Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Last Week in Copenhagen


Well. First thing's first - I transferred! Ahh! I miss Frederiksberg already - but I'm now in Slagelse, a cute little town close to the edge of Sjælland. It's very different from Copenhagen! But OH so hyggeligt! It feels like home already. (It's pronounced Slayelse, just incase you were wondering ;) )

I am companions with Sister Vige, who is from Norway. She is 21, is really good at doing hair, and is 6 weeks older than me in the mission. She is awesome and I'm so excited that we're companions!

I can't believe it's almost John's birthday. Is he really turning 11? I'm going to send a post card this week! And school is starting in a week?! AHHH!

This last week was a rather hectic one, with trying to see people one last time and making sure Sister Handley felt good about the area. She's going to do great - she's training a new missionary! I think she's a little worried about it but I know she'll rock it. 

We went on splits with the sister training leaders and I got to be with Sister Packard again for a day! That was awesome - we reminisced on all the good times in Aalborg. 

Sister Packard and I on splits (does it look kind of like a certain famous painting to you?)

The night splits started, Sister Packard got a call from a man named David who got a pass-along card a week ago. He called because he wanted to see the church but the church's address wasn't written on the card. Sister Packard invited him to come to a church tour the next day and we ended up teaching him the first lesson as we gave the tour - it went so well. It was pretty perfect that we were on splits for it, because it turns out he lives in the Frederiksberg ward boundaries, not the Gladsaxe 1 boundaries, so he will be attending our ward! It was really funny because David thought that the temple was the church building, and parked his motorcycle right outside the temple steps.

While we were together Sister Packard and I decided we would try to make a more focused effort to use travel time on the s-togs for finding people. As a result we got a girl's number, a lesson, and someone's address! It was really productive. 

Also, Sister Packard gave me some amazing advice that I really needed to hear. I told her that in the last little while I've been having a mid-mission crisis where I feel like I'm trying hard to be a better person, but I've kind of lost who I am. She quoted the scripture where Christ says "he that loseth his life for me shall find it" and it hit me: I've been working so hard to become a better person myself that I've forgotten to lose myself in the work, and therefore... I've lost myself! Haha does that make sense? 

Then Sister Packard said that sometimes it seems like there are all these expectations for a mission - that essentially a person has to become perfect in those 18 months or 2 years. But that's not the purpose of a mission! The purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ - and of course we become better people as we serve, but our focus is on inviting others, not reading the entire standard works or perfecting every Christlike attribute. We read in the standard works and work on Christlike attributes to become better tools in the Lord's hands - they are a means to an end, not the end itself. 

Anyways it really made me think about why I am out here, and it was honestly quite a relief to realize that in the 18 months I am on a mission I am not expected to become a perfect person - I am expected to help other people take the same steps I'm taking now! Faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Enduring to the end.

Our investigators are doing well, last week was a little challenging because we were having a hard time getting ahold of everyone - or we would make an appointment, the day of the appointment would come, and they would cancel. 

But! We met with G and taught her the plan of Salvation. It's been a while since she has been willing to let us teach one of the lessons (she dropped us on June but we held contact), but she had read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and we had a great talk about it. J is also doing well, but from what G was telling us the language barrier (She's not super great at English or Danish) is intimidating to her. But we have some wonderful Portuguese speaking members who can help with that!

Yesterday I wrote all of the potential investigators we've found in the last couple of weeks in the area book and we called a lot of them and... miracle of miracles, people answered their phones! Sister Handley has 2 lessons and a church tour set up for this week from it :) We'll just keep praying that it all goes through.

And yesterday was my last Sunday in the Frederiksberg ward... ah what a great place I am leaving. I got to play piano for sacrament meeting one last time (haha let's just say I am not the best at playing piano for sacrament meeting) and relief society! It was very bittersweet. There are so many people in Copenhagen I have grown to love so much. Even if they forget me, I'll never forget them!!!

D (most amazing girl... she's from the US and always has something really insightful to say! She served a mission in South Carolina)

C and I. C's amazing, I don't know if you want to put these up on the blog or not because of the cigarette but I thought it was super funny :) I love C! She is an eternigator... for now! She has a great life story - and has been in theater and in movies!

