Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Some of this might not make sense because we were writing back and forth so fast and sometimes answering out of order, but it was fun :) 

MOM/JILL (just getting on the computer to write Amanda and notices that Amanda has just posted her letter 1min ago):  Yes!  We are!  We just got them earlier this week :)  Thank you!  I haven't sent you any (obviously) but will when you get to Denmark.  I'm writing you a longer email right now!


MOM/JILL: Hi!!  You saw a dog??  Yea.  I need a name / logo for my studio.  Any suggestions?  Jesse suggested: We Got Doughnuts!  That would bring 'em in but I'm not sure for the right reasons :? 
ANDREW: hi this is frandy your husband is in the top 8. I was gone on Sunday so the Deacons were a mess when they passed the sacrament according to mom  [Andrew giving Amanda an update on her favorite So You Think You Can Dance contestant who she claims she will someday convert and marry

AMANDA: Frandy thank you for telling me about my husband! I was literally just wondering about that last night!  Haha of course the deacons were a mess without you! They need their fearless leader.

AMANDA: Did you have fun at Dad's high school reunion? Was he social?

MOM/JILL: We're all fine here :)  Getting ready for school.  The dynamics of your District crack me up!  What are they doing needing girl friend advice in the MTC for cryin out loud?!  I laughed so hard about the cereal thing.  Reminds me a little of when we visited your BYU Ward and your Bishop scolded you, Emma, and Andrew from the pulpit with a "gentle" but direct reminder about needing to be reverent to invite the spirit.  Yes, Robin Williams died.  Very sad because he was so vocal about his bouts with depression and eventually it just got the better of him.  Great awareness for all of us to value ourselves and be so, so aware of the unseen battles others are facing and to be gentle with one another - always.  Oh, another message from you just popped up ... :) 

Andrew says he didn't actually go to the reunion.  Whites happened to be staying in town at the same hotel so he was swimming with them.  Dad says he did have a good time and glad he went.  It was a small group and more of the "partiers" were represented but he enjoyed visiting with many.  Andrew did say that he saw some of the reunion folks about and how old they looked compared to Dad.  So grateful you kids have Dad's young genes :)  And many look older because of the hard lives they've had.  A few have passed away and that was sobering.  Life is so precious :)  Then at some point Dad said he was wondering how soon he could leave without being rude or unappreciative to the people who took time to arrange the reunion.  But it was good; they had a very nice weekend.  

Oh, one more thing.  I'm sure you have limited computer time but Emma sent you a handwritten letter yesterday so you can look forward to that  - AND something for your birthday.  I have to do that TODAY so you'll get it on time :)  Love you! 

AMANDA: Name it-"If you come here, you will be on Broadway. Guaranteed." IDK mom I'm horrible at this! Haha  And yes-I did see a dog! on our way to the temple. I felt like Buddy the Elf because it was actually the most exciting thing that's ever happened. 

 MOM/JILL: I love that last line of D&C 8:5, "Remember this is your gift."  Wow.  You're right, you are not good at name suggestions.  We all have different talents :)  I've asked Uncle Mat to help me.  Oh, does getting your flight / travel information mean that YOU HAVE YOUR VISA???  Answer this now before you get off the computer.  Please.  

AMANDA: YES! MAIL! I can't tell you how much we love mail. I can't wait.  Yesterday I got your letter and a cute letter from Aunt Jill about Andrew, and it just made me so proud of my siblings! They are such great people.  FRANDY AND GIB CAN YOU HEAR ME? YOU ARE GREAT PEOPLE!  

MOM/JILL: Emma can't hear you; she's at school but I'll tell her when she gets home :)  Andrew can hear you even though he's watching Fox and the Hound.  Lazy summer days.  He did just mow the neighbors’ lawn.  He's a good boy that Andrew.  

AMANDA: We haven't heard about our Visas yet. Maybe Friday? I don't know.  Also, tell Uncle Matt that Elder Bradshaw and I are both very upset that our uncle hasn't written us :) 

MOM/JILL: Duly noted; I will tell him.  They have been camping this past week in the Uintahs but  I will tell him.  Oh, I can't wait 'til Friday!  Exciting :)  It's gone by fast, hasn't it?  In other news, Emma and I were sharing a car while Dad and Andrew were gone.  I took her to church on Sunday and she said she'd find a ride home.  She arrived home in the classiest silver convertible!  What is someone in the singles ward doing with money and a car like that?!  It was Andy.  He's older, a convert, seems like a really nice guy. She's in a really good place right now of being comfortable NOT having a boyfriend - like for the first time since she was .... 14?!  We had a conversation about it yesterday and laughed that maybe now my insomnia will go away and my hair will thicken again.   I think I'm stuck with the grey.   

