Monday, December 22, 2014



Can you BELIEVE how fast time is going? 

It's almost Christmas! 

It was just Christmas! 

It's almost 2015! 

Ahh. I am in shock. 

I'm also extremely excited because... I'M GOING TO BE COMPANIONS WITH SØSTER HALE! In Horsens! Isn't that the best news ever?! I was pretty sure I'd either transfer to Gladsaxe 1 with Sister Grant or Horsens with Sister Hale, either way it would have been the greatest ever. Well, besides the fact that I have to leave Sister Hadfield. I love that Søsta! She's going to do great here in Slagelse - Sister Reed is coming from Frederiksberg - they were companions in the MTC!
We have had SUCH a great week, and of course this week is going to be even better - Christmas is so wonderful!

Me with one of the cutest girls ever!  Her mom was baptized last week. The Elders are photo bombing!
So I'll start off with last Monday. We finished off the night by stopping by S, from Sri Lanka we met on the street 2 or so months ago - she gave us her address, but has never been home. She was home on Monday! So was her daughter, S, and her husband, S (they're into the S names). They are a Hindu family, and so so sweet. We had a pretty good first lesson, and it turns out S is in the same class as the Bishop's son J at school! 

They invited us back yesterday for dinner and a lesson, and it just so happened that J got called as a ward missionary yesterday as well so we took him out with us to the appointment. It was way awesome, he and S are pretty good friends, and the Sisters are going to go back to meet with them again on January 3rd (right after I leave :( ). We told S she doesn't need to worry about making us food, but apparently it's a big culture thing so she probably will do it again. Such a sweet family!!
Søster Hadfield on her birthday making flæskesteg
On Wednesday we started Christmas caroling with the Elders to members of the ward. We've done it a few days for an hour or so at a time, and it's been really fun! Especially because the elders have a car so we don't have to freeze outside (not that it's been very cold, last night it was 7 C! I think that's in the high 40's F, right?). Here's the catch though: the Elders aren't very good singers, and once one of them messes up the other starts to laugh and it's all downhill from there. 

We stopped by the Bishops family one of the first times we went out caroling, and literally could not sing one verse of Silent Night through without laughing. It was so. bad. Luckily the H's thought it was hilarious, and they started recording us on their phone. Did I mention this isn't the first time it's happened? I can't remember if I told you this - but we had that open house a month ago or so, and we had a little choir concert once an hour. We and the Elders were supposed to sing a song together, and in the first mini concert the same thing happened - so we didn't sing again the rest of the open house.
We all had lunch with T - love her!
So basically, we're way good at spreading the Christmas cheer, just not in a put-together way. ;) It gets better every time though!
We had a great lesson with M on Thursday, and came back on Friday to help her unpack some boxes (she moved a few months ago but because she's been really sick/in a wheelchair, she hasn't been able to get moved in). It was really sweet - it was such a small thing to do, but she kept saying "It's so wonderful to have all of my clothes unpacked! Hvor er det dejligt!" For a 60-year-old woman, she's pretty stylish, I must admit. She got rid of some of her clothes and I may or may not have taken some. ;) Just being thrifty!
We stopped by M on Friday - remember him? He's from Iran, and had to flee because he converted to Christianity. We contacted him and his friend M on the street a few weeks ago. M doesn't speak very much English or Danish, so it's been really hard to communicate and he has a lot of questions/has heard some negative things about the church. BUT M and M decided they would give church a chance, and came yesterday. And H, a member of our ward who is from Iran as well, came too! It was amazing - H and M and M were instant friends, and H helped translate for us so a lot of things got cleared up, and we were able to really teach the restoration. They both believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, which is why they are willing to give the church a chance even though it must be frustrating with the language barrier. The Spirit is so strong every time we talk with M and M, and I think that good things are really going to happen with those two.

M, M, and H and I - they are some really sweet guys!
And SaturdaySaturday! We went back up to Korsør, to contact another referral. When we got to the house there were two girls standing outside, so we talked to both of them hoping it was the referral - no such luck, they were her friends going in for a Christmas party. So then it was a little awkward, because it's one of those she's-a-referral-but-doesn't-know-and-would-be-creeped-out-if-she-knew-she-was-a-referral moments, so we didn't feel like it was the right time. 

