Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Go big or go home... or both!

Well, I'm not sure what will be happening next Monday so I think this will probably be the last big note home of my mission. OH MY the time has just flown!

I don't really know what to say - there have been so many miracles, struggles, high points, low points, and everything in between that I can't really sum it up in any other way than to just bear my testimony.

I know that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the best way to achieve happiness in this life as well as the life to come. It's not just words on a page or an idea in a book - it is fixing things that are broken, seeing the good in others and yourself and improving upon it, learning to love and be loved, finding opportunities to do simple acts of service, following God's commandments, and holding on to hope and faith whether circumstances are good or bad. And so much more. If you want to dive deep into the doctrine, you can, but the simple truths of Jesus Christ's teachings are simple enough for a child to understand. I know that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I used to think the word disciple must mean you're a perfect person, but a disciple is a student and a follower. Anyone can follow Jesus Christ. The more we learn about Him, the closer we want to be to Him, and the more we want to do exactly what He has asked us to do. Talking about it isn't enough, and thinking about it isn't enough - we have to get out there and do things! So get out there and find a way to help someone else! It's pretty amazing how when you forget yourself and go to work, the good you do comes back to bless you so much more than you'd ever expected. :)

I love you all! Thank you for your support and love my whole mission long, and thank you for the examples you have been to me. Life is good. Happiness is a choice. Answers to life's questions are found through scripture STUDY (not just reading! even though it's easier that way!), sincere prayer, and paying attention in church.

Denmark is the greatest country in the world! It breaks my heart to leave it - I love these people so much! But onward and upward. We'll all see each other again someday. :)

Ha' det godt! Vi ses!

(Note from Hannah's mom: Hannah sent that note to friends and family, and then sent one more note to her dad, that I thought you might like to see, too. One more week until she is home!) 

Hello hello!

Miracles WILL happen. I'm running to the finish line, not walking!

this is going to be really short - you can hear what I've been up to in like a week. ;)

But everything is going SO well. I had a really neat blessing a few days ago from President Sederholm and I am going full steam ahead. We have a lot to do this week and a lot of people to take care of (and meet!), and it's all going to go well. I'm trying to stay current in my journal because these are days never to be forgotten! It's hard to keep things in an eternal perspective - the natural sister Barrett in me is saying "this is hard! I am tired! I want to sleep!" but I have to keep reminding myself that I'll NEVER be able to come back to this. So I  need to love and serve as much as I can.

I love the work! I love you all SO MUCH. Have a great week! I'll probably write you a little note next week one more time, but until then, keep on moving forward! Keep being amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the support and love. And for helping me to not be trunky by not talking about home too much.

See you on the other side! Love you!

Sister Barrett

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Wonderful Week

OK before I tell you about this wonderful week I have some important questions.

1. Do you have to do anything to make sure the stake president knows I need to be released?
2. Am I giving a homecoming talk? And if so, when?
3. Is there going to be a family trip to Denmark this summer?

It's March! AHHH! It's starting to look even more like spring outside (crocuses! Vintergækker! Påskelilje!) and it's really beautiful. I love Denmark in the spring. I love it all the time but oh, it's just lovely right now. And it's getting so light! It's funny what a difference light can do... people just seem happier.

Oh man I wish I would have done a better job at writing to Syd, Em, and John on the mission. I've done my best! I know they know I love them, and I know they love me back! That's what is important, right? riiiiiight? I hope they get my letters soon!

It's been an awesome week! So many good things happening! We were out of the area a lot, for exchanges and our leadership council. We were in Århus for 2 days and that was so fun! I was with Sister Landvatter - she's been in Denmark for 3 whole weeks! Oh it was so fun being with her - that new missionary fire is so motivating. We worked on contacting together, because when ya barely know the language and you aren't used to talking to strangers all day it can be reeeeeeally hard to know what to say! Sister Landvatter has the most beautiful smile, and such a happy countenance. It rubbed off on me and everyone we talked to! Seriously, it was incredible. Every time she opened her mouth to say something people got happier. 

I always wanted to serve in Århus - it's the second biggest city in Denmark and it's so charming. There are so many friendly people around - we had a lot of great conversations on the street! And they have great investigators there, we met with M who said he's really uncomfortable praying but we invited him to say the closing prayer at the end and he said a really beautiful prayer! It did not sound like he felt awkward about praying at all! So that was delightful, we had set a goal that in 2 weeks he would say a prayer out loud but we changed the goal to him praying every day for the next 2 weeks because he already says some rockin' prayers.

