Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WEEK 9 and then some: General Conference and Don't Be The Rabbit!!

Dear Everyone:  
So did you love General Conference? I got to watch it in English. They broadcasted it in our chapel and there was a Danish room and and English room. President always wants us to watch Conference in our native language, no matter how good our Danish is. I love Conference. It is always such an amazing boost, and it's so fantastic to listen to it as a missionary!  It just gives all of their words a totally new perspective. 

Ok. So. I said goodbye to Søster Handley today. We have this joke that she was my trainer for the mission field and I was her trainer for the real world. I taught her all about hashtags and snapchat and all of the slang she'll need to understand when she gets home. So hopefully that'll ease the transition a little bit :)

AND I'M TRAINING A NEW MISSIONARY! I'm companions with two other sisters right now who will also be trainers-we meet our new trainees on Wednesday. I have only been in the land for six weeks, the training program is 12 weeks long ... I'm only halfway trained! I'm nervous, but I know that everything is going to be okay. I got a blessing from the Elders in my district that was so comforting. It basically said that as long as I rely on the Spirit, I will be blessed to know where to go and what to say to find people who are prepared to hear the gospel from me and my new missionary. It's really easy to get scared and overwhelmed when I think about all of the responsibilities that are being transferred to me right now, but as long as I remember that blessing and have faith in those promises, I know my new companion and I are going to see miracles! I just keep saying over and over again in my head: Faith not fear! Faith not fear!

President has been teasing me about it a lot though. The other day at zone training he just came up to me and was like, “So Søster Van Orden, are you ready for this? Two brand new missionaries...biggest city in Denmark...four more days!”  I was like, “President you are not making me feel any better!!” 

It's honestly pretty humbling to think that Heavenly Father is trusting me with this right now. I have no idea what I did to make Him think that I'm ready, but apparently He thinks I am, so here we go! haha :) I also know it's going to be really hard. Training is hard no matter what. But the most important lesson a missionary can learn is how to rely on the Spirit, and this experience is going to teach me how to do that really quickly. 

Ok I wanted to share a story with all of you. We heard it from a woman in our ward named Deidre. She's a return missionary, so she's always just been really good friends with the missionaries who come through the ward in Frederiksberg. She told us this little analogy last week. She said:

“I was in a pet store one day, holding a rabbit. It was totally calm, holding totally still. I had a good hold on it, and it was perfectly safe. I didn't move or adjust my grip on the rabbit at all, but all of a sudden it noticed that it was 5 feet off the ground and started panicking. It squirmed and tried to jump out of my arms because it was scared to be up so high. The rabbit was still perfectly safe, I was still holding on to it, but it didn't trust me anymore and so it panicked. I knew that if the rabbit jumped it could get hurt, so I kept holding on.”  She tied that little experience to our relationship with God. God is always right there calmly holding us and supporting us. As long as we hold still and stay with him, we're perfectly safe. But sometimes we notice that we're high off the ground and start to panic. Our first instinct is sometimes to jump away from God, but that actually puts us in more danger than if we would just continue to trust him and stay with him. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. He's always right there. So, don't freak out about training a new missionary Sister Van Orden! You're going to be fine! Don't be the rabbit!

Anyways. There are a lot of exciting things happening, and I love my crazy cool family. Har det godt! Jeg elsker jer!

Søster VO

Letter to Diana Briscoe: [Diana prefacing] We were talking about how she is training this girl named Vashti who I know while I [Diana] was a missionary. Vashti is a girl from Utah who lived in Denmark for about 6 months while training as a ballroom dancer. 

[AMANDA] I am training Vashti! Ok-crazy story-President told me a week before training happened to study the story of Esther. He said he didn't know why but he just felt like I should study it. GUESS WHERE THE NAME VASHTI COMES FROM? The story of Esther. That was a fun little miracle. I think it's Heavenly Father's way of reminding me that I'm not alone out here. Training is so scary, but I really have felt Heavenly Father helping me. I'm trying not to be hard on myself when I make mistakes. I feel like I'm not a very good missionary sometimes! But I'm trying hard and hopefully getting a little bit better every day!

Søster Reed is fantastic. She is so prepared and I know we're supposed to be companions! I think a lot of great things are going to happen in our area :)

Haha I talk about you all the time too! I went on splits with Søster Ripplinger and again with Søster Hale and I hope you know that everyone just thinks the world of you out here :) You worked so hard! I just keep telling everyone that you were basically born to be a missionary so I'm not surprised!

The Gladsaxe Søstre lived with us last transfer but they got a new apartment this transfer! She's serving with a girl from my MTC district right now who is so sweet - They're going to do great together!

I love you!! Let me know if you have any training wisdom :) Have a happy week!

Letter to her Dad:
DAD! I can't believe I'm training already either! This is without a doubt one of the scariest things I've ever done: I'm in the biggest city in Denmark with a brand new missionary and I kind of speak Danish but not really and I'm responsible for people's eternal salvation! It's so hard, but don't worry. I'm doing great. We're actually working really well together and we haven't gotten lost yet! But if you remember any advice that would be really fabulous to hear :) Also the Ward is taking really good care of us. So that's nice :)

There have actually been a couple of times over the last week where I haven't known where to go or what to do, and I have felt like ideas come to my mind to tell me who to visit or even what to say when I don't really understand their Danish. It's been a really special experience because I literally have no choice but to rely on Heavenly Father and I have really been able to notice the help that he's giving me

I'm trying not to be too hard on myself because I still make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes all I can do is work hard every day and try to be a little bit better every day. My companion is really great about reminding me that I've only been out for six weeks and so of course I'm not going to know everything! It can be a lot of pressure but for the most part I feel good and I'm excited! 

THE CSU RAMS! Dreams come true! Sad about BYU though. They'll figure it out one of these days! 

Love you!

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