Kære Alle Sammen,
This week's main event was Mission Conference, where all 70-ish of the missionaries across all of Denmark gathered in Copenhagen to say farewell to President Andersen and his family. When we all sang "Gud vær med dig til vi ses igen" (God be with you till we meet again), I don't think their was a dry tear in the audience. Præsident and Søster Andersen have truly poured their heart and soul into Den Danske Mission, and we all love them all the more for it. Elder Marlin K Jensen also came and spoke. He's from the Quorum of the Seventy and the Church Historian, and this was his last big assignment before being released. I loved the insights he gave to the gospel purely from historical context. For example, his explication of D&C 4. Every missionary knows that chapter by heart and we recite it every meeting (don't ask me to try it in English though). That revelation was received during what was perhaps the darkest period of Joseph Smith's life, the winter just after the 16 pages were lost and his ability to translate was taken away. On a more personal level, he confessed that he feared he'd lost his salvation along with the precious scriptures. In addition to that, he and Emma were living in a little lean-to shack attached to his parents-in-law's house, and we all know how the Hale family felt about him. I can't even imagine how he would have felt at that time. The revelation was given when his father came to visit and check up on him, asking for a blessing as well. What would it have been like, in that frozen little shack with a broken prophet, to hear the words, "Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men." The greatest missionary prophecy of all time, received when things seemed their darkest. The Lord had a plan. Sometimes though we don't see it until we're humble enough to trust Him. I've learned something else on my mission too. Sometimes the hard times prepare you to make the best of the best times. The Lord gives us only what we're capable of at the time. We might not be getting what we want now simply because we aren't ready for that. But after the hard times are over, if we've proven ourselves worthy, if we have come to humbly trust in the Savior through it all, then we've also shown Him (and ourselves) that He can trust us with the blessings we will then receive. We may not be getting any real investigators right now, but by staying strong we prove to God that He can trust us with His children He has prepared, and we'll be strong enough to be the missionaries they need.
After the conference, President Andersen came up to me and said, "Elder Jensen also wanted to interview some of the missionaries here, and I have selected you to represent the Sisters." Er ... It was really a special experience to be in a personal interview with the Church Historian though. He asked me loads of questions about the mission and advice for the new president, and I in turn to to ask him questions about his work. He said he'd put in a good word for me if I were to volunteer as a docent in the Church History museum in Salt Lake City when I get back. Uh ... jo tak!
Oh, and more news. Turns out I'm not going to Slagelse with Søster Taylor after all. Emergency transfers. I'm actually going to Odense with Søster Johnson. Fun!
And Dad, I finally did meet Kristian Kjeldsen. He and his wife had me and my companions over for lunch and we got to listen to all his stories of you two on your missions together. I can't wait to hear more from you when I get home. I'll mail you his full contact info he wrote out, but for now his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and he would love to hear from you. You'd actually been on his mind the last few weeks too.
Next time I write you all, it will be from Odense, on the island of Fynn. Until then ...
Jeg elsker jer!
Katie's Mommy - I can't call you Sabrina, and Sister O'Very just feels far too formal. Thank you for your prayers, and for passing on Katie's e-mails. It sounds like she's really doing well!
Dad - HAPPY FATHERS DAY! I had no idea you were in Rhode Island! Fun! Tell Andrew congratulations for me on his first home run of the season.
Cheryl - Thank you for the talk. I'll print it off and read it this afternoon. I'm glad your mother's okay after the accident. I'll keep her in my prayers. Yes, I remember Mary Steven. BYUIS is changing so much! Crazy.
Mom - Thank you for your words of wisdom. And that's so cool that Rachel Chase got married! Yes, I would totally have wished them all the happiest. I'm glad that couple called. They were really sweet, though apparently too liberal in their praises. Hm ... And that's a really interesting idea in Nate Ensign's letter. It wouldn't work as well with your average Dane, but in some circumstances (depending on the person), it might really help. And I love what Andrew Corliss said.
Katie - I'm glad your talk worked out, and you might be able to use that other one as the foundation for something the next time. I'm sure you were great! Great idea for Dad's gift too. He's a hard one to shop for. And I'm surprised you remember the last time my hair was hacked off. Hey, yours is probably longer than mine now. From what I can gather from your e-mails, you sound like you're really doing well. I'm excited to see you at Christmas! As for tent themes go, I'd vote for Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. You can use that even if a girl does end up switching. Plus, someone will get to march around in green tights. Always a winner.