But we had a little bit of time before the bus came again, so we decided to knock a couple of doors, and found S and M and their family! They're from Romania, and looking for a church to go to that is close by. S said she was hoping for a church as close as Copenhagen, and my thought was "Come to our church in Slagelse! It's even closer!" We watched He is the Gift with them, and are coming back again on the 24th (what a good way to celebrate Christmas, right?) To give them a Book of Mormon. On the bus ride home, we sang Christmas carols (Sister Hadfield and I can make it through whole songs without laughing when it's just us two singing, isn't that amazing?) and it was so fun.
We had a cleaning check on Saturday, and Elder and Søster Madsen came from Copenhagen with some lovely surprises - Christmas packages from home!  It was such an unexpected surprise!
Yesterday we sang Christmas songs at the nursing home, which was so good as usual. I'm really glad we kept up with going to the Nursing Home, even after G passed away, because it's one of my favorite things we do every week. After we finish singing we always shake all of the old peoples' hands, and they are so so sweet to us. Plus, it can be pretty hard to get into nursing homes and hospitals for service here, but since we have a good relationship with the nurses in the nursing home, we're going to come on the 25th and visit anyone who is alone for Christmas. We're baking cookies today to give to them all!
This Christmas is even better than last Christmas, which I didn't think was possible. This next week we're going to be SO BUSY - we have a dinner appointment almost every night (which is rare here), teaching appointments all over the place (which can also be rare the week of Christmas), a Christmas Program on the 24th, more caroling (pray for us!), the nursing home, lots of goodbyes for me, and SKYPING YOU! It's going to be so great.
Our lovely pile of Christmas gifts! It means a lot to know we're thought of over here!
We had this ward challenge to write a letter to Jesus Christ, telling him what we would give him for Christmas this year. I finished my letter this morning. My heart is so full - I think that if I were to write a letter to the Savior a little over a year ago, I wouldn't know what to say. But I felt like I was writing to a good friend, who has helped me through so much my whole life long. I know Jesus Christ has always been by my side, but I didn't always see Him. Now I do, and I know that he is not only the reason for Christmas, but the reason we are here on earth and the reason we can come back to live with God someday. Though he is the King of Kings, he also cares about the little things that mean the most to us. We just have to open our hearts to Him.
I love the work, and I love this season. I hope to carry the warm feelings in my heart throughout the next year - no matter where I am. I am really going to miss Slagelse and all of the wonderful people here. I wish you could see what I see every day when I'm out walking the streets of Denmark with Søster Hadfield.
I hope you have a good few days before we see each other on the skype! I am SO EXCITED! It's going to be good to see each other, don't you think?
Love you so much!!! GOD JUL OG GODT NYTÅR!
Søster Barrett

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Glædelig Jul

Christmas in Denmark is AMAZING. I love it! It's even better than last year!  Did I tell you last year about lighting up the candles on the tree and dancing around it while singing Christmas songs? That's still one of my favorite traditions. And the candle countdown - we have a big, tall candle that we burn every night to count down to Christmas. 

The Christmas food - flæskesteg, rødkål (red cabbage), brunkartoffler, brun savs, risengrød (which we ate with the ward after church yesterday... soooo good!) ris'alamande, hvidkål, all of it! 

And pakkelege - it's a Christmas present stealing game. Everyone brings a gift or two, and piles them on the table. Then a dice is passed around, and if you roll a 6 or a 2 (I think - but I can't remember so that might be wrong) you get to choose a gift off the table. When all of the gifts have been chosen, then if you roll the right number you can steal someone else's gift! That goes on for 5 or 10 minutes and when it's over, it's over! I'm a little rusty, I haven't played it in a year so I may have forgotten a few things but I am excited to play it again!
We have a lot of good plans for next week. We're going to do a little Christmas concert at our favorite nursing home, and we're also hopefully going to visit some of the people in the nursing home on Christmas. We're going with the elders to sing/visit people at the hospital on the 25th, and we're spending the 24th with T and F! M is coming as well so that will be so great. 

