Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Week 24

Kære Alle Sammen,

Thanks for the great e-mails and pictures this week. I really do feel loved. Honestly, my time here on my mission has been some of the happiest time of my life. Hands down the hardest, but it's really made me see what matters in life. So often we chase after things that have no real value as if they were all that mattered in the world. A few mottos I've adopted:

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." - Thomas S Monson

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal lif, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." - Lehi

"Life is a choice" - Me paraphrasing Lehi

It's not profound, but it's worked for me. We are here in life to learn to make choices and strengthen our faith, and every situation we face is an opportunity to do both. We can choose to go along with it and surrender our agency to a temporary circumstance or we can "choose happiness and eternal life". A lot has been sacrificed to make that opportunity to choose even possible (war in heaven, Adam and Eve, and the Atonement, to name a few), and I choose to be happy. I made this my mantra when I came to Odense, and I finally feel like it's working. At church yesterday I heard the husband of an investigator ask one of the Elders, "Wow, is she always that happy? She's like a bouncing little ball of ...  human ... happiness." Success.

We had our mini-missionaries this week! Laura and Kirsa Rosenkilde. They're cousins, both 16 years old. They were amazing. By the second day they asked if they could try contacting by themselves, and were great in our lessons. We surprised them by taking them to the little H C Andersen musical in the park, and later that week they surprised us with lunch. They'd been really secretive the past few days, sneaking off to the store while they were contacting together, whispered phone calls to each other. Hiding things in our fridge (there's no place to hide in that thing, so they just put a towel over their things and made us pinky promise not to look). It turned out to be spare rib pizza with a fun orange juice and green ice cubes with a sugar rim (Supreme Mugwump, we're so using it in our next mocktail night), with homemade banana cake for desert and a big bouquet of flowers. We all got really close in the week they were here and were, I admit, a bit teary eyed when they left yesterday. The highlight of the week was on Saturday night on the way home from an eating appointment with Mor (our Vietnamese mom). It had rained aaaaaaaall day, and we were just dragging ourselves home. Then, in the park across from the train station, we came across the biggest puddle I've ever seen - 25 feet across and about a foot deep. We didn't even hesitate. Kirsa and I dropped our rain coats and bags and ran for it. Laura and Søster Johnson followed close behind. It didn't matter. We were soaked to the skin anyway. We ran around and splashed and slipped and even taught the minis how to play Marco Polo. Then on the way home, dripping with every step, we sang primary songs in Danish at the top of our lungs. It was ) 9 on a Saturday night. We were just competing with the music from the bars anyway. I'm so excited to see them at Stake Conference!

Søster Johnson and I taught St for the first time too. We both prayed about it and felt it should be us, so the girls had fun contacting together again. He was attentive as we went through the first lesson, and really liked a lot of the scriptures we shared and was really good at applying them to his life. When we asked, "Will you continue to read in the Book of Mormon, and pray to God to ask for yourself if it is true?" His response was, "Sure, but I don't need to. I know it's true." That was when our jaws hit the floor. We nearly began to cry, the Spirit was so strong. We asked him how he'd come to know that, and he said that he just knew the Book of Mormon was true, it just had to be, and that if it was true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this was the right church. He knew it 20 years ago. It just took him some time to be able to accept it. We asked him to be baptized. He got pensive and said he'd been thinking about it, and needed to ask God first. We have another appointment with him this week.

Things are going well with our other investigators too. Gi is back from Italy now, and her response to Søster Johnson and Kirsa's lesson on acting in faith once you've received an answer (she's in the process of praying to know the truth) was, "Well, duh." With Ol, he's just excited to learn as much as possible. We had to cancel the week before last because we couldn't get a member to come, and he was genuinely sad. He really is "hungering and thirsting after knowledge". He also likes that our church encourages challenging what's said and asking God for yourself, rather than just relying on whatever the priest says without ever reading the scripture for yourself.

We had our District Meeting today on  a naked giant. True story. There's a hill in Fredericia where rock peeps through at the top just right, so it looks like a head and shoulders. To be funny, the Danes added some carved hands in front of him and shaped the hill around him (including a booty) to look like a giant lying face down draping over the hill. It's actually pretty cool. You can only imagine where the Elders decided to have the meeting. It's also conveniently next to a bowling alley for a District Activity. We played around for a while, then divided into partnerships for a tournament. Elder Richards and I were pretty clearly the worst bowlers, so we joined forces. We were the first ones out, of course, so while the others faced off for the semi-finals we played golf bowling. The point is to get the lowest score possible. With bumpers. We totally rocked at that game when we got to face off against the next people kicked out of the main tournament. If nothing else, we're consistently good at sucking.

