Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 11

Kære Alle Sammen,

I'm e-mailing at a library now, since there aren't enough computers for all three of us at the center, and it's so hard. Never have I been so tempted to stray from the mission rules, even if it's just to go curl up with a book for a few minutes. A book not written by Talmage, I mean. The keyboard here kind of sticks, and the M key is weird, so keep that in mind if you ever can't figure out what I'm trying to say.

How's it going with the Family Mission Plan I sent out? I know Mom's doing it. Anyone noticed anything interesting?

Yes, Dad, I do feel like the "old hand" in my area. It's weird. I love my companions though. Three just feels natural, since that's what I had in the MTC.

This week was great. We worked really hard, broke most of our goals, and were able to really start integrating into the ward. With two new missionaries in the area, it's a great excuse to drop in, get to know them, and present the Family Mission Plans.

We also found 3 new investigators this week! That's more than I've found my whole mission so far! One's name is Al (not really just Al, but those are the first two letters of his name). He's from Pakistan. He met missionaries while living in Sweden and used to have them over all the time to meet with him and his friends. He loved "that one conference, you know, where the old men spoke and you could really feel it", but he went home for a while and lost contact with them. He was so excited to meet another missionary, and we have an appointment with him on Saturday! Another was a girl who's been on our potential investigators list for a while. We'd call, but she never answered and since her voice mail is hilarious (Supreme Mugwump, it's the one I wrote about in an earlier letter. "You probably feel pretty stupid talking to my voice mail now, huh."), it's become a running joke to have the greenies or Sisters on splits call. I made Søster Olsson call her and was waiting to see the expression on her face when, totally unexpectedly, she started carrying on a conversation and invited the girl to Institute at the CUV. Better yet, the girl said yes! Her name is H. I'll update next week.

One of the highlights of the week was visiting As (I'm going to be using the first two letters of names now, so that you can keep all the M's and A's straight). She investigated the church before, but isn't really of the mental age for baptism. She's about 50 ish, from Uganda, and her family is Muslim. She called and invited us over, and since I'd never met her we were going in totally blind. She was so sweet! We shared a spiritual thought from Helaman 5:12, which she really liked, helped her write a letter to her nephew, and took out the trash. She was saying that she had been very nervous lately, no idea why, but the last few days she'd felt happier. Her doctor had given her some medicine (Denmark's solution is to have all the medicine really inaccessible (you have to go the doctor if you want Ibuprofen or Tylenol), then the doctors just dope people up whenever they visit. It's really quite sad. Especially the mental health hospitals, where they basically hold people in a room with a bed and medicate the life out of them until they start acting normal, but that sort of treatment really only makes it worse. They treat the physical symptoms, but ignore the underlying psychological and spiritual elements because that sort of emotional care goes against the Scandinavian coughsocialistcough governments way of doing things. Sorry for the rant. We just work with a lot of people who've come out of those places so much worse for wear. It's miraculous though to see how much of a difference the gospel can make. Alma 31:5 in action. Back to the story now).

As had been feeling better the last few days because of the medication and because she'd been watching some of her favorite Indian movies. When I asked her which ones, she seemed a bit skeptical. That is, until I told her my favorites were Kal Ho Na Ho and Om Shanti Om. Then she opened right up. Five minutes later found all four of us Bollywood dancing around her living room to some film soundtrack with Shahrukh Khan singing as she showed us how to dance. I taught her some basic Country Western Swing too, which she loved. She's a child in everything but body, and really loved just having fun. She wanted us to come back every night, but we were able to negotiate it down to once a week. It's a good weekend evening appointment, since we're not really supposed to be out contacting on weekend evenings here in Copenhagen. Plus, it's a great way for her to keep her spirits up and be reminded to come to church.

Jeg elsker jer, oh håber i har det godt!
Søster Morse

P.S. Send pictures!

Dad - That's such a blessing that Kristina was able to visit! As you said, it will really help her to have a friendly family in the area, since hers is all so far away. I'm so glad Evan is doing well! I remember when he was born! Oh wow. What a "coincidence"! I'm excited to hear some of those insights from the temple sealing session you went to with the ward. We'll have to do a temple trip when I get home.

Cheryl - Gayle got married?! That's so cool! I love the Morgans, and it's really great that you got a chance to take a bit of a break in Vegas with the boys. Oh my goodness, I miss those frappucinos. Especially sitting here surrounded by books. That sounds like heaven! Thank you for the quote too. I think I need to start bringing my quotebook along when I e-mail.

