November 9, 2015 - 3 Weeks in Denmark!!Well I can't believe I have been in Denmark for almost 3 whole weeks! I really am so busy it makes time fly by. My week started off with a great P-Day, being able to write home and get the things done I needed to for the week. Me and Ældste Jensen went to this amazing pastry shop in Vester Sottrup. I got a thing called "Jespers favorit" and a "Berliner med flosukker" They were sooooooo delicious! Pastries here are amazing! They are so rich and great quality, I definitely am going to gain a few pounds with how many of those I'll be eating! We then had the Ældster fra Esberjg come and stay with us in Sønderborg. For the next 2 days we had splits so I was able to go out and contact/knock with Ældste Gerber. He is a pretty nice guy! Only been out on the mission for 3 months and he already is a trainer haha.
The mornings are the same for me everyday. Get up at 6:00, run on these trails that run along the beach, make a breakfast burrito, then dig into my studies. We have personal study for an hour everyday, which lately has consisted of me reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine Covenants, then an hour of fælles studium (Companion Study) where we plan lessons or create proselyting plans.
Tuesday was a pretty fun day though! Me, Ældste Jensen, Ældste Gerber, and Ældste Alred (Gerber's companion whom also was in my MTC district) went and did service for the Offermans! Stephanie Offerman is a single mother of three daughters who is from Germany. They actually have a home in Germany and Denmark and they bounce back and forth for work. The place she is renting in Denmark is so cool! Like the perfect model of a Danish Cottage. She has a few horses and chickens so we helped her build a fence for them. It was hard work in the cold, wet weather, but I enjoyed it! Next week me and Ældste Jensen are going back to help finish what we started! She also is having me kill a couple chickens and prepare them for her and her daughters, that'll be fun! She is an amazing person who has gone through so much!
Wednesday was my birthday!! I turned 19, sure didn't feel any different haha. In fact, I didn't think of my birthday once until later in the day at district meeting. The district bought me some cakes from that pastry place I was talking about earlier. Other than that, sure didn't feel like a birthday! We went to this sculpture garden in the morning. Danes have some pretty crazy (mostly nude) artwork that's for sure! The garden was behind this huge castle! Denmark is full of castles.
Sunday was my favorite day of the week because familien Eriksen invited us over for dinner. Thomas Eriksen (the father) is our new mission leader and we are extremely excited to work with him. He and his wife Susana have 3 daughters, Sandre (~18) Rebecca (~16) and Emilia (~12) They are an awesome family! So loving and friendly. The meal we had with them was soooooo good! I have no idea what it was but I had seconds, then thirds! We had a great night visiting with them! It made me realize how much I love the branch I am in and how badly I want to get to know everybody! If only my Danish was better haha!
The first couple days of this week were pretty good, but to be honest things got really hard. I have had a really hard time talking to people. Our most hopeful investigator dropped us this week:/ She called us and told us she got a new job and because of that and school she is just too busy to meet with us. We really had high hopes for her so that was really hard for us. She says we can call her every couple of weeks or so, so I definitely have her in my prayers. We have had a lot of doors slammed in our face and people that don't want anything to do with us! It sucks because Danes are really polite people, but when they see us as missionaries they don't even treat us like we are human, so that has been pretty hard. I listened to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland that really strengthened me though. He said, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary." I believe that is so true. Missions aren't supposed to be easy. We wouldn't be able to learn and grow.
We met with this family that is from Syria. They are extremely friendly but there is a huge language barrier that has been the problem. They speak Arabic, no English, and barely (well basically none) Danish. We gave them a Book of Mormon in Arabic and we are trying to work something out where we can Skype someone to have them as a translator in our lessons. Hopefully we can work something out.
I'll be completely honest, I really missed home this week. It's been really tough out here but I am keeping the right perspective and I know it is worth it. I started the Book of Mormon fresh from the beginning at the MTC and I finished it on Friday. I have always known it to be true, but I just want to testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That anybody (religious, non-religious, different faiths) can benefit immensely from reading this book. Like the prophet Joseph Smith said, ..."I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." I know that is true. A relationship with our loving Heavenly Father, and I know he loves everyone, is so important and can help us better our lives!
I love and miss all of you back home. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
P.S. That picture of that big spider and all its babies? Yeah, that was in my closet...(My biggest problem with Denmark right now haha)