This Sunday we had a return missionary's talk and a departing missionary's farewell in the same day. It was really a special meeting. Every time a month has 5 Sundays, the fifth Sunday's Relief Society/Priesthood meetings are combined. This just happened to be a fifth Sunday, so for the combined meeting they just had the return missionary stand in front and answer everyone's questions about his mission in Greece. The ward is really close-knit here, and it was the bishop's son, so everyone knew and loved this kid. It was funny though. In sacrament meeting he bore his testimony in Greek, then continued talking in English for a second before realizing, "Oops, wrong language ..." and switching to Danish again. In the combined meeting he had a tougher time with Danish, and every time he forgot a word or a phrase he'd say it in English and the whole ward would yell it back to him in Danish in perfect unison. It was hilarious. He has a faint Greek accent when he speaks Danish too. Søster Johnson and I have been trying to speak more Danish, and with the mini-missionaries here it was just a Danish week. Fair warning to you all, I've been told I've developed a weird accent. People thought that back home too though, so I have no idea who's right. Kirsa's mom actually thought I was Danish when she first met me. So did our mission leader. That's always a huge compliment. I've been told that I have very distinct Copenhagen accent. I wish I could describe it too you. Okay, Jylland is the farthest west, the part connected to Germany. That's out in the country. They speak very rollingly, and it's been described as "deedumdeedumdeedum, ikke aw'" (a weird Jysk form of ikke også, which translates to, "and not" and when tacked onto the end of a sentence is the equivalent of "right?" in Enlglish). On Fynn, the island in the middle where I am now, it's been described as "dadumdadumdadumdadum, ik' os'." It gets more clipped and quicker the farther east you go, until you hit Copenhagen, where it's "prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, ik." That was comforting. I thought my Danish just suddenly got stupid when I came to Odense becaus I couldn't understand anyone and they couldn't understand me, and they use a lot of different weird words and expressions I'd never heard before. In southern Jylland they have a weird Danish/German accent and blend a lot of the languages. For a country that could fit into Utah 5 times and has only 5.5 million people, they manage to be really diverse. It's always really fun.

Oh, and a funny story. We found a new investigator named Ab. She's in her mid 20's, Islamic, but interested in getting an Arabic Book of Mormon. When Laura and I went to drop it off and teach the first lesson, she listened for about thirty seconds, then whipped her laptop around to show us a video she already had loaded on youtube. It was a former Christian minister who converted to Islam sharing his conversion story at a conference and basically bashing the Bible. We were able to politely interrupt by branching off one of his comments to explain the need for the Book of Mormon as an additional witness of Christ. "Oh, but Jesus isn't the Christ."
"As a Christian church, we believe him to be the Son of God and our Savior."
"But he's not. It says so in the Quran. The Bible is a lie."
"I'm not here to try to convince you. It's simply our belief."
"But it's wrong."
"I know our religions disagree on that point, and that's fine. We really have a lot of respect for how strong you are in your faith. We really have a lot in common, and we're glad we could come share this message about our church with you."
"Yes, you're very sweet girls. You're just wrong."
Sigh. We managed to dodge out before she really got going. She offered us tea and said we could come back any time, and still wanted to keep the Book of Mormon, even though she doesn't think it has a chance of being true. I can't even begin to explain the awkwardness of the situation, especially with a mini-missionary along. She was a real trooper though. She bore her testimony and then helped me tactfully leave the situation. On four separate occasions I nearly just responded with, "Well, lady, that's your opinion, isn't it?" I've never had someone try that hard to convert missionaries before. I don't know what it is about Odense. When Ældste Stoffey served here, an Islamic man invited him and his companion to see their mosque. The Elders were curious, so they went along with it. I would have too. As soon as they stepped inside the man's friends jumped out from behind the corner and locked the doors, forcing the Elders to sit there for an hour or too and listen to them preach. Don't get me wrong. I really do have a deep respect for the Islamic faith and the people who follow it. People in Odense are just crazy in general, I guess, regardless of their racial or religious background.