We have a list of members/people we know who we want to stop by to sing to and visit, and on the 25th we're going to the K's to skype you all! The ward here is amazing - we're invited over for dinner almost every day of the week next week, and I am looking forward to being with some amazing families.
Sister Hadfield and I are just having a blast! We de-cluttered our apartment a bit this morning, but we have a long way to go on that. I think we're going to carol on the gågade on Wednesday night. We did it last week too, with the elders and the assistants who were here on exchanges, and gave out He is the Gift cards as we sang. It was very successful! This time we're timing it out so it'll be when the gågade is busiest, and we're inviting members to come sing with us so it's not just us with our bad American accents. ;)
Remember R from last week, who we met while emailing? We had another appointment with him and he had prayed for the first time in a long time after we first talked. He said he felt really good, and wants to learn more about the gospel. We're meeting again tomorrow in the library and inviting him to Christmas church. He's awesome! We're so excited about where it's going with him.
Ah, the gospel is just so good. M got baptized on Saturday! She was the elders' investigator, and she has the sweetest family - twin daughters who are 3 years old. They are so cute - it's so sweet to see them come to church and get involved with the ward.
I wish I was better at explaining all of the good things happening here, and remembering them! I need to start writing in my journal more regularly. I've gotten really bad at it, which is a shame because there are a lot of amazing, small, simple experiences from day to day that I forget over time. So that's my goal!
Haha, we had a great appointment with J and L last night. We me them because we were carrying an american football (I don't remember why) and it caught J's eye so he started to talk with us - turns out he's always read the Bible and his mom set an amazing example of faith for him in his life, but he's always described himself as a "lost soul." He's married to L, who is from New York! They're the greatest couple - J is really talkative and over-thinks things, and L just cuts right through it and tells him to give it a break. What's awesome about it is that right now, we teach J and L comes into the lessons when she feels like it. But J got into some anti stuff and was criticizing Joseph Smith, and L cut right in and said "you don't know anything about Joseph Smith! You can't decide if he's a good man or not based on what other people say." They're soooooo so funny and wonderful.
Everything is going so great! There are so many people to talk to and lift up! I want to have more charity for others and be more aware of their needs - it's so easy to ask people what they need help with, or who in their lives needs a prayer from us, but it's more difficult to look behind what people are saying to find what they're really going through and how we can help them. And then follow through and actually do it. I don't want to be a robot, you know what I mean?!
Yesterday in sunday school S, our teacher, invited everyone to write either 1)a letter to Christ for Christmas - telling him what we would give to Him for christmas or 2)a letter to ourselves of our testimony of Jesus Christ to read on Christmas. I think it sounds really fun, so I'm going to try it out! You should too!  
Anyways, I love you all! So much! I have to go, but know that you're always in my heart! I am excited for skyping next week. :D Hopefully I'm not too awkward, I'm not really sure what to say. But it'll be very fun! You can meet Sister Hadfield! Also, I told Dad this, but don't you think it would be nice if we all shared our testimonies of Jesus Christ on the skype? Let me know if you all want to do that!
You're the best. Thank you for everything, especially for your love and support for me. I know you see the best in me, and I want to do the same for other people. I think we'd all be able to accomplish a lot more in life if we could always see the best in ourselves and everyone else.

Hannah B
PS  no pictures this week. Glæd dig til næste uge! (Hannah's mom added in some holiday pictures just for fun)

PPS I thought of the super awesome Danish gift I want to get myself - A nisse! one of the cute little elves I told you about last year - there's a really fun brand of them. I love nisser!

ppps - here is a blog with more information about Danish Christmas Traditions:  Diane's Daily Denmark.  That is a link to yesterday's post about ris'alamonde, and if you look on her sidebar she has posted something about Christmas all month.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It is Christmas in Denmark!

It's crazy that we're in December - and like, almost halfway into it now! This Christmas is soooooo busy, we have SO much going on and it's great - I just want to make sure I take the time to enjoy every minute instead of forgetting the purpose of it all in the midst of the planning, coordinating, making appointments, calling, etc. It's all because of Jesus Christ and I want to remember that every day.

Our District's really lovely Christmas picture!
Isn't #sharethegift awesome?! It was kind of crazy/disappointing - we were told we'd be getting cards to give out with the message on it, but then it turns out they were only giving those cards to english speaking countries. But there's a member in the stake who does printing/advertising, and President Sederholm got him to make 15,000 cards (in Danish!) for us to give out - so IT'S HAPPENING!  We've had so many great conversations because of the video - Christmas just opens hearts in a different way. 

I was on exchanges all week (I'm never arranging exchanges like that again. It was exhausting! But so amazing!) - In Frederiksberg on Wednesday, Gladsaxe 2 (a part of the greater Copenhagen area) on Thursday, and Roskilde on Friday. It was so fun and crazy - and so good to come home to Slagelse and Sister Hadfield! I missed her! And she did amazing with Sister Reed while I was gone - they did a lot of good. 

They met with our newish investigator J, whose wife is from the US. The first time we came over we invited her to join in and she wasn't interested, but when Sister Hadfield and Sister Reed came again she participated in the lesson! We're going back this Tuesday!

 Elder Madsen and Ogden at their best.

Last Tuesday we had our Christmas Zone Conference. The Spirit was so strong, and we learned so much. It helped me snap out of my gloomy mood. We focused a lot on He is the Gift - every time I watch that video I feel so peaceful and good! The motivation to share it with people has done wonders for our finding - we use every chance we can to be out talking to people. 