Pia (Min lille Danske Mor) and I... I got a little emotional after saying goodbye to her. Love that lady so much!
So that was a bit of the week. It's been exciting, it's been crazy (we had a district activity by the way! Sand volleyball and soccer all day! One of the elders toenails cut my ankle during soccer... gross.), and this week will exciting be too! :) Transfers are always an adventure. My camera is dead but I will send pictures of Slagelse next week! 

Me and GILLIAN! How awesome is that? We went to high school together, and now she's studying in Copenhagen for 4 months... crazy coincidences! It was fun to see her and share a little bit of what I've been doing for the last year.
I'm glad I'm here on a mission and I am excited to see all the good things that will happen here in Slagelse!

I pray for you and I hope you have a great last week of summer. I hope it stays warm! I hope the volcano in Iceland erupts after tomorrow, because tomorrow is when all the missionaries go home and the new missionaries fly here!

Søster Hannah Barrett :)

PS  and... a man duct taped to a sign in the train station.  Wha'?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mission Conference with Elder and Sister Teixeira

So last week was amazing!!! We had some GREAT experiences. 
On Monday we met with the Relief Society President in our ward to talk about a few less-active women that she thought we could visit/strengthen. We are working on getting in contact with 2 of them, but Sister Handley got in contact with one of them on Wednesday while on splits and she invited us back this week! Yay! 

On Tuesday we met with J again. It was a beautiful lesson. We got there, and J said she had been reading in the Book of Mormon and she knows that it's true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. G couldn't come and J doesn't speak English as well as G does, so we had to use google translate a little bit (haha we are working on it! There are some members who speak Portuguese that we can bring with next time). 

J told us that she wants to be baptized in the right way and that she wants to learn the doctrine behind it. THAT was pretty unexpected! We read 2 Nephi 31 with her and it strengthened my testimony of how much better the Book of Mormon and the Spirit can explain things than we can - the chapter was speaking right to J. We invited her to baptism and she accepted for the 13 of September. We have a lot to do! We're making a baptismal calendar for J so we can get everything done on time!

Our district from the MTC. Not much has changed ;)

Then on Wednesday Elder and Sister Teixeira from the Sevently came to our mission. We had an amazing mission conference and learned SO much. Sister Sederholm started the conference with a talk about humility, and it was a direct answer to one of the questions I came to the conference with. 

President Sederholm then spoke about having the faith to find those who are prepared to receive the gospel (IN DENMARK! It's possible!!! I know it's true!). It was the perfect way to start the conference, because a lot of things were said that are going to change the mission but only if we're humble and faithful enough to follow them. 

Søster Hale and Søster Barrett

Elder Teixeira focused on the big change that will be coming at some point in the future: Ipads! Ahh! He told us that we need to be the kind of missionaries that are worthy of using the Lord's technology, because otherwise we will be wasting the Lord's time. 

Something I realized as he was speaking was that although I can't access technology now to do to work, members can - so we have started inviting members to share videos on facebook, reach out to their friends through facebook, etc. And my commitment to you for the week is to find a Mormon Message to share with someone on facebook - either a general like and share (on your wall? Is that what it's called?), or to someone in specific. Will you do it today? 

I know that it will uplift and encourage someone, and cause them to think about how they are living their life. And I promise you it will make you think more about the small and simple things you can do to share the gospel in everyday life. Even being on Facebook can be a chance to make someone's day better or bring them closer to Christ!

Sister Hale, Sister Grant and I at the one year mark! we got to see each other at the conference and it was so great! 

Random side note - I read an article in this month's Liahona from Elder Christofferson this week, and he talked about remembering our purpose as we share the gospel. Talking to friends at work or school or wherever, or sharing something on Facebook, or doing home and visiting teaching aren't the end goal - they're a way to reach the end goal, which is inviting others to come unto Christ. It's not about the numbers or whether the person you're talking to is an active member of the church or of a completely different faith (or no faith at all!). It is about inviting everyone to come home to Heavenly Father again. I know that it's possible to invite others to come unto Christ every day - because I have done it.

Elder Teixeira encouraged us to find through the people we already have by asking them about their friends and family and following up by asking what we can do to help those people. 

