Monday, September 30, 2013

S4:E07 "A new piano"

Hi everyone! Another week has come and gone! I hope it has treated you all well! This weeks email won't be exceptionally exciting, but I hope you can still find some joy in it. As of right now I am sitting in the library with the smell of B.O. seeping over from the guy NeXT to me playing facebook games.
Last monday for p day we stopped by a Whole ton a genbrugs, which is pretty much thriftshops or second hand stores. That was fun, although sadly I didn't find anything, but my companion found some good finds. Then we tried to stop by some people, WHO sadly were not home.
Tuesday, I went to Copenhagen!!! I had to take this language test so I can stay in the country when my permit runs out. So Elder Eisert, Elder Walch and I set off to Copenhagen. When we got there we at some mcdonalds, then we took another train to where the testing place was. But inbetween the train station and the testing center we had to follow directions for 2 Blocks. Of course we went the wrong way. I ended up having to ask someone where the road was we were looking for. Naturally it was the opposite way we were going. But after FINALLY getting to the testing center, we got all checked in and took the test. The test wasn't hard at all. Most of it was language, which was easy, but the last section was land history... which I probably failed hard core. After that we went back to Copenhagen, where this sweet Black guy came up to us and started talking to us about religion. He was a legit Muslim that actually lived it! So we actually ended up giving him a book of mormon, and he wanted me to write a note in the front of the book. Sadly we didn't have time because our train was leaving soon. After that we went to Odense where we spent the night with Grandpa Stewie (Elder Larsen) and we went to Bull Again where we saw Martin.
Wednesday, we took a train home, ate some lunch, then taught a lesson to Andrea, the girl that was prepared to be baptised before we even met her. That went really well. Then we had a sweet eating apointment with Familien Thorngreen, which is pretty much the funniest Family ever. They gave us some really good ice cream with raspberry sauce.
Thursday we took another train to Horsens, for a zone training. Which took all day. I learned a lot about how I should train, and how I could be a better missionary in general from president Sederholm.
Friday, we got super excited about the mall that is opening on Tuesday here. We are planning on checking it out, even though it is expected to have a Whole ton of people there. After that we celebrated a less actives birthday, and we were there for way too long. Although we made them some frikadellers and mashed potatoes. It wasn't bad. After that we had an eating apointment with the Steens, which was awesome. It was some really good Danish food. But the lesson afterwards that we shared with them was what was special. We took a different approach this time, where we just talked about how much we care for them. As well as how much the Ward here cares for them. Then we talked about how that is the only reason we invite them to read in the book of mormon, because we have felt the Blessings of what it can give, and we want to share it with everyone. MaryAnne during the lesson leaned over to Anders and said >>Wow, they are actually being nice today<< But it was an awesome lesson.
Saturday, we got a piano from our branch president. So know we have this old, out of tune piano in our Apartment, which is super awesome! Then we got to eat some breakfast with him and his Family. After that we had an awesome lesson with Amalie, where we taught her like we taught the steens. We talked about how much we cared for her, and that she really is a friend of ours, and that is why we invite her to read from the book of Mormon. It actually turns out that she is moving to Odense, which is the same place Elder Hawkes (My last companion) Is getting moved to. It's crazy because Elder Hawkes spent a Whole ton of time teaching Amalie, and they were close friends.  Then we stopped by Tais, and we ate some pancakes with Tai and Julia, his girlfriend. They are the cutest couple ever, they just play video games all day! :D After eating pancakes we went up to Yaseens and he made us dinner as well. Then we shared a really good message about what the gospel can give us if we live it and take the time and sacrafice to live it.
Sunday was awesome. We actually had to give a talk in church, which went pretty well. But after church we had a Little branch brunch. There were a Whole ton of people there. We had many less actives and even the Steens showed up to it!!! We had some good food, and a very good time with each other. After that we did weekly planning, then we taught Christian (The American) and he surprised us by reading three chapters from the Book of Mormon. And he had quite a few questions about it. Our lesson was on how to apply the book to our lives today, and we also talked about how God answers prayers. After that we had dinner with Tom, our mission leader, then we went home and watched the restoration video before bed.
Thanks for everything you have done for me! I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Ældste Swan

Monday, September 23, 2013

S4:E06 "Darker than ever"