And I've got five minutes, so I'll add a fun Danish food I'm going to make you all eat when I get home. Danes love open-faced sandwiches and have very strict rules about what goes on what. They're also eaten with a fork and knife. Danes also have wheat bread made with dark wheat that hasn't really been rolled, so it's very thick and dark and heavy. You take a slice of that. Then spread butter on it. Then set potatoes on it (that have been boiled and sliced into circles). Then put some shredded parsley on. Then onions (traditionally they're circles of raw red onions, but roasted onion bits are becoming more popular). Then put a bit of mayonaisse on top. Voila. You're eating like a Dane. Okay, it sounds disgusting and weird, but it's actually delicious. Another popular one is the thick bread, liverpastej (paste made from the ground liver of a cow, mixed with spices), bacon, cucumbers, and asier or pickled sweet red beets. I know, I know, I was hesitant to eat it too, but it's actually really good. You'll be spared from that one though because liverpastej has to stay refrigerated and I don't think I'll be able to find it in the states.

So what's going on with the Olympics? The opening ceremonies must have been fun. Any favorites this year? What events are you all following?

Jeg elsker jer!

Aunt Rachel & Uncle David - Wow, I think you made me blush. Thank you. I'm glad you're all having so much fun in Utah! The people there aren't half bad. We always love when you come to visit. You all are just so much fun. I'll just have to catch you next time!

Camilla - Thanks! The mission really is great. I hope you enjoyed EFY and are loving your summer break! Thanks for your letters too. I'm so impressed by the young woman you've become. It's amazing.

Mikayla - You've always been a great role model too. You're always so good with your sisters, and your testimony and dedication to everything that you do really does set a great example. My friend Katie (remember her from when we lived in California?) and I are planning a road trip after we get back. We'll have to swing by and visit you guys.

Katie - Epic success on the gifts. They're brilliant. He even mentioned them in his e-mail. He really is a great Dad. I can't even count the times he helped me with math, walking me through step by step, hot chocolate after hot chocolate. Congrats on your grades! You're really knocking out all of your credits early. I just hope I'm home for your graduation!

Grandma and Grandpa - It's so good to see pictures of you! You two are doing such great work out there. Grandpa, you've lost a lot of weight. How are you feeling? You're looking great! Grandma, I'm just happy to see your smile. It never fails to brighten my day.

Dad - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I know just what you mean with St. I wish there were some way to let the former missionaries know. It actually gave me hope for a lot of former investigators, like Ni, who will one day open up to it. Of that I'm sure. It definitely puts things in perspective though. Hopefully with all your reminiscing of your mission days, you'll be in the perfect setting to get in touch with former Elder Kjeldsen. I sent off the full contact info. Sorry that took so long. I'm glad your birthday presents were appropriately geeky. I promise, your card is in the mail. I don't think it got there on time, but I tried. I owe you a real birthday gift though. How about lunch some time when I get back. You can relive the glory days of your mission. I love you too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Feel So Loved!

 A member is Horsens. She keeps a list of her favorite missionaries and I made the list. I feel so loved!

The list!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Pictures

 Just taking Odense by storm!
 Playing with the bishops son. He's about 4. Yes, that's me in the blanket. He rolled up in it first and yelled, "Jeg er en pølser!" ("I'm a sausage!") Then wanted to make me into a tart. He was the cutest, dragging me away from the table. "Kom, jeg vil gerne lege sammen!"
Aedste Hammond, Aedste Sorensen, & Soster Johnson waiting at the bus stop. This is after we got bored throwing cherries at each other.

Great Pictures at H.C. Andersen Museum

 Goofing off at the pond at the H. C. Andersen Museum.
 More goofing off.
 I love splits and Soster Guesne's face.
They have a little play telling a bunch of H. C. Andersen's fairy tales narrated by good ol' H. C. himself.

Week 23

Kære Alle Sammen,

This past Friday marked the 1 year anniversary of me receiving my call to the Denmark, Copenhagen Mission. My, how time flies.

Someone told me when I got my call that we have some random Danes hanging out in the family tree. Would it be possible to get more information on that? Or some family history stories in general?

I'm learning to play the guitar again. Ældste Richards started teaching me back at the CUV in Copenhagen, but we were both transfered. However, he found a guitar in his new apartment and sent it to me through our District Leader. I also found some guitar tabs in the apartment (mostly Taylor Swift, but whatever). Ældste Hammond here in Odense was in a band pre-mission and is really gifted musically, so he's teaching me a bit now too. God bless Elders.