Mom - I'm glad you had such a great birthday. You can tell Sister Hull that everyone LOVES that Jinglebellini lotion she sent me in her MTC carepackage. Seriously. I've avoided putting it on in public. Whenever I do at church or anything, this flock of Elders come stand next to me and just breathe deeply. It's become a contest to see who can shake my hand first, which is creepy enough, but weirder when they walk away smelling their hands. Sigh. Elders. As far as care package material goes, would you also send me some of the tabs they sell at the BYU library? Dad might have an easier time finding those. It's five colors. The tabs are solidly that color, no clear, square at one end and then pointed at the other so they mark really specifically. I got some at the MTC and I love them. The five colors conveniently correspond to the five PMG lessons, so it's the best way to mark scriptures so you can always find what you need for each lesson. Apart from that, no. Just letters and love! Wait. I just re-read that. A birthday present? AAAAH! I turn 22 in a month! Deep breaths. Oh my word. That's madness!

Greg - Your e-mail just cracked me up. That sounds like fun work! I can see what you were going for with the salsa burger thing, and it would've been a dream if it worked. Mmm. BBQ. I'm excited to see pictures of the basement!

William - Thank you for your e-mail. It really does mean a lot to me that you understand and support why I'm out here, even if it's not your religion. It's been the best time of my life, honestly, being able to forget myself and really do all I can to serve and love the people I'm with. Every time I hear a cool song on the subway, play History 20 Q's with Søster Ronstrom, visit any of the cool historical sights here, I think of you. We saw an awesome Book of the Dead scroll in the History museum here once, and I'd wished you were there as I explained the whole Ba, Shabti, Weighing of the Heart thing to my companion. You'd like Copenhagen, I think.

Katie - Mom made a Big Bang Theory joke?! Hahahahaha! That hair wasn't supposed to be in there. Living with three girls and static-clingy rugs though, it's sometimes unavoidable. Thanks for the quotes. I miss that sort of humor in my life. Søster Guesne's a pretty good substitute though. Seriously, you had me lol-ing out loud in the library. Søster Guesne is giving me funny looks. Hmm ... Hand written letters don't have emoticons, but they can include doodles. That's a step up, I think.

Supreme Mugwump - Of course it'd be easy to just go to Denmark when we go to Fest-i-Nord in Sweden. That's half the reason to go! I loved the "gifts" in your last letter. Think they'll still be potent come April Fools Day next year? Say hi to Hermana Baek for me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 10

Slagelse and Frederiksberg Søstre in front of the Little Mermaid.

S Morse, S Olsson, S Guesne, S Taylor, S Redd

Kære Alle Sammen,

Another whirlwind week. My mom died. Not like that! My mission mom (trainer), Søster Ronstrom. I'm currently being raised (trained) by another of her daughters, Søster Olsson. She's been on her mission for 8 months, and this is her first time training. Not just me either. We have a new greenie in Frederiksberg! Søster Guesne (pronounced like Guinnea) is French, but has lived in Scotland most of her life. It's really interesting being in a tri-panionship at the best of times, but it's especially an adventure when have two greenies and the only one who has served in the area at all has only been here two months. It has really made me realize how far I've come thought in those two months though. On Saturday we met a new investigator for the first time and taught the first lesson, and I somehow ended up teaching the majority of it. We teach in unity, of course, and we all have the same lesson plan and scriptures going in, but there are times when one companion takes the leads in certain lessons, but another does most of the talking in the next. It's all as is lead by the Spirit. I've been really focusing on the Apostasy and Restoration lately in studies though, and that definitely helped. I cannot fully explain the importance of personal study. That little bit of time in the morning is a hinge for the rest of the day. It can either swing open and let the Spirit in, or not. I wish I'd understood that better before my mission. It's more effective in the morning as well, honestly, whether you're a morning person or not.

Actually, I'd like to try an experiment. In addition to morning prayers on the way out the door, would everyone back home try to add just five minutes of study from the Book of Mormon (if you'd like, you can count it for the five minutes I asked for with the Family Mission Plan), and let me know how it goes for the next week? Really, five minutes is not that long. And you needn't start with "I, Nefi" ... That's not right. That's Danish. What is it in English? says Nephi. That looks right. Sorry. I'm forgetting all the English scriptures! Oh no! Anyway, instead of reading chronologically, would you instead try taking turns picking favorite chapters to read and discuss, or choose a certain topic and study that? 2 Nefi 29, 31, and 32. Alma 18, 26, and 34 are great. 3 Nefi 11 and any of the following chapters. Moroni 7 and 10. Those are just a few of my favorite chapters. You can pick what you want. The hope is that I can use this as a trial example for when we present more Family Mission Plans to the members in our ward. I think it will also help as a family though. I'm curious to see what Andrew and Matthew make of it. 

