Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Copenhagen Temple 10 Year Anniversary!


School is out on Thursday?!?!?! Oh my gosh the school year went by SO fast. I can't believe that! I bet Emily and Sydney and John have done so well this year, and I bet that for once they're probably not very excited for school to end since it means the move is happening soon! But that's okay. It'll end up being fun!

Oh man it DEFINITELY feels like summer here in Denmark, it's been up in the high 20's here (as in celsius, I think that's the high 70's?), and I think being in Denmark has made me a wimp because I am burning up! 

Plus there's no air conditioning here so being inside can be really suffocating. Last summer was unusually hot and rain-free for Denmark, and I think this summer might end up being similar because from what people have said, it's never this hot in May! 

I am doing great this week as usual and SO excited and happy to hear that everything is going well with selling the house and getting ready to move! That makes me so happy. Plus Erin told me that they're moving to Virginia!!! So it'll be one big happy family reunion on the east side of the country! 

Hmmmm my favorite way to approach a stranger. Well I think my favorite thing is talking with people on s-togs, because it's a little more natural to strike up a conversation on a train than on the street, and you can usually get to know people a lot better - We usually start off a conversation with something like "Hasn't the weather been amazing lately?" or "We're new to Copenhagen, can you tell us what is fun to do here?" and then it usually leads to people asking us why we're here in Denmark, which leads right into the gospel. I've gotten a lot better at asking people for their numbers here in Frederiksberg, so the spot for potential investigators to be written down in the back of my planner is a lot more full than it used to be! woo woo!

As far as sleeping goes, the hot weather plus no air conditioning situation means we have our windows open all the time, which is fine unless there's someone walking around or talking outside! But mostly I sleep really well. :) It just gets a little toasty sometimes.

Søster Hadley and I at the 10 year anniversary of the Denmark Temple 

Sister Hadley and I are having lots of fun together! We should be finding out about transfers today or tomorrow and she thinks she'll transfer away... we'll see what happens! 

And tonight we get to stay for the Young Single Adult family home evening because Emelie, an amazing girl in the ward who got baptized last August, is bringing her friend who is interested in the church! We aren't allowed to stay for YSA activities unless we have an investigator or a less-active there with us, which is kind of a bummer because we aren't often able to go! But tonight we can stay, and I'm going to try to learn and remember all the names I possibly can. :) Plus we're trying to come up with ideas with Elder and Sister Madsen, the YSA couple, for how we can be more involved with the ysa.

The Copenhagen Denmark Temple

This week we got to help with the temple's 10-year anniversary exhibition! (That will link you to the mission website where there are more photos of the open house, and one more really cute photo of Hannah

We helped run a little exhibition in the church building near the temple with a video explaining what the temple is, frequently asked questions about the temple, and a really neat presentation about the history of the church in Frederiksberg. There was an original printing of the Danish Book of Mormon on display! 

The exhibition ran Tuesday through Friday, and then ended with a reception on Saturday for members of the church all over Denmark. I saw some wonderful members from Odense, which was really great! Sister Hadley and I also got to go to the temple on Saturday, which was so so nice. It's been 8 months since the last time I went to the temple, and it was just great.



Update! We just found out about transfers! Sister Hadley and I are staying together, woohoo! It's gonna be pretty dang great. :) 

Yay!

We did some more cleaning at P's house.  Turns out the closets are white, not yellow like we thought! Oh P is so wonderful though, and we found Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young as we were cleaning through things, and she read us quotes from it as we continued cleaning!

We had a great lesson with G, she is just progressing right along! She is worried that committing to live the gospel would be too hard to do her whole life long, so we are going to work on continuing to teach her the lessons and showing her that committing to live the gospel doesn't require her to change absolutely everything about her life, just a few things like following the word of wisdom!

Aaaand this week we have a crazy week planned! we're going on splits with the sister training leaders (PS Sister Packard just got moved up to be a sister training leader! Next transfer she'll be my sister training leader, isn't that so fun?!), and having our district activity (volleyball and a barbecue! woo!), and going to Aalborg for J's baptism!! 