-that reminds me. Before my mission I was lucky if I remembered to pray once a day. I can't even imagine life without prayer anymore! It keeps me connected with Heavenly Father and with myself. If I'm ever having a hard time or struggling with knowing what to do, I just have to say a prayer!-

We had a great appointment with H on Wednesday. She is such a great lady! We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and she totally understood it and feels like she's already living it to a degree. And we visited G, which was fabulous as usual. He always has such great questions!
Leadership council was amazing! It was surreal knowing that was the last time I would be there. I'm really excited because we're focusing on how to recognize and follow the Spirit this month (see PMG chapter 4!) - which was what I was hoping we would be focusing on! It's really interesting how we get used to having the gift of the Holy Ghost, and don't take the time to use it. I find that every time I take the time to really listen to the Spirit, there's always something I can do or say or be better at. 

Søster Van Orden is a champ, she totally ran the big run with me (it's like a 5k and has a few really steep hills) the morning of leadership. We almost died. But we made it back and didn't have to feel guilty eating waffles for breakfast! ;)

Right after we got back from leadership, we picked up the Aalborg sisters for exchanges in Horsens. I was with Søster Williams, who has also been in Denmark for 3 whole weeks! She's way tall. And can pretty much do anything - dance, cook, sing, everything! Her mom taught her a saying that has been a huge strength to her in a lot of hard situations - "It is a commandment to love, not to be loved." That's probably one of the saddest things I've ever heard, but when you think about it a little more, it's really comforting! If you're doing your best to love others, then it doesn't really matter if they love you back - you're doing everything you can. 

Sister Williams also said that she focuses on the positive, because what you focus on tends to expand - if you focus on the negative, life becomes more negative. If you focus on the positive, the reverse happens! That was really uplifting to me. I have been stressing out about my mission - have I done enough? Have I improved? Am I going to continue on the path of discipleship? Am I strong enough to leave this behind? But I do NOT want the last weeks of my mission to be filled up with worry and concern! Keep moving forward! The best is yet to come! We never see the full results of the good that we do. 

We had stake conference yesterday and THAT was a tender mercy. I saw a lot of people I really love from my whole mission. Families from Aalborg, Odense, and even one of my friends from Copenhagen. J and J were there. J had a pin on his suit of the angel Moroni. He told me that when I go home and start dating someone, I have to get his approval before I decide to get married. ;) 

C and her daughters C and C were there. M S, who helped find M in Aalborg, was there and is engaged to N, who was baptized in 2013 in Odense. And so so so many more people that have blessed my life. Hopefully I've been able to give them a little bit in return. It just filled my heart. I also realized it's probably the last stake conference I'll ever attend in Denmark, and OH! I will miss the people here and their strong testimonies and commitment to the gospel! There were some amazing things said in conference - a lot of talks focused on being a disciple of Christ, going to the temple, and going home to Heavenly Father.

We stopped by a potential yesterday after church named A - he's this sweet old man I met on exchanges with Søster Floyd last transfer. We rang on his buzzbox and he stuck his head out the window and said "Oh it's you two!" - I thought he might have meant it in a bad way. Turns out he was actually really happy to see us! He is so open for the gospel and so ready to receive it!!! We taught him on his doorstep and invited him to baptism (he said yes!). When we said the closing prayer he was so touched and said something like "that's the kind of thing that makes you feel free inside!" It was so sweet. We're going to give him over to the elders so they can teach him with K - an older man who was baptized about a year ago. They would be PERFECT friends for each other. It's so exciting!

This week we're going to have zone trainings! My last 2 ever! So sad! A few days after I leave there's going to be a zone conference, and they're playing Meet the Mormons. I was super disappointed that I won't be able to see it, but then I remembered - I'll be able to watch that movie and whatever else I want! Heh heh heh.

We're also meeting with all of our great people this week, and a couple of new - A, hopefully S, hopefully M. Oh and hopefully G and A, but they kind of dropped us last week :O

There's a lot to look forward to (not just movies)! There's a lot to leave behind. I've been quite emotional these last few days and I think it'll probably just continue. Good thing I can come back to Denmark! I am fully planning on coming back to visit, hopefully multiple times. Maybe I'll get a job as a flight attendant so I can fly for free. ;)

I love you all! I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I'm so grateful for everything I've learned by living it. It is seriously the perfect pattern to success in life. I'm so grateful for the Savior and all He has done for me. I want to be better at using the gift of the Atonement. And being more grateful! this week Søster Van Orden and I are going to try praying only prayers of gratitude. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Ha' det godt! Vi ses!

Søster Barrett

PS word of the day: Påskelilje - Easter Lily, or Daffodil. :)

PPS PICTURES! Yes, that's right, I got my camera back! Here's a bit of a catch up from my last few days in Slagelse and the last week!