Monday, August 26, 2013

S4:E02 ""

Hey everyone! I hope everything is okay with you Guys!  Denmark is always great. My companion has gotten a lot better dealing with home sickness and everything, but he is still pretty home sick. He enjoys the mission now though. His personality is very different from mine. (go figure) so it's hard for us to be the best of friends, but we still get along well enough. He is an amazing missionary, and he has the 'greeny fire' as people would say. So his potentional is in the stars, and with how good of a teacher he is, he could very well reach it.
Now on to the days:
Monday: was p-day. We went to the statue park Again, to show my son the craziness of Down South in Sønderborg. Then we met with the member named Tom, and had a nice dinner, and chat with him. We talked a lot about Jehovas Witnesses because he has met with them quite a bit and has studied their religion out. It was very interesting.
Tuesday: This was a wild day. We started off like any other day. Trying to stop by people, them not being home or being busy. Then we had a lesson with this girl named Andrea WHO seemed very promising. Right before going there, we got news that the member that was going to come with us, couldn't anymore. So we showed up to her door, and started to say that we couldn't teach her alone in her Apartment. (Rules and stuff) But then she just told us the the mormon thing wasn't for her at this time. But she wanted to keep the book of mormon, and she prayed and said it felt really good. So we did our job of planting that seed. But that kind of sucked, because we had a lot of faith in her, so we went home for dinner, because naturally the best medicine for depression. After a good dinner and calming Down, we decided we were going to go out and find some peoples. So during the prayer on the way out the door, a random town name popped into my head. I had never been there, I wasn't even sure if it was in our area. But we looked it up and we were off. Went we got to Felsted, the name that popped into my head, I started praying a Whole ton to be lead to the street we should go to. Looking at the map, there was one that stood out to me, so away we went once Again. So we started bonking on some doors, with no luck. Then we went up to this super trashy looking house, and we heard someone with a super Sønderjysk accent through the window. (Southern, relatable to gator Hunters) So naturally, it was the the Elders turn. So we knock on the door, and this 75ish old opens the door, we introduce ourselves, then he just tells us to come in. Because of his accent I was quite worried about understanding him, but this is where the second half of the miracle comes in. Ældste Holbrook could understand him, and had a really good discussion with him. (I didn't do a Whole ton, he couldn't really understand me, and vice versa) We actually committed him to a baptismal date! It was such an awesome experience for us.
Wednesday: Not nearly as exciting... we served Tom, let some plumbers into the church to fix a toilet, then stopped by some people to set up appointments. Then we took a train up to Esbjerg for splits.
Thursday: Splits with Ældste Eisert (My MTC companion) and Ældste Berry. It was a lot of finding for me, because I told them to take Elder Holbrook to every appointment they had. It was a good day though, we just did a lot of contacting, then I ended the day by riding bikes to a store(15 minute bike ride) to buy 6 liters of chocolate milk with Elder Berry.
Friday: Going home from Esbjerg, then weekly planning took most of our time. We had an appointment with the Steens, but they burned us ;_; So we went up to Nordborg and stopped by a less active, where Elder Holbrook hit it off with him. That greeny fire is strong. So we had a really good lesson, mainly just giving testimonies, then he told us to stop by his neighbor, WHO ended up being this 90 year old guy WHO mainly just wanted to tell us war stories. That was how we ended that day.
Saturday: We stopped by Amalie, this investigator that was close to baptism 4 months ago, but went Down hill fast. We had a nice Little chat, Elder Holbrook got to know her, then we talked about what she believes in, and why. It is sad, because talking to other missionaries WHO were here before, I know that she has had experiences where she has felt the spirit and knows that it is something she wants in her life. She is just denying it, because it will require a big change in her life. That night we had another lesson with Peter, the guy WHO we set a baptismal date with. This time we set an actual date with him, where we feel he could be ready, the 19th of October. We talked about how families can be together forever, because he really misses his wife, WHO died a few months ago. He really wants to find out more about what we believe in.
Sunday! We had 2 new people in church that came with a member. (Invite friends, it Works!) Then we had an appointment with the Steens(Investigators) at the Cullingfords(Members). But when we got there, the Steens didn't show up. So we shared a Little message with the Cullingfords, and right when we finished, the door bell ring. The Steens showed up an hour late, and we had an awesome lesson with them. The Cullingfords taught the importance of working together to find Christ in a marriage, and I think that the Steens realize how important it is to apply the gospel into their lives right now instead of waiting for something to happen. After that awesome lesson, we went to Toms house and had some dinner and a meeting because he is now our mission leader. It was a good day, and a very good week.
Thank you all for your prayers and everything. I love you all!
Ældste Swan

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

S4:E01 "A beautiful, bouncing, baby boy!"