It's going to be an eventful week, but we've also got some good plans and opportunities for finding new investigators and working with the members. We're going to get this area moving!

Me with a really attractive hammerhead shark.  Aren't we a good pair?
Anyways I love you so much! I gotta get going! Have a good week and keep being awesome! Love you!!

Love,
Hannah


Monday, May 19, 2014

Half Way!



Ahh time goes too fast, I think. I'm almost 20 years old! 18 more days! 

And this week I celebrated my halfway mark! (Hannah has been out 9 months of her 18 month mission) That was a crazy day. Søster Hadley made a lagkage (Danish layer cake) for me that was deliciously amazing - we ate it for breakfast. 

Me with my halfway cake! (can you tell we're eating well? ;) )

Then I went and spent the day in Gladsaxe with the Sister Training Leaders there, because Søster Hadley had a special meeting with all of the missionaries from her group. The Sisters made me æbleskiver to celebrate and we all ate a ton of those. 

Then every appointment we went to served cake! And then we had a dinner appointment with a member family! 

On top of that, we biked everywhere in the biggest rainstorm I've been out in so far - so I spent most of the day soaking wet. 

Søster Hadley and I with some delicious chocolate lava cakes in mugs.

All of this led to... me getting really sick the day after! I was totally out of commission. But I got a Priesthood blessing and was on my feet and feeling better within a day! Isn't it amazing how the Lord blesses us with health and strength when the work needs to be done?

Søster Hadley and I discovered a cute harbor while we were eating the huge ice cream cone.

What big projects are left to do? Is there a for sale sign outside the house? (we are getting ready to move in JuneI hope you know I am praying harder than I ever have before for all of you with the move coming up. I bet it's a really stressful time, and everyone is sad to go! It's okay though. Just like President Hinckley always said, It will all work out! :)


I can't believe school is almost over. School just started! What the heck! And I know that everyone will do well in the new schools. And wow, this week sounds really really busy. Busier than the week we have planned! Fun Fun!  and tell John I said TILLYKKE on winning the game!!

(I decided not to include a rather sweet, personal story)  Anyways I'm not trying to say I'm the most awesome person in the world or anything silly like that, but I think that lots of people downplay promptings of the Spirit by downplaying their own worth if that makes sense - if you tell yourself you won't make a difference often enough, then you'll stop making a difference and the Spirit will stop presenting small and simple opportunities for you to serve. 



Us with G, our investigator from Brazil! she is the SWEETEST girl and yesterday was her first Sunday in church! She loved it so much she wanted to take a picture.

But! I am working on being more positive about myself because the more I remember I have a lot of potential as a daughter of Heavenly Father, the harder I work and the more I try to reach out to the people around me - and the more of a difference is made, whether I see it or not.

Us with a HUGE ice cream cone that we ate together.

Well, I am running out of time ): I'm really sorry!! We had some other great experiences this week but I think I will write a letter when we get back from grocery shopping with more of them in it and send it to you. 

My bike did have a breakdown this week - during the huge rainstorm! Hahaha! But it's fixed now, phew! I thought it was fitting that it broke down on my halfway mark - what's a day in the life of Søster Barrett without a broken bike here and there? ;) 


The elders in our ward are great - Elder King and Elder Nordfelt are the assistents and very sincere, hardworking missionaries. Elder Redd and Elder Wright are the other elders who serve in our area and they are also really really great missionaries! We have a great district and there's a lot of support/hard work going on. So that's great!!

I love you! I hope this is a great week and that everything goes how it should. You are the best! Keep up the good work!

Love,
Hannah


Monday, May 12, 2014

Half Way Anniversary!


Skyping was SO FUN! Thanks for letting me speak some Danish, it's always fun to show off my mad skillz. ;) It was so great to see your faces and hear your voices! and to hear Emily and John play the violin, and Dad sing, and to talk with Sydney and you, and just everything. It was lovely! 

