Monday, June 23, 2014

A Castle, A Temple, and a Medieval Festival

This last week has absolutely flown! We've been teaching the first lesson a lot, which is a great sign because it means we're teaching new people! The best part is they're all responding so positively. When D, our miracle from Peru, read the First Vision, she told us she felt "awesome inside". 

The Rosenborg Slot

Since we've been focusing on teaching people in their own language, we had D read the First Vision out loud in Spanish, rather than saying it to her in English. It was amazing to see how the Spirit affected her - she kept saying "Wow. Wow! This really happened?" Her faith and ability to recognize truth is really wonderful.

I think I forgot to tell the story of D! Sister M was in language school with her, and they became good friends. Sister M found out D was baptized at 8, but never really came to church. Now she is 38, and wants to know if the church is true. 

Us with C from China, in front of the Rosenborg Slot!

We met with her for the first time on Monday and it was AMAZING - her heart is so prepared to hear about the gospel. She read a verse from the Book of Mormon and asked "What can I do to get the feeling I have in my heart right now again?" It was just wonderful!

Søster Missionary Temple Trip!

It's just amazing to me how the First Vision affects people - another woman we're teaching, E (who called us a few weeks ago to learn about the church), believed that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one being, and had a hard time understanding how we could believe they were separate entities. 

Then we shared the First Vision, and the true character of God the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost made much more sense to her. It is such a privilege and a blessing to be able to teach people and, with the Spirit, see them understand the principles.

Teaching the First Lesson just reminds me of how much the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ means to me. It's fun that as you were visiting all the original church sites, I was teaching people about the church's restoration, so we were all thinking about the sacrifices people made when the church was first established. 

Why did they do it? How did they do it?! I thought serving a mission would be sacrificing a lot, but being a missionary now is pretty cozy and comfortable compared to sharing the message of the Restoration when it first started happening.

But this week has just been really great! We got to go to the temple with a lot of the sisters on Sjælland which was so fun. We did a lot of service, and one day we left the apartment at 10.30 and didn't come home until 9.30! We were pretty darn exhausted afterwards.

The Medieval Festival
Sorry about the no pictures last week, I'm sending a ton this week to make up for it! :) 

Søster Hadley and I eating some Danish Pancakes!

This morning I learned a really good lesson! I was studying Virtue and Charity (in Preach My Gospel chapter 6!) and I made a connection - virtuous thoughts lead to virtuous actions, therefore, charitable thoughts lead to charitable actions. As you probably already know, sometimes companionships can be really hard! And I realized that if I spend my time thinking critical thoughts or having hurt feelings, then my actions are going to show that I have been thinking not-so-nice thoughts about my companion. You can't fake charity!

A roast pig from the medieval festival.  :D

I love you so much! Have a good week!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June is Halfway Over

I can't believe you're gone from Rapid City. That is so crazy to me. I hope that everyone is okay with the move and having fun on the trip. I am totally jealous! I want to see all the church sites!  I hope that you're being safe drivers! (Weird thought - I haven't driven a car in almost a year. Waaaaah!) I can't wait to hear about Nauvoo and Carthage! 

I am doing so great! We've had some really wonderful experiences this week - I was reminded by the Lord that I need to do my best every day to live up to my potential as a missionary and a daughter of God. 

We had a zone conference on Tuesday where the focus was on Chapter 7 in Preach My Gospel, and we talked about how as far as speaking Danish goes, we are living below our potential - and it reminded me that I should be more diligent in not just the language, but obeying the rules and every aspect of missionary work because my Danish is always better when the Spirit is with me, and the Spirit is only with me if I'm choosing the right. 

A family in our ward sent us some pictures - Søster Hadley and I in the nursery.

It was so good for Sister Hadley and I - we were working all week on doing the small things, and it totally made big things happen! 

Last night, for example, we had 10 minutes left in the day so we went out contacting. We first talked to this African man at a bus stop, who happened to be very very strong in his faith and went on and on about how our salvation was at stake because we don't believe the right things (I'm really hoping I've never done that to anyone... I don't think I have! When we talk to people we try to have meaningful conversations, not bible bashes). 

It was probably not the most spectacular moment of the day, but because we talked with him, the timing was just right and we contacted a couple walking down the street who are expecting their first baby together! They were SO cute together. You could just tell that they had a lot of love for each other and were so excited to have a baby. We had a great conversation and gave them a Book of Mormon - they were really happy for it and they told us they would love to talk with us about the book after they read a little bit in it! It was the best way to finish the day. 

