Monday, October 21, 2013

Week In Review

So! Here's my week in review!

Tuesday was a very exciting day. I got mail!  I got a letter from a friend! Celebration! I also got letters from Dad and Mom with sweet notes inside from Emily and John! It's so exciting to get mail. I feel so loved! :) Plus I think it's really sweet how John always ends his notes to me with "I love you dearly." He is the best brother ever!

min kammerat and I and the shopping cart
We took a bus to a member's house for a lunch appointment and... got off at the wrong stop/didn't really know where we were. That was really unfortunate because since Sister Bishop has a stress fracture, she can't walk very far distances! But miracle of miracles, we found a grocery cart on the side of the road. And yes, I did push Sister Bishop around in that grocery cart until we found the member's house! It was the funniest thing ever. We got SO many strange looks and people laughing at us. But it got the job done and we made it to our eating appointment

We were on the bus on our way to another appointment that day, and the woman sitting next to Sister Bishop asked us to pray for her! She said she is having a tough time and knew that we could help her. Sister Bishop asked her to write down her name so we would remember, and she gave us her number and address as well! How cool is that? We have been praying for her all week and we called her yesterday and she said everything has been going a lot better. She was really busy so we have to call her again at a better time, but we're going to set up an appointment with her and hopefully it goes really well!

A really cute house downtown Aalborg
On Wednesday we had a miracle appointment with a new investigator and her less active husband. They came to the open house we had before one of the sessions of General Conference and said they would be interested in meeting with us. When we got to the appointment, we could tell that they're both really excited about coming back to church! (PS sorry I'm not really using names - I don't want to put peoples' names all over the internet!) The wife's first question to us was "How does one become baptized?" Sister Bishop and I thought: Uhhh, we can most DEFINITELY tell you how to be baptized! So that was ama-za-zing. 

After the appointment we went to the church building to play basket with some of our investigators and the members. As we were bussing there I realized: I'm terrible at basketball anyways, and I'm about to play it with people who speak Danish! So I'm doubly not going to know what's going on!! It ended up being really fun though, and I even made a basket! Go me! The members were really excited we came, because apparently Sister Missionaries don't come that often. We're definitely about to change that though. ;)

A typical Aalborg street with bikes parked along the side.
On Thursday we had our district meeting! And I forgot to tell you that our new Ægtepar (married couple) missionaries got here this week! Ældste and Søster Middlemas. They're very enthusiastic and sweet. They came to the meeting as well, and there was kind of an awkward moment between the two Ægtepars (we have two senior couples in our district) because they started comparing/trying to one-up mission success stories and stuff. Awko taco! 

That night we had an appointment and brought the Ægtepar with us. It was a bit of a disaster! The investigators are Muslim and they agreed to meet with us more to discuss our different faiths than because they are interested in the gospel, which was really cool, but there was a lot of contention in the room and it went a lottttt longer than it should have.

A pretty church near our apartment.
We had another couple of apointments/stop bys that we went to with the Middlemases the next day, Friday, and they were a lot more positive. Ældste Middlemas met one of the women he taught when he served a mission here 45 years ago, how cool is that? I think it helped the Middlemases get excited about missionary work - they have been so stressed out about the transition from the US to Denmark!

Sunday was just great! I love the ward so much! I'm a lot more comfortable talking with them and I think I'm even starting to make some friends! :) I like Sundays because I can kind of measure how much more Danish I have learned through the week by how much I can understand during Sacrament and Sunday School. And it's getting better all the time! I talked to a member about making an appointment with them all by myself. Woo!

Anywho, it has been great. The work is going onward and the ward is really excited about missionary work. I got to meet the young women this Sunday and it was crazy to me to think that a little over a year ago, I was right where they were. They're really amazing girls - it's really hard to be a member of the church here because NO ONE else is, and most people aren't even religious. So they have to be really strong and I look up to them a lot!

That reminds me - during the lesson, their teacher played a song about Christ and showed pictures of Christ from his birth to his death! I thought it was such a sweet thing to do, and it really made me think about Christ and what He has done for me!

It's hard but it's worth it! I love you all so much. Sorry if this blog post is a little weird or confusing!


ps - more pictures:

Our tiny bathroom (this photo makes it look bigger than it is)
 the showerhead in one corner, the toilet in the other corner.

me in my new rainboots!

A REALLY pretty field we saw while walking to an appointment.
Near the pretty church

Same field different view.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Love Aalborg!

