Monday, September 29, 2014

WEEK 8ish: It's humility, ain't it? Humility is the key to inspiration. CAN I WRITE THAT DOWN?

Danish word of the week: Dejligt (die-leet) It means whatever you want it to mean. They literally use this word to describe everything good. It means, wonderful, nice, great, lovely,'s one of those words where if you don't know what to say you can just say “Dejligt!” and as long as they're talking about something happy, they'll think you know exactly what's going on. It's great. It's one of my favorite words.

Ok-training. As far as I know, I'm not training. Yet. None of the Visas came through for the group that's leaving the MTC, so they're all getting reassigned to Arizona for a little bit. BUT, some of them could have their VISAS come in next week and then they would just do transfers a week late and then I still might be a trainer...or not. Who knows?! Not me, that's for darn sure. Basically I have no idea what's going on. Neither does President. All I know is that my companion is leaving me next Monday and I don't know what to do with my life after that. She is my everything. I'll keep you posted on that. I'm not panicking I'm fine; it's fine. I'm fine.

Also, no one is allowed to say that people don't get baptized in Denmark anymore! Our mission had five baptisms this weekend! It was fantastic. One of them was the man the Sisters we live with have been teaching, and another was baptized into our ward. It was a great day. The hastening of the work is happening all over the world-even way over here in Denmark! J

We had a really fun service project on Saturday. Our whole stake volunteered at a plejehjem (a nursing home) and it was honestly one of the best service projects I've ever been a part of! It was a blast. They had electric tandem bikes, a ton of crafts, baking, music (one of the old men was a jazz pianist so he tore it up on the piano), and everyone was just so happy that we were there. We had a great turn-out. Søster Handley and I made friends with an old lady and her daughter who was visiting her for the day. I made her a necklace and we ate lunch together. They were so fun. They were impressed with the church and how many people had shown up to help. They asked a lot of questions about missionary work and were very nice about my Danish. I was just so proud of our Stake! Service is such a great way to connect with people in the community and we really had a fun day with all of them.

Funny story though-one of the stations that Søster Handley and I were assigned to work was called <stol gymnastik> which means...apparently...chair exercise. But it sounds a lot like gymnastics, doesn't it? We were very confused. We went in to watch a class one morning to get an idea of what that meant, and the physical therapist at the nursing home explained that it was basically children's games - just anything to get them moving around a little bit and having fun. There were about 15 of them sitting in a circle and they played “keep the balloon in the air” and played with one of those parachute things that they bring into elementary gym classes. Simple things like that. So that's what we planned for. When we were at that station, there was an old man there who was just not having it. We were warming up-sitting down and stretching our arms and things like that, and he just kept asking “what are we doing?” ... he was not amused by the balloon game, it was just going really badly. And so finally I asked him if he had a favorite sport, and he told us he was a gymnast. Like in the Olympics. stol GYMNASTIK. He thought that we would be doing gymnastics, and he just could not understand why he was sitting in a chair bouncing a balloon back and forth with a bunch of American kids. So. That was hilarious.

We went to Vor Frue Kirke (Our Lady's Church) last P-Day. That's the church that has the original Kristus statue in it, along with statues of all of the original 12 apostles. It was SO beautiful! The man who created those statues all of those years ago was way more in tune than I think any of us realize. Right above the Kristus statue were the words, “Denne er min søn, den elskelige, hør ham” (This is my son, the beloved, hear Him!) Almost the exact same words as were spoken in the first vision. Coincidence? I think not. I got chills when I saw that! It was a powerful experience to be in that room. The statue of the Apostle Peter shows him holding a set of keys, a symbol for the keys to the church or the Priesthood keys. Elder Bednar went to Vor Frue Kirke before he had that meeting with us last month and he testified to us that Thomas S. Monson holds those same Priesthood keys today.

Original Christus Statue

I'm so grateful to be on a mission in Denmark. So many miracles are happening every day. Most of them are small, many of them I will never see the full results of, but I know that they happen. We all have a much greater influence on the people around us than we can fully realize. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now.

It sounds like everything is going well at home! I love you all so much and think of you often. I'm so grateful to have such a fabulous family. Keep being your wonderful, hilarious selves.

Have a great week! Talk to you soon!
Love, Søster VO

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First Sister Missionaries on Greenland! ...kind of; also: No Bike Accidents in over two weeks ... but we've been on trains :?

Danish phrase of the week: Have en god bedring (hey een goal bell-ring) That means get well soon. But literally it means have a good bettering. People have been saying that to me a lot thanks to my awesome and super cool cast.