Oh goodness. Even my e-mails. As missionaries we're supposed to follow a pattern. 1. Teach. 2. Testify. 3. Commit. Sorry I just did that with you all too.

We found a new investigator! His name is M and he's from Iran. It's actually an interesting story. He was contacted by Søster Ronstrom and Søster Johnson on splits here in Frederiksberg, but he told them he was "busy" and walked past. Something in him kept dwelling on it though, and he was so thrilled when he met Søster Taylor and me a few blocks later. He stopped us and had lots of questions, so we ended up teaching a summary of the first lesson in the street. He said he was having a difficult time understanding it all, but was interested in coming to our church. He wouldn't give us his number, so we just gave him the address on the pass along card. That was the last we'd heard from him until he called Søster Olsson to set up an appointment. We couldn't understand his name over the phone, and I didn't recognize him until he walked up to the church. He believes in God, but wants to try to define what that really means. He was fascinated as we taught the first lesson in more depth, and says it all makes perfect sense. He's never been part of a religion that allows (let alone encourages) people to ask God to find the truth of it for themselves. He didn't have a solid enough schedule with school to set up a return appointment, but he really does want to meet with us. 

It was sad sending Søster Ronstrom off, but I did get a rich inheritance. She's made a continuing mission plan for when she gets home though, and even grabbed a few Family Mission Plans for her family and friends. It's proof that although you might not wear a name tag, anyone can be a missionary. At all times, in all things, and in all places.

Jeg elsker jer!
Søster Morse

Mom - Happy Birthday! I'll be sending you a separate e-mail. Would you send my e-mails to Søster Ronstrom now too? Her address is

Dad - How's the family? Sorry, I'm e-mailing earlier than normal so I don't think I've gotten the family e-mail yet. Søster Olsson prefers e-mailing in the morning, so that's the new schedule from now on. 

Cheryl - How are you liking being over the history courses now? That's got to be so much fun. The closest I get to studying history anymore is scriptural accounts and Talmage's "The Great Apostasy". I love the time to focus, but I miss my good ol' worldly studies too.

Greg - Fired up the pizza grill yet? Weird, but a popular pizza topping in Denmark is potatoes. Yes. Potato pizza. They're crazy, I know, but it's not half bad. They boil them and cut them in little coin sizes, then set them on like pepperonis and bake the pizza. I've also seen them battered and baked, so pretty much french fries on pizza. It's good with tomatoes and pesto and sausage.

William - How's life in Mapleton?

Katie - Psych season finale. I heard Henry was shot. Tell me everything. And thank you for the lyrics! I love love love love love them! I think I've been singing around the house all week. It actually helped Søster Ronstrom come to terms with leaving when she realized how much good music is out right now.

Grammy and Grandpa Morse - I did receive your package, and I'll be posting a letter to you asap. We don't actually have a mailbox at our apartment, so most packages go through the mission office and then the central post office before they get to us. We're working on sorting that out though, and the mission office has agreed to hold all of our mail until then. We live close by, so we just pick it up when we go to get more Books of Mormon.

Grandma and Grandpa Walker - I got a letter from you too! Yay! I feel very loved. I'll write you back and mail it as soon as I can. It's great to hear from the family, and ... Enough of that. I'll write it all in my letter.

Supreme Mugwump - I sent you one of the best articles in the world. You'll appreciate it. It's a legend in our Zone and I was finally able to copy it for you. Oh, and Søster Olsson is a Gryffindor and Søster Guesne is a total Ravenclaw. "Thought you ought to know." Oh my giddy aunt Francis. I thought I saw something on the train about JK Rowling and a new book, but since she was signing copies of the book 7 I assumed it was a re-release of some other books because Bronte didn't mention a new book when she told me about Pottermore. Turns out, she's written a new book! You probably have already heard from your family, but if not, I'll fill you in on what Søster Ronstrom sent me. She e-mailed me with updates on the Potter world and Deviantart. I love that girl. ... Did I say I love her? Not true. She's my new hero. She also sent a screencap of the Pottermore home page!!! I'll just forward the e-mail on. You've got to see it!