I looooove Aalborg! And the ward is amazing. Yesterday was my first real Sunday since we had General Conference last Sunday - and it was really fun! I walked in feeling reeeeally nervous because the Bishop likes us to split up and sit with different members every week, and I was a little afraid to sit down next to someone I didn't know and try to engage in actual conversation with them! But it ended up being really nice and not scary at all. It was fast and testimony meeting so... guess who bore her testimony in Danish? This Sista! I think everyone at least thought it was endearing, or possibly super hilarious, to hear me try to speak Danish. There is a lot of love and support in our ward. A couple of people bore their testimonies about how important missionary work is, and I loved that!

On the street in Aalborg
Danish is going well! Ish! Everyone is really nice to me and tells me I'm doing really well, and it has opened up a lot of opportunities to talk with people! This is my favorite contacting technique: On buses or if we're sitting somewhere, I'll say something like "Hej! Må jeg øve min Dansk med dig? Jeg er helt ny til Danmark!" (Hi! May I practice my Danish with you? I am new to Denmark!). Then they ask me where I'm from and why I'm here, and I get to tell them I'm on a mission for my church! I'm not very good at bringing it back to a powerful gospel message yet, and I'm definitely not good at being brave enough to talk to everyone I see, but I am working on it and getting better! My companion, Sister Bishop is super supportive so I am always motivated to do better.

Speaking of Sister Bishop, she is falling apart! I think I told you about her back problems? Well, her back and her right leg have been in a lot of pain for the last three months, which means she has been favoring her left leg when she walks. And within the last few days her left foot started really hurting! We got it checked out, and she most likely has a stress fracture. ))):  So basically she can't walk. Which is a big bummer because it means we can't go out contacting or walk very far. But! Our ward mission leader is getting ward members to drive us to lessons this week, which will hopefully get the ward a lot more involved in our missionary work! So it's kind of a blessing in disguise. I love Sister Bishop though! She's so positive and optimistic about all of it. She works really hard.

Here are some of the really good things that happened this week! On Monday night after we had FHE with some of the ward's less actives, we stopped by the old apartment where Sister Bishop used to live (and where an older couple is goign to be living as of today!) and picked up an ukulele that they have there! It's cute and little and bright green. Then Sister Bishop felt like we needed to stop by the apartment of a couple in the ward who has been having a tough time. So we stopped by and sang You Are My Sunshine to them with the ukulele at the door! They invited us in and we had a really great conversation with them. Sister Bishop and I were both a little worried because it was close to the time we were supposed to be back at home for planning, but afterwards we talked about how we both felt like that was where we needed to be. Everyone needs to feel Christ a little more in their lives! And that's what missionaries are for!

On Tuesday Sister Bishop had to go to Copenhagen to take a language test (you have to take a language test before you´'ve been here 6 months to keep your visa) so I got to go on splits with one of the Sisters in Aarhus! They are opening the area so we spent the whole day contacting any less actives on the ward list. Unfortunately, we all forgot that the buses in Aarhus don't work with the same bus pass as in Aalborg! And we didn't have any bikes. So we walked. All. Day! It was super fun and we got a lot done! My feet were dying by the end though, because I didn't wear the best shoes for heavy walking.

We had Zone Training on Thursday so we went back to Aarhus!  Before the training we ate pastries at Langnæs - aka the best bakery in the whole wide world. I attached a picture. After I took it I realized that it looks a lot like the picture I took with Voodoo donuts, but Langnæs pastries are even more delicious than donuts! 

Pastries at Langnæs

The Training was REALLY good - it was all about following the Spirit. We learned that the best way to receive guidance from Heavenly Father is to follow the pattern in Moroni 10! 1. Remember how merciful God has been to you - really appreciate all He has done in your life. 2. Ask him questions with real intent. 3. Ponder the answers he gives you. 4. Act!!! I think that's the order it goes in. ;) 

After the training we went back to Aalborg to have an appointment with a new investigator! She is a friend of Mark's - Mark is a recently reactivated member who is really excited about doing missionary work, and has been giving us some great referrals and helping us teach! I love members!! Anyways, it was a really positive first lesson. We gave her a Book of Mormon and Mark told us that afterwards, she told him she's planning on reading even more than what we invited her to read! We're meeting with her again on Wednesday before basket (that's what they call basketball here, and they have it every Wednesday night at the church gym!). I'm really excited! 

