Monday, June 29, 2015

WEEK 49; June 29, 2015: Witch burning, Feeling loved, and Everyone in Denmark is on vacation

Danish Word of the Week- EN HEKS (een heks) A Witch.

This week was a holiday called Sankt Hans Dag. It comes from back in the day when witch burning was socially acceptable. Once a year, the Danes build the biggest bonfire they can and burn a scarecrow type thing that looks like a witch. It also celebrates the summer solstice, but nobody really pays attention to that. :) Once the fire is a little smaller, they wrap bread dough around big long sticks and cook it-and then you eat the rolls with jam or whatever else you want. It was way fun! We had a huge ward party-everyone said that our bonfire was one of the biggest they've ever seen. This ward is so fun-there are so many kids and they all love hanging out with the missionaries! It makes us feel way loved.

I have pictures...but I don't have my card reader with me. So-look forward to that next week. 

We're still working on finding new people to teach. This time of year is hard because a lot of people are leaving for summer vacation. Most of the people we talk to say, 'Come back in August.' And we're just like... ... ... is there ANYONE staying in Denmark for the month of July? Yes. There are. There have to be! And we will find them.

Præsident and Søster O'Bryant are getting here tomorrow! We have a big Meet the President meeting on Thursday. We're going to do everything they can to make them feel welcome and loved! I can't even imagine how nervous they must be feeling! This is a huge transition! Søster Ripa and I get to go on splits with Sister O'Bryant on Wednesday for a few hours-we're excited to get to know her!

That's basically it for this week-still loving life, still learning lots every day! Love you all so much!

WEEK 48; June 22, 2015: What happens when the tour guide (aka Amanda) isn't familiar with the building? Coming home to Frederiksberg for Alma's baptism! Amen - and then what?!

Danish Word of the Week: Skumfidusser (Skum-fid-oos-eh) Marshmallows. I got the package with the Graham Crackers-and we're going to be making a LOT of Smores. Tak!

Hey! We spent a lot of time this week working at the church building. It has been under renovation for the last year, and they had an open house all weekend! The missionaries gave tours to all of the guests who came, and on Saturday they had a big neighborhood party. Some of the days in the church were pretty slow-we'd be there for like three hours and do 2 tours-but Saturday was a big success. It was a little funny because at first I was giving tours of a building that I had never even seen before-sometimes it was a surprise to me what was behind some of the doors! I was like 'Aaaannnd in this room we have...our...nope, that's a broom closet. THIS is our chapel over here.'

We got to go to Alma's baptism (Aviaaja's mom) on Saturday! It was like coming home! I love the Frederiksberg Ward so much! The ward mission leader there let me give the opening prayer. What an honor. :) The baptism was such a special experience. Alma was so happy and it just warmed my heart to see her and Aviaaja smiling so big! We brought Michael, a new convert from the Gladsaxe ward, to the baptism too. His wife just got reactivated and he got baptized three weeks ago. It was a good experience for them-it helped him feel the same spirit he felt at his own baptism. It was just a great day!

Other than that-I'm still just trying to figure out where I am in this new area. :) We're going to spend a lot of time this next week finding new people to teach. We're fasting and praying to figure out how to help the members share the gospel with their friends-because the best way to find really sincere investigators is through the members of the church! In the meantime, we'll be knocking on all kinds of doors and trying to talk to everyone we can.

I can't remember if I've shared this or not, but if I have it's worth repeating. :) I can't remember who said this-if it was President Sederholm or Elder Bednar...but there's this quote-'The most important part of a prayer is 'Amen' and then what you do after that.'  I've really been trying to implement that idea. We pray like 30 times a day as missionaries. It's great, but it can also start to feel like empty words. I'm trying to keep my prayers action based. If I'm praying for an investigator-instead of just praying that they will come to church this week, I'm praying to know what I can do to help them come to church. It's been a good little project. I recommend it. :)

I love you all! I hope everyone's happy and having a fun summer! Thanks for your great examples and friendship-I'm so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.