AMANDA: andy. who is this...andy. and how old is older??? I'm glad she got to ride in a convertible. Tell him to go be a nice boy somewhere else.  Don't worry mom, Sword in the Stone will always be there for you!

AMANDA: K-email time is done. I love you!! Have a great week!


WEEK 5: Tillykke med fodselsdagen! means Happy Birthday!

Danish phrase of the week: Tillykke med fødselsdagen! (Til-lookah mell fool-ses-day-en!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY! [Why didn't they include that in the Happy Birthday Primary song?]

I was so spoiled on my birthday yesterday. It was seriously one of the best! I woke up to the Sisters in my zone yelling happy birthday, and a chocolate muffin from the vending machine. (that's about as fancy as it gets around here). It was perfect. I basically had a heart attack but in a fun sort of way.

Aunt Anna, you sneaky lady, thank you so much for the ten-layer cake! I got called down to the Health Clinic early yesterday morning and could not figure out why! I was confused until I got there and the receptionist told me that Karen wanted to see me! And then I remembered. She is so great! She delivered the cake and gave me a big hug-hopefully you've seen the picture by now. It made my day and I loved sharing it with my district! And thanks to the whole White family for the sweet card! I miss eating your food. :)

The MTC bookstore has a pretty amazing selection of cheesy anniversary cards, so I got about four from some of the Elders in my district. They also put together a box filled with random presents like candy, hand sanitizer, a keychain, and Gas-X. ... ... thanks Elders. But really, it was hilarious and I loved it. Except the Gas-X. I threw that at Elder Porter. 

Also, because of Sister Moseley's anxiety, she has connections at the counseling office. Last week through the counseling office, we met the most glamorous 75 year old Danish woman. Her name was Lisbeth Hopper. She talked to our companionship all about Denmark-the people, the traditions, the food. It was so fun. We talked for like 2 hours. But she told us about this amazing traditional Danish cake that she always makes for her grandchildren on their birthdays. My companion was like, "Sister Van Orden's birthday is in four days!" and Sister Hopper got so excited and was like, "I'll try to sneak you a cake!" And she did!! Right after I got called down to the Health clinic to get my amazing cake from Aunt Anna, Sister Moseley got called down to the counseling office-and this Danish cake covered in Marzipan frosting was waiting for us. 2 surprise cakes! Plus the mustache cake from you guys-which didn't quite make it in one piece but I could tell it was a great one :). So spoiled. Thank you all!
AND-for Tuesday night devotional, the Young Women General President came to speak to us! She and her husband were Temple Matron and President in Sweden, and all of her kids served missions in Scandinavia (one even went to Denmark!) so a lot of the Scandinavian missionaries went up to talk to her afterwards. She gave all of the Sister missionaries hugs, and she gave me an extra one when she found out it was my birthday. I HUGGED A MORMON TEEN IDOL YOU GUYS. :) 

Since my birthday came the day before P-Day, the sisters in my zone decided to have a sleepover to finish celebrating. We pulled extra mattresses into our room and ate cake and popcorn and stayed up WAY past our missionary bed-time. It was such a fun day

Other exciting news-TRAVEL PLANS. We got them last Thursday! We leave the MTC for the Salt Lake Airport on Monday morning at 6 am. 
Leave SLC at 11:15 AM
Arrive Chicago at 3:30 PM
Leave Chicago at 6:10 PM
Arrive London at 7:50 AM (the next day, Aug 26th)
Leave London at 9:55 AM
ARRIVE IN COPENHAGEN AT 12:50 pm on August 26th.

So basically we can't wait! Also, I can call home from the airport! I'm going to buy a phone card from the MTC Bookstore. So I can call between 7 am and 11 am on Monday morning or between 3:30 and 6 Monday afternoon. DearElder me and let me know what time works best for you all! 