Søster Ronstrom - Ja, du vil altid være Søster Ronstrom, selvom du er ikke en missionær. Det er helt vildt at du gik til dansen! Jeg prover at skrive til dig på dansk, men jeg ved ikke hvordan det vil virkelig virke ... Det glæder mig at du kan være dette lys til dine venner og menighed nu. Som mange har sagt, Sverige har bruge for kvinder som dig. Tusind tak for billederne og Pottermore og Rowlings nye bog! Jeg kunne ikke være mere spændt! Hmm ... måske hvis den var en Harry Potter bog, men det er den eneste årsag jeg kan tænke på at være mere spændt. Er det mærkeligt at tale svensk? Hvordan er det at være "normal"? Du vil aldrig virkelig være normal, det ved jeg godt, men mere normal? Søster Olsson, Søster Guesne, og jeg har det fint. Ikke nogle bekymringer her! Held og lykke med din kæreste!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 9

Kære Alle Sammen,

This has been a crazy week, with another one to follow, so we'll see if I can get through it all. Big news first. Søster Ronstrom finishes her mission and goes back to Sweden on Thursday. I'll miss my mom. She has been an incredible missionary, trainer, and friend. However, as of this Wednesday my new companion will be Søster Olsson. She's only been on her mission for 8 months, and she'll not only be finishing my training but, wait for it, we're getting a greenie! I'm looking forward to the tripanionship. One definite upside is that we don't have to turn over any more investigators to the elders because we can't get sisters from the ward to come teach single men with us! That, and it's crazy fun.

Thursday is the place to begin with last week though. I've never been more spiritually charged or more exhausted. The Odense sisters had been over for splits the night before, and it's always so great to hygge with the other sister missionaries. Google hygge if I haven't already explained. That day though we dropped them off, then ran to 4 appointments in a row, one out of our area since Søster Ronstrom had been his former teacher and he wanted to meet her before she left. We hadn't scheduled dinner, but we were praying for strength the whole day. A delayed bus meant we had time for a durum, so it was a curse and a blessing.

N first. He began the appointment by asking to see the baptismal font again. It was incredible seeing him walk down the stairs into it and just looking around. The Spirit was so strong. Back upstairs though he gave us each a gift (mine was a book of photos of Copenhagen, really beautiful), and informed us that due to the situation with his family, he would be discontinuing his investigation into the church. We were all crushed, but we'd expected it as soon as he brought out the gifts. Dana, the wonderful young woman we bring along to teach with us, frightfully asked if he'd prayed about his decision. He said no. What followed was a lesson full of testimony from all of us and lead entirely by the Spirit. As he said the closing prayer, he began sobbing. He confessed that he really cared about all of us, and didn't want to see us sad because of his choice. His problem is that he's too unselfish. He agreed to pray about his decision and we set a group fast for Sunday. We later found out that he'd fasted on his own on Friday as well as all day Sunday, and he'd read nearly 100 pages in the Book of Mormon by the time we saw him in church. He really does love the gospel, but as an only child really feels a strong sense of obligation to his parents. He has decided to keep coming to church and reading and praying though, and when things calm down a bit, he'll begin meeting with the missionaries again. He's also in touch with the chat room missionaries, so they'll be there to answer and questions. We've been suggesting for a month now that someone meet his parents so they can get answers to their questions too. His mother used to be a member, but she refuses to talk about her time with the church. It couldn't have been pleasant. He hasn't been too fond of the idea, but on Sunday he talked to our ward mission leader and President Andersen's brother, who is amazing, and is opening up to it. Hans (P. Andersens' brother) and Lis are going to invite him and his parents over for dinner one night. His parents weren't too fond of the church either, so he's sympathetic.

After N was A. She's always so sweet. And she gave us some little home made tarts and tea, which was lunch.

After A was the investigator from the other sisters' area. Quick background note: they're closing that area because of the problems they've had with stalkers and the like. Pres. Andersen has had to go with them to the police station twice in the last few months because of threatening or inappropriate texts. One of their contacting areas is the area just outside of the city with all the mental hospitals, and they've had a lot of ... interesting experiences there. No one's quite sure why it was a sisters area to begin with, but it's being changed to an elders area this transfer. It was in the meeting that we got news of the upcoming transfers. Actually while I was out contacting with Søster Olsson during Søster Ronstrom and Søster Moore's lesson. This is a transfer of epic proportions. Apart from the Copenhagen district, there's only one apartment in the whole mission that isn't affected by this transfer.

