Hello from Odense! It's beautiful here, but I feel a bit like a city girl figuring out country life after living in Copenhagen for so long. There was a COW by the train station. You'd never see that. The most wildlife I saw in CPH were birds, spiders, cats, dogs, and occasionally mice. Here it's common to bike past horses. Oh yes, I'm on a bike. He's about as old as I am. His name is Sikkerhed, which means Safety, because he was actually Søster Johnson's bike when she was a greenie and she accidentally said in her prayer "please bless us that we can bike on safety" (common preposition mix up). It stuck. I really like serving with Søster Johnson. She's been here in Odense for 8 months now, so she's teaching me lots of tips and tricks. She also watches Big Bang Theory, Psych, Castle, and Community. It's going really well investigator-wise too. We had six investigators in church yesterday!
Da got baptized on Saturday! Søster Ronstrom came for it, and called me while she was there. It was so good to hear from her. She seems to be doing well for herself too. My momma done got herself hitched! That's right. Søster Ronstrom is engaged! They wrote each other during both of their missions and were just beyond adorable. Clearly the 3 years apart didn't change anything.
On Tuesday Præsident Andersen gave me a blessing and just talked things over with heading into my next transfer. He told me he was proud of how far I'd come in 4 months, and he couldn't imagine anyone who better personified what it meant to be a Sister Missionary. I'm worried about what that means, because every time he sees me I'm running around like a madman, usually looking for some investigator, tape, whatever. It's like a routine. Every time he or Søster Andersen see me, the first thing they say is, "Don't be too hard on yourself, Søster Morse. You're doing just fine." I'm not stressed. I'm just a spaz. I really do love them and their family though, and will miss them a lot when they leave on Friday. I'm excited for Præsident Sederholm too though.
Church was interesting. We had our normal ward in the morning, then headed down to Svenborg with the other missionaries and some members to hold a sacrament meeting for the members in that area. It's too far away for them to come up to Odense every Sunday, so this monthly sacrament meeting is really all they get. We met in the upper room of a local society meeting house. There were only 26 people there - 6 of them were missionaries (us, Elders, Senior Couple). It was a very humbling experience, and made me realize just how much I've taken for granted. Afterward I met my new Vietnamese mother, Lan Le. She adores the missionaries and force feeds us to death. "Spis, mit barn!" (Eat, my child!) And the missionaries all call her Mor (Mom). I'll have to get a picture with her next time.
On Thursday I met the coolest family ever. Ken Hall and his 6 kids and 8 cats (6 kittens). They live way out in the countryside, surrounded by daisies and poppies. Their home was just so noisy and fun and full of books and music and laughing. Supreme Mugwump, it's rather how I imagine the Weasley family. I've decided I want a home like that when I grow up.
Friday was Sankt Hans Aften, which we're totally celebrating when I get back. It celebrates the birth of John the Baptist (June 24, six months before Jesus'. Ish.) Traditionally, you sing a bunch of old songs like "Vi er Børn af Sol og Sommer" (we are children of sun and summer), hygge, and top off the evening by burning a witch. Jo tak! One of the members taught us another fun tradition. On Sankt Hans Aften, if a young woman picks 9 different types of flowers and sleeps with them under her pillow, she will dream of the man she will marry. Søster Johnson and I both tried. She dreamed of volleyball and I dreamed of bringing a bunch of missionaries to just blitz contact Odense (that's what the city really needs, come fall). Ah well. As Elder Hammond said, it just means we'll have to start collecting our cats when we get home.
We also got to enjoy the Sting concert here in Odense. From our apartment. A kilometer and a half a way from the concert. We thought it was just our neighbors enjoying the summer (it's light until about 11), until we realized it was all Sting. Wished you were there, Dad.
The bad news: Ni dropped us. Hard. My old companions forwarded me his text, which said that he'd come to the conclusion that God was no more than a comforting idea created by Man, and that he'd wasted enough of his life on finding that out, then begged us to get ourselves out of it and stop trying to blind others with our stupid hopes. I confess, that hurt. I remember him crying during meetings, torn between what he knew was true and his family, who was making him choose. I remember his sincere prayers, thanking God for each and every time we could meet, and for the peace and hope that he had felt. I remember him quietly saying, "I know it's true. I can't deny that. It's true." The Ni in the text was not the Ni I knew. From what it sounds like, a lot of it is his mother who is blaming their situation now on the church. However, during one of our meetings I got the strong feeling that it might not be now, but that at some point he would join the church. I'm clinging to that. Ma and Da both chose to sever all contact with the church before, and now both are baptized.
The library we e-mail at plays music in the background. Right now it's "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?" Maybe I haven't. Really, I do love you all. I couldn't do the Lord's work out here if I didn't know that you were all safe and well and cheering for me back home. Thank you for all of the e-mails, letters, and care packages. I love you.
Jeg elsker jer!
Mom - Ah, Strawberry Days Rodeo. Yummy. I still think of you whenever I'm complimented on my wardrobe. Thank you for all your help pulling it together!
Greg - Congratulations on the new iPad! You would win the lottery on that one. Psh. Lucky dog.
Katie - I envy your summer schedule. You're a dork for taking US History during the summer. I'm so proud.
William - Get your butt off the couch and write me.
Dad - Congratulations to Kristina! I'm so glad that she has you guys now. She's wonderful, and she sounds like she's doing well. Ken and Lene e-mailed me, so that's all taken care of. I'll actually be on splits on the 4th in Copenhagen, so that might just work out. I'm excited.
Cheryl - I actually remember when he gave that talk! I loved it. Thanks for sending me a copy!