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!
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 ...