Embarrassing moment of the week: We took Aviaaja (the Greenlandic girl who got baptized last week) to do temple baptisms in the Copenhagen Temple before she flew back to Greenland. So we were having this great lesson explaining temples and why we have them and family history and all of this exciting stuff. And then it was my job to explain the actual step by step process of temple baptisms. So I thought I was telling her that you go under the water more than one time, but I was actually telling her that you go under the water for more than one HOUR. And she was looking at me with these big eyes like, "So I have to hold my breath for more than an HOUR?" Then I realized what I was saying and I was like NO! NO no no no no! So it was all okay and we didn't scare her away. But the Elders laughed at me a lot.

This week was a lot less...there were no broken bones or street fights this week. So. It was a lot quieter. BUT we did get to go to the temple with Aviaaja! It was such a special experience. She was so excited to be able to help other people feel the same joy she felt at her own baptism. She just kept talking about how much she wants this for her whole family! Søster Handley knew a Greenlandic man when she was serving in Odense. His name is JJ and he's been living in Denmark for a few years. He was able to come down to the temple with us! It was so fun to see him and Aviaaja together. They were speaking Greenlandic which is the CRAZIEST coolest language I've ever heard... We really want them to get married. Missionary work is also all about setting people up. :) Anyways. He was so excited about having another member of the church from Greenland! [THINK ABOUT IT: WE GET EXCITED WHEN THERE'S ANOTHER MEMBER IN OUR CLASS AT SCHOOL; HE'S EXCITED THERE'S ANOTHER MEMBER IN HIS COUNTRY!] Odense is a couple of hours away from Copenhagen, so it was definitely a miracle that he was able to be there. He was actually planning on coming down to Copenhagen the next day anyways, and he said, "It's like Heavenly Father wanted me to be here or something! This worked out perfectly!" Aviaaja flew back to Greenland the next day. She is the only member of the church in Greenland right now-as far as we know-which is going to be hard, but we're keeping in touch with her on Skype!

Søster Handley and I Skyped with her on Sunday. We are officially the first Sister Missionaries on Greenland! ...through the internets. Yessss I love technology. 

We are going through and teaching her the new member lessons and answering all of her questions as she reads the Book of Mormon. Her faith is absolutely amazing. She is so willing to learn and always has so many questions for us! She just soaks it all in. She is the epitome of how Christ wants us to be: teachable, humble, and having a perfect hope in the gospel. I feel so blessed to be able to work with her!

We've been working with a lot of less-active members this past week. There was one in particular named Rebecca that we had a really good time with. She's 30, a return missionary, and she's just a really cool person. She was active in the church for 4 years after her mission, but eventually went less-active because apparently some people in the ward weren't very kind to her. We got her name as a referral from one of her old friends. We didn't know that she was less-active when we went to visit her, but we stopped by to get to know her a little bit. It came up pretty quickly that she hadn't been to church in a while. It was obviously sad and hard for her to talk about. There was a really down, almost hopeless spirit in the room, but then I got the impression to ask to hear her testimony. I asked if she still had a testimony of the gospel. She said she did. I asked if we could hear it. She looked a little surprised and said she hadn't shared her testimony since her mission, but she said she would. The feeling in the room changed almost immediately. She didn't share a formal, sacrament meeting style testimony, but she opened up a lot more about her positive feelings about the gospel, and more importantly, she was able to remember why she believed in Christ in the first place. And then, this is the real miracle, she came to church the next Sunday! It was such a cool experience.

It reminded me a lot of when we lived in California and how lonely I felt at church. I hated going to Young Women's. But Mom was always reminding me and helping me figure out why we really go to church. It's nice to have friends there, but we really go to church because we love Heavenly Father and we want to be close to Him. We want to take the sacrament, feel the Spirit, and learn what we can do to be more like Christ. It's hard to go when you feel like you're alone, but the blessings are real, and we're never truly alone. Heavenly Father loves us beyond what we can comprehend. And Rebecca, who was convinced that she didn't have any friends at church, was able to sit by a couple of really sweet girls around her same age who remembered her from the YSA Ward. So here's the lesson that I learned from this-be kind and welcoming to everyone. Always-but in this case specifically at church. You have no idea what kind of a struggle it was for them to get there, and you have no idea whose prayers you're answering by being a good friend!

So those were the highlights! Søster Handley and I have been limiting ourselves to one Danish pastry a week. So far so good...we'll see how long that lasts. Marzipan is amazing. The bread is amazing...I do not understand how Danes are so skinny!

I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 2 in Denmark: A week in PICTURES!

I'm learning to be ambidextrous AND know a TON of hospital words in Danish!
Aviaga's baptism!!
Elder Ogden is the one baptizing her and Elder Higby confirmed her.
Best day.

me and søster handley!
These buildings are exactly like the picture on the
home page of my blog! Denmark is real!

søster handley, me, søster perkins (who was in the MTC w/ me!), 
and søster rigby. We all live together and it's a party.
This is the courtyard where the Danish royal family LIVES. 
They LIVE here. In those buildings. It's fine.

Little mermaid statue. That woman climbing up onto the statue fell into the ocean about two seconds after this picture was taken. She was fine. It was so funny.