After that our final appointment was A and E, the less active couple we've visited a lot before. I love them. A was having a really, really difficult time though. Her family was never close (she had a terribly abusive upbringing), but she's done the best with what life gave her. E too. A's family has pretty much cut off contact with her though. She only found out about the big family reunion they all had because of facebook. She was very hurt and very, very angry. She has a strong faith, but her belief is really being shaken. We had a beautiful discussion on the atonement though, and door-bell-ditched her last night and left a card with Elder Bednar's talk about the enabling power of the atonement from this month's Liahona. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

On the way home from A and E someone at the bus stop thought I was Danish. He said he couldn't hear my accent at all. That was a blessing, since I've been getting a bit discouraged with the language. It's still coming along though. I just have to keep reminding myself that I've only been studying it for four months. Patience is not one of my virtues.

On Friday we had dinner with Pauline! She's a legend in the mission, and pretty much everyone's mother. She's a former Seventh Day Adventist from Uganda who LOVES missionary work. That morning we ran into N (a recent convert from Ghana who's been looking for work in Italy for the past 3 months). Pauline helped teach him, so we invited him to dinner with us that evening. It really was such a miracle. Pauline has had a difficult time with going back to school to study medicine and working a lot, and she bore a really sweet testimony about how much the church really means in each of our lives that I think really struck N. As a side note, I love African food. It's spicy, but so yummy. And I love that both of them would say "mmm" or "yes, yes" or even once "amen" when we said something in the spiritual thought, discussion, or prayer that they particularly liked.

We also ate dinner at A's with Hans and Lis Andersen. I seriously love them. A and Lis are good friends, and Hans is also the stake patriarch, so he is invaluable to have along. In the course of dinner they taught her the restoration of priesthood authority, the apostasy (how do you spell that in English? I can only think of it in Danish ...), church organization (bishoprics, etc.) and the difference between them and traditional priests, and Lis invited her to Relief Society, which she very much like the sound of. A has been taught on and off for a year (mostly off, since she spent a lot of time in Odense and visiting her mother who has Alzheimer's), and thanks to one evening with the Andersens, she's finally starting to internalize and understand why our church is unique. She likes it, but her father was a priest in the Danish People's Church, so it's difficult for her to make the switch. She's had no problem blending the two though, which works. She gave Søster Ronstrom a set of H. C. Andersen stories on cd (which Søster Ronstrom talked about the whole way home), which I'm copying for language study. Crazy stories, but very Danish. Oh boy.

Tillykke med fødselsdag Dronning Margrethe!

In other news, Pottermore opened this week! Bronte Waddoups (the 9 year old daughter from the awesome Scottish/American family I had dinner with my first night here) is my Potter buddy. I told her that I saw something on the bus news real about J K Rowling and some big release, and she suddenly got very serious and promised to find out the details for me. She reported back later that evening. I love that girl.

Søster Morse

Mom - Expect something in the mail. I won't say more. You know why. I love you!

Greg - Best. Meat. Coma. Ever. Even better than the Juicy Lucy cheese-filled burgers. Are you ready? A giant Frankfurter sausage wrapped in bacon. Whaaaaat! I know, right? And the bun is totally optional. You've got to try bacon-wrapped hot dogs. I don't have to work to persuade you. It's meat wrapped in meat. How can it go wrong?

Dad - That's so interesting about the planets. I've noticed some brighter stars that I thought might be planets, but wasn't sure without google. Oh, how I miss google. And don't worry about me being out at night. I'm not terribly far from the arctic circle, remember, so "night" here can be fairly relative.

Cheryl - Don't feel bad for not writing. I know you love and pray for me, and I always feel bad because it takes me forever to write anyone back. Thank you for the quote. As I've been here I've noticed a stark difference between those missionaries who do and do not live by the Spirit. And thank you for the picture too! Would you mind sending that to overy(at) so that Katie O's family can send it on to her?

William - Any luck with work up in Dad's area?

Katie - Aw, you're the bestest bestest bestest sister I've ever had! Totally my favorite. Seriously though, thanks for those songs. I've been singing the choruses over and over in my head, so it's nice to be able to branch out. And I think it's awesome that you wanted to go to a planetarium. And so cool about the Mars rock! You know what my companion wanted to do for her last P-Day? Go to an aquarium and see sharks. Nerds really do rule the world.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 8

Kære Allesammen,

Easter (Påske) was, as always, very special. However, I've never quite felt like it was quite as special as it ought to be. In many ways it just felt like every other Sabbath. On Sunday someone in church put that worry to rest very simply, saying, "What we celebrate at Easter is the most important event in human history, making Easter the most important day. Yet as members of the church, we celebrate Easter every Sunday when we devote our efforts to charity (the pure love of Christ), ponder the scriptures (prophecies of Christ), and take the sacrament (the symbol of the atonement of Christ)."