And today!!! We stopped by G to wish her a happy birthday (last week I told you that she kind of dropped us right? Well, she told us she didn't want to meet anymore because she's afraid she can't hold the standards), and she told us that last week she decided to try to stop drinking coffee!!! We haven't even invited her to live the word of wisdom yet - she just did it by herself. And she also told us that she wants to keep coming to church! So... apparently she hasn't really dropped us. I think she just doesn't want to feel too pressured by us, which of course we don't want to do.

We also did lots of service! We cleaned at P's, helped C move in more, helped set up and take down a primary activity, and worked in someone's garden. It was great! On Friday I met K for the first time - she's a woman from Poland who the sisters have been working with here in Frederiksberg for a while, but she was out of town for a month or so and just got back. K is wonderful! She has 3 boys - 2 of whom are identical twins. They are SO cute and the twins are really happy babies - they were smiling the entire time we were there.

Yesterday I conducted the music in church again! I think being the music conductor is my dream calling. It's fun standing up there because I can smile at the whole ward and practice everyone's names in my head - it's definitely helping me get to know the ward better! 

And after church we had a correlation meeting with our ward mission leader M - he's so funny! He went off on a rant about how fat America is, and he told Sister Hadley and I that if he gets wedding invitations from us in the future and we're fat in the pictures, he's going to throw them away. It sort of cut me to the heart, but it's good motivation to stay healthy! ;) 

Then we went on a walk in a Botanical Garden/a park by Rosenborg Castle with our investigator C from China. She's the sweetest lady, and when she found out I was born in June she got really excited because her birthday is in May and it means we're both Gemini.

There are so many good things happening! I feel more brave and have more fun talking to people on the trains and on the streets! And this week we have appointments with some new people, and another appointment with E. I'm so excited!

Us with the Assistants after ward council!  woo woo! :)

Today in personal study I was doing an activity from Chapter 7 in Preach My Gospel - I was writing down things about the Danish culture that might make it hard for someone to understand a principle of the gospel, and then how I can do a better job of explaining it so they can understand it more. I think that a big setback in the Danish culture is that when life is good, most people don't feel like they need God because they "have it good". So I looked for scriptures that show how much we need God and how everything around us is a testimony of His existence, and it hit me that even prophets in the scriptures had a hard time turning the hearts of the people when they "had it good." This is not a new phenomenon! It is the same pattern that runs through the entire Book of Mormon! Realizing that is very motivating because the prophets worked SO hard to warn and teach the people when they grew in pride - so I can work hard too! And as the Lord wills it and the peoples hearts are open, miracles will happen - there is no stopping the Lord's work.

I really can't believe June is halfway over! My favorite month of the year is almost gone. ;) It's wonderful to spend the summer here in Denmark because so far, it's been nice and sunny - but not too hot to handle!

I think I have to get going for now - we have had kind of a crazy preparation day because we ended up taking a full preparation day last week (I'll be sending pictures! We went to a medieval festival!) so in order to have time to go to the temple this Saturday, we have to take an essentials preparation day today. 

Life is very good and I'm loving it here.

Also, I might have to send you all the pictures next week because I forgot the camera cord at home!! Sorry! :O

I love you lots! Have a good road trip and tell everyone I love them! Be safe!!! I am praying for you all. I hope the Nauvoo temple was lovely! :)


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Twenty Years Old

I am 20, woohoo!!! Søster Hadley was awesome and really made the day wonderful - she made me breakfast, told everyone in the ward it was my birthday, and told me 20 things that she loves about me! It was so sweet. :) 

Some really cute cakes a member made for my birthday!
We also finished the evening by watching Ephraim's Rescue, which was awesome! Or at least awesome to a sister missionary! ;) But it really was good, and if you have the chance to see it I definitely recommend it.

Me opening my birthday package!
Wow! It sounds like you get to end the time in Rapid City pretty stress free. I bet the house looks amazing. Remember when we moved in and it had a beautiful blue carpet from the 70's? Ahh, those were the days!'

Well I hope you get the chance to eat at Armadillo's one last time too! 

A birthday tea that the sweetest lady, T, put on for me.
My week has been lovely! From Monday evening to Wednesday morning we had Søster Briscoe visiting while she waited for her new companion to get to Denmark. Søster Briscoe is an amazing missionary! She is really good at talking to people and making it look effortless - and helping them feel the love of Jesus Christ right on the spot. 

She said something that really stood out to me - that she has learned to love people for who they are and not what they do. I am working on that because I know it will help me love our investigators and the people we work with even more - because we're all imperfect, and no one lives up to their full potential or their best self all of the time. But that doesn't mean we aren't worth loving! And Heavenly Father definitely loves all of us for who we are not what we do - because He definitely knows what we are capable of, and that we frequently fall short, but He is always willing to encircle us in the arms of His love. 