We get Mini Missionaries this week! It's a program they have here where the young men and women (ages 16-18) go out and live and serve with the missionaries for one week. They get a full taste of the missionary lifestyle. I'm super excited. We get 2 minis, so we'll just have two companionships in Odense for a bit.

This week was great. Crazy, but great. Tuesday/Wednesday we had the Frederiksberg Sisters here on splits. It was fun to serve with Søster Olsson and Søster Guesne again. Then from Wednesday/Thursday we went on splits with the Slagelse sisters, Søster Taylor and Søster Arbon from the MTC. It was just like reliving all my old companionships again! Plus, the former Søster Redd came back to visit Denmark and was in church in Odense this Sunday. As a normal person. Talk about trippy. On Friday Præsident Sederholm came over for apartment inspections, going through our Area Books and everything, and interviews. It was actually really fun. He's very easy to be around and really brings the Spirit. I can't say the same for me. He called to say his GPS led him entirely astray, so he'd be about an hour late. Not so, in reality. It was only about half an hour. I'd just barely gotten out of the shower when he called to say he was here. So I threw on the first clothes I could grab, ran a brush through my bangs so it looked like my hair was actually brushed, and ran out to great him. Fortunately, he interviewed Søster Johnson first after inspections, so I had a minute to get properly dressed. How embarrassing. When I explained the situation though, he just laughed. We had lunch with the Elders and Senior Couple after, and it was really fun to be with Præs. and the other missionaries here. I love the Danish mission.

Friday night, just after apartment inspections and everything was fine, our stupid toilet decided to break. It's always been fussy. It's an old European toilet. You just have to bang the top after you flush it so the button pops back up and the water stops. No big. It was about 9:30 at night when it decided to die on us. We tried calling a 24 service for the apartment, but, go figure, they don't exactly teach you the vocabulary to describe the inner workings of European plumbing in the MTC. The guy on the line couldn't understand what the problem was and refused to send someone to check it out. We had to knock our entire apartment building just to find someone who could describe the problem to him in correct Danish. Finally we found this cute girl in her early 20's just hanging out with her friend. She came down and was able to describe it, and he had her do wome weird thing with a wrench. That only made water run all over the floor. He insister there was nothing he could do and we'd just have to call the central office on Monday morning. That girl is my hero. She just cussed him out and ranted about the high rent we pay and the waste of water and he said he'd come out their personally and fix it. It was hilarious. Another tenant stopped in when she heard the commotion, so we had five young women in the apartment all laughing at the exploding toilet and all completely oblivious as to how to fix it. It was hilarious. They guy came out at about 11 pm and fixed it in 20 minutes. I love a happy ending.

The Lord blessed us with a miracle this week. Søster Johnson was sick on Saturday, so we listened to a talk called "The Dog Ate My Scriptures" all about excuses. The speakers said that the week before he finished his mission he fasted and prayed that he'd be able to find and baptize one more person. He only had a week left, but thanks to a miracle, it actually happened. Søster Johnson has 3 months left, and she's decided to try for the same thing. We've been in a hard spot lately. Half our investigators dropped us, and the other half are on vacation out of the country all summer. Except Ol, who, as I said, just needs lots of time and love. She was praying all Suday for it and debating whether or not she really had the faith to make it happen. An area general authority extended the promise to our mission that if we tell an investigator to pray about a question, write it down, and listen to all the talks and songs in all 3hours of church, the Lord WOULD send them an answer. It's worked miracles. The Kapischke Promise. She decided to use it herself. In Relief Society she felt like she got her answer. Miracles DO happen. However, they take righteous desire, unwavering faith, and unfailing work. Søster Johnson committed herself to all three. Then as we came out, we saw a man on the bench in the foyer. We started up small talk because we didn't recognize him. When Søster Johnson asked, "so are you a member of our church?" He answered, "No, not yet anyway." His name is St. He investigated the church 20 years ago here in Odense, then dropped it and moved to Copenhagen. He'd been with his wife for 12 years and they had 2 children, but a few months ago she kicked him out suddenly. He hasn't seen his children since April. He just barely came back to Odense where his friends and family are and is trying to rebuild his life. When I asked him why he came back to the church, he said, "I remember the way I felt here 20 years ago. I've hit rock bottom in my life and I know I need something more than what I've got. I couldn't help but think that if I'd stuck with the church, my life wouldn't have turned out the way it did. I've never found the kind of peace I've found here in this church, and I think it might just be true." We have an apointment with him this week, and he says he plans on coming to church every Sunday. He stayed all 3 hours, participated in the lessons, and is genuinely hungering and thirsting after the peace of the Spirit. I have a really good feeling about him. He's also proof to Søster Johnson and me that when you try to follow the will of the Lord and exercise faith, He will place you in the position to make miracles happen. 