It is interesting though, that the days when the Folkekirke's attendence is the highest, the LDS's is the lowest. It helps though when most Danes usually only go on Christmas and Easter, when most LDS members here go on holiday to visit family. Officially, Denmark is Lutheran, but about 80% belong to the Danske Folkekirke (Church of the Danish People). Not many are active though. "According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 31% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 49% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 19% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force"."

The Danes celebrate four days of Easter. Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. Don't ask me why they skip Saturday. None of them know either. I've asked. On Thursday we ate a traditional Påske Frokost (translation: Easter Lunch that got out of hand) with an older Sister in the ward who adores having the missionaries over. She's so sweet, and such a good cook, and that was honestly the most food I have ever eaten in one sitting. Ten courses. Two and a half hours. Straight eating. (the normal hour-long dinner appointment rule doesn't apply on holidays) When she brought out the bread and cheese course at the end I thought I might just cry. And it's not light food either. Fish fillet and remoulade sauce on a piece of rich rye bread. Sausages and red beets and more rich rye bread. Salmon cutlet and egg on more rich rye bread. Ham salad on more rich rye bread. Liver paste with bacon, mushrooms, and cucumber on (you guessed it) more rich rye bread. All eaten with a fork and knife. Even the bread. Uuuuuugh. Soooooo much good food.

Later we went to A and E's, an amazing less active couple we've been working with. They both come from really hard, abusive backgrounds, but it's really fantastic how much progress they've made. She's American, so she had us over for good ol' American comfort food we might have been missing. It really was like home with BBQ chicken wings, mac and cheese, and pizza. I love A.

Adventure of the Week:
Today I ate an ice cream cone as big as my head. No joke. Danes take their "is" very seriously. When they buy ice cream from the ice cream man who drives around the streets of Copenhagen with his little music blaring, they come back home with BYU Creamery sized blocks of it. We wanted to do something special for Søster Ronstrom's last real P-Day. The entire district (about 14 of us) all went to Lyngby to see the Frilandsmuseet (google that. It's beautiful), which is essentially an outdoor museum of old Danish houses. The government went through a while ago and whenever one had to be torn down, it was carefully disassembled and then put back together piece by piece in a giant garden park. The homes come from all across Denmark, even an old mill from Sweden (a part that was Danish at the time) and from all across the centuries. We got so many odd looks, this troup of missionaries wandering in and out of old houses in the pouring rain. It smelled fantastic! I'll send pictures next week, when I remember my camera cable.

Adventure of the Week 2:
On Tuesday Søster Ronstrom and I headed into the city center to get some serious contacting in. On the metro we chatted with a really fun Swedish man with long hair and a crazy cool beard. He was really sweet, and he and Søster Ronstrom just chatted it up på Svensk, shifting to English when he noticed I hadn't said anything, even though I could follow the conversation. Søster Ronstrom was frantically rummaging through her purse to find a pass along card as we pulled up to our stop, so I began to dig for one too so we'd be able to get off in time. I looked up just in time to see her bolt through the shutting doors. And then I waved to her through the window as the train pulled away. It's all good though. The Swede gave me a big hug (what now, white handbook?!) took the pass along card, and gave me directions to get back to that station. Spændende, ikke os? Oh, and on Monday Ældste Broschinski nearly sat on me in FHE playing Fruits Basked (no, Supreme Mugwump. I thought of Furuba too though.) On Wednesday I fell on Søster Ronstrom at an S-Tog stop. On Thursday a French man kissed our hands when we gave in a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Wouldn't take a Book of Mormon though. And I was able to talk with him in French for a bit before we realized each other spoke Danish! All in all, and odd week for physical encounters.

Our next planned adventure is "Plan 14 Month Extention". Well, the name is a work in progress, but the plan is set. When Søster Ronstrom reports to Præs Andersen to go home, she's going to have my name tag and I'll have hers. And a bar of chocolate. My disguise is perfect. I'll greet Præsident and act just like Søster R, pretending I'm going back home, maybe jabber in Swedish a bit, and she'll ask about who her new trainer is going to be and just act like a greenie. It's perfect.