Hello! Everything is still fantastic in Europe!
So Monday and Tuesday was pretty much going around and saying bye with Elder Hawkes. He was leaving, going all the way to Devils Island. (Sjæland where Copenhagen is) Which was really nice. Sadly these two days were pretty hectic, and I missed writing in my journal on those days.
Tuesday around 3 I traveled to Copenhagen, which took the Whole day. I stayed with the zone leaders that are over there.
Wednesday morning, went to the church in Copenhagen, where there was a meeting for all the trainers and all the new Guys that just showed up. In this meeting there was one kid, WHO had a Danish accent that was way better than any of the missionaries, he was also a new kid. So naturally, he is my son. His name is Elder Holbrook, he is from Salt Lake. His mom is 100% Danish, and she converted here in Denmark. So she raised him teaching him Danish in the house. (Which is why he is so good at Danish) What is really crazy is that he was only in the MTC for 12 days. So I got him around his 15 day mark. Greeny fire and home sickness like crazy! It's weird because I really am a huge example for him, and I set how the mission plays out for him. He is already an awesome missionary, and he knows the language. So I'm not worried about it at all. So when we got back from Copenhagen, we had a bit of time to Work. So we went out finding. We were just knocking on some doors, and this guy in a Wheel chair opened the door. We started talking with him, and he was really nice. Then we heard a voice from behind us, this guy was saying to just close the door, because all they want to do is make you change. He said that maybe 3 times, then I just said, "We know, but have a good night!" We continued talking with the guy in the wheelchair, just about his beliefs and a Little bit about what we believe. Then the guy that was getting mad at us for knocking, telling him to close the door came back and stood right behind us and told him to close the door once Again. Elder Holbrook, being new and terrified of course did that. He just said bye, and then shut the door. We turned around and the guy told us to leave. Then he said something that we didn't understand, so we said "Sorry, we didn't understand" then he asked if we would understand his fist. It was an exciting first finding experience for my baby boy. (This may have been what made him so homesick)
Thursday rolls around, this was district meeting day, which was really good for him to see other missionaries working. Our train was late, so we missed the connection which ended up making us an hour late. So we got hom around dinner time. Then we had an awesome lesson with this guy name Daniel. He is a college student, studying computer networking. (He is really good with computers) That was actually a really good lesson. We just talked about why we are here on this life, and what are purpose is. When we got home, Elder Holbrook just straight out told me that he wanted to go home... that was when I had a Deep Heart to Heart with him, talking about why we are on a mission, and all the people he will bless. Then I gave him a Blessing, and he went off to bed.
Friday, we served Tom, and this helped Elder Holbrook out a ton. He bonded with Tom a ton, and found his purpose here on the mission. That was good. Then we did weekly planning and we had a lesson with the Steens. That started out really well. Feeling the spirit talking about families and baptism and how much it blesses lives. Then Mira, the 1 year old daughter started to cry because she was hungry. It ended the lesson quite ubruptly but I think it was still a good lesson. We went finding after dinner, and we found this awesome woman WHO is maybe in her 40's. She said that she heard a lot of bad Things about mormons, but now wants to hear what we actually believe. So we actually set up an appointment with her right at the door and it was an awesome contact. (Her name was Andrea)
Saturday was fun because we got to help out with a youth stake activity that was going on Down here. It was themed after the Olympics, and we were in charge of the tug-of-war. It was fun to see a ton of Danish youth here in Sønderborg. Then we went up to Yaseens and sadly didn't have time to share an actual message because his friends showed up. (Kedde!!!!!) Which was awesome. Got to just chat with them, and I got a potential for some other missionaries through that.
Sunday we had an awesome church meeting where Elder Holbrook was able to meet all the members. After that we had a lesson with Andrea. It went really well, we talked about God, the holy ghost, how to find God in your life. Then we talked about the restoration, specifically on how it blesses families. Then we invited her to read from the wonderful Book of Mormon, and to pray. She was willing to say the closing prayer as well. She is an awesome lady, and a very good soul.
But now I am here, writing all my wonderful friends and Family. I hope you have had a fantastic week, and that you will have a great week.
Loves and stuff from Sønderborg!
Ældste Swan