Hello everyone!!! I hope all is well over in the land of freedom and eagles! Everything is fantastic in the land of pastries and vikings! I'm a Little dissappointed no one got the song reference last email... but alas, THIS WEEK!!!:
Monday, after writing home and buying food. I made some cookies and we hung out with one of our investigators and talked about video games. After that we went and tried finding in Kær, but it is getting ridiculously Cold, which makes me sad. It's also getting dark around 8, and bright around 8. (When I got here, I saw day light the Whole time I was awake.)
Tuesday, We had an appointment with a Family we though was going to be super promising. But, they burned us. Which was a Little dissapointing. after that we went to the church and watched the first half of the Work of salvation broadcast because Elder Holbrook has never seen that before. Then we had an awesome lesson with our less active named Maria. She is from Maraco or however you spell it. She told us a Little while back that she felt that the church was just helping her, and that she wanted to help. So we have been trying to give her Things to do. One of which is helping us run a class we hold every Tuesday, which she is excited about. It makes me realize that it's true. A part of serving is allowing others to serve you. We also have started inviting her to come with us to lessons, which has been going really well, and she was in church last sunday and really enjoyed it! It is actually a really big Blessing for her, because she just lost her job, and really wanted something to be stable in her life. :D after that we went up to Yaseens ("Sassy Yass" himself) and, like usual, we helped clean up the plague house. After that, we helped him make some dinner, he is actually a really good chef for almost being always drunk. It's scary watching a buzzed man cut vegetables with a really Sharp knife. I don't even trust myself with a Sharp knife. After a fast dinner, we took off to catch a train to the promised land, Odense. We were going over there for a zone training thing, but my grandpa (trained my father) and great uncle(trained by grandpa) serve there, so we spent the night with them. The first thing we did was go to an "American Resturaunt" to get a burger. After ordering and sitting Down, the cashier comes up to us and asks us WHO we are, so we talk about how we are mormons, Americans, all that fun stuff. Then we eventually get on the topic of what we do in our free time. And he plays Starcraft 2. So we had quite the conversation about starcraft, and I also got his email address to keep in touch, so hopefully I will serve in Odense and be able to teach him about the gospel.
Wednesday was the zone training. Where we got a lesson from the mission president, and learned a lot. It was all about finding people to teach, and that we just need to open our mouths. Go out there and talk to people. It was really good. But that pretty much took up our Whole day because of the train ride.
Thursday we started the day off by visiting a less active member WHO was in the Family History Center. (He pretty much lives there) which was good. We just talked about how we can make the branch here better. Then we saw one of the members in the church, so we went inside and saw that she was cleaning the church, by herself. So we asked if we could help her out and did that for a while. After that we ate lunch, then served our mission leader, by cleaning up his house. Tom made us some food after we had our missionary meeting, and we had a good time with him. To close the night off we stopped by a less active member WHO told us she didn't want to take her names of the records of the church!!! Which was fantastic news. Then she actually told us that she wants to get all the lessons Again, and get refreshed in the church! It was a Little miracle from the Lord. She also gave us delicious tasting cookies, which was a Little bonus to that.
Friday, we had an awesome lesson with Andrea, the woman that is ready to be baptized and is getting baptized on the 19th in Germany! (I'm excited to go Down there for a day!) But with this lesson we brought the less active member, Maria, with us. It went really well. We talked about why we keep the sabbath day holy, and what it Means to keep Sunday holy. Maria is such a good member, she walked 30 minutes to come to that appointment. After that we went around inviting our investigators to church, then we took a train up to Esbjerg for a district activity the NeXT day.
Saturday rolls around, and we as a district go to a park and have a nice district meeting about asking for referrals and finding people to teach. Then we ate some delicious food, and played some soccer and just had a nice time with each other and getting to know how the others Work in the mission field. We found out that Elder Berry, the district leader is getting transfered. Which is a Little sad. I am the only person left in the original district when I got here... everyone else as moved on to other Places.
Sunday was an awesome day. We had Maria, Andrea, and Yaseen in church. We also had an awesome talk on temples in sacrament meeting, and an awesome lesson in sunday school on WHO Christ is to us. We also had 3 families invite us and Andrea over for dinner in the coming 2 weeks, which will be fantastic. I am excited for those. After that awesome day at church, we stopped by a less active, named John Sundahl (Sunny D) and we just kept him up to date with what's happening in the church. Then we taught a really good lesson to the American we found about reading from the Book of Mormon and praying to find the answer. We compared it to Enos, and how he had to have a wrestle to find the answer, that it didn't just come immediately.
But.. that was my week minus the pastries and cake I have eaten. Thank you all for the updates, and the prayers! I hope you all have a fantastic week, and eat some food in memory of me!
Ældste Swan


