Monday, December 3, 2012

The Binky Tree - When a child gets old enough that the decide to give up their pacifier, they come with their mom and dad and tie it to the branches of this tree in the park. I've even seen children wave goodbye to them as they walk away.

Sister Johnson and me on that hill shaped like a giant. Guess where we're standing.

Me on the hand. It really was a cool hill.

 All around Odense are statues based on H. C. Andersen's stories. This one is just so well done.


Week 33

Kære Alle Sammen,

Some of you have heard by now, but I will be coming back home on Friday on temporary medical release. 

Let me explain. No. There's too much. Let me sum up.

It's no secret that I've been sick lately. I've talked with a bunch of doctors over here and gotten a bunch of different tests and diagnoses too, but my Danish doctor and the Mission Doctor in Germany have no idea what it is. We've been able to work half days, but that's still just frustrating. It's been going on for about 7 weeks now, and the Mission Presidency decided last Thursday to offer me this temporary medical release to go home and get the problem fixed, then reapply and hopefully come back to Denmark. This decision was only reached after a lot of prayer and after trying all we could here, and I feel like it's the right course of action. Whatever happens though, I've definitely felt the peace of the Lord in in. Even if we have no clue what's going on, He has a plan. 

Back to the important stuff.

Je blessed the sacrament yesterday. That was ... amazing beyond description. He was really nervous, but he did a great job. The ward now has 3 young men involved in blessing and passing the sacrament, which is more than I've seen in any other ward here. Two of them are converts. We've really been blessed.

Do you remember the story of Je's dad, Ku, and how he was so opposed to Je being baptized that he stopped Je's first baptismal date from happening? Since the baptism he's been giving poor Je hell. He still thinks that it's not possible to really be a Dane and a Man without the drinking and swaggering pride. Je's holding fast though, and he has his step mom, step sister, and half sister who are all members supporting him. Hopefully Ku doesn't get to Da though, Je's step brother. He's been taught on and off by the Sisters here for a while. He comes to church and everything, but doesn't really have that desire to get a testimony for himself. Weirdly enough, Ku also comes to church most Sundays. There's hope for him yet though. Yesterday the bishop announced the news of my temporary medical release and went through all the parts of a normal farewell -- including having me share my rather teary testimony (not fair! The Priesthood choir had just sung a really touching rendition of "Praise to the Man", and that song always gets me) and having everyone sing "God Be With You 'til We Meet Again" at the close of the meeting. "I'm not dead yet!" After Sacrament Meeting though, Ku came up to shake my hand. He actually seemed really sad. His eyes were even a bit misty. I've never seen him show any emotion like that. He said I fit in in Denmark, and that they'd miss me. Okay, for ANYTHING to be remotely Danish makes it automatically divine in his eyes. That might have been the biggest compliment I've ever gotten in my entire life. I'll miss him and his family too though. He really is a good man with a heart of gold beneath the scruffy Viking exterior.

On Wednesday we had a really touching experience with Ol too. You know how much I love that guy. We'd planned to meet up for a lesson, but there was a miscommunication somehow and it didn't end up happening. When we texted Ol, he said he was too depressed to schedule another appointment right then. We were a bit freaked out. That's not at all like him. We apologized with everything we had, but he reassured us that it wasn't our fault in any way. He wasn't sad about the meeting. You all know Ol is crazy, right? Like how he biked from Aarhus to Copenhagen? He's also run in the New York and Boston marathons and LOVES running. The Berlin Marathon was this weekend, and he had been training up to go to it for 3 years, and had plans to go with 2 of his friends. He's been super excited for it. However, he injured his hip a few months ago, and his trainer and doctor told him it wasn't strong enough yet, and he couldn't run in the race. He was crushed, of course. We were at the train station to catch a train to Aarhus, but he really wanted to see us before we left. He rushed all the way to the station to catch us before the train. I just wanted to hug him when he got there! Poor guy. Apparently, he's been in a lot of pain for the last few weeks and just didn't want to tell anyone. We chatted for a little bit, and he brought us a gift he'd been planning on bringing to our appointment. He remembered that we said we liked Harry Potter, so he gave each of us a children's fantasy book he'd found. Seriously, Ol is the sweetest guy. We said a prayer with him right there on the platform before the train left and you know what? I don't know if I've ever felt the Spirit stronger with Ol than on that noisy platform. He also said he would love to get a Priesthood blessing, so we've worked that out for Wednesday. It'll be sad to say goodbye to him. 

This is all so surreal, but ... I guess I'll see you guys soon!

Jeg elsker jer!
Søster Morse

Mom - I just responded to your e-mail, but if you have any more questions, you can also e-mail the mission office at . They'll be able to answer you sooner. I love you!

Dad - How funny is it that we just barely miss each other? Don't worry about it though. I'll see you guys when you get back. Thank you so much for your e-mail. You were the first person I got to talk to after getting the news (besides my companion and the Elders who were with us at the time), so I'm sorry I was so emotional. You know exactly how it is though, and how much you come to love every part of your mission. Thank you so so so much for your words of comfort. And yes, Gloria's sounds perfect, but only if you think you'll be able to go back to American Italian food so soon after the real thing. I love you.

Katie - Have fun in Italy! That sounds stupid. Who needs to be told to have fun in Italy? Anyway, you'll have loads of fun. I can't wait to hear all your stories when you get back. The tables have turned! Now I'll be the one waiting for YOU to get home from Europe!

William - Everyone else will be in Europe or back at work, so plan on spending a loooooooot of quality time with your favorite big sister. Just a heads up.

