Kaere Alle Sammen,
As of Wednesday I'm officially no longer a Greenie. I don't know ... wait. I know exactly how I feel about this. AAAAAAUUUUGH! Something like that. Maybe with a few tears. I love being a Greenie. I can be clueless and over enthusiastic and have an excuse. Now I'm clueless, over enthusiastic, and excuse-less. That, and it means I only have 13 more months on my mission. That is NOT okay. Why do the Elders get 2 years? Don't get me wrong, I love you all, but I sympathize with Alma. "O that I were an angel ..."
Does anyone have anything interesting about the reading invitation or the Family Mission Plan?
I've heard May is the most beautiful month in Denmark, and they weren't kidding. It's been about 15 degrees C outside lately, and there are more wildflowers here in the city than I've ever seen, even in the mountains back home. There are these little daisies that grow everywhere. They're called "marguerite", and Queen Margrethe adopted them as her symbol back when she was still a wee little princess. They're beautiful.
So the situation with Mother's Day calling is still being sorted out, but the Senior Couple who works at the CUV here (the Telfords - remember the pic I sent home of the crazy smiling senior missionary? They're so fun.) are letting us come over to their apartment to use their computers to Skype home. Yes. Not just call. We get to Skype. So I'll get to see you all! I'll probably have to split the time somehow between both of my wonderful families (especially since I didn't get to talk to Dad at the airport), but it'll be fine. We get a whole hour!
We met with Al last night and went to President Andersen's monthly open house. He loved it, and not only did he agree to meet with us tonight too, but he's also bringing a friend! Better yet, they're both 28 so they can come to the CUV! That was definitely a mental happy dance moment. He's from the northern border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and really has an interesting take on life. His family home was taken by the Taliban and his brother and father were refugees for a while. It's entirely lawless, torn between the Taliban and the Pakistani Army. He said that part of growing up there is learning how to use a weapon. All the children can. He and his brother are actually really good shots, he said. He supports the Pakistani Army, but would never say that because the next day the Taliban would be knocking on his door. He was raised Islamic, but really has a more open view of religion. He has a very strong faith, but has never found a religion that quite worked for him. He's completely new to Christianity too. We had a few lines crossed because he thought the picture of Nephi and his family on the boat was the boat he'd heard about with all the animals on it. He's applying to different PhD programs in Europe, so we don't know how long he'll be here. In the hour or so hygge time after the open house though he asked so many questions that we ended up teaching brief overviews of all of the PMG lessons, including the Word of Wisdom and Chastity. Hey, he asked. We all have a really good feeling about him though. He said that I remind him of his little sister back in Pakistan.
We also started teaching two new progressing investigators this week! I didn't go because I stayed home sick with Sister Guesne (also sick), but the Slagelse Sisters were in town for splits, so it worked out perfectly. Be met with the missionaries five years ago, but doesn't remember much, so she's pretty much a new investigator. Her daughter Pr, 11, also joined in the lesson. When Sister Olsson and Sister Taylor opened to a scripture from the Bible, she got so excited and ran upstairs. She came back down a few seconds later with a worn and tattered Bible. She read from it every day and loved every page of that book. Her mom had told her to leave it upstairs, since the missionaries would probably only be using the Book of Mormon. They lesson went really well, and both of them are excited to come to church. The only downside is that Be's husband is not at all fond of our church. The first time we tried to contact her he slammed the door in our faces. However, there are two of them and only one of him. Plus, the Lord is on their side. I'm excited to see where this goes.
We dropped Mi, the Catholic one. She said it herself. "I like investigating lots of different religions, and yours is interesting, but I don't see myself every really making any progress the way you all seem to want me too." Well, that was the concise answer to weeks of prayer. It's sad, but we'll still keep up occasional contact with her and she comes to Ward Choir every once in a while.
Ni is amazing, as always. He wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before making up his mind as to whether or not it is the word of God, but he said that he really likes what he's read so far and it has a ring of truth to it. His favorite scripture is 1 Ne 3:7. Sister Olsson quoted it in our lesson and he just looked at me and smiled. He's quoted it to us a few times too. With him it's just a matter of time, I think. He did agree to pray about the Book of Mormon though, and really did seem anxious too. He has that eager light back that he'd been lacking the last few meetings. I think it's the Book of Mormon that's making a difference. He's already into Alma.
An is also doing really well, and has also agreed to keep reading and pray about the Book of Mormon. It really is the foundation to a solid testimony and the hinge of a true conversion to Christ. Interestingly, the Danish word for "to convert" is "at omvende sig", which also means "to repent" and "to turn around". Each time we repent and use the power of the Atonement in our lives really is another conversion, and nothing stresses that connection quite as much as the sacrament. It is such a blessing. The Lord has given us a few minutes every week to turn around, repent, and renew the promises we made at our conversion. He blesses us even more abundantly in turn when we live up to those covenants we renew. Even if our investigators have been a bit over- (or occasionally under-) whelmed by our church services, they all enjoy the sacrament.
More next week about life as a missionary in Denmark. But before then, I'll actually be able to talk to you "face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend". Exciting!
P.S. I'm using an American laptop, so I don't have all of the crazy fun Danish letters. It's a shame.
Cheryl - Matthew is so cute with his cast. How's he doing? Their letters had me cracking up. It's so descriptive of their personalities. Good luck with the marathon! I don't know if I could ever run one, especially with having two children and working full-time. The thought of giving up bread and sugar is torture. I'm sure it will pay off though, especially with training. I've been cutting back on bread so that I can fill up on more nutrient-rich food, and even that little bit has been making a difference.
Matthew - I'm sorry that you broke your arm and had to go to the hospital, but it's really cool that you have a cast! I wish I could sign it. I hope you can still have fun with soccer. Juliet's kittens are so cute!
Andrew - Congratulations on the Seven Peaks pass! That'll be so fun! And it's cool that you can use the washing machine. There are some Elder missionaries out here who are 19 years old and still don't know how. William's really good and Yu-Gi-Oh, so he'll be a good teacher. Sounds like you have a pretty good deck too. I'll be able to talk to you on the computer on Mother's Day, so I'll see you soon!
Mom - How is Beverly doing? Send me updates about the baby! Have they chosen a name? It seems like you've been traveling a lot. California, Kansas, Texas. You'll probably log more miles than I will during my 18 months here. Has the bank told you what my pin number is? I miss having that. I'm so excited to see you on Mother's Day!
Katie - I love those quotes! And yes, the women are winning. Really though? You named the cats after Transformers? I'm guessing that was William. And the boys named them after Powder Puff Girls? We're such dorks. You should go up to the bit where I wrote to Dad and see my input. I like Loki, Astrid (as in the Viking name, not as in "Tardis"), and Romeo. And Bumblebee. That one's cute. I feel like Megatron and Optimus Prime would be good dog names though.
Supreme Mugwump - You got transferred?! Somehow I always pictured you staying in Kent, even though we both knew that wouldn't happen. Renton sounds great though. You'll get the Renton Mercados. Shut up. I'm going to be 21 forever! You, on the other hand, will be 23 1/2 when we see each other again. I actually have been lamenting the lack of mail, but with transfers you're totally excused. I know there is a weight limit, but I have no idea what it is. In Denmark it's 50 grams. That you would ask makes me very excited to see your letter though. Sister Olsson watched Psych. I finally have someone who will get my quotes again! Problem is, I've forgotten most of them. So sad. Wait. You have a trunk?