Monday, September 16, 2013

S4:E05 "January"

Hi Again! I hope all is still well with you all. Denmark is still the greatest place on the planet!
Monday came, and we stopped by a less active, and had a nice chat with him and talked about how we can make the branch a better place. It made me realize how close this branch is to being completely awesome, and becoming a Ward in a few years. I realized that it all comes Down to home teaching. It gives callings, responsibilities, but it also brings the branch together, and not just a place where people go every sunday. Monday night we had an eating appointment with Familien Eriksen. Thomas (the dad) is quite the gamer, so we talked with him for a while. He said that every Friday night, when all the kids are in bed, it's his 'Me Time' to play a couple games. That Family is unbelievably nice and fun though. We shared a nice Little message with them on how we all need to be an example to others, and that being an example is a big part of being a missionary.
Tuesday, I have stayed on my mission for 5 months Thus far. It is unbelievable how fast time goes by when you are having fun and keeping busy. But this Tuesday we focused on the class we were going to hold that night. It's called ,Grundlæggende Principper af Mormoner' (The ground laying principles of Mormons.) Where investigators and members can come and learn a Little more about the gospel, then eat some cookies or something and have a good time with eachother. We tried to stop by some people, with no luck, then the class time rolls around. It ends up being more of a lesson, because Andrea, an investigator showed up, as well as Carl, a member. But it was an awesome lesson on prophets, and why we need them in these days to lead us. Afterwards we ate some cookies and actually got to know Andrea. It was a success in our books.
Wednesday, I was in heaven. I ate a lot of left over cookie dough from the previous day. We pretty much just served a member. (Yaseen) And cleaned up some Things in his crack house. Then we shared a message with him. After that, we tried stopping by a refferral we recieved, that is a 20 minute drive away from us. And she wasn't home, so we bonked around her area, with no luck. But the place we went to is close to where Peter lives, so we stopped by him and gave him some cookies! He was doing so well, because of Kemo, but we had a nice chat with him at the door, and just showed him our love. He is such an awesome guy, but life is hard, and I think we all know that. The comfort comes from knowing that our life is the 2nd act in a 3 act play. So we don't have to worry about the worst Things in life.
Thursday was just the same, because it was a very good day. We had district meeting, where we ended that by eating some pizza. We took the zone leaders home with us to Sønderborg for splits. I went out with Ældste Swenson, WHO is an awesome missionary, and an awesome guy. We were full of appointments that day, and the first person we stopped by was Ernst. The 90 year old guy. He wasn't doing well at all. (We litterally though he was going to die when we were there...) So we said a prayer with him and went over to a less actives house. Where, like usual, we talked about how the branch can become better. After that appointment we were starving. We walked Down the road to where the car was parked, to see an ice cream truck. Which we ended up running Down to buy some food. So 4 waffle cones later, we had an appointment with Andrea, the girl that really wants to be baptized. We taught her the Word of Wisdom, and when we asked if she would hold it, she replied by saying. "I already do, so... yeah" She was definitely prepared to hear the gospel. After that we finished the night by getting a pizza and talking about Zelda, and Starfox 64.
Friday rolled around, that was pretty much just weekly planning, then stopping by some people to invite them to church. Then we bonked in a place called Kær, where we found a Family that investigated the church 10 years ago, but wants to hear about it Again. (AWESOME!!!) So we are super excited about that, and are praying a lot for them. Kær is one of my favorite Places. It is the village of our area.
Saturday, didn't Wear a frown, We served Yaseen in his crack house Again and shared another message with him. He gave us a big box of fresh vegetables which is fantastic. It was a huge Blessing for us and they all taste really good. Then we made the branch news letter, tried to stop by people, but no luck.
Sunday, we went through... a fantastic day of church, where we ended with meeting Quinten and talking about how we can best help the branch grow. He agreed that it is all up to home teaching, and that is what we need to focus on. After that, we stopped by Ernst where we just listened to him tell the stories of his life. Then we stopped by an awesome Family, the Thorngreens, where we just stopped by to see how they are doing, and if there was anything we could do to help them. Both of them are gamers, so it was fun to talk to them about that. Then we had a wonderful lesson with the American named Christian. Where we talked about the plan of salvation and the 3 uestions you ask, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going after I die? (If you have ever wondered these Things, and want to find out more, call your local LDS missionaries!)
And now we are here, writing home. I hope you all will have a fantastic week, and that you will be able to see God'sw influence in your lives!
Love you!
Ældste Swan