Sister Teixeira encouraged us to have more contact with the people we work with by setting up more than one appointment with them each week. We have been doing both this week, and so far have set up multiple appointments with one of our investigators this week, and are on our way to finding more people to teach through the people we already have. 

It's so exciting! There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord is hastening His work here in Denmark (and in Iceland!). There are more people being taught all over the mission than ever before and you know what the greatest thing about that is? We're changing more lives and helping people see the need for God in their lives.

On Saturday we got to the temple! It was lovely. There's a good chance I'll be transferring next week (aaaaaaah!) and I don't know when I'll get the opportunity to go again, so it was good to be there.

Søster Handley and I at the temple!

The second half of the week was kind of a test of faith - we're applying what we learned in the conference, but our appointment with J fell through and she couldn't come to church, and some other things fell through, but are we giving up? NO! I know that everything is done in the Lord's timing and Elder Teixeira promised us that if we applied what we learned from the conference, especially by finding through the people we're already working with, the amount of new investigators we are getting in the mission will double or even triple in the next few weeks. I believe him! I am excited to see it happen!!

I know I'm here in Denmark for a reason and the work is hastening. I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and can tell people that the message we have is true and will change their lives if they let it. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can have strength to make changes in myself and my attitude even when I don't want to or don't feel strong enough to. I know Jesus Christ lives and wants all of us to know Him. I hope you get the chance to help someone come unto Christ this week. :)

And us in the cold weather outside... a few days ago it suddenly turned into fall. Goodbye summer days!

I hope you have a great week!  

I'm praying for you all. :)


PS - more pictures of the Mission Conference on the Denmark Copenhagen Mission Blog.  There are a couple more cute pictures of Søster Barrett!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One Year!

Well first of all, it's my YEAR MARK this week! ahhhh! I made a list of 12 things I've learned in the last year, 1 for every month. :)

1. How to fix a flat tire.

2. How to unclog drains. (scary!)

3. The proper technique for painting the inside of a house.

4. How to read a map/navigate 3 different cities by bus, bike, train, and foot.

5. How to speak Danish!

6. I can bear my testimony with conviction to complete strangers.

7. I can choose how I feel, instead of letting the circumstances I am in choose for me (still working on that!)

8. The true meaning of repentance and how to repent - to repent is to change, to develop a fresh view of God, myself, and the world around me.

9. I have learned to know Jesus Christ. I know Him. He is with me as I do His work.

10. The importance of the Bible, Book of Mormon, and modern-day revelation - if you take away either of those 3 things, you don't have much to stand on!

11. I have learned how to have patience. With myself, with the Lord's timing, with other people. (still working on that too!)

12. Most of all, I have learned that the Lord always keeps His promises - it was hard for me to trust in Him, but now I know that He will never put me through anything that isn't for my own good. And He promises that as I do the best I can, He will work through me to bring more of His children back home to Him - and I have seen that happen.

This week it seemed to be a theme in our district of plans being cancelled the day of... which is why we back-up plan! Seriously every day we started out with a really busy day planned, and then someone would cancel over text, someone else wouldn't be home, and so forth. It was a good thing though, because it helped us get creative and make back-up plans very  meaningful the night before! 

One appointment that didn't fall through was with G and J, as well as J's friend M from Brazil. G was really late to the appointment, and as we were waiting for her to come J told us, "I have watched 5 videos about Joseph Smith and they made me cry." We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and she was so happy to receive it that she kissed the book! It was so sweet. 

When G came, she was practically teaching J like she was already a member of the church! She bore her testimony to J, and the Spirit was very strong. It was really surprising because until recently, G wasn't interested in investigating the church, but now she's setting up appointments for us with her and her friends!

Last night we stopped by (a different) G and it was the best - he said that he can tell our church is different from other churches, and that he was pleasantly surprised by it and he wants to read the Book of Mormon through.

Last quick sentimental thoughts on the last year - It's been the best year of my life. I wouldn't want to be anywhere other than here in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission, learning to become a better disciple of Christ. I've come so far, but it seems like it hasn't really even been that much time. But also, it feels like I've been living the missionary life my whole life long! It's crazy!