Søster Johnson just sent me an excerpt of her mom's e-mail. You probably know, but it's still impressive. "This has been the wettest summer we've been here. Before we got here, there had been a lot of fires in Utah.  The governor asked President Monson to request the members pray for rain. The Thursday after the Sunday that the request went out, it rained. It has now rained at couple of days a week. It was a testimony builder as to the answer to prayers." Couldn't have said it better myself.

Jeg elsker jer!

Mom - Thank you for that talk! I miss playing games with the family. That was always my favorite way to spend evenings at home. Don't worry about me. I've upped the iron dosage and have really been careful with what I eat and I feel so much better. I actually have energy again!

Greg - Aw shucks. It's nice to know you were thinking about me. I love and miss you!

Dad - Feel free to share whatever you'd like from the letters. Everything I write home is for the family to read and enjoy, share, or delete as they see fit. The names are all shortened, so there's not really and personal or sensitive information that could be traced back to anyone.

Cheryl - Thanks for the letter. I love hearing from the pudges. That concert sounds like so much fun! Lucky Katie! I wouldn't worry too much about the cards. I think it's just dramatization. Pokemon did the same things. I'd be more worried about the effect on their social lives come high school than I would be about subliminal messages. And you could never be pedestrian. I've gained a new appreciation for just how much what we eat affects who we are. It's shocking. That book on Eleanor Roosevelt sounds exciting. I'll have to read it later. And new furniture is always fun. Søster Johnson and I rearranged everything in the apartment and that was the highlight of our week!

Andrew - That's so cool that you were able to get a stronger deck! William is a pretty good big brother for teaching you how to play. You'll have to show me your deck when I get back. I get back some time next June, I think. I won't know exactly until next spring. I look forward to seeing you! I hear you've gotten pretty tall. I hope you had fun camping!

Matthew - That Infinite Card sounds awesome! It will be fun to go swimming in the pool with you when I get back! 

Katie - That must have been the coolest concert EVER!! My advice is to get out the moment they get confrontational. A lot of it is just people trolling the internet looking for a debate. I'll e-mail what I'd say though. Good luck with the fly.

Grammy and Grandpa - I'm so glad to hear the treatments have been going well! You've both been in my prayers. Thank you for sending the talk. I only had time to scan it today, but I'm really looking forward to being able to study it in more depth. I love that I have a record of your testimonies now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 22 (also my age! That only happens once!)

Kære Alle Sammen,
Super quick e-mail today. We have to book it for an appointment at the Bishop's house.
This week was awesome. We went up to Horsens for splits with Søster Christensen and Søster Moore. Søster Moore and Søster Morse strike again. Yes. I love going contacting with her. People are always so confused. Horsens is absolutely beautiful. It's out in the country on Jylland. As always, I recommend googling pictures of the places I talk about. I have yet to be disappointed by Denmark's scenery. Oh, and we found out that Kerteminde was named the most beautiful city in Denmark. We're so going back.
We got to go to a Relief Society activity at the RS Pres's home. Essentially, every sister brought their favorite piece of music to share with the others and we all just sat and hygged with music and crepes (the Danes call them pancakes. Actual flapjacks are lost to them. Even if pancakes are love.) That meant that, as a part of fulfilling my calling as a missionary in the ward, I got to listen to Michael Buble. Life. Is. Wonderful.
We had a fantastic lesson with Ol. He needs a lot of time and love, so we've really been working on the basics with him. This time I really felt like we should talk about scriptures. He was enthralled. He's had a tough time with the Bible and how it doesn't always match up. He says there must've been two men named Jesus, because there's no way it's all talking about the same person. It's a combination of different points of view, translating, and the loss of "many plain and precious things". All of it underscores the need for the Book of Mormon. We actually just read 1 Ne 13 with him where it talks about another book of scripture and he really liked the idea, as well as the idea of D&C, that the Lord still speaks to His church.
However, he doesn't want to come to church again. He doesn't think it's fair that he sits there bored, but trying, while the members around him play on their phones and chat over the speaker. He's right. I've also seen some of the Young Women coming to church in pants, and some RS sisters using their garments as undershirts in case their dress comes too low or doesn't have sleeves. I'm not sure how to approach the situation, but something has to change. I love the members here though. They're so willing to help.
Other than that we've decided to rearrange all of the furniture in the apartment as part of our deep cleaning for cleaning checks. It looks so much better. Attacking the stove with bleach and a toothbrush will have that effect. We'll see how long it lasts. You'd be proud. I'm actually not a bad cook, I've discovered.
Søster Johnson gave a talk in church on Sunday and she was brilliant!
Love you all!
Søster Morse
Nerd who keeps the trains runnin- Sorry you didn't get the letter. I'm usually really careful to get both addresses, but I guess I missed it. Thank you for the scriptures. They help. And I loved your commentary on Pudding. Still puffy. Good to know.
Mom - What a story! I'm so proud of my family and their priorities. My companion thinks I'm a bit eccentric. Now I know where I get it from. I loved chatting with you too. I love you!
Greg - Thank you for the cute e-mail. That made my day. If I can do anything to help with your primary class, let me know!
Katie - Way to go! You've got the respectful response down to an art. It takes a lot of missionaries their whole mission to learn that. When someone asks a question, it's definitely possible to answer politely without being preachy. I'm also so glad you were watching the Joseph Smith movie at all. I love it. I was able to get a copy of it from the Mission Office (missionary goods are super cheap. Can you say 6 dollar dvd set?!) and watch it every few weeks for personal study. It's incredible. You need to see Emma Smith: My Story next. I'm so getting that movie when I get home!
Supreme Mugwump - Wow. I'm completely blown away by your experience with the homeless woman you met. I actually started tearing up a bit. Our mission scripture is nearing fulfillment, I think. I'm glad your talk went well! Now you can BS in 2 languages! And you win. I love the pirate stickers. P.S. My dad broke the code. Abort! Abort!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Week 21

