Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Almost April in Odense

Can you believe it's almost April? Ahhhh time is flying! I'm so excited for General Conference and the Women's Conference. I think it's so fun that everyone can go together - I wish I could be there to go to conference with you! :)

This week was a lot of finding and a lot of fun times! We had 3 appointments set with new investigators, and... we got burned for all of them. Bummer! But that's okay, we did a lot of contacting in the park and knocking on doors! 

It's really fun to do with family history... and also sometimes kind of awkward. The Word for Family history is slægtsforskning - which translates to ancestry research. Unfortunately if we don't pronounce the L enough it sounds like we're saying sexforskning - which is a very different kind of research if ya know what I'm sayin'. No Wonder people think we're a weird cult! ;) Luckily if someone misunderstands us they usually say something and then we can re-explain so they know what we're talking about. And then they're more than happy to listen to us! 

We had a cool "coincidence" happen - in district meeting this week the elders brought up a couple named S and V. They had gotten a call from Sister Hansen, a senior missionary in mission office, asking the missionaries to check up on this couple because S is the son of someone Elder Hansen knew when he served his first mission here. But no one really knew how to get in contact with them! It turns out we had their number on our phone under the name B (we think S goes by both names) and when we called it, S said he and V wanted to meet! They set an appointment for Saturday, but then weren't able to make it, but! We know who they are and how to
get ahold of them so something good can happen there! :)

We work with a recent convert named H, who is the sweetest girl ever! I think I've told you about her before - she met the missionaries while living in England and got baptized there last August, then moved here for school! We had a really great lesson with her on Wednesday. We're doing personal Progress with her so we did one of the Projects and talked about the Plan of Salvation. It was really fun to do personal Progress Again! I forgot how much I love that program!! And yesterday we helped Helen substitute for a primary class. The kids didn't talk very much but they were all really sweet! :)

I would just like to say I am so grateful for piano lessons and being the primary pianist before I left! Knowing how to play the piano has been super helpful here, and yesterday I got to play the piano for the primary and it was super fun. Since I was the primary pianist before, I knew all the songs and I guess they have a hard time finding people to play the piano in the primary sooooo I got to do it! Plus this Sunday I'll be accompanying for a musical number in church, and President and Sister Sederholm will be there, soooo pray for me so I can play well! ;)

It's kind of a slow moment in the missionary work right now as far as investigators go - but it's really good for me because it's building my faith. We're doing a lot of finding, and sometimes it seems like absolutely no one wants to hear about the church - or they're interested in Family history, but not much else. 

But just because we can't see the gospel changing lives doesn't mean Christ isn't reaching people through us! And it's through the small, simple things - like being able to play piano, or vacuuming the house of an older member who just got knee surgery and can't do it herself, or having great conversations with people at their doors. 

Because even if they aren't ready now to hear about the gospel, we represent Jesus Christ and people will remember how we treat them. Sometimes I get worried that I'm not doing enough as a missionary, but then I remember that all I have to do is follow the rules and do what Christ would do - and once I remember that, it's not that hard to do the Lord's will!
Søster Barrett and Søster McVey

I love Sister McVey and this area! We're having lots of fun together and we both want to do the Lord's will. Last night we were walking home from church (our ward meets from 2 to 5) and walked past this lady who was weeding her garden. Sister McVey asked if she needed help, and she said no but that she knows someone from our church! And then she and her husband talked with us for 10 or 15 minutes about what we do as missionaries. They were SO sweet!

This Wednesday we're going to the zoo (we get to Wear pants! woohoo!!!) and I'm way excited! Apparently Odense's zoo is the best in Northern Europe. :)

I love you and I hope you have a great Monday! Keep up the good Work!  And I keep forgetting to tell you - I've seen a couple of those hat helmets that you saw in that video about Denmark! They're so cute!!
Have a good week! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week one in Odense

I am doing great today, other than that the internet is a little sketchy so I am worried this email won't send :O But at least you know I'm alive, and that's what's important! 

Odense is lovely and for the most very sunny! And VERY windy this week, whew. It's a good thing I've started wearing bike shorts under my skirts, otherwise the Danes of Odense would probably be scarred for life by Sista B's legs! 

Me with a binky tree - in Denmark when a little kid outgrows his binky, they take it to this tree and hang it on one of the branches.  And then the little kid gets a little bit of money, kind of like the tooth fairy!