WEEK 47: June 15, 2015: Back to Copenhagen! Aviaaja's mom and Discover and Remember who we really are :)

Danish Word of the Week: Træls (TRALS-a like in apple.) Lame. Tiresome. Annoying. This word is one they only use on Jylland (the Horsens half of Denmark) So now that I'm transferred back to Sjælland (The Copenhagen half of Denmark), I have to say goodbye to this word. I will miss it.

So yeah! I got transferred! I am back in Copenhagen-different area, different ward, but Copenhagen!! YAY. Me and my new companion Sister Ripa are Sister Training Leaders for the Sisters on Sjælland. I'm way excited to be back here. Other fun thing-Sister Briscoe trained Sister Ripa! So like-obviousl,she's great.

Exciting news-the Frederiksberg Elders have been working with Aviaaja's mom (remember her? :) and her mom is getting baptized in 5 days! It was a huge miracle and I am just so happy for Aviaaja! It means so much to her to see her family accepting the gospel after it made such a huge difference in her life.   [Aviaaja is the young lady from Greenland whom Amanda met early on in her mission.  After being baptized, Aviaaja returned to Greenland – where there are quite literally probably less than 10 members!.  Amanda and her companion continued to teach Aviaaja via skype for several weeks, thus becoming quite possibly the first missionaries in Greenland … via skype.  See earlier letters from Weeks 19-21 for more about Aviaaja])

It was sad to leave Horsens. I learned and grew so much there, and we had some really wonderful investigators! Even though I'm not there anymore, I'm excited to see the progress they make with Sister Perkins and her new companion.

I love being a missionary. I love having this time to just focus 100% on the gospel an on helping other people understand and love it. It is helping me understand and love it so much more than I ever would have if I had just stayed home and finished school. I know this is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing right now. The people that I'm meeting and serving and the things I am learning from them are changing me into the person God knows I can be.

There was this really sweet story I heard about Michaelangelo-who knows if it's true or not-but while he was sculpting David, a boy would come by and watch him work every day. He saw Michaelangelo start with a block of marble, and gradually saw this masterpiece take shape. When he was finally finished with the sculpture, the boy looked at the sculpture of David and thought back on the block of marble and asked, 'How did you know he was in there?'
That's like God with all of us. He knows what's in each of us. He gives us experiences and challenges to help us self-discover what we're capable of. My district leader in Horsens would always read this quote to us, 'If you could see yourself the way that God sees you, you would rise up, and never be the same again.'

I hope that we can all discover and remember who we really are. We are sons and daughters of God. He loves us and wants us to be eternally happy.  He knows things about us that we don't even know! He knows we can succeed, with his help, even when we think it's hopeless. There is always hope, and there is always help.

I love you all so much! Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon every day. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

WEEK 46: Pictures from LEGOLAND!

WEEK 46, June 8, 2015: Who Do You Think You Are? Americans are loud; Good-bye to Pres & Sister Sederholm; Book of Mormon and Families!