Kære Alle Sammen,

So this week was a bit of a roller coaster. I'll just go day by day. I hate to do that, but that's the only way I'll get it all.

Monday - P-Day, blessed P-Day. We went to IKEA, which is exactly the same in Denmark as it is in the US. The best part of it all was the 5 kroner ice cream. I think next time I'm going to get 4. We also had dinner with a family whose son served in Cambridge the same time that I was there. I remember Dr Kerry telling me he met some missionaries and showed them around the city. Turns out it was this Danish member and his companion! He's also Præsident Andersen's nephew. Small world. So basically we spent the whole night talking about Dr Kerry, Cambridge, and philosophy. I felt like myself again. Until I found out that I don't totally suck at basketball. That was a bit too Twilight Zone for me. Hey, Ældste Sorensen is just a good coach I guess.

Tuesday - Zone Conference up in Århus, which is the city I was most excited to see in Denmark. Shame it's not a Sister's area. It's the second largest city in Denmark, known for it's university, essentially one giant college town, and know for the best bakery in Denmark. Langenæs. Yummy. I ate two big pastries for breakfast, and could happily have eaten more. Oh dear. Between that and IKEA, I'm in trouble. We met Præsident Sederholm and the three youngest of his children, who came to Denmark with him. His wife is really fun, and we're all excited to have them here. He's unbelievably enthusiastic about the work, and putting a real emphasis on working with the members. I like him. After that we drove with the AP's all the way from Århus to Copenhagen. It was great to spend the night with Søster Olsson and Søster Guesne in my old area again though!

Wednesday - Søster Johnson is the Coordinating Sister, and as her companion I had to accompany her to the Leadership Conference. So we spent the whole 4th of July in a meeting. It was a great opportunity though, sitting around the table with Præs, the AP's, and the Zone Leaders, and discussing and debating plans for the mission. However, Søster Johnson and I dressed up in red, white, and blue, and I brought the MoTab hymns collection along so we could listen to the patriotic songs. Søster Guesne just roller her eyes. That's what you get for being a French Scott in an apartment full of Americans.

Thursday - We met with Pe. He said that he really did want to follow Christ. The question was just how to do it. Bingo. But just as Søster Johnson began saying, "Pe, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be bapt-" he interrupted with a question about something else and we were never able to come back to it. He decided to quit smoking though, which we were really excited for.

Friday - Was just a normal day. Phew.

Saturday - We had a great appointment with Pe again, and invited him to baptism. He agreed to consider it as he continued reading in the Book of Mormon. He was really excited to come to church on Sunday and meet with us again too. More on him later though.