Supreme Mugwump, you needn't feel too apostate. We played Super Smash Bros. at an less active family's house. Not because we asked to, but because we're just looking for ways to reconnect with the 14 year old son. If he wants to play video games with us on the Wii, then we're more than happy to do it. We made sure to keep a good spirit though, and share a spiritual thought afterward. William, you'd be so proud. I was the only one who was able to even compete with him. I almost beat him once too. And Mom said video games would never pay off. He and I totally bonded. He and his mom were both baptized two years ago. He says it was just for her, but we all know that's not totally true. He's a really sweet kid, but he's just had a really difficult life with his family.

His mom, V, is great. She's been every religion under the sun. She spent a few weeks as a monk in a Hari Krishna temple, pushed over gravestones as a witch in the Satanist cult, and drank mead and sang Viking songs with the Asetro (essentially neopagans - they still worship Odin, Thor, and the gang). After church on Sunday she came out contacting with us and to visit a less active member in a retirement home. She really enjoyed her afternoon as a missionary, and we're thinking of taking her with us to more lessons. She has a very direct testimony and isn't afraid to share it. Some people can be to hesitant with, "Well, what I personally believe is ...". She's just lige frem. Christ is our Savior, take it or leave it. I love her contacting approach. "Do you know what the Book of Mormon is?" If they said "no", we'd talk about it a bit before she jumped back in with, "So do you want to read it? No? Okay, have a good day." Sigh. Danes are crazy, but that's totally the culture.

Favorite quotes of the Week:
"Don't judge me because I sin differently than you." -- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Stop it!"
-- also Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"The thing God must enjoy most about being God is the thrill of showing mercy." -- Jeffery R. Holland
"I may be a black sheep in this church, but I'm Jesus' black sheep!" -- A, one of the less active members we've been working with. She's great.
''Hunt 'em down, and baptize 'em.'' -- Søster Redd's grandma
"That looks yummy! Can you put sugar on it?" -- Søster Ronstrom

Jeg elsker dig!
Søster Morse

Mom - Thanks for forwarding on Katie and Søster Arbon's letters. I love reading about what they're up to. Would you mind forwarding all of mine on to them? They've said they haven't been getting all of them, and I'd hate to deprive anyone of my weekly ramblings. Thank you for all you continue to do to help me. You really are a daily support to me.
Katie - Thanks for the quote! I loved his story too. Do you remember his name, by any chance?
Supreme Mugwump - My dad's latest news "P.S. Before you left you didn't have a chance to teach Juliet about the law of chastity, did you?  It's looking like we'll have more news for you in about four weeks." WHAAAAAAAT?! Do you still have Emilie and Ashlee's addresses? She's gonna be a mommy! She always was quite a fetching little cat ...

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Sjaeland Zone (from my 2nd week here)

Aw, the Sjæland Zone. This is actually from Specialized Training my second week here. Søster Arbon is in black and white on the left, Søster Ronstrom is in purple on the right, the goofy Elders right behind me are Ældste Wilden (pointing, our DL who gave me the blessing) and Ælste Holyoak from the MTC. In front from left to right are Ældste and Søster Nielsen, who work in the office and always give us cookies. We see them about every day when we go borrow the church key, get mail, or pick up more Books of Mormon. Book of Mormons? Whatever they're called, we sure give out a lot of them. In the center are Præsident and Søster Andersen. I love them both. Words can't even describe how wonderful they are. I think the reason their mission is being ended a year early is because they're being translated. On the right are Ældste and Søster Telford, who work the Center for Young Adults. I think I sent a picture of Ældste Telford a while ago. They're so sweet and just plain crazy. The universal grandparents of the mission. I love my zone!

Week 7

Hello, everyone!

Apparently waaay more people read this than I thought, since I've gotten a few letters from various family members who've mentioned my letters. Huh. Maybe I ought to be more careful of what I write ...

General Conference was definitely the highlight of the week. Elder Oaks' talk on sacrifice was one of my favorites, along with Elder Eyrings about trials. The two go very well together. The less active member we've been meeting with that I mentioned last time was there with her husband, and that was exactly what they needed to hear. I looked over at them a few times and he had his arm around her as she wiped away tears. Afterward she gave me one of the longest hugs I've had in my life and invited us over to dinner. Things are really turning around in their lives. It's easy to see. I also really liked Packer's, though it's heartbreaking to see his body deteriorate while his spirit is as strong as ever. I love the quote from his talk, approximately that "Life was never meant to be easy or fair, but the hope and peace of the Atonement makes it all worth it." Holland's was also beautiful, especially in the light of missionary work seeing conversion happen first-hand. When Russel M Nelson said the line about the Big Bang, the whole audience just froze. I even heard a few whispers and Søster Ronstrom said, "Uh uh. He did NOT just say that." Utchdorf's, however, was my favorite. It was exactly what I needed to hear for me personally, not just for the investigators or general mission field.