I have learned so much about how to be a good missionary here at the MTC. I'm excited to get back into the real world and grow even more! One of my teachers, Brother Williamson, has been an especially fantastic teacher and friend to all of us. He tells so many stories to help us understand how to teach people as individuals. Also a lot of hilarious and off-topic stories, but he really does have such an amazing love for the people of Denmark and he has inspired all of us to work hard! He said that if we leave the MTC with a desire to love and serve the people, then he has done his job well. We are so excited. I can't wait to get there and meet everyone and become a part of this new place! It really is so important to get to know people on an individual level. The message of the gospel is for everyone, but that doesn't mean it's generic. It's specific and highly personal to each individual who hears it. Jesus Christ taught people one by one. He served people one by one. As representatives of Him and His church, that's our job too! Really it's everyone's job. I have such a testimony that we're put here on earth to help each other. That's why we have families! My companion who is struggling with anxiety has received so much strength from her family over the last few weeks because they know her and love her on a deep, personal level. I constantly receive strength from my family. Every time I hear from each of you and hear about the wonderful, amazing individuals you are it just lifts me up. I am so proud of all of you. Take the time to help each other and talk with each other. We are not meant to be alone. Genuinely reach out to people who need a friend; everyone has something important to share!

Thank you so much for the letters, cards, and the wonderful Birthday Box from home! My birthday was a great one because of all of you!
I love you all!
~Sister Van Orden

Oh! And Hayden (personal shout-out, you should feel so important)-thanks for all of your DearElders! I wrote you a letter back a couple of weeks ago-I'm not sure if it got to you. Mail is sketchy sometimes! But send me your email address so I can keep in touch once I leave the MTC!

WEEK 4: Sister Van Orden is the District Mom (something like District Leader but not really)

Probably my favorite Danish phrase I've learned so far: at tage en morfar. (at tay-uh een more-far) Means: to take a nap. But literally translated means: to take a grandpa. I died. I love this language.

This week, I officially became the district Mom. I am like 2 years older than all of the Elders, and they're all dating someone, so they all come to me when they need dating advice. It's hilarious. Apparently I'm wise. :) I also brought a bag of cereal from the breakfast line to sacrament meeting on Sunday to keep everyone quiet. 

I saw Adam again this week! We sing in the MTC choir together so it's fun to see him on the regular. :) This week we bore our testimonies to each other in our mission languages! It was such a proud cousin moment! That's something that my companions and I have been doing more of lately. During our language study time we walk around MTC campus and find people to practice bearing our testimonies to. One of us speaks the language, and someone else translates. It's really fun because usually people want to bear their testimonies back to us. There are so many languages happening on this campus! It's amazing.

Okay. Crazy thing-we get our travel plans to Denmark on FRIDAY! As in-2 days from now. I can't believe how fast this is coming!

So I heard that Robin Williams died. Want to know how I heard that? In the sack breakfast line, the girl working the cash register wrote "Robin Williams died yesterday at age 63."  on a paper bag and propped it up against the register. This is how we get our news of the outside world. A paper bag and a sharpie. 

This week, we have been focusing on teaching by the spirit. I've learned so much about how important it is to make sure that we have the spirit with us always. As someone who has grown up in the church, I feel like I'm pretty familiar with all church doctrine. If someone has a question, I know how to answer it. I don't know everything, but I have a pretty solid foundation. BUT-while that's important, I have learned that I can't rely on my own knowledge when I'm teaching an investigator. I might intellectually know the answer to one of their questions, but the Spirit knows THEM. The spirit knows how they need to be taught. I could give them all of the right answers in the world, but if I'm not listening to the spirit to know how and when to present that information, it won't mean anything to them. It requires a lot of humility to put aside what you know and let the Spirit speak.

D&C84:85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.  

The Spirit is an amazing gift! We have the opportunity to have a member of the Godhead with us at all times! When we are humble enough to let the Spirit guide us instead of relying on what we think we know, we can be assured that Heavenly Father is guiding our lives. We can have so much peace. Our Heavenly Father won't let us fail. I think Gordon B. Hinckley said, "We were not put on this earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously." 

Here's a challenge for all of you! Every week before church, write down a question or two that you have. Take it to church with you. I promise that your questions will be answered! I tried it this Sunday, (I brought 3 questions that were each very different from each other), and each question was answered in multiple ways throughout the meeting! It was so cool. It's a great way to practice learning from the spirit. Plus, it makes those 3 hour blocks on Sundays more personal. Try it! You won't be disappointed.

This is my favorite scripture about the Holy Ghost. This is your gift! Use it! It will bring you nothing but blessings. D&C 8: 2-5 

 2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
 3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
 4 Therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction.
 5 Oh, remember these words, and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.

I love you all! Thank you so much for the letters and emails. It makes me so happy to hear about the great things you're doing. Missionaries live for mail. Especially in the MTC. So thanks :) 

Have a fantastic week!!
~Sister Van Orden