Monday, August 24, 2015

WEEK 57; August 24, 2015: A Week in the Life of Amanda May Van Orden - Missionary Extrodinaire!

WEEK 57; August 24, 2015

Danish Word of the Week: Evangeliet (ee-van-gay-lee-el) The Gospel

I'm just going to give you a walk-through of the highlights of this week. Ready?


  • Met with a less active woman and her daughter and had a great talk with them about the Atonement from Elder Hollands talk about the Brothers who try to climb a mountain without ropes.  They want to come to church, but it's hard because the dad isn't super happy for the church.
  • Our new investigator from Nepal made us Nepalese food-they eat with their hands. It was messy but SO GOOD.
  • Walked home because Sister Reed's bike had a flat...we were like 30 minutes late. It's fine. :)


  • Met with our OTHER Nepalese friends and taught them about Jesus Christ's life using pictures. (language barrier + no Christian background = Use the Gospel Art Book)
  • Ate SISTER REED'S BIRTHDAY DINNER with the Bishop's family. Their kids are HILARIOUS. We always laugh so hard when we're over there. We all have secret handshakes and everything. Besties.
  • Shared a spiritual thought with them about setting a date to when they can introduce a friend to the missionaries. The spirit was really strong, and the mom said that she had someone in mind that they wanted to share the gospel with! Go members! Alma 31:34-35


  • Mission Conference-this was so fun! It was awesome to have all of the missionaries together and to hear from the Area Presidency. We had an MTC District reunion at lunch.
  • Birthday Dinner with The Bloch-Johansens. (Alexander's family – Danish young man who lived with Briscoes)


  • Leadership Mission Conference-mini mission conference with the Zone Leaders/Sister Training Leaders. They fed us pizza.
  • Splits with Sister Moseley! (one of my MTC Companions!) A less active member in our ward had a fire in her kitchen, so we went and helped her clean that up, and then another less active member needed help in her garden...which literally looks like a jungle, so we helped with that too.
  • We also went knocking and talked to several people without pants on. It's funny how that doesn't even faze me anymore.


  • Splits in Slagelse! (Sister Reed and I were feeling pretty exhausted by this point)
  • We helped paint a door, taught a woman about the temple, ate dinner with a member family, learned a magic trick, and contacted a referral. Good day.


  •  Baptism in Slagelse-this is a miracle story-the ward in Slagelse had a 40 day fast for missionary work. Every day for 40 days, a different family/person in the ward would be fasting for the missionaries. After that was over, the Elders fasted, and that Sunday, a man (who was neighbors with a member) came to church and said that he wanted to be baptized. So...this was his baptism, three weeks later. Miracles happen!
  • Back in our area: The city had a huge party with concerts and booths and all kinds of things-picture New West Fest in Fort Collins. The church had a booth about the Family History Center in Copenhagen, and Sister Reed and I got recruited to go stand out on the street and talk to everyone about it. We found a lot of people who were really interested, and got way good tan lines.
  • Instead of eating dinner, we took a nap. We literally just came home and died on the couch for an hour.
  • We went out knocking on a street that we prayed about, and found a lady who wants us to come back and teach her! She was the very last door we knocked before going home.

  • Met with our new ward mission leader-he rocks. We're so excited.
  • Went to a less active member's house and tried to wake him up for church, but he was not having it. His sister even yelled in his ear and then came back out and was like, 'I can't come in contact with him. Sorry sisters.' haha. next week. :)
  • Church. Always a highlight. My mission has helped me love the sacrament so much.
  • Ding dong ditched some birthday rolls to a less-active woman in the ward who has the same birthday week as us.
  • Finally had a little bit of time for weekly planning.
  • Found a frog
So...yes. This week was nuts! So much happened and I am still trying to process everything that was talked about at mission conference. I love my mission! I love you all! Congrats to Dad for making it in to the choir!! That will be so much fun! And say hi to Alice for me! And Millie. Don't forget about Millie. And I guess Dia as well :)

Have a great week, fam!  Love you!

WEEK 56; August 17, 2015: A Danish joke, Charity, & Aviaaja - remember the young lady from Greenland?? Go back and read letters from first weeks in Denmark.

Danish Joke: 'Far, får får får?' 'Får får ikke får, får får lam.'
(translation) Dad, do sheep get sheep? "Sheep don't get sheep, sheep get lambs."

This joke is funny because the word for 'to get' and 'sheep' is the same. 
And now the joke isn't funny anymore because I had to explain it. :)

Oh my word, I have been TERRIBLE at managing my email time the last 3 weeks. Sorry!  But this week was a busy one! We had two zone trainings and splits, and this next week we're getting ready for a mission conference. ALSO, as you all know, it's my birthday. And Sister Reed’s birthday is tomorrow so this week is just going to be a party. :)

Our zone trainings this time around were about being more submissive to Heavenly Father's will. In our culture the word submissiveness sounds really negative and weak, but it's actually a Christ-like attribute. Christ was perfect because he did the will of the Father in all things. Submissiveness to God means that we give up what we want for what Heavenly Father wants. We do this because we love him and trust that what he wants is actually better for us anyways. Because it is. He knows everything, so it's smart to listen to him.