In the past it was easy to sometimes think "I've done enough talking to people for the day, I'm going to take a break for just this bus ride" but now it feels like we're never done. It's been a change in the making over the last month and a half or so. I'm really really grateful for all of the different components that have gone into it for Sister Hadfield and I. 

Today we set our goal for how many of the He is the Gift cards we were going to give out/people we were going to talk to, and we decided that we would talk to people throughout the day as we did our Preparation day activities. and OH MY GOODNESS, my email's going to be cut short because we started talking with a guy, R, who was sitting across from us, and ended up having a little lesson/showing him He is the Gift, and we have another appointment in the library on Wednesday. How awesome is that?!?!
Søster Hadfield, M, and Søster Barrett

We got to watch Frozen at the zone conference! It was so fun!!! And last night we had a Christmas concert (we drove with the elders to it and home - and they got us lost both ways, so it was kind of a crazy night) where I sang a duet with Elder Hawkes (from South Dakota, represent!). M came! that was totally awesome! And the song went well, even though I was way nervous, so no complaints there.

M with the patch!

Basically life is really good, the work is amazing, and I am loving all the finding and teaching we're doing! It's awesome!

I hope you have a great week. I hope you get to do lots of fun things and you all get to feel God's love every day. :)

Love you! Vi snakkes vel!

Søster Barrett

And I forgot! It's Sister Hadfield's birthday today, so BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HER! To celebrate this morning we went on a run... muahahaha. I think sister Hadfield was disappointed in my fun happy birthday idea until we ran to a bakery and got a huge birthday pastry. That's what exercising is all about right there. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

He is the Gift - #ShareTheGift

Hola! Hej! God morgen!
Yes, Danes do Advent! I'm not sure what people do in America, but I know that here they light a candle every Sunday for the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. We have a really cute countdown candle that we've started lighting, and I would have a picture to send you of it but I forgot my camera at home. Woops!
Anywho this week has been good. A little on the tough side, but not because of anything happening work wise - the work is amazing, the people here are so so wonderful, for some reason I am just feeling down. Do you ever get that way? I feel like I really shouldn't feel that way while out on a mission, but I just feel blah. Disconnected. But we keep pushing through and doing our best, and I know I'll snap out of it soon! Søster Hadfield is a champion. She's good at putting up with me. :D Plus this week I'll be on exchanges from Tuesday - Friday night, so she will be rockin' Slagelse with Sister Reed! And they're going to do GREAT. I'm excited to hear how it goes.
Exciting news!! C HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE! the 27th of December. Sister Hadfield invited her to baptism and did such a good job! The Spirit was definitely there. We made a baptismal calendar and as long as we stay on track it should go way well! C is so sweet - it really makes my heart hurt how much she's gone through in life. It's pretty  neat to see God's love work in her life!!
And on Thursday we had the greatest Thanksgiving of my mission with... M! We took some seriously awesome pictures, but like I said I forgot the camera. So you'll get them next week! It was a great day - we talked, took Christmas pictures, watched mormon messages, ate, and sang songs. It was just really nice and laid-back. M made really good food! And we made really great cookies, if I do say so myself. So overall it was pretty darn great!
Other than that it's just been a pretty good, normal week. I went to Leadership council on Friday and we got ready for missionary work in the Christmas season - did you get the Ensign this week? With the little booklet about "He is the Gift"? Oh my goodness let me tell ya, that video almost makes me cry every time we watch it. 

It's such a simple reminder of what Christmas is all about. And the invitation is for everyone - discover, embrace, and share the gift. It's been causing me to ponder a lot on how I have discovered, embraced, and shared Jesus Christ. I could do so much better but I have done all I can, and I know He is there.
When we're on buses and trains, people we sit by are usually on their smartphones. So instead of interrupting them from their phones I've started inviting them to check out a really good video about Christmas - and last night on the bus a girl watched He is the Gift right then and there! We had a great conversation about Jesus Christ - who she doesn't really feel like she needs in her life, but if nothing else it made her start thinking about Him. It was a good experience. :)
I just love Christmas time, especially on the mission. I'm so glad I get to be here for two. We're busy making Christmas Calendars for people with scriptures to read each day leading up to Christmas, and I hope everyone likes them! I think they're pretty nifty!
Anyways I have to go! But I love you lots and I hope you have a great week. God jul! Glædelig jul!
Søster Barrett

PS - Luckily, M sent us a silly photo from Thanksgiving at his house.  Thanks M!