That night I made omelets and hashbrowns for our dinner - I just wanted to tell you that because I'm really proud of myself for making a whole dinner! And all of it from scratch! And yes, I know that omelets are probably one of the easiest things ever to make, but hey. Step by step, right? :)

On Saturday Marie, one of the ward members, invited us over for a lunch appointment and to teach us how to make Danish applesauce. It was my first experience with a food appointment where the member tells you to eat and eat and eat. I HAVE to start eating slower, because I would finish one sandwich and she would tell me to make another! So I ended up eating three whole sandwiches. For one lunch. It was super delicious! But I thought my stomach would explode afterwards! And now I know how to make super delicious applesauce from scratch, and how to make my favorite dessert I told you about last week (the applesauce with really good crumbly stuff in it and whipped cream on top).

So that has been my second week in Denmark! I'm telling you, time flies. TODAY IS MY 2 MONTH MARK ALREADY, whaaaaa? Sister Bishop just had her 6 month mark last week and she was freaking out about how fast it has gone. I just love it here. I love being able to share my testimony with people and (hopefully) change lives! 

Søster Bishop and and I in our new scarves and jackets - isn't it so great and European and stylish? woohoo!  We have no idea why we are so awkward and crammed into the doorway.

That reminds me - on Friday night we had a lesson with Jens and Jane (with Jan and Else, a couple from the ward - they are who made the first Danish meal I ever had!) finishing up the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lessons with them tend to get off topic because everyone loves to talk and share experiences, which means that I usually have no idea what's going on! 

At one point I thought everyone was talking about how we receive answers for prayers, because that's something Jane is working on understanding. I chimed in with something I felt really prompted to say. It was a really great, spiritual lesson and Sister Bishop and I felt really good about it! But... afterwards she told me what I said was completely out of nowhere and really random! I was SUPER embarrassed (because really, how funny and awkward would that be to have someone randomly bring up something that is completely irrelevant to the conversation at hand?) but then Sister Bishop said that the conversation had started with answers to prayers and then gotten really off topic, so what I said brought it back in focus. So, it was awkward and embarrassing, but at least I know that when I spoke up I was completely following the Spirit in knowing what to say! Har har har!

Have a dejligt week!  (I forgot to take a picture of our little bathroom!  I'll try to remember for next week)


Monday, October 7, 2013

Velkommen til Danmark!

Søster Bishop and Søster Barrett

We made it to Danmark! It is THE BEST here. I can't get over how beautiful it is, the delicious food, the awesome clothes, the tiny bathrooms (whaaa? more on that later), my companion, everything is just great! I am in Aalborg, a city in the north of Jylland, which is the part of Denmark that is connected to Germany. It was about a six hour train ride from Copenhagen, which was fun because I got to know my companion Sister Bishop really well! She is amazing. She has been on her mission for 6 months, she's from Arizona, and she's so positive and fun to be around! We are working hard here in Aalborg and I love it.
Here's some great stuff about Danmark and my first week here!
Our bathroom. I'll send a picture next week of it. It's so tiny! It's a shower/sink/toilet in one, and you can basically pee, wash your hands, and shower at the same time if you really wanted.
My dyne. Holy cow, if you don't have a dyne and you live in a cold place, you need a dyne. It's basically a really thick comforter and it is SO warm. We got them our first day here and now I understand why President Sederholm said we can take our bedding home with us in the letter he sent before I left on my mission. It's amazing! I have a fitted sheet, a pillow, and a dyne and that's all I need to stay toasty warm all night long. Plus making my bed in the morning is the easiest thing ever.
Pastries and food in general. Ohhhh my goodness it's all so heavenly!
The Danish people. They're the best part of being here! They're extremely nice and very polite. Sure, we get turned down a lot, but most people are very nice about it (or I can't understand everything they say and the way they say it is very nice so I just assume they're being nice ;) ). And my testimony of the Lord preparing people to hear the message of the gospel is growing stronger every day here. I met a lot of the ward members at General Conference last night, and they made me feel so welcome and loved! It's great.
 Anyways I am little bit out of time so, I love ya all! Danmark is fantastisk and I can't wait to share that with you!
Ps the pictures are of my companion and I in Frederiksborg, then on the train, then in Aalborg.

In Frederiksborg with Søster Bishop
On the Train to Aalborg

Still nn the train - 6 hours!

In Aalborg

Beautiful Danmark