denmark though. The Danske Folke Kirke is pretty good too though.

IT'S FINALLY SPRING!! To celebrate, Søster Ronstrom and I had a picnic in our wilderness. Next the the train station by our house is a random hilly area with a few scraggly trees and knee-high yellow grass. I've heard there are wildflowers in the summer. It's the opposite of the other side, which is covered in bushes and tress and looks far more like the rest of Denmark. It's almost like the field out by Hidden Pond in Highland was just trans-located here. We're pretty fond of our little misfit wilderness.  We pass it several times a day going to the station, and today was so sunny and nice that we just had to enjoy it. We brought sandwiches and sat back, and we also did some companionship study up there too. I'll send photos. Such a great afternoon! Then, of course, we got back to work. It's a good way to spend a lunch hour though.

We don't have many investigators right now, after ***'s baptism last week. The whole mission's in a bit of a dry spell. We have it better than the other Sisters though, from what I've heard. Søster Ronstrom and I have rededicated ourselves though and are planning on making this week a high mark. Last week was not so fantastic, between being in Odense for two days and then taking a sick day. It happens. It can only go up from there though!

Dad: Welcome home from Boston! When does Sherlock series 2 start? *** brought up Sherlock Holmes today in the lesson, and it just made me think of it. He'd been reading the one story that talks about the Mormon cult and just though, "Oh, well, that's curious." I  explained that Doyle just needed a cult and borrowed the wone ... wow. That's just sad. Danish. Grr. Anyway, the one that Robert Louis Stevenson used. I read a letter in an anthology of Sherlock Holmes before that story that was Doyle's explanation and apology, but of course the story is more well know than that important little addition. Oh well.

Mom: It was great to chat with you. We'll have to coordinate it again some time! I'm usually on about the same time every Monday to e-mail and write my report to the President. About 4-6 ish here, so ... I'm really bad with math. Whatever time it was when we were chatting.

Cheryl: We ate at the Waddoups' again and had this incredible lentil soup. True, anything would taste delicious after a day of contacting, but it really was good. She's bringing the recipe to church next Sunday, so I'll send it to you. Not exactly seasonal anymore, but SO good. Matthew's Lorax costume sounds adorable. Could you send a picture? I tried to explain it to my companion, but she's Swedish and has no idea what a Lorax even is. Tragic.

Greg: Did you get that last snow you'd been hoping for? If not, it's only March so you've still got a few months. Utah weather. Psh.

William: Will you e-mail me a concise explanation of Islamic beliefs? There are a lot of Muslims here. We aren't allowed to contact them if it's obvious (understandable, given the penalty for abandoning Islam for another religion), but we do chat with them pretty often and I want to be more well versed. A background in Buddhism and Hinduism has helped a lot too with the European population here. I would definitely recommend a survey of world religions to anyone thinking of representing their own.

Katie: Every time I hear the ring tone on the iPhone that Shawn has, I think of Psych. Brilliant. Hope everything's going well with school! When do you get your license?

Supreme Mugwump: Congrats on the baptisms and the new baptismal date too! The work really is moving forward there, isn't it? I love hearing about all your inspirational experiences. It's clear how much you love these people. Well, I couldn't think of any good pirate names for myself! And to say I wanted to get sick just because I forgot my travel sickness medicine is like saying you wanted to be hungry because you missed lunch. Don't lets be silly. I wrote you a letter! And I mailed it off ages ago. I hope it got there. Let me know how long Denmark/Seattle's mail route is. Oh, and there's a surprise for you. Yay! It'll have to be my substitution for sending packages. I recommend you do the same. Sense of direction? Er ... who do we know who has one of those? How's Hermana Bæk? I know that's not really how you spell it, but I write it that way every time in letters by accident, so why stop now? Danish has KILLED my spelling. Oh, I miss Harry Potter. You know how my comp was going into animation and loves all things Harry Potter? She's started a companionship sketch dump. This weeks theme: Harry Potter/Missionary crossover. You were sorted into Seattle. What more can I say? I'll send  you pictures.

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