Søster Ronstrom and I were nearly giddy when the first session started. We all gathered in the stake center to watch the first session on Saturday night as a live broadcast (in English, thank goodness, though they do offer it in Danish), then came back on Sunday to watch the second and third session. They don't air the final session here, but many members watch it online and we'll get it in the Liahona when that comes out. So to all those of you who don't pay as much attention the the final session since it's a lot to handle after 6 hours, please at least enjoy it in behalf of the other half of the world that doesn't get to see it. And who have to gather in chapels to sit in folding chairs in church clothes for four hours. We did get a 2 hour lunch break between the sessions on Sunday too, and it was really great to *hygge with the investigators and members all together. We actually had all three of our progressing investigators there!

N and Søster Andersen (Præsident Andersen's wife) got along really well. She studied to be a dietician, so they talked a lot about his pre-med schooling. M was there with her boyfriend, K, who is "prepetually preparing for a mission", as one person said, and they really enjoyed it. M2 was also there. She's a really sweet woman who had a seizure and lost the use of one of her arms, but the setback only strengthed her faith and dependence in Christ. She's devoutly Catholic though, so not really making much (any) progress. Being and GC was good for her though. A was the other investigator there. She's good friends with Pres Andersen's sister in law (who is in our ward. Pres Andersen's brother is the stake patriarch too. Really incredible family.), so they sat together and really enjoyed it. A even borrowed paper and a pen from me after the first talk so that she could take notes. She had never before considered the possibility of prophets on the earth today, and was a little sad she didn't get to see Monson talk in the session she went to. She read all about him in the Liahona and really thinks very highly of him. (Insert Søster Morse and Søster Ronstrom doing a happy dance here)

Actually, I have more to say about A. She's so unbelievably sweet. She's the one we invited to baptism last week who had concerns about Warren Jeffs. On Friday we visited her after a crazy week. She always has tea and sweets and is very open. As she said the prayer at the end of the lesson she began to cry. She explained that it's been a dificult time for her, and, in summary, that the light we bring when we visit her makes such a difference in her life. She's in her 50's and doesn't have any children of her own, but said that she counts us among her nieces, whom she loves very much. I'm so excited to keep meeting with her. Her religious traditions mean a lot to her because of her father, so she won't admit to herself how much progress she's making, but she really is beginning to soak it all in. We recommended to her to read in the Book of Mormon whenever she needs comfort and shared a few of our favorite comforting scriptures. I think that's going to be the change. It really is such a powerful testimony of Christ that people cannot help but be affected by it.

Okay, now for the crazy week. On Tuesday we contacted 100 people! Yay! That a first timer for me. On Wednesday we went out to Slagelse for splits with Søstre Redd and Arbon. Contacting with them was fun. Slagelse has a reputation. And not a good reputation. However, among the four of us we gave out 9 Books of Mormon in the three hours we were out. It was also great to contact with Søster Arbon. If only Brother Stacey could've seen us! We had some pretty crazy contacting approaches in the MTC when we practiced, everything from Søster Taylor's "Hey, I like your tie. Woah! It's blue! So's this book we're giving out. You should take one. They match!" to me standing on a bench Hyde Park style and yelling "Have you been saved?!"

On Thursday we were on splits again. Back to back splits? That's just insane! The second set though was just with the Lyngby Søstre, which is the area right next to ours. These were proper splits too, so Søster Moore came down to Frederiksberg and SR went up to Lyngby with Søster Olsson. Søster Moore taught French before coming, so we borrowed a French to Danish dictionary from the CUV and had the best tri-lingual language study ever. Introducing ourselves on the street was so fun. "Hi, I'm Søster Morse and this is Søster Moore, and we're out talking with people ... (insert contacting approach)."

Friday was Interviews with President Andersen and then the District Meeting. It was all great, but we had to leave early for an appointment with N, then rushed across town to A, then rushed back to meet with the Telfords for dinner. They're the senior couple at the Center for Young Adults (CUV). We went out for Vietnamese and had an absolute ball. They're so fun. I love senior couples. To all my grandparents, Walker and Morse, I'm so excited to hear more about your time as missionaries when I get back and we can talk. The temple missionaries are in our area, since it includes the Copenhagen Temple.

Jeg elsker jer!
Søster Morse

Sorry I can't really do personal messages. I'm out of time!