Søster McVey is doing great - we have a lot of fun together! It's fun getting new companions, because everyone is so different so you learn how to work and live a little differently every time. It's fun and interesting switching companions, because Sister Packard and I were very excited to be out talking with people every minute of the day, biking as hard as we could, - whereas Sister McVey likes to take it a little slower. There are so many different ways to do missionary work, and as long as you're following the rules they're all right! So it's really good to get different perspectives (although I miss biking as hard as I can ;) ).

Having an apartment with 2 other sisters is nice! It's like being in college again with roommates - but I'm a lot better at doing my dishes now than I ever was at school ;). Mornings are a little hectic because there are 4 of us trying to get ready with 1 shower and 1 hour to get it all done! But it always works out.

Cool scrips from Domkirke

The ward is awesome! Everyone is really nice and I actually know a couple of people already because they've visited Aalborg or I met them at Stake Conference a few weeks ago. 

The Domkirke, where there are lots of fancy people buried.

My bike is fixed! For now... The elders tried to convince me to let them fix it but I held my ground and took it to a bike repairman! And he fixed it very nicely and very quickly. :)  And I do get to ride on cobblestones actually, which is an exciting adventure every time - everything gets all shaken up!

We work with a wonderful family, the H family. They were recently reactivated. B, the husband, is Danish, and S, the wife, is from Spain! Which I think is very cool. I tried to speak a little Spanish to her but I can barely remember anything anymore! It's so sad!! Their son M got baptized yesterday! He is 9 and the cutest kid ever - they also have 3 daughters who are seriously so cute and fun to be with. A, the youngest, found out that I like to sing and so at our eating appointment on Friday night she kept making me sing the same song over and over again. Haha! 
A statue of Hans Christian Anderson

The Ivies, the Ægtepar here, work with the H family too - and Elder Ivie confirmed M - in Danish! Which was amazing because the Ivies didn't serve missions in Denmark when they were younger (Elder Ivie was in the Northwestern states and Sister Ivie served in Argentina), but as Elder Ivie gave M the blessing his voice got stronger and stronger and he didn't hesitate and it was all completely understandable! How cool is that? Sister Ivie gave the closing prayer for the program and the same thing happened with her! 

The church we went to today was so cool!  At the church they had this globe, with a candle in the middle that burns all day long which represents the light of Christ.  And you can light a candle to set on the outside of the globe, because you are the light of the world!  I thought it was really sweet!

Other than that, we work with a couple of recent converts and less actives, and we are focusing a lot on finding. And, amazing miracle! We found 3 new investigators this week! We have appointments with two of them this week and one of them next week. 2 of them we found while street contacting using our Family History fan charts - President Sederholm has asked us to start using family history in finding and it is working SO well!! We ask people what their family means to them, and then if they have done any family history. Most of them have or they have a random uncle, cousin, relative of some sort who has - then we show them our fan charts, and invite them to come to the church to print out their own! 

A bad picture of me in a giant shoe

With M, a girl who's maybe 18 or 19, it led into a discussion about what is different about our church and we gave her a Book or Mormon. With S, a woman we met in the park, she told us that she loves visiting different churches and would love to learn more about her family history. Danes are really into family history so starting off with family history has been really successful and people have been very open to it. 

Home-made æbleskever, made by yours truly! :

We have some more finding activities planned this week so I will let you know how it goes! :)

Why do Emily and John look so grown up? They're growing up without me, wahhhh! Emily looks so beautiful and John looks so handsome. I wish I could have been there for the concert!!! and tillykke to both of them for doing so great in auditions! That's awesome!! And oh my gosh, Emily's dress is amazing. Can you sew a dress like that for me sometime? ;) Just kidding, but really it looks amazing.
I love reading anything and everything about the family and what's going on at home!!

I miss you and I love you! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Transfer to Odense!

I am doing great today! It has been way way crazy and fun. Aalborg was dejligt this morning, but now I am in... ODENSE! 

(Hannah's mom breaking in to tell you a little about Odense - it is one of Denmark's oldest cities.  It celebrated it's 1000 year anniversary in 1988. And has even older Viking roots. Odense means Odin's shrine, named for the Norse god.  It is the birth place of Hans Christen Andersen.  It is on the Island of Fyn.  Hannah says the language is a little different than what she is used to, but she can understand most of it.)

And it is lovely here. Holy cow it is so warm outside, like some serious spring weather going on, and I am loving it! I didn't even have to wear a jacket! My new companion is Sister McVey (I miss Sister Packard so much! But Sister McVey is awesome!) and she is from Arizona. She's been on her mission for almost a year, and we went on splits one time when I first got to Denmark! So that is fun.This week was really fun! I found out on Tuesday night that I was transferring, so I got ready for that (I squeezed everything into my luggage! Hallelujah!). 