Love you!! Have a good week!
Søster Hannah Barrett

 - Isn't it fun that everyone calls me Sister Barrett? Can you even imagine that? ;)

 - I'm sorry because I totally ran out of time to write a good email!  Also I haven't taken any pictures this week. :O Bad missionary award to Sister Barrett!

Monday, August 4, 2014

A View from Vor Frelses Kirke Tower

I am definitely having a happy day! It's been pouring rain and we biked to the library in it - I think rainstorms are my natural habitat, so no complaints there. ;)

Just a bit of rain! I was the only one who kept my hood down as you can see. ;)
Thank you for studying Preach My Gospel with me! :) I think that's really great, it's such a good tool for missionary work. And actually, we aren't studying the chapters in order, so if you want you can study chapter 11 with me!  

Today I wrote down a list of what I've learned from studying Chapter 8. I learned that setting goals helps me focus my time on the important things and helps me plan more effectively, which leads to miracles and growth. I learned that writing things down makes it way more likely that I'll remember to do the things I need to do. Also, I learned about the importance of accountability, most importantly accountability to the Lord. Unlike my mission president or stake president or bishop, the Lord is with me every day and I have a responsibility to be accountable to Him - He is the only one that knows my heart. 

Last week we climbed Vor Frelses Kirke tower.  It's higher than it looks!
And I learned that how I feel about my mission is a reflection of how I feel about Heavenly Father and the blessings He has given me - which did wonders for my attitude, especially on the days when we don't seem to have much outward success. No matter what happens, I have so much to be grateful for and I'd much rather spend every day feeling happy than wishing for bigger or better miracles! Plus, the happier and more calm I am the more I am receptive to the Spirit, so more of the Lord's work is accomplished anyways.

The work is picking up here on Frederiksberg. We had 3 investigators in church yesterday! G came to church and brought her friend J with - it was so unexpected! They had a great time and the ward was so welcoming, and J said "see you next Sunday!" as they left. Fist pump! 

Looking down from Vor Frelses Kirke tower.
We also invited our investigator G, who's from Nigeria, and he said he would come but I didn't really believe him (that just shows my lack of faith huh!). He wasn't there in sacrament meeting, but as we were heading to sunday school an African man in super fancy African robes walked passed me, and I realized it was G! How awesome is that? He loved it too, but left right after church before we got to talk with him - but apparently he had a great conversation with some of the men in priesthood.

We also met with P (not the one you're friends with on Facebook) again, and she had read a little bit in the Book of Mormon. We need to simplify our teaching a lot with her, but she was less shy this week and has such a sweet spirit about her! 

Doesn't the view of the city remind you of Mary Poppins?
On Wednesday or Thursday night we had a couple of less actives to stop by, and only one was home - his name is J, and he basically told us his whole life at the door (something I've noticed about being a missionary - people here are pretty closed-off and private, but when they start talking with us, especially if they've had contact with the church before, they open up and tell us soooo much about their lives). He has a lot of struggles and a lot of them probably can't be fixed in this life, but he was so happy that we came to see him. We prayed with him and he said it was the first time he's prayed with other people in a long time. 

Right after we visited him, we stopped by a previous investigator who has never been home when we stop by her (seriously I've been stopping by her since I got here!) and she was home! She is a wonderful lady, who totally knows the church is true but isn't ready to commit to it yet. It's all about the Lord's timing, and we'll see where it goes. It would be amazing if something happened to help her see how important this is, but I can't decide if being bold would help her or just make her more determined to wait to join the church.

I thought you would like the windmills and the sea.  :)
Basically, I love Denmark and especially the people I've met here. Frederiksberg ward is so wonderful and I don't ever want to leave it. The time here is such a gift.

Crazy thought I just had - if how I feel about my mission is a reflection about how I feel about Heavenly Father and all the things He has done for me, how much more is how I feel about my whole life a reflection of how I feel about Heavenly Father? There's so much to be grateful for.

Anyways I love you so much! Keep being amazing. Don't swallow too many bugs. Find some good running routes for me and tell Emily that I am impressed by her running skills!

Ha' det godt! Vi ses næste uge!*


* Have a good time!  See you next week!