Monday, September 9, 2013

S4:E04 "Planning the trip to Germany"

Hello everyone!!! I hope everything is still good for all y'alls! Everything is still going great over across the sea.
So let us dive right in to my life.
Monday, last Monday, it was an alright day. After righting home, we decided to get some Chinese food that... to say the least, messed with our systems. After that we just hung out at the Apartment, cleaned up a Little bit. Then we went to teach Peter, the person we set a baptismal date with. He gave us the bad news that he found out he has cancer. In his lungs... and his bone marrow. They told him they will begin Kemo almost immediately, which shows how bad it really is. So our lesson with him, was just giving him comfort and encouraging him to continue to pray for strength. We also gave him a Blessing, that he said felt really good, and game him some Peace and comfort. After this lesson with went and picked up the Esbjerg Elders for splits. After picking them up, I made sticky buns and we went and bought some turtle ice cream, which was only just the beginning.
Tuesday, splits day. I had Elder Eisert the Whole day. My wonderful MTC companion. The day started off like any other day. We woke up, got ready and ate breakfast, studied. But lunch is where Things got crazy. For lunch we decided to go out and find some food to eat. Our lunch consisted of an entire pastry each, with a roll, and mountain dew mixed with saft(juice concentrate) this pastry was... probably 200 grams of butter in it. But I digress, after eating those, fighting off bees, and holding all that food Down. We began our Wor. First stop, finding creepy Pete. I'm not entirely sure why I wanted to find him, because I had heard from other missionaries terrible stories about this man. That he was attracted to a missionary 3 or 4 years back, just kind of not right in the head. But the last door we knocked on where I thought he was, turned out to be him. Creepy half smile and all. He let us in, and we walked into a fairly tidy house. On his coffee table he had 7-9 candles laid in a line, all of them were lit. Then on the wall over by his eating table, he had two identical Pictures of him hanging up. On the window sill he had 2 other Pictures of him there. So... we shared with him a quick message, gave him a book of mormon Again and encouraged him to read it, then left for our own safety. The way he would look at you is bend his head Down and moves his eyes to the top of his head. (Which is where the creepiness came from)He didn't seem too bad, he was nice, but creepy. Then we drove out to a town 15 minutes away because we got burned from an old lady, and started knocking on doors. Then we drove home and dropped them off at the train station. That was Tuesday. :P
Wednesday, zone training. What this entales is that we got on a train in the morning, rode it for 2 hours. Had a meeting for 3 hours, rode home for 2 hours. Then we saw Tai, the computer genius and talked a Little bit about why we have religion. Then we went and taught Kim, another genius, and we talked about the other half of the Word of wisdom that everyone seems to forget. It was a really good lesson.
Thursday rolls around, We started off trying to stop by some potentials and that old lady that burned us, with no luck. Then we had an awesome lesson with Andrea. Where we went over the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which include, faith in God and Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We talked about baptism with her Again, and she said she wanted to. So we set a date, for the 5th of October. What this Means is that we will probably be going to Germany because that is where the closest baptismal font is! So we are super excited, and she is an awesome lady. She is reading in the book of mormon every night, and we are actually texting her a chapter to read every night. Every time she says it was amazing and related with her so much. After this awesome lesson with Andrea, we tried stopping by Peter, WHO sadly wasn't feeling well enough to meet with us because of Kemo.
Friday came, lots of time spent weekly planning, then we made this Little weekly newsletter for the branch, then we had a good lesson with Marco, a less active where we talked about the sacrament, but it ended up being him telling us all about his theories on why Harry Potter is bad, etc etc. Then we had an awesome eating appointment with familien Kuntz. Where we shared a message about how important it is to be a missionary through example. That everything we do is seen, and makes an impact. Speaking of which, in the library just barely, a man was looking up The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because of us just being here. Everything Counts.
Saturday, We helped Yaseen on his house a bit. Then we had an appointment with Amalie, WHO is a Danish teen, that has been investigating the church for a while and has felt the spirit, but wants to live the Danish college life of drinking and partying, so won't accept it. So we are trying to start from Square one, and rebuild her Desire. (At one point she was praying for a baptismal date and said she found an answer) That was a tough lesson, because we just said that don't and won't force her into anything. We just want to help her in any way that we can. After that we had a crack Down lesson with Tai. Where we just told him how the book of mormon is the thing that holds our religion together. So we invited him to read it, study it, even to try and find flaws, and to pray about it. It was a Little harsh of a lesson, but I feel that it was the only way for him to make that NeXT step of reading and trying for himself.
Church on Sunday was awesome. Andrea was there and she absolutely loved it. The members talked with her quite a bit, and it was just a good time. After that we went knocking for quite a bit, with no luck. Then we stopped by Peter just to see how he is doing, which is tough. Kemo is definitely not a good thing. Then we taught an American, WHO has read the chapter in the book of mormon we gave him, then he had a Whole ton of questions for us. It was an awesome lesson.
Now I am here. Thanks for reading and stuff! I love you all and wish you the best!
Ældste Swan