I said a lot of goodbyes which was really sad, and just tried to get everything done that I needed to (there were a couple of people we hadn't stopped by in a while, some organizing in the area book, etc). 

Søster Packard and Me

I feel really good about my time in Aalborg and I feel that I did what the Lord sent me there to do. We had some good contacts this week - a woman named T who we contacted on the street who really liked our message about families, gave us her address, and told us to come by! 

Me with a really cute couple from Aalborg
Also a girl named K who took a Book of Mormon and said something like "You always have to be open to a new way of thinking! Maybe this will be the way for me!".  We had some wonderful lessons (one last lesson with J and J, A, H and I, M, everyone! It was bittersweet.), and some fun adventures. Especially this morning.

Me with M, and Søster Packard (did I send this picture before?)

So we woke up at 5:30am and got all ready to go, then got a call from the Elders asking if we had heard from the Middlemases. We hadn't, and we were all a little concerned because the Middlemases were supposed to pick up the Elders and their luggage at 5:45, and us at 6:15. 

Sister Packard and I decided we would just bike to the train station so that my bike would be ready to put on the train, then bus back to the Apartment, pick up the luggage, and bus back to the train. We got on our bikes - and my back tire was flat AGAIN! We biked to the station anyway. 

While we were going we got a call from the Middlemases saying that their alarm hadn't gone off but that they were up and on their way to get the Elder's luggage, and then they could come pick up ours. So we bussed back to the apartment, picked up the luggage, and made it back to the station with 15 minutes to spare! It was a miracle! 

Elder and Sister Middlemas are so good to us to help us with all of this, and I feel so bad that their alarm didn't go off! But it all worked out. 

I made it safely on the train and down to Odense, and got all settled in in the new apartment! There are 4 of us Sisters living in the apartment - Søster Hendersen, Søster Sheridan, Søster McVey and I. 

Søster Barrett and Søster McVey!
We have our own room with a bunk bed and two study desks! That is so nice to have for morning studies. 

My new room.
We all share this hilarious little bathroom, I think it is the same amount of Space as the bathroom in Aalborg but it is shaped in a skinny little hallway. Gotta love it! 
The skinny bathroom.
There's a beautiful park nearby that we're going to go running in (woohoo!) and I am just excited and happy to be here. After I got some of my stuff moved in, Sister McVey and I were going to do laundry - but the Card they use to pay for the laundry machine is missing! So we have to do our laundry tonight at the Ivie's (they are the senior couple here, and I have a feeling they do just as much to save the day for us missionaries as the Middlemases do! Thank goodness for wonderful people like that!). 

Then we went to do our emailling, and the internet at the church wasn't working. So we traveled downtown to the library instead. I feel like today has been a little test to see how much I have learned from all of the crazy adventures I've had in the last 5 months - and I think I passed! :) 

I used to get so worried if things didn't go according to plan, and then I would just waste time being stressed out about things I couldn't control. But instead, today has been a really fun and nice day! I didn't get super worried once! So that, I think, is a big success. 

Plus! I'm already having fun missionary moments. To use the computers in the library here you have to register at the front desk with your sundhedskort - like a social security card - and your email. When I told the lady at the desk what my email was, she couldn't figure out what I was trying to say with the part so she had me type it in. 

She said, "I've never heard of that email site!" So I said, "It's from our church - we're missionaries!" And she then told us that she knows a couple members and one of her daughters goes to school with them. I didn't know who she was talking about (since I'm so new and all! ;) ), but Sister Mcvey did and it turns out it's our Bishop and his family! That was a really fun little coincidence. (Haha let's be honest, it wasn't a coincidence!).

So that has been my week, and more especially my day! I am so excited to be here!!!

A really cool church in Aalborg that we visited last week

And I was always worried that when my time came to leave Aalborg, I would feel like I didn't do what I was supposed to do there. But a couple nights ago in my bedtime prayer I had the chance to review a lot of the things we have done in the time I was in Aalborg with Heavenly Father, and I had the sweetest, strongest feeling that I had done the Lord's will there, and that He was happy with my service. 

Inside the church.
So my goal here in Odense is to feel the same way when it's time to transfer away, again! I am just so grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary and learn so much. It's awesome!

More detail in the church.

