Tuesday, January 5, 2016

WEEK 75, January 4, 2016: Last full week as a full-time missionary = Gratitude

Danish Word of the Week: VIDNESBYRD (VIL-nes-byurd) Testimony

1st P-day in Denmark
This is so unreal! This is my last week as a full-time missionary. A lot of people have been asking me how I feel-and I don't really know what to say. In a lot of ways, it just feels like any other week. I'm still doing the same things, and it feels like I'll be here in Denmark forever. But then every once in a while it hits me: I'm not going to see these old colourful houses anymore. I'm not going to put my nametag on every day. This Sunday is my last Danish sacrament meeting! There are so many wonderful things about Denmark that feel so familiar to me-and I know I can't prepare for how much I'll miss it.

1st wk, 2nd bike wreck, 1st broken bone - ever!
The other thing I feel is gratitude. I will never be able to count all of the things that my mission has taught me! When you're on a mission, you are blessed with a very clear perspective. I have been told many times how important it is to write down all of the thoughts and ideas I have about my future while I'm here on my mission. This is a time when I am able to take a step out of the world and really see it with new eyes. I feel that I have been blessed with so much direction and guidance which I will use for the rest of my life.

I'm grateful for how hard my mission has been. This is the most difficult, trying thing I've ever done. There have been many times when I've wondered what I'm doing here, if I'm doing any good, and if I'll ever be able to live up to this calling. Those trials have given me a testimony that the Lord never leaves me. I have learned how to rely on his strength when I feel that I don't have anything more to give. Me and my companion were talking the other day about how it's possible to feel love for complete strangers. 'I don't really know these people, I don't necessarily trust them yet, but I just love them! How is that possible?' We realized that it's not our love we're feeling, God is allowing us to feel a portion of his love for these people we meet. That is such a privilege!

The hardest thing is saying goodbye to people. In the past, I have never said 'Farvel,' (Goodbye), I've always said, 'Vi ses.' (See you later!) But lately, I've been having to check myself because some people-I really won't see later! But what I've started saying is, 'Vi ses på Facebook.' (see you on Facebook.) J That makes my life a little easier.

Horsen Ward and George's Baptism
I asked my Bishop if he remembered what the last week of his mission in England was like. He gave me really good advice. He said, 'In my last week, I thought about the Savior. The last week of the Savior's life was the most important. If he had quit before the last week, his whole life would have been in vain. Work hard, be happy, and then you'll be able to go home and say, 'I did it.'' I really loved that. I know that I am a much different missionary now than I was at the beginning of my mission. My attitude has changed a lot, and I feel like I've become more steady and calm. I am looking forward to making the very most of these next 7 days!

I am excited to come home! A myth that I just want to bust really quickly is that it's not trunky to be excited to see your family. I love you all so much and I have missed you a ton! I'm excited to see you all again.

I hope you have a great week! Will you do me a favor and find a way to share your testimony with someone this week? It can be anyone, and it can be in a creative way. Tell me how it goes when I see you. J The best way to strengthen your own testimony is to share it. People need the light, hope, and perspective that the gospel gives us. If we don't share what we know, how else will others find truth? The joy of the gospel is understanding. In the middle of all of our trials, we understand that there is a greater purpose. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me. I am grateful for his plan of happiness for me and for all of us. I know that he sent Jesus Christ into the world so that we could be lifted above all sorrow and pain. I also know that Christ is coming again, and I am so excited for that day! Because of Him, there is always hope. There will be a happy ending to all of this. He is our Savior, and he knows us perfectly. I am grateful to be one of his representatives, and for the honor I have had of bearing his name. 

Vi ses!
Love, Søster Van Orden

See previous blog posts for more pictures & uplifting insights to: Sister Van Orden Goes to Denmark
WK46: Legoland

WK50: Witch Burning Holiday

WK68: Bike Repair Pros!
WK71: Holiday Music Tour Rehearsal

WK72: Holiday Music Tour  

Missionaries in Denmark toured the wards in the country, 
singing in Danish and English. Here is their playlist!

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