We also talked a lot about charity. President O'Bryant has observed that the missionaries who are happiest in the mission are the ones who love the Danish people. It's not the ones who have gotten the highest numbers, seen the most baptisms, or speak the language the best. It's the ones who really catch the vision of what this whole work is all about-reaching out in love to the people around us to bring them back to God.

These scriptures have become my new favorites this week, Moroni 7:45-47, especially verse 47.

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.


We went and did baptisms in the temple with Aviaaja on Saturday. She will have been a member for a whole year next month! She is so excited to go through the temple and get her endowment. It's so fun for both of us to live close to her again! We got lunch afterwards and had an amazing talk about how God prepares us through our lives for the things coming in our future. It really is humbling to look back and see how our past experiences get us ready for things coming up. Everything is a learning experience!

I love you all so much, thanks for your great examples and for everything you do for me! Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WEEK 55: August 10, 2015: I just had an apostrophe! How to always have hope

Copenhagen w/ bridge to Sweden in background

Danish Word of the Week-Vinkeskinke (veenk-eh skeenk-eh) Relief Society Arms. It literally means-'wave ham'

'I just had an apostrophe'
'I think you mean an epiphany.'
Name that movie.

Anyways, I had an epiphany this week. I've figured out how to always have hope. We hear all the time in the church that we have trials so that we can be more like Christ, right?  What I realized this week is that we have EVERYTHING so that we can be more like Christ. It's not just through our trials that we're supposed to learn things. People get in trouble all the time because once things start going good, they forget God and forget to improve themselves as people. They start coasting. But-if we look at everything we have in our lives, good and bad, exciting and mundane and ask - How is this supposed to make me more like Christ? Then we will be able to maintain an eternal perspective and a hope in everything we do! There will be a deeper purpose in doing the little things like projects at school, service in the ward, budgeting for the family, and reading the scriptures every day. We won't start coasting and we won't get bored of life. The meaningless things will fall away and the meaningful things will become more enjoyable. Jesus Christ is our perfect example, and this life is a wonderful opportunity for us to follow Him. The Atonement is there to give us endless chances to try again, and more importantly it gives us the power we need to change our hearts. So-secret to always having hope, always have a focus on becoming like Christ. That was my epiphany...I hope it made sense.
One of our favorite bike trails

I love gospel! I love being a missionary and I love you all.  I love seeing pictures of baby Ella! 
I told this to Emma already, but I can really feel the special spirit she brought into our family. Have a wonderful week!

WEEK 54: August 3, 2015: Recalling blessings / lessons learned from California Sabbatical & Burning my tights in a pan!

Danish Word of the Week: BARN (bahn) CHILD/KID

Ella is the cutest baby! I love her! Thank you so much for all of the millions of pictures. I'm glad that everything went so well and that everyone is happy and healthy! Our family is so blessed! I missed you all a lot this week; it was hard not being there to meet Emma's baby. But don't worry-I'm still happy to be here and working just as hard. :)

Me and Søster Reed are having a blast being back together. I'm so grateful for all of the awesome companions I've had so far on my mission-I have loved and learned so much from every single one of them! Not a single psycho in the bunch. :) Søster Reed and I just laugh all the time so working with her is extra fun. 

Speaking of laughing-I remembered this way funny story I need to tell you about. There was this one time when we brought one of our friends to a ward party, we'll call him David. The Stake Patriarch came up and shook David's hand, and in the middle of the handshake said, 'Look at how little your hands are! These are WOMAN'S HANDS!' And I, without even thinking about what I was doing, I smacked the Stake Patriarch's hand(!) and said, 'Don't say that to him!' And then I had this moment of horror where I realized that I had smacked the Stake Patriarch. Luckily, he thought it was funny...but like...I learned in that moment that I need to get a little better control of myself. :)

We started teaching a really sweet girl this week, and we had a great lesson about God's plan for us. We had a really great conversation about how we learn the most from the hard things that happen to us. A lot of people wonder why they have to have struggles-why can't everything just work out for once? Why can't blessings just come right now? I got to tell about the year that we spent in California on sabbatical (however you spell that.) That was a way hard year for me, and at the time I was NOT grateful for that experience. (sorry parents.) But now looking back, I see that year as one of the most important years of my life so far. It was that year that really kickstarted all of the life lessons that I'm still learning about where true self confidence comes from, why we really go to church every sunday, how it can actually be fun to hang out with your family :), and how to reach out to other people who are having a hard time. I would never have chosen that experience, but luckily Heavenly Father knew what I needed to learn and the kind of person that I need to become-so he gave that to me to push me in the right direction. He does that all the time-and our trials are just another way to see his hand directing our lives. 

I love you all so so much! Kiss baby Ella for me! She did the right thing by choosing an August birthday :) Have a great week!

Burning my tights in a pan in honor of 1yr mark!