On Tuesday I went out contacting with Søster Ripa! It was the one day it rained last week, so that was a nice welcome to Denmark for the new missionaries. ;)

We also met with E for the first time, who is the lady that called us a few weeks ago and asked if she could meet with us. It was awesome! she asked so many questions and is so sincere. She has a lot of faith in God and is very good at hearing His voice and following the guidance she receives. It was very interesting, because maybe 9 or 10 months ago, she had heard a lot about the church (because she was dating a member) and prayed to God to ask if she should join the church - but her answer was that it wasn't what her heart wanted, so she shouldn't do it. Now, she is looking into the church because she is interested for herself and not because of anyone else, and I think that this will be different because she is sincere about it.

Yesterday night we had a really sweet moment! We have been stopping by people on their birthday, and giving less-active women birthday cards from the Relief Society. We had a card for someone named L, so we stopped by her house - turns out that it was actually a man, and his name is L! He is from the US but served a mission in Denmark and married a Danish woman. Søster Hadley did a good job of hiding the card away in her bag without him noticing, and then we wished him a happy birthday and started to talk a little bit. He hasn't been active in church in a really long time and he said he thinks the Lord doesn't need someone like him. But he let us make a return appointment and we are really excited to help him feel the happiness of the gospel again! 

Copenhagen is sunny and clothes free! Hahaha now that the sun is out and it's getting pretty hot, people don't wear as much clothes as they once did. But don't worry, Søster Hadley and I are keepin' it modest and stylishly sister missionary every single day. :)
A crazy cheeta-print slug!

It's really fun though, because I haven't seen the night sky in a few weeks at least! The sun rises a LONG time before we wake up, and sets after we go to bed. It's light enough outside at 10:30 to be like 5:30 in the evening instead. Isn't that strange? 

And I don't think I've ever ridden a pink bike, but I am still riding the good ol' bike I bought in Aalborg after I ruined the other 2 I tried using! Maybe it just looks pink in pictures. But it's white and kind of dirty! Our p-day today is a little crazy because it's Second Pentacost Day which means that most places (stores and libraries) are closed, and we're taking an essentials pday so we can go to the temple. 

But we're going to do some service at H's house, (a less-active woman) and go with the elders to an appointment later this evening. 

And this week we have a zone conference! I'm really excited about that!! We're also going to hopefully be meeting with a few really positive potential investigators - we're seriously on the edge of some really great miracles! 

Unfortunately on Saturday G told us she doesn't want to investigate the church as seriously as she did because she doesn't feel like she can follow the rules, but we're going to keep meeting with her once in a while and try to help her see that the rules aren't confining - they are freeing! And you just have to give it a chance. 

Sister Hadley and I with some great coca-cola bottles: Søster and Skat!  Skat means dear or treasure.
Anyways it was a great week and this week will be too! I'm really excited for the zone conference because this month we're studying chapter 7 in Preach My Gospel and we are going to practice giving the lessons in Danish to members and investigators, and they are going to critique our Danish and tell us what we can do better. I really want to get better at Danish, because if I can speak the language better, then the people we talk to can focus more on what we say than how we say it in our wonderful American accents. :)

I love you a lot and I hope that everything is awesome this week. Have fun this last week in Rapid City, and take lots of pictures and send them to me!! Love you!


Monday, June 2, 2014

A Trip to Aalborg for J's Baptism

Well oh my goodness, I'm turning 20 in 5 days. I got the package!!! I'm saving the presents, except for the camera - I opened that yesterday so I could take some rockin' pictures today. Today has been SO FUN. More on that later!!

The longer I live away from you guys, the more I am grateful for everything you do for me and for your love. I know I am in the right family, and that we were all supposed to be together! Aren't you so glad that families can be together forever? That's always been the foundation of my testimony. I've never doubted that we will be an eternal family!

Hooooo hey hearing about your week makes me feel tired for you! Whew! And now you're down to the last week (weeks? I'm not sure if you're leaving in 1 week or 2)! Ahh! I just love Rapid City so much, it's been a good place to grow up. But Washington DC will be such a great adventure! I'm so excited to hear about all of the sight-seeing and new experiences. Especially with so much family being around! That is so crazy and awesome, all of the sudden 3 of the McBride Sistas will finally live close to each other!
Søster Hadley and I doing our companionship hug in front of a wonderful windmill!

This week has been crazy and wonderful. On Monday we got to go to the YSA Family Home Evening because E, the sweetest girl ever, invited her friend D and he came!! He was very interested in the way we pray, and said that our knowledge of God as our loving Heavenly Father just might convert him. ;) We're hoping he will come again tonight, so we can all be good friends. 