This mission is such a good experience. The Lord is so good. He's really taking care of all of us, don't you think? :) It's funny because being away, I forget about the real life day-to-day stuff like fighting with Sydney about using the car, or getting mad at Dad for pinching my cheek, but when you step back from all the small things, we're all always getting better and taking steps forward. Thank goodness for the Atonement!

Our zone at zone training last week.

Poor Sydney, moving halfway through high school was really hard. But it ended up beign such a good experience! You just can never see the end from the beginning, whcih makes it exciting and sometimes so challenging. I can't believe how grown up everyone is! Emily and John are getting so tall! And John's feet are the same size as yours? Ahhhhh!

We did have a good week. We're teaching this really cute lady from Brazil - Her name is G, and she is married to a Dane and they have the cutest baby girl! It was really exciting to meet with G because she has a baptismal date this summer and is pretty serious about being baptized - she asked us at our last appointment if we could tell her how her life will change because she converts. Sister Hadley and I were both born in the church, so we're not so good at that, but we have great members here who we can invite to talk to her about it! G is the sweetest, most sincere lady though. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with her in Portuguese and she knew all of the things Christ said by heart from the Bible. The Spirit was definitely there!! And at the end her husband came and talked with us for a little bit, which is saying a lot because he used to not talk to the missionaries.

We found a new investigator on Saturday! His name is T. We street contacted him, and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said he would love to meet with us, and asked us when we could come by (instead of us asking him, which is how it usually goes)! We also did a lot of stop bys of past investigators - we found a couple of people home, and they pulled the classic move of asking for our numbers and telling us they'd call us... merp. That's okay, they will not be forgotten! We'll stop by again sometime down the road! ;)


This week we have another appointment with G, as well as an appointment with T (the new investigator!) and J, someone that Sister Hale and her companion found when she was here a few months ago, who's really positive but we're probably going to give to the Elders so it's easier to teach him - we're not allowed to teach boy investigators without another woman with us. 

On Wednesday I'm going to hang out with the Sister Training Leaders in Gladsaxe! Sister Hadley has a meeting with President Sederholm and all of the missionaries from her MTC group... no one knows what it'll be about and everyone's really excited to find out! 

Me with a street sign called the 5th of June (almost my birthday*, woo!)

Wednesday is also my halfway anniversary, so we're making a cake sometime this week in celebration. We'll also be meeting with V and cleaning at P's house! And other than that we shall find everywhere we possibly can, look for service along the way, bear our testimonies all over Copenhagen, and give away lots of Books of Mormon! It's going to be a great week. :)

Later today we're going to get ice cream the size of our heads (pictures to come next week!) and play volleyball with the elders. Oh and we're also meeting with E tonight, who has kind of investigated the church for a few months - I haven't met her yet, but we're going to study with her out of the Book of Mormon. She has a lot of faith in the Bible and doesn't really see how the Book of Mormon goes along with it, so we want to help her see that the Book of Mormon isn't completely different from the Bible - it is a second witness to it!

Go Preach My Gospel! Let's see... last week I started to read through each principle of the lessons we teach, and then write down how I have gained a testimony of that principle. I really love doing it because it's helping me see how much I already know, and what I can do to further strengthen my testimony. Studying chapter 10 is helping me want to strengthen my knowledge of the basic principles and doctrines we teach - because when it comes down to it, the gospel really is a simple thing!


Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with mustaches.

Anyways everything is wonderful! Life is great! I love you all so much and I can't believe how fast time goes. We all better make the most of it!! I know that the church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that through the Atonement, we can be clean and start over again and again. And I know that families can be together forever! This is just a short time in the grand scheme of things. We're going to be together even after life on earth ends!