Monday, August 12, 2013

S3:E10 "An incoming son"

Hi everyone! I hope all is well in your lives. Everything is still fantastic over here in the great land of Denmark. Big changes are happening and it is a very exciting time for me.
First off, last monday after emailing we decided to go see the German border. That was quite exciting. We drove for a bit, then went hiking for 20 or so minutes until we hit the spot. It was an accomplishing ending as well, because there was a bridge that connected Denmark and Germany. So we took some Pictures of us right by Germany and then we began our long journey out of the woods. After that we had a dinner appointment with a member. We had a really good discussion there. We talked about how when you do something, you should either commit 100% to it, or 0%. (This was in relation to D&C 123:17) Then we had an awesome conversation about the difference between an opgave (invitation) and a gave (gift). How the 'opgave' Means a Whole lot more because the person has to go out and Work for the gift, which usually is knowledge and experience. While the 'gave' won't mean nearly as much.
Tuesday came about and we went on some good ol' splits with our Zone Leaders. It was an amazing experience. The elder I went out with (Elder Swenson) is an amazing missionary. I learned so much by how he worked. Although our Work that day consisted a lot of us just explaining that we weren't JW's, he still taught me a while ton.
Wednesday was a zone meeting, which just Means our zone was together and got a short Little lesson from our zone leaders and mission president. Then we had a zone activity, where we all played some football which was fun. It was a long day, and because of the train ride home we didn't have any time to Work. But before the zone meeting there was a meeting for the new trainers, and that was an exciting meeting to be in.
Thursday came along. We served Tom, did some Work for him. Then we stopped by two investigators. Although we didn't have the oppurunity to teach an actual lesson. It was still good to just chat with them and get to know them a bit better. After seeing them, we went off to our lesson with a college student that was interested in hearing our message. Sadly, he burned us. But in the coolest way possible. He left a paper on his door (With tape) as well as a pen. On the paper he explained that he was called into Work, which is why he wasn't there, but under the explanation he had 3 check boxes for 3 different times that we could meet with him. He told us to check one of the boxes. Then as a p.s. he left us 2 Pepsis. It was a super nice way of finding out he wouldn't be there.
Friday consisted of weekly planning, Nutella cheesecake brownies, then going up and helping Yaseen clean the huge house that he purchased. We quickly found out that the top floor of it was mostly used for growing some drugs, and smelled quite bad. It will be a lot of Work to get it all fixed up. But we started with just washing the kitchen Down. (The most important room) Then we shared a short message because it was late by the time we were done. We just talked about what it Means to have faith, and how it has blessed us in our live.
On Saturday we taught a good lesson to our Chinese investigator. She asked us a lot of questions, and I'm super happy that she did that. Her questions were why do we pray, and why do we have religion and scriptures. It was really good to just take a step back and talk about those Things, because they are the most important Things to understand. After that lesson we went to a less actives home, whose daughter was there. The daughter had been to church 10 years before (She was like 13) and couldn't remember a Whole ton about it. But all we did in that appointment was answer questions from her. Which went really well, and she ended up taking a book of mormon and wanted to read it. We have an appointment with her today, so hopefully that will go well.
Sunday was a good day. Church was amazing, the spirit was very strong. Sadly it was a lot of goodbyes because elder Hawkes is leaving this Tuesday, but it was amazing to see the members see the influence of the missionaries.  Then we saw Familien Steen So Elder Hawkes could say goodbye. We taught a good lesson, then invited them to baptism. Sadly MaryAnne is ready to commit to a date, but Anders really wants to. We invited them to read (2 Nephi 31) and pray and talk about it together. Because it really is a Family decision. They are an amazing Family, and Anders is progressing so quickly. He is reading and praying almost everyday, and those are the most important steps.
But as you can guess, I am having a son on Wednesday. I am training this NeXT tranfer, which Means tomorrow I'm heading to Copenhagen to pick him up.It will be a very exciting time, because I'm definitely not the best at speaking Danish.
Thank you for all the letters and everything!
Ældste Swan