Sunday - Peter didn't come to church, and we got a text from him out of the blue that afternoon. "I will never be Mormon. Don't come on Tuesday." Ouch. We asked questions, but he refused to answer them or meet again to talk. Well shoot dang. Søster Moore was right. Every time an investigator drops you it's like being dumped. I've also added a new scripture to my list of favorites. I came across it in my reading not long after Ni, and it came to mind again after Pe. Mosiah 27:14, when Alma the Younger is first "touched (rather forcefully") by an angel". "And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Søster Morse, who is they missionary, for she has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth, therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." Okay, well maybe that's not exactly what Alma wrote. I like it though.

Monday - So fun! We went with Ældste and Søster Olsen, the Senior Couple in Odense, up to Kerteminde. Google it. It's a beautiful little fishing town right on the northern coast of Fyn. We explored old second hand stores, walked along the rocky beach, and went out to the docks to buy fresh fish from the fishermen there. They were caught about an hour before, so they're as fresh as they can be. The fishermen stand on the dock next to the boat, then you tell them how you'd like the fish cut and they clean and cut it on the spot. And at only 6 kroner per fillet (normally about 20 kroner in the grocery store), it's hands down the best fish in Denmark. We got to go see some old gravhøj (Viking burial mounds)out in a field. The Olsens also treated us to ice cream, which we enjoyed with a nice coastal breeze. I love all of the Senior Couples here. The Olsens treats us like his own kids (complete with the occasional telling off when we've earned it). The Nielsens who run the office are just so sweet. I'd bring Søster Nielsen wild flowers we'd picked during the day, and she'd let us take extra cookies. The other day I got a call from the Telfords (the couple from the Center for Young Adults we worked with), just to say hi again. Seeing the Senior Couples in action has given me a much deeper respect for them. Us young(er) missionaries would be lost without them! I'm so proud that both sets of my grandparents have served a senior couples mission (or currently are)! Deo volente, I want to grow up to be one too. I've got a few years to work up to being that amazing though.

I don't mean to sound like I'm not focusing on my mission, I am, but would it be possible to send periodic updates of news from home? I've heard Obama got his health care thing through, and that half of Utah's on fire. What's going on back there?

Well, I think that's all folks!

Søster Morse

Mom - Thanks for the smoothie recipe. It sounds yummy. I've actually been considering seeing a doctor, because the iron pills didn't seem to be enough. That explains it though. I've only been taking them in the morning. I wanted to make sure I didn't get too much iron, since that's not healthy either. I've done some more research though, and I'm safe to increase it a bit. Thanks! I'll let you know how it goes. Sorry you missed the Lehi Round-Up. That's always a summer highlight. However, it's SUPER awesome that you got to see grandma and grandpa! That's an incredible story with grandpa. I'll keep him in my prayers too.

Dad - You would just go and break our cypher. Punk. Now I know where I get it from. Please tell me you got a picture of the boys on the patio. Tell Caroline and co. I say hi!

William - Mr. Jellyman? Did you die? Seriously, I haven't heard anything from or about you in weeks. What's up?

Katie - Enjoy girls camp! I don't have to tell you that, but I'm going to anyway. It's an incredible experience, isn't it? The youth here just got back from EFY, and can't stop talking about it. They only hold it every other year here and have to rotate host countries since it's for all of Scandinavia. This year it was in Sweden. It only made me that much more grateful for all of the opportunities we have living in Utah. I hope you take every one. I regret not going to more things, actually.

Søster Ronstrom - Yes ma'am. I definitely do enjoy putting my name tag on every morning. Being a missionary is wonderful, but it seems like you're settling back into civilian life pretty well. ;) Oh man, I wish I'd been able to go to Daniella's baptism. It sounds amazing. She really is a living miracle. Tillykke to your brother! Good luck contacting too! Let me know how it goes. Do you go work with the missionaries often?

Supreme Mugwump - Søster Johnson is considering the Disney Internship after an almost 2 hour conversation about the brilliance of Disney. Success. It made me all sorts of nostalgic though.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh, my goodness, I LOVE DENMARK!!

Oh, my goodness, I LOVE DENMARK!!
Hej, missionaere (senior missionaries & Soster Johnson)
The lone gravhoj.
Isn't this incredible!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 20

Kære Alle Sammen,

Præsident Andersen's last day as Mission President was this last week. Præsident Sederholm has risen to the role now. He sounds great. Late 40's, already retired, former vice executive something of WalMart. He'll be bringing a lot of dedication and work ethic to the mission, and I'm excited to see what progress will come of it. The best part though is that in addition to bringing his family, he's bringing the family dog. We get a mission dog!