Give Emily and John and Sydney hugs and kisses for me! Even if they don't want them! ;)

I love you. Have a good week! Keep being amazing!
Love,
Hannah

* Hannah's birthday is June 6th.  There's just enough time to send her a birthday card!  It takes a $1 international stamp to send Hannah a letter. Her address is:

Sister Hannah Marie Barrett
Denmark Copenhagen Mission
Borups Alle 128, 1. Tv
2000 Frederiksberg
Denmark

Monday, May 5, 2014

First Week In Copenhagen



I am SO excited to skype on Sunday! 6 days 'til we can see each other agian! :) I can't believe how fast the time has gone. And as far as details go, all 6 of us missionaries in the area are going to one member's house for skyping on Sunday. It'll be anywhere from 3 to 5 in the afternoon our time, so 7 to 9 am for you (sorry it's early, and also it might be cutting into sacrament meeting). 

I am so excited to see you! Don't make fun of me 'cause my face is chubby! ;) I don't think I'll be able to skype for as long as I did last time, I think 2 hours at the most (haha that is a long time!) is what is acceptable. Plus I don't know how many computers there will be, so we shall see how it goes! I am just so excited to see y'all!

Part of the Library.

That sounds like such a nice Sunday! So hyggeligt. We had chocolate chip cookies yesterday too, because we had this new idea to make cookies for every member who has a birthday in the ward and stop by the day before their birthday to say hi and wish them a happy birthday. But of course we had to eat some as well. :) 

So far the idea has been bringing a lot of success though, on Saturday we stopped by an inactive woman who was born in Denmark, then lived in the states for most of her life, then moved back to Denmark last October and hasn't been to church since. When she first opened the door it was barely a crack and she told us we didn't need to give her anything for her birthday, but then we told her it was fresh-made cookies and she opened the door a little further, and we started talking and getting to know her. 

She opened up (literally! she opened her door wider and wider the longer we were there, and by the end of our conversation she was just standing and talking with us!) and told us a lot about her life, which has been really challenging. But it was just a great experience and we're praying for a miracle so we can start meeting with her more and bring her back to church!

Church was SO fun yesterday! I bore my testimony since it was my first Sunday in the ward. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, I feel like I've been here for a lot longer than one week! (In a good way! :) ) 

Søster Hadley and Søster Barrett with some sweet spring flowers.
Okay and Søster Hadley and I are seriously twins. At first it was funny things, like that we are both really good friends with elders serving in Spain and we like the taste of vinegar, but then we started noticing that we have the same exact toothpaste and floss, the same brand of face wash, and I used to have the same kind of toothbrush that Sister Hadley has now. We both worked at little hometown ice cream shops through high school and in the months leading up to our missions. 

Sometimes we say the same thing at the exact same time. It is so fun!!! We're doing so much work and basically laughing all the time. I love it! And I am learning a lot from Sister Hadley - she is so sincere and so good at finding the good in everyone we meet. 

Also, every week she tells her family something she learned from Preach My Gospel, so I think I am going to start doing that today because I think it's a good idea! So here I go. This week we started studying chapter 10, How to Begin Teaching. We study a new chapter every month and I always start off by reading through the chapter and color-coding all of the principles and promises/blessings given in the chapter. 

Something it said right in the beginning of the chapter really stood out to me - everything I do in my studies and throughout the day (developing Christlike attributes, studying the missionary lessons, improving my ability to speak Danish) is done so that I can teach with more clarity and power. It is so true! In the past when I am working on becoming better at doing something, I do it so that I can be a better person - and yes, everything about being a missionary has made me a better person, but the core purpose of everything I do is to teach well so I can invite others to come unto Christ. 

And the more prepared we are, the more we are aware of opportunities to speak with people, which leads to teaching, which leads to bearing testimony and inviting people to learn more, which leads to more people learning about Jesus Christ, which changes lives! It's really motivating me to learn the scriptures better and talk with everyone.

This week we had some great miracles! On Monday night we walked past the temple (super great perk of serving in Copenhagen! The temple is in our area and we walk past it several times a week!) and saw a man sitting near some of the flowers, smoking a cigar and drinking a beer (hehehe). 

We decided to talk to him, because anyone who wants to sit on the temple grounds has to have recognized how special that building is. We told him what the temple is and why it's such a beautiful place, and ended up having a great conversation and getting to know him really well. His name is B, and he has been out of work for a long time and gone through a lot of hard things. He said it is really hard to find his way when the world can be so bad and confusing. 