Danish Phrase of the Week: HVAD BIDER DU DIG IND? (Vall biller doo die in?) Who do you think you are?  This little gem comes from the Danish translation of a Jeffery R. Holland conference talk. 
            Ok-just to get this out of the way, my wallet has been found!  Danish people are way honest-and it has been turned in to the main train station in Århus. I still have to travel 30 minutes to Århus to get it, but at least I know that no one is using my mission funds to buy themselves Snickers and a new X-Box
            Lego Land was so much fun!!! It was really funny to be in a Danish amusement park-these people are so QUIET. All of us Americans were just screaming our heads off on the roller coasters and running around taking pictures while the Danes just sat pleasantly with their hands folded and cracked a smile every once in a while. It was kind of hilarious, actually. LegoLand has the largest Lego model in the world-it's an X-Wing from Star Wars. They used over 5 million Legos to build it-one piece at a time. It was huge!! Dad would have died. :)
            This week was another Zone Conference week. It was really emotional because this is the last time we'll be with President and Sister Sederholm in Denmark. They fly home at the beginning of July. It was truly incredible to see the deep, life-changing impact they have had on all of us. Their Christ-like service and love has inspired all of us to LOVE serving Christ and the Danish people. President Sederholm has always been a great example to me of hope. Hope is the assurance that God will keep His promises if we are obedient. 'I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.' He loves God, he loves the Savior, and therefore he is willing to do everything that is asked of him-with a perfect brightness of hope that the promised blessings will come. President Sederholm has helped all of us to see the hand of God in our lives and in our missionary work. He has helped me make a habit of being grateful for the promises that are fulfilled in my life every day. He has pointed me towards the Savior and helped me to realize the things that are most important: God, family, and the covenants that bind us all together.  I am so grateful that I got to serve with him! 
            This Sunday, we heard an incredible talk from Elder Holland at our Regional Stake Conference. He was in Scotland, and it was broadcasted over Scandanavia. It was all about the Book of Mormon, and as you can probably imagine, he got way passionate and laid down the law. Do we realize how important this book is?? God prepared these words for thousands of years for US to read TODAY. All of the prophets in the Book of Mormon talk about how they are writing for future generations...that's US! Mormon selected sections from hundreds of years worth of records-and chose the passages that would help US-because 'he has seen our day and knows our doings.' We need to be using this book for what it was written for. We need to be searching it every day. One of the blessings of a mission is the two hours we have every morning to study the scriptures alone and with our companion. I love the Book of Mormon! It doesn't even really matter where I read in it, I always learn something new-or look at something old in a new way. I know that that book is the word of God. It is the evidence that God speaks to a living prophet today, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that he will return someday. The Book of Mormon tells us everything we need to know to be ready for that day. 
            On my mission, I have seen all kinds of families. I can tell you that the families that put God first and are humble enough to listen to him have more love in their homes. There is a very real, tangible difference. That doesn't mean that their lives are perfect or that they have the nicest apartments and cars-far from it. But they are protected, and they are unified. That's the kind of home I want to have someday.
            I hope you all had a wonderful week! I am so grateful for our family and for the wonderful examples and people you are. Enjoy summer! Go jump in a lake for me. :)

WEEK 45: May 31, 2015: How to eat spaghetti like an Italian, Sabbath Day, and LEGOLAND!

Danish Phrase of the Week: Vi er ikke Jehovas Vidner. (vee air ik-keh Yeh-hoe-vah's Vil-ner) WE ARE NOT JEHOVAS WITNESSES.

This sentence is a very important one to know when we're out knocking-which we are a lot. If I had 1 crown for every time someone has thought I was a Jehovah Witness, my BYU tuition would be paid for! :)

Fun thing that happened this week-one of our Italian investigators made us spaghetti. He made home-made Italian sauce, which took about 2 hours...and it tasted AMAZING. It was encouraging to see that he still cooks the noodles the same way as I do. I'm doing something right. It made us feel very cultured to eat pasta with an Italian. He also taught us how to do the fancy spoon and fork technique which is way harder than just eating it with a fork, but it's Italian so I can't judge. 

We've been focusing a lot this last month on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and making the Sabbath 'a delight' like it says in Isaiah. It has been such a powerful experience really focusing on the sacrament every Sunday. It really is the most important thing we do all week-and we take it for granted so much! Watch the Bible Video about the Last Supper-it does an amazing job of showing the attitude we should have when we take the sacrament. Christ did so much for us! It's impossible for us to understand how much he gave so that we could come back to him someday. I'm so grateful for my Savior!

This email is going to have to be really short because we are going to LEGOLAND today! A member in our ward is taking us and the Elders...we are stoked! Get excited for pictures next week.

Mom-thanks for the soccer videos! You are a champ. Emma's baby shower looked so fun! And I am crying every time I read emails from Andrew because he is sounding like a (kind of) grown up person. Dad-your gadgets sound neat but remember that you have a family and that they are neat too. Haha :) I love you all so much!