Tuesday, April 28, 2015

WEEK 36; 4/20/2015: Half-way there!! Ostriches, Chokolade trekants, teaching, sweet prayers, and sunshine!!

Danish Word of the Week-Struds (strools) Ostrich. Because we saw one! True story. No picture evidence unfortunately, but it happened. Just ask Sister Perkins. 

Other exciting/weird news-this last week was mine and Søster Perkins' half-way point! April 16th. Halfway through this crazy wonderful life. We bought a chokolade trekant to celebrate. I'll attach a picture to try to explain what that is. It is a pizza sized-pastry covered in chocolate and filled with this almond flavored cream stuff. Basically humans shouldn't eat it--but like...I do what I want. 

Also, this week was amazing. It was the first time we have been able to spend an entire week in our area since the beginning of the transfer-so we got some serious work done. This probably won't mean anything to any of you-but we taught 10 lessons with a member present this week-which is a very big deal. We also found some really awesome new people to teach and had some amazing lessons with the people we're already working with! Our biggest challenge lately has been getting people to church, and 4 of our friends came yesterday! And one of our wonderful but very skeptical friends agreed to have a church tour so that maybe some other week he'll be more comfortable coming for the actual meetings. Great progress, people. :)

Sweetest moment-we have this thing we do in the mission where whenever we say a prayer with someone, we always ask if there is anyone specific in their life we can pray for. It's a really nice way to get to know the people who are important to them-and show that we really do care about their lives and their families. Anyways. The other day, something happened that has never happened before! We invited one of our investigators to say the closing prayer, and HE asked US which of our friends or family members needed prayers. Me and Sister Perkins just about cried. It was such a little thing, but seriously no one has ever thought to ask us that before. It's the little things! Teaching him is going really well. He's the one who came to General Conference a couple of weeks ago and loved it. 

The sun has been consistently out-none of this awful switching back and forth between sunshine and freezing rain. We are officially leaving the coats at home and wearing short sleeves today. Big things are happening.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

WEEK 37; 4/27/2015: Sister Van Orden is a great human being who needs to work out more & teaching with Google Translate

Danish Word of the Week: at oversætte (OWER-set-eh) TO TRANSLATE

Hey family-this week we went on an adventure splits in Ålborg. The adventure started at 6:30 in the morning when we went outside to exercise, and got locked out of the Ålborg Sisters' apartment. The adventure continued when we realized that both of our phones were also locked inside the apartment, and that the only person who had an extra key to the apartment was a member who lived at the top of a very tall hill. And the adventure got even greater when we realized that we first had to get to the Elders' apartment so we could use their phone to see if this member was even home. Also, the Sisters' bikes were locked, and they keys to those were also locked in the apartment. So Sister Thompson was like, “Sister Van Orden,  are you ready to go on a run?” So-we ran across Ålborg and showed up at the Elders' apartment looking really scary probably, borrowed their phone, borrowed their bikes which were WAY too big for us, and then showed up at the members' house looking even scarier, but we got the apartment key from her so it's fine. It all worked out great, after three hours of literally running all over the city. I think the best way to judge a persons' character is how they react when things go crazy like that. Based on that experience, I am judging that Sister Thompson is a great human being, and that Sister Van Orden needs to work out more, but is also a great human being

This week Søster Perkins and I taught a lesson entirely with Google Translate to a family from Syria. The husband speaks a tiny bit of Danish and no English. They speak Arabic as a family, but the wife can't read. We taught about prayer, and we typed everything in Danish, Google translated it to Arabic, and the husband read it out loud to his wife. It took forever, but it was actually a really sweet lesson, and they want to keep learning! Thank goodness for Google translate and the Arabic missionary pamphlets.

Our friends are still making us proud by coming to church! The ward is so loving and welcoming to them and it makes all the difference in the world! The last couple of Sunday School lessons we've taught have been centered around the talk-The Blueprint of Christ's Church. It's a really great CES Devotional from earlier this year that talks about how the church today follows the 'blueprint' Christ left for us in the New Testament. It's really interesting and it has strengthened my testimony a lot that Jesus Christ really does lead and guide His church on the earth today. It's such a blessing to be a part of it and to help others learn more about it! 

We're finding out about transfers on Thursday! I am praying for at least one more transfer in Horsens. I love it here and I love being with Sister Perkins. Life is great

I'm still not sure what plans are for Mother's Day Skype-it's crazy how fast that came! But I'll keep you posted. Hopefully all of our speakers work this time. :)

I love you all! You are wonderful people.

P.S. We went and explored a castle with some members the other day! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WEEK 35: Busy, Crazy, Kept Trying, Slowly but Surely, & Love; See this letter & Mosiah 2:41

Danish Word of the Week: Træt (TRAT) TIRED.

This was probably one of the busiest weeks of my whole mission. We had two splits, and two zone trainings, and a zone activity-all in one week. We were traveling all over the place. Søster Perkins and I are planning on taking a nap for our P-Day activity. Literally the first thing Søster Perkins said when we woke up this morning was, 'I can't wait to take a nap today.' haha and that is how you know you didn't get enough sleep the night before. :)

But even though it was a crazy week, it was a great one! A couple of highlights-we ran into one of our fomer investigators and he wants to meet again! He actually never stopped wanting to meet, but he lives with his brother in law and the brother in law was the one who told us never to come back. This investigator uses a walker or a wheelchair to get around, so he's pretty dependent on his brother in law getting him to where he needs to go-like church. But we offered to come pick him up and walk him to church, and he was like-I would love that! It was really exciting and a total miracle that we ran into him when his brother in law wasn't around. We could finally have an honest conversation with him! 

We got a referral this week from an Elder who used to serve in Horsens. He told us to go stop by this woman he taught one time while he was here a year ago. He remembered what street she lived on, but not her exact house number. He just knew that it was on the right side of the main road. He felt really strongly that we needed to go out there, so we did-and we just started knocking the street hoping that she would be behind one of the doors. It was a really nice neighborhood, and a lot of people were way less than happy to see us standing on their doorstep. But we kept trying. It was seriously one of the last doors we knocked (of course :) But we found her! She let us right in and we had an amazing lesson with her. Her mom is a less-active member and she herself has a great testimony of the church. She taught her kids to sing I Am a Child of God! The spirit was really strong the whole time, and she wants us to come back and start teaching her and her daughters. It was a huge miracle and a huge testimony builder.

Things are going slowly but surely. Me and Sister Perkins have been working really hard to change our area. There are a lot of things that need some doing over. It's a big job, but both of us are really motivated to change things up and we've been given some helpful tools to do it! And I love this city! The greatest motivator really is love. I think the greatest thing that I'm learning lately is how much I really love the gospel. The reason why I keep trying is because I know that no matter how many 'No's' we get, how many people we meet who aren't willing to change their lives-I still know that the message we have is true, and good, and will bring eternal happiness. I deeply believe that. I know this gospel is for everyone. It's not always comfortable or easy to live it, but the promised blessings are real! 

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. 
--Mosiah 2:41

I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week and take good care of each other!