Happy Fourth of July! It actually won't be that weird to spend it in another country. It's not my first time. Last time it was in Scotland. I'll probably be in a meeting all day with the new Mission President, since Søster Johnson is the Coordinating Sister. That's fun though. I get to meet the mission dog!

Things are going well in Odense. Søster Johnson and I get along well, and we've started to settle into a routine with the area. Things are going well with our investigators here too, and the members are awesome! I actually have a cool story about one of our investigators, Pe. When I was on splits in Odense with Søster Ronstrom back in my first month here, Søster Johnson and I walked past an old man with shaking hands and a kind of blank stare. Normally we're a bit cautious about contacting people that old or who don't look entirely there, since missionaries here have had a lot of problems come of it. Especially Sisters. I don't mean to sound judgmental or like we profile contact, but we've actually been warned to be cautious. I felt like I should talk with him anyway. He was a little difficult to understand (pretty thick west-Danish accent), but fine, and it turns out that he used to meet with the Elders 30 years ago and loved the spirit they brought, but that since he'd moved he lost both contact with the church and that inspiring little blue book the Elders gave him. He was so excited when I pulled one out of my bag to give to him. After we left the Odense sisters met with him once, but then he called and said he was going through a tough time, and didn't want to see them anymore. That was three months ago. Just last week he called us again and asked us to come. We visited him and he was fairly attentive and open. He's an avid pipe smoker, but we'll work with him when we get to that!

In other news, I passed my Danish Language Immigration Test with 100%. That's great, because I totally guessed on one of the culture questions.

We go to church in two wards here, plus the time before and after with members. That means we get EIGHT hours of church on Sundays. I will never again complain that normal church is too long. I talked it over with Søster Johnson though, and between not having any energy anyway (stupid body and it's deciding to be anemic) and all the biking we do, we agreed that I should not fast from food on fast Sundays. When I try I'm a vegetable by 11 o'clock. She suggested I fast from English instead. That's a great idea, because it's also something that will help to invite the Spirit and something I can bring to the lessons as well. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, but I did. I was able to go without speaking English until 6 pm. Except for the lesson we taught in Guest Class, but that's because the investigator there is a native English speaker.

It rains a lot more in Odense that in Copenhagen. It's beautiful, as long as you're not biking in it. Rain story 1: We were inside, thank goodness, because that was the hardest I've ever seen it rain. Ever. Yes, Supreme Mugwump, including the day that we played in the rain last summer. The street was so full of water that it ran over the gutters so it was just an even sheet of water and you couldn't tell where the sidewalk ended and the road began. Rain story 2: We went down to visit a positive potential and our Ward Mission Leader's wife, and while waiting for the bus back we saw a strawberry stand. Shaped like a giant strawberry. So we dashed over and bought a pack. Now, we're not talking about normal strawberries here. These were DANISH strawberries, meaning that they grew in 18 hours of sunlight a day and torrential rain, which makes them the sweetest, most juicy strawberries in the entire world. No contest. So we hid in the little glass bus stop, kicked back, dried off, and enjoyed a pack of fresh summer strawberries as the rain downpoured around us outside. It was beautiful.

Jeg elsker jer!
Søster Morse

Dad - Just a thought, but what are you doing with all of those kittens? It all depends on where we'd be living, but in about a year or so Katie and I would probably be more than happy to take one off your hands for you. If you have any still. No, Søster Ronstrom feels like she needs to stay in Scandinavia, and has actually changed from animation to social service work. She feels like there's a great need for it here, especially when backed by the gospel. She's right.

Mom - That was so sweet of Beverly to say. She's amazing. And thank you for the spiritual thought and quote. It was exactly what I needed right now. I also got the new card in the mail safe and sound. Enjoy Houston, and tell everyone I say hello!

Grammy - That's fun that they call her MorMor. In Danish mor = mother and far = father, and a grandmother would be either a MorMor or a MorFar (MomMom or DadMom) depending on whether not they were maternal or paternally related. Point of interest: they also have a fun slang expression for taking a nap. "at tage en FarFar", which means to take a grandpa. Speaking of, it's wonderful that everything is going so well with him. Expect a letter! I bought stamps this morning! And yes, your Danish was flawless. Love you!


Pictures from Kerteminde--Soster Johnson, Hannah's companion, is the other missionary