Friday, August 9, 2013

S3:E09 "Forgetting English and the like"

Elder Swan reporting in Again. I hope everything is well with all of you! Denmark is still fantastic. I finally hit about where I was weight wise before the MTC, which is great... it's about time.
Starting with last p-day, it was the first time I had mcdonalds here in Denmark. Not half bad. (Comparably, by mcdonalds standards.)
Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with two Phillipino Women. We talked about WHO God really is and kind of why we have religion in the first place. IT was a good lesson. We focused on recieving guidance in our life and feeling God's love for us. After that we met with Yaseen, WHO went through a big change in his life. (I can't remember if I mentioned this) In the past 2 weeks he got a divorce and got engaged Again. So we actually met with him and his woman friend. She is actually a super nice person, WHO is sincerely interrested in religion. So we taught them about the book of mormon, and the many Blessings that it has given us in our lives.
Wednesday was also a fantastic day (It's also great serving the Lord) But we started off by having a fantastic lunch with Maybrit and some of her Family. It was nice to see her Again, but at the same time it was really weird to hear her speak Danish, and I could understand it for the most part. It was a very good time at lunch with them. Then after lunch we went over and helped out Tom. The member WHO we help every week. Which was fun as usual, shared a quick message to him. Then we met with Grace and Marco Again. (The less active Dad) We shard a message with them about being an example to others, then talked about how many missionary oppurtinities open just by being a good example to others.
Thursday morning was the first day I missed a train. We were heading up to district meeting, it was Classic. We got out of our car and started running towards the train, then when we were halfway there it drove away. But we took a road trip up to Esbjerg instead which was quite exciting. Because we knew this district meeting would be the last one before transfers we had quite the meeting. Lots of cookies and Things and just a good time with missionaries. Later that night we had an awesome lesson with the Steens. We also talked about being an example, and this lesson was actually the first time that MaryAnne was completely involved in it. We talked about Gods influence in our life and also the many Blessing that come from the gospel. Those two are learning so quickly about the Blessings that you recieve when you follow Christ. We also stopped by a less active and shared a quick scripture and just checked up on how she is doing. Which was good, she is reading from the Book of Mormon Again, which is the first step to keeping the commandments. The scriptures are a fantastic thing.
Friday wasn't to exciting. Weekly planning and watering some plants for a Family. Then we saw Yaseen and his woman friend Again. Our lesson focused on church, then we invited them to come on Sunday.
Saturday was exciting. We started off our day by stopping by some people and setting up some appointments. Then we bonked a bit. That night we had dinner with an asian investigator. She made fun of my lack of chop stick skills. But after eating some amazing asian food, we shared a message about the holy ghost. We talked about how it relates to some chinese beliefs as well as how it is kind of like a 6th sense. It was a good lesson. But at the end of it I was saying the prayer, in English. It didn't go so well, my brain switched to Danish half way through, and it is super hard to fight that back when your mind is thinking the other way. I never thought it would happen to me, but alas, two months in and I'm forgetting English.
Sunday was awesome. We totally had 5 investigators at church! Familien Steen and Yaseen and his woman friend were there. Anders is stoked about the church, he loves the members and everything about it. He actually told one of the members that he has a guilty feeling because he hasn't been baptized yet. So we hope to set a date with him soon. (This week) But after an amazing day in church, we stopped by John, a less active WHO honestly doesn't do much with his life. We told him to set a goal that he can accomplish every day, which hopefully will be a start. At the end of the day, we had a lesson with Tai. In which, we somehow talked about marriage, neanderthals, and how many people will come to the earth. It was an exciting lesson. So while making dinner on Sunday we happened to recieve a phone call from our mission president. I then recieved some news, that I will be training someone in about 2 weeks. Which is crazy because I'm definitely not the best at the language. But I'm pumped for it, it should go well, and be very exciting.
Thanks for all your prayers and loves! Go out there and make someones day!
Ældste Swan