Anyways I better go! We've got a bus to catch soon to a dinner appointment with the Ivies! Pray for me in my new area, and I will keep praying for everyone over there. :) 

Vi ses Næste Uge! Hej hej!


PS 7 months on Friday! What whaaaat!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vintergækker - white winter flowers

I am great today. :D The sun is out, I just washed my sheets so I feel really productive, and we should be finding out about transfers today or tomorrow so I'm excited! And nervous - if I have to leave, I will be sad!! But it's all a part of the plan, and I'm sure I'll be way happy whatever happens.
The park we run in every morning - it's so beautiful!
Yesterday was a really really wonderful fast and testimony meeting, and I may or may not have gotten a little emotional (or a lot - seriously I couldn't stop the tears!) thinking about leaving here - it feels like home, and I've already gone through leaving home once, thank you very much! 

I can't believe it's March, it was just November! And unlike poor South Dakota, it does actually feel like spring here. :) There are some beautiful little flowers out - vintergækker, which are cute, white winter flowers, and then some yellow flowers that I can't remember the name of. They're a lot cuter to see than dandelions, that's for sure. ;)
This week was pretty dang great! On Monday we helped the Bishop with his garden and then went to a Family Home Evening with S and E, as well as our investigator A, the other missionaries, H and I, and K, a really cool girl from the ward. It was really good! But about halfway through H found out that his older brother had passed away, which was really sad. But I think he felt our support and we definitely have been praying for him! 

Søster Packard, and I with B, I, and K

On Tuesday we had an appointment with T and we asked the Elders to come with us to it, but when we got there he had put a note on the door saying he couldn't meet that day! ): But we were able to make a new appointment for this week, so that's really good. I was afraid he was going to drop us!! 

Then we went with the Elders to their appointment in Nørresundby with a really really sweet family (A mom, a dad, and their daughter!) from Grønland. It was the elders' first appointment with them, and they made a baptismal date!!! It was SO exciting and a big blessing to be a part of it. They are a really solid family, and their daughter loves primary and didn't want to leave this Sunday. :) 

On Wednesday we had an awesome appointment with A, and the bishop's wife came with. We taught the plan of Salvation and tried to do it as simply as possible, with lots of scriptures. It was amazing! A was really into it, asked a lot of really good questions, and afterwards asked us to give her some of the scriptures we had read so she could go back and study them more. 

Thursday we had our district activity! We played handball, which is REALLY fun (I don't know if we played it right, but we made it work!) and watched 17 Miracles - I think I've told you before but they speak Danish in that movie! Ahh, that movie gets me every time. Those saints sacrificed so much for the gospel!!
M, B, and Søster Barrett

We had some really good contacts on Friday and Saturday. Søster Packard's bike got a flat tire (surprise surprise! I think there's a curse on bikes in Aalborg) so we walked and took the bus. We were walking and contacting on our way somewhere, and met a woman named L. She said she doesn't really believe in God, or that He loves us, so we shared 1 Ne 11:17 with her and gave her a Book of Mormon - she gave us her number and said she would want to meet! It was pretty cool, because we contacted her near the church building and she said she lives close by and thinks that the church seems like a hyggeligt place! 

We were also doing some contacting on the bus - I sat down next to this girl and was a little nervous to talk with her, but I had just read a story that morning about asking Heavenly Father for help with contacting, so I said a little prayer and then asked her where she had bought the flowers she was holding. We ended up having an awesome conversation (she was the same age as me! And loves singing and playing guitar!) but Søster Packard and I had to get off the bus before I got her name! I gave her a card though, so maybe she will look up the website. :) Ya never know! 

Søster Packard and I with our miracle investigator, M

Søster Packard made an appointment to stop by and teach a lesson to the woman she sat next to on that bus ride, which I think is amazing! It'll be great to see where that goes. 

And on Sunday, like I said we had a great testimony meeting, and also a really good lesson with M after church. We had a dinner appointment with Fam. K and they invited two of the girls in the ward, K and I (who is from Nigeria), and it was just really great. The K's are who we had Christmas dinner with, and they're such a great family. J and M are really good parents, and B is the coolest girl eva!
So now you have a run-down of my week! :) I think it's pretty cool that I haven't once had a bad week as a missionary. There's always something to smile about, and at the end of the day there's always so much to be grateful for. I love it. I am excited for this coming week and I want to do even better than I have before!! I hope everything goes well at home and that it gets a little warmer. I love you so much and I pray for you!

Love you so much!