Supreme Mugwump - Yeah, I definitely need to send your package now, huh. I've also got a letter for you. And none of this news should come as a surprise to you, but thanks for your encouragement through it all. I'll write you even more while I'm State side. Promise.

Week 32

Kære Alle Sammen,

Wow. Søster Moore and I were just giddy during sacrament meeting yesterday.
We just got back from lunch with the Elders and the Senior Couple in Odense. It was the Senior Couple's last P-Day here before going home, so we celebrated with pizza at Mama's Cafe. They were joking that it was just like a family. In a weird way, it kind of was. We were cheering Ældste Sorensen on to finish his whole pizza. Elder Pitts was just teasing us. When Søster Moore asked what he ordered he answered, "It's looks really good! I'm excited. It's this thing that looks like bread dough, but it's not. It's called pizza dough. And then they put a sauce made out of tomato stuff on it ..." and had to wait until the very end to hear the toppings. Meanwhile Ældste and Søster Olsen were telling us stories making sure Søster Moore and Ældste Pitts didn't set anything on fire while playing with the candles on the table. Yep. Just like home.
Søster Moore has been Eurofying her wardrobe for when she goes home in December (at her parents' orders), so last P-Day was our big shopping adventure. I get to be her personal stylist and explain how it all works. Mom, I know I rebelled against all of your advice, but I DID listen. Thank you for not giving up on me. I may not care about mixing summer and winter fabrics, but at least my companion knows about it now.
On Friday we met with Ol in a cafe for hot chocolate. He just wanted some help practicing English for his American Studies class, so we hid from the rain and just chatted about American culture. There are so many things we do that I never thought were weird. For example, Ol ran the Boston Marathon a few years ago and while he was leaving the hotel a sweet old guy patted his shoulder and said, "You know, you look like you could win it!" That totally freaked Ol out. He still remembers it. His response was , "Are you kidding me?! I'm way to white!" He just didn't get why some random guy was being so personal. And optimistic. Danes a such realists. And I never realized just how loudly we talk. It's true though. It was a wonderful experience though, being able to sit and talk about books and movies and just get to know Ol like a normal person. Regardless of where he ends up gospel-wise, we're so being friends post-mission. I love that guy.
This is totally random, but I also love the ward here. Søster Johnson knew everyone and all of their family across Denmark after 10 months here, so it was mostly just following her lead. With Søster Moore though we've gotten to know them all more personally, and they're all so great. There's an older lady in the ward with Alzheimer's who always flirts with Ældste Sorensen. It's hilarious. Every time she sees him she leans over and whispers to me (just loud enough for him to hear, "Er han ikke en flot fyr?" ("Isn't he a good-looking man?")
We had Mutual with the Young Women this week, which was also just a blast. Our ward has the best Unge Piger nogensinde! We also got a call about 45 minutes before church started, asking if we'd teach the lesson in the 14-16 year-old class about 3 Nephi 1-7. Fantastic. Søster Moore stressed a bit, but it actually turned out really well. We just have the best ward in all of Denmark. No contest.
Jeg elsker jer!
Photos: Danish kroner!

Mom - Don't worry too much about me being sick. It's just a mystery thing, and we've been able to work a lot of half days, so I still feel like I can kind of be a missionary! I know you've had that package waiting for ages, but would you mind waiting just one more week? Hopefully by then the doctor will know exactly what it is, and I might need you to send me some *ahem* "American candy" to treat it. ;) Highland sounds absolutely beautiful right now. I love the land and climate here, but I do miss the mountains some times. They're just so majestic! Thanks for the 3 p's. I'm going to have to put those up in my apartment somewhere!
Katie - I can't believe your Italian trip is so soon!! Send me a postcard or something! And that's so cool that Madame is having twins!!! Poor AP student though. That'd be hard - teaching a high school French class while you're only in high school yourself. Still, that's awesome!
William - Don't ask how I know about it, but you should watch the VGHS (Video Game High School) series on Youtube. I saw the first episode at a member's and it reminded me so much of you.
Greg - Have you taken the ATV up in the mountains for fall yet? Next time you do, will you send me pictures?
Dad - Sorry to hear everyone's been sick. I didn't know you lived in Brigham City, actually, but that's really cool that they've finished another temple. I've always loved them, even more so after going through for myself, but after being here I think I'm just beginning to understand what it's all about. And thank you for the quote from the church in Stanford. I've never heard that before, but it's so true. I can't tell you how many times we ask people during contacting, "Do you believe in God?" only to have them answer, "Not really. I believe in science". It seems like only half an answer. As it said, no widening of physical understanding can compensate for the narrowing of the human soul. That's the norm here, but there are also so many people who do believe and have an open horizon, but no destination. Enter the missionaries. :) Have fun in Italy! It must be beautiful at this time of year. I'm almost jealous, but let's face it. Nothing beats Denmark. You know what I mean. Denmark ftw!
Søst T - Thanks for the super cute card! You're my muse. You've inspired me to get a coloring book. I'll write back soon! Oh, and I got more of those pony cards. None were quite as funny as your pack. I think you guys got the winner.
Sost A - So I blatantly plagiarized your e-mail from a couple weeks ago and e-mailed the photos of the money to my parents. 1. Because I don't want to take the photos myself. 2. Because yours look awesome. 3. Let's face it, when am I ever going to get my hands on a 500 kroner bill? I'll send some photos of the coins though, and you can steal those if you want. Fair trade?
Supreme Mugwump - Okay, I PROMISE I'll get the year mark package off soon. I'm finishing up the last gift as we speak. ... As I type. How are you settling into Bellevue? Say hi to Hna Weagle for me! Have you been able to see the photos I sent you on Google+?