Then on Tuesday we went with the elders to the hospital to sing to an almost 90-year-old woman, E from our ward who broke her hip last week. She usually conducts the music in sacrament meeting, but I did it instead last Sunday and yesterday (it reminded me of being the music conductor in Hawaii! Fun times!). 

Being with E was such a good experience - she has so much faith and sincere love for the Lord. She sang with us and knew every word of the Danish hymns we sang. She told us how important it is when you're conducting music to look into the peoples eyes and smile at them (I did that yesterday and it was so great! She was right!), and that we're all a part of her choir. Her daughter, who isn't a member of the church, was there too and really enjoyed it. She even called a member from the ward afterwards to thank us for coming! 

Right after we got out of the hospital, we got a call from a girl who lives in Frederiksberg and is interested in learning more about the church. We have an appointment with her this week and we're SO EXCITED! People never call us first!! Sister Hadley and I have been freaking out about it all week.

Den Lille Havfrue!

We also did a lot of good service this week (painting C's apartment! deep cleaning at P's!) and went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders. I was with Sister Petersen who is a really hardworking missionary and just wonderful. We met some great people throughout the day and got a couple of numbers (and gave away a Book of Mormon! woo!). 

Here is our rockin' district. :)

And on Thursday we had a REALLY fun district activity! We played beach volleyball for 4 hours straight and had a barbecue on some one-time grills. I love our district! It was nice to just relax and have fun for a few hours. We got incredibly sunburned but it was worth it! I'm getting my sister missionary tan-line going, and it looks really really good. ;)

On Friday night we took a train to Odense and stayed overnight there (so fun to be back! It felt like I never left!), then headed up to AALBORG!  

Oh my goodness Saturday was so wonderful. J is baptized! I saw the Middlemases and some of my greatest friends I've made (H and I, J and E, J and J family, the bishop, Sister Packard and Sister Grant, tons of wonderful people!). 

J's baptism!
Sister Bishop and Sister McVey traveled up with us, so I got to spend a day with almost all of my companions (seriously the only two I didn't see were Sister Hale and Sister Nuttal). 
All of us sisters together, I love them all so much! 

After the baptism we had just enough time to eat lunch at Sticchi's, the greatest Italian restaurant ever. On our way to Sticchi's, Sister Bishop and I contacted someone at the bus stop, gave her a Book of Mormon, and got her number. Oh! It was so fun to do missionary work with my trainer and see how much we've both grown and learned. :)

The Kristus statue in Vor Frue Kirke. We went to a concert there on Tuesday night (it was an all-boys choir... like one of those amazing ones where the young boys can sing higher than most girls I've ever heart) and it was beautiful.
Yesterday during testimony meeting P bore her testimony for the first time since 1993... it was the sweetest testimony. She is the most faithful woman and is working so hard to quit smoking. She has a bad knee and has a hard time walking, so P, her home teacher, accompanied her up to the stand and stood by her while she bore her testimony. It was such a sweet moment!

Us on the docks.
Basically it's been such a great week and there's been a lot of great missionary work going on! And 2 of Sister Hadley's favorite ladies to meet with just got back from long vacations to China and Malta, so I get to meet them soon! So exciting! 

And this morning was transfers, so we stayed with Sister Orgill while she waited for her new companion (Sister Packard! She's coming here to Sjælland to be a Sister Training Leader) and had a grand time being tourists in Copenhagen! I'll attach the pictures for sure. We're spending today and tomorrow with Sister Briscoe while she waits to pick up her new missionary Sister Ripa. 

Sister Hadley, Orgill and I this morning at Kastellet.

And guess who gets to take Sister Ripa out contacting on her first day in Denmark? Meeee! I'm so excited! It's going to be great. :) 

And for the rest of the week we have more service with C and P, meeting with G, P, E, and more! And of course we're going to find more people and just serve the Lord any way we can. I love it here, I love the gospel, and I love these wonderful Danes. 

Also, I love the white handbook! Lately I've been starting my personal study by reading a page out of the white handbook in English (we read a few pages in Danish every day in companionship study) and reading the scriptures that go along with each section. I found a really great passage in D&C 58:30-33 - where Christ is speaking. He basically says that many times we are disobedient, then expect blessings to come - but when they don't come, we start doubting God, but we forget that we weren't obeying his commandments in the first place. But it's hard for Him to help us if we aren't willing to do what He asks us to do!

I love being a missionary, and I love you so much! I will miss celebrating my birthday with you, but Sister Hadley and I will be partying it up here. :) Have a great week! I hope the move continues to go well and that everyone stays happy and healthy!