I asked him if he wanted something that could help him find his way when life is hard. Sister Hadley pulled out a Book of Mormon, and we bore powerful witness to him that the Book of Mormon can guide him and bring him closer to Jesus Christ, whether he is a member of the church or not. The Spirit was so strong!! He took the Book of Mormon and told us we were the sweetest girls he's ever talked to. I believe it made a difference in his life, and I know the experience made a difference in mine. I know that just being on the temple grounds made B more open to hearing our message and we were able to bear testimony with a lot of power.

A blurry photos of me near the canal.

Throughout the rest of the week we gave out 5 Books of Mormon (maybe a small amount for some places, but more than I've ever given out in a week on my mission!), and talked to sooooooo many people! We take a lot of trains and buses here, and on Monday I was already feeling motion sick from all of the driving and stopping and going. 

So I said a prayer to Heavenly Father, and told Him that I was really worried I would feel sick the whole time I served here in Copenhagen, but that I would talk to people on every train, bus, and metro we took if he would bless me to not feel sick. Well, Sister Hadley and I have talked to at least one person everywhere we go, and I haven't felt motion sick since! And I'm getting a lot better at contacting and bringing up the church on s-tog trips where we only have 3 or 4 minutes to talk to the person sitting next to us before we have to get off again. It's really really fun! I have met so many people!

Ahh basically it's been the greatest week of my mission. I wake up every morning feeling so happy! Sister Hadley is the most amazing companion and I am so grateful I am here.

Our apartment is fun and has definitely been well-used by sister missionaries over the years. We had the great pleasure of cleaning out the bathroom drain because the shower flooded the entire bathroom, and it was pretty gross. Also, our toilet is clogged so today we will be buying a plunger and taking care of that! Hahaha, I'm pretty sure my mission has turned me into a plumber. 

The YSA's are awesome! We have an investigator, J, who came to institute on Thursday night which means we got to go to, and there are so many amazing young adults in this area. A lot of them are either return missionaries or preparing to go out on their missions, so we have lots of people who want to go out and do the work with us. 

HC Anderson's Grave
A really cool gravestone with Runes all over it, in the graveyard.
And once a month we have a night where we go out on splits with some of the girls in YSA, which we did this week and it was very fun. Only one girl was able to come, so we didn't actually go on splits, but it was really nice to have her come to our lesson that night! 

And the best thing about this area is definitely having the temple so close by. We're going to go during the week of the temple's 10-year celebration, and since we can go once a transfer and my birthday falls right after next transfers, I'm hoping we can go to the temple on my birthday! Woo woo happy birthday to me! :) 

As far as birthday gifts go... I think my dream gift might be a new camera because something weird happened to my camera (mehhh! Sorry Christensens I somehow destroyed your gift to me for my mission!), and I don't know if you've noticed but all of my pictures are slightly fuzzy and warped. But that's just my dream gift! I am sure I will survive without it! :) 

I don't think there's really a worst part of this area. Maybe that on Friday nights lots of drunk people are on the trains? But that's just funny, so I don't think there's really anything terrible about Copenhagen! At least as a missionary!

I love you all so much! I hope you are having good missionary experiences, because I know that missionary work goes a LOT better when it's done with the members! :) 

And I really miss you but I hope you know I am working as hard as I can. Sister Hadley and I are trying to work on being more obedient to the schedule because sometimes we just start chatting away and the next thing we know it's 10:30 and we're not in bed! The hardest part about having a companion that's practically my twin sister is that we have way too much fun together. :)


Søster Hadley and I with HC Anderson's grave

Today we're also going to see the Kristus statue in Vor Frue Kirke and Strøget (I don't know how to spell that), a huge gågade in Copenhagen with lots of fun stores!

I can't wait to see you on Sunday! I hope you have a great week!!! I love being a missionary. :) It's so much fun!  

See you in a few days!
Love,
Hannah