Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The week has been full of miracles. For one, it's been amazingly beautiful in Copenhagen! It's said that Denmark has two weeks of true summer and two weeks of true winter, and no one knows what the other 48 weeks are going to be like. May as well enjoy it while we can, right?
First, the biggest news of the week. Da is a beautiful young woman, early 20's. I mean absolutely stunnig. She was an investigator from Søster Ronstrom and Søster Olsson's area when they were companions, but kind of fell out of contact with the church about 2 or 3 months ago. S Ronstrom was in Frederiksberg with me by that point, and it broke her heart to hear about it. Da said she thought it was true, but didn't know if she could live up to it - especially since she was living with her boyfriend and he would definitely not support her keeping all of the commandments. That was it until last week. She came to the monthly sacrament meeting at the CUV and wanted to talk to Søster Olsson. During the talks (which were absolutely amazing - there's definitely something special about the CUV) she was listening raptly. At the end she was very quiet and thoughtful, and a bit teary. She said she wanted us to meet with her since she didn't think it was allowed for her to be taught by boys, but wasn't sure how to work that since we were so far away. When Søster Olsson explained that it was perfectly kosher for her to be taught by the Elders, she was so glad. She then told Søster Olsson that she had broken up with her boyfriend, been reading in the Book of Mormon, and wanted to be baptized. As soon as we were out of sight on the way home Søster Olsson literally started dancing for joy down the streets of Frederiksberg. Da is such a miracle.
And on Saturday Tr (one of the AP's investigators) was baptized. She came to hear her friend give a talk in church and in the Guest Class later they talked about baptism and repentence and the peace that comes from it. She though, "You know, that might actually be something I want. I think I'm going to go for it." Told her friend, met with the missionaries, and set a baptismal date her second appointment with them. That was back in February. She set it so far ahead because she wanted to be baptized in May (it's the most beautiful month here) and because she wanted to read the Book of Mormon the whole way through before being baptized so that when she was a member she'd be able to be a good one. I absolutely adore Tr. She proves that God really has prepared some of His children to recognize the truth when they find it. Another miracle.
NOTE: If possible, Google all of the places I'm talking about. They're stunning.
That was just the finale of a fantastic week. On Thursday we went out and contacted around Nyhavn with all of the colorful houses right on the port, then worked our way up to Østerport, which is a beautiful district of Copenhagen right by the sea. It also happens to be where Queen Margrethe lives, if that puts the area in perspective for you. After walking past Amelienborg Plads where she lives so that Søster Guesne could learn some of the landmarks of the area, we took a ten minute break from contacting in the heat to step inside. The closest public place was actually Marmorkirke, the royal cathedral and my favorite church in Copenhagen. Except ours. I've included pictures of it before.
After a while of contacting around we hit the coast and decided to just take the harbor bus back down to the train station. We missed the bus because some tourists asked for directions, but instead of being irritated we decided to just smile it off and contact some more. We made our way up near Kastellet. I've felt like we ought to go into this church near there, St Alban's for a while, which is weird because we're obviously not allowed to proselyte around other churches. However, we decided to go in. This little church is beautiful. Oddly, it's also Church of England. The only one in Denmark. Two sweet women greeted us at the door with information brochures about the church and lo and behold, one of them was a less active member of our church! Her husband had died a few years ago and because St Alban's was his church, she felt it was where she ought to be. We got her info and plan on inviting her to some ward activities so she can start rebuilding bridges. The other woman also lost her husband a few years ago and is the quinticential chatty South England traveller. She was interrested, so we gave her a card with our info on it. We plan on going back this week during splits to "show the other missionaries how pretty the church is", which translates to "follow up inconspicuously" in missionary lingo. What a miracle!
Then we actually managed to catch the harbor bus, which just felt like God's little reward for 1. being friendly and helping the tourists in the first place and 2. following the weird prompting to go into another church. And before anyone asks, yes, we are allowed to take boats when necessary. When you live on the coast it's often the fastest way to get around. Being on the water again was wonderful too - breezy and cool and a nice break from the normal confinement of the city.
We also played basketball on p-day with Da and a bunch of the Elders and you know what? I wasn't terrible! I didn't even hurt anyone! Plus, a few times I was even useful. Yet another miracle this week.
Jeg elsker jer!
I mean Hannah.
I'm never sure which one to use.
Dad - What's Grammy and Grandpa's address? I want to mail a letter to them, but can't find it. Please send Katie O'Very all of the pictures of Juliet and the kittens. Technically, she's her cat, and she's dying to see them. And from what I've heard of Kristian Kjeldsen, the missionaries in the area don't know him, but a member here said that's because he hasn't been to church in a while because of health problems. She promised to get me his info. I'll keep you updated!
Mom - I'm so sorry you've been sick! I hope you're feeling better. That iron you sent really helps, by the way, especially on days when we have to fast or don't really get a lot of time to eat. I haven't had to use the other medicine you sent yet, but we'll see. By the way, have you activated my card yet? I need to buy stamps so that I can use all of the fun pens and paper you sent me to write home!
Katie - Everyone's mentioned your piano duet. It must've been good! Can I just tell you how impressed/jealous I am of your schedule next year? It sounds like you'll be learning loads, plus you'll have Shelley, Beeson, and Atwood. As far as thoughts on the Atonement go, I'll just tell you how I explain it to investigators. Hopefully some of it is useful. But first, I love Elder Holland's: talk http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/none-were-with-him?lang=eng , especially what he says about Christ being forewarned of what he would go through, but perhaps not fully aware or prepared. We don't know how difficult it was to bear, but we do know that he went into Gethsemane three times, coming out twice before it was finished to seek comfort from his friends. Yet even they could not be the comfort he needed then. Although it had to be something he went through entirely alone, God even broke and sent an angel to be of some comfort to him. Most touching of all, the reason he went through all of that alone was so that we don't have to. He did it out of the pure love, deeper than we can comprehend, I believe. Because of that, we never have to go through life without hope. We can always turn to him because he knows exactly what it is we're going through. There were two parts of the atonement. "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." Alma 7:12. 1. To conquer the physical and spiritual death brought on by the fall of man and to which we are all subject. 2. Suffering not only the consequences of sin and death, but also all of the lonelyness, guilt, and despaire that plague mankind so that he would know how to succor us. "Succor" goes back to the Latin suc + currere, which together mean to literally run to the aid of someone in order to lift them up. I cannot even begin to imagine the love the Savior must feel for each of us after knowing our lives so personally in the Garden of Gethsemane, but I know that because of it we can have hope. "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." Moroni 7:41. That is what the atonement means to me.
If you wouldn't mind, would you maybe clean up that messy mind dump of spiritual thoughts and scriptures and put it on my blog? And include the last three paragraphs of Holland's talk at the end?
William - That would have been so fun to help out at Mom's Field Day. How'd it go?
Supreme Mugwump - They think our notes are cryptic? Do they remember our conversations? Hamburger! You'd better not actually hold it hostage. The only reason I haven't mailed yours off yet is that I had no stamps and I needed to photocopy some of the things I was sending you. I'm mailing it today. It's in my bag, addressed and stamped and everything.