Monday, September 2, 2013

S4:E03 "Money and yolo"

Another week has come and gone! Time seems to go by incredibly fast. Last monday for p-day we went to Tønder, and ate with a member. While in Tønder I ended up purchasing a cardigan. It's a nice cardigan, and it was a Fifth of the normal Price, which is the only reason I bought it.
Tuesday, we spent a lot of time helping Yaseen paint his newly bought weed house. Which was exciting. (I might get the plague from that house...) After that we tried finding, and while driving to an appointment, I ended up being kind of a jerk to my companion and venting to him, about him and how different we are. So that wasn't good for our companionship, at least for that day. Then we had an awesome lesson with Peter.(I'm still impressed, we set emotions aside) Peter is the man WHO wants to be baptized and speaks an unbelievable Sønderjysk accent. But we ended up teaching him the Word of Wisdom. When we invited him to not drink alcohol or smoke anymore, he was excited to do it.(MIRACLE!) He said he could easily do it and that he wants to. So naturally, we asked him why he felt so differently than most Danes when we teach the Word of Wisdom. He told us, because he knows that it is true, because of the feeling that he has gotten in his Heart when he has read and prayed. It was an awesome experience, and a good lesson. After the lesson, it was a quiet night between the companionship...
Wednesday rolls around, I made a ton of crepes for us. (I ate so much) And apologized and everything for the previous day, and I feel that it helped me get along a lot better. Instead of keeping everything in my head, to just get the few Things that bug me off my chest. Then we had a good day of serving Tom, then we went to the church to make some flyers for this Little class we will be starting up for everyone. While working on it, we got a random text from a girl that dropped us the previous week. That said ever since she has met with us, she has had really good experiences. So we asked what the experiences were, and she invited us over Again to hear them and teach her some more. (MIRACLE!) Then we had a lesson with a members friend, where we talked about Joseph Smith, and what we believe. We had a member with us (Tom) and he wanted to talk a lot in that lesson.
Thursday, district meeting. But this wasn't any district meeting, it involved interpretive dancing, taught by Elder Eisert himself. He tied in the dance with how we teach. The first time we did it, he just told us to imitate him, then the NeXT time he explained every move, which is how we need to teach people. After having a good time in Esbjerg, we traveled home to teach Andrea (The girl that texted us the day before) a lesson. We taught about the plan of salvation, and focused on why we are here on the earth, and what are purpose was. We asked her why she wanted us to come back, and she said that when she read the chapter we gave her, it helped her out a lot, and was very relatable to her. We talked about baptism a bit and she said that she has thought about that as well. So we invited her to pray and think about a date that she would want to Work towards to be baptized. (MIRACLE!) At the end of the day, we ended up talking to a less active for a really long time about why the branch isn't loving anymore.
Friday, weekly planning then helping Yaseen move. When we showed up he had one unbelievably feminine ear ring in. That was quite exciting. Then we taught a good lesson to the Chinese girl, Guannan, on the holy ghost, and how we get answers for our prayers. Then we saw our lovely friend Tai (The super smart programmer) and had the standard lesson with him.
Saturday, walking a lot and trying to find. Nothing too special happened except for one old lady WHO opened the door and then gasped when she saw WHO we were. She told us to come back another time because her son lives in Denver, and knows a lot of mormons.
Sunday was a good day, church was good. We had an awesome first lesson with an American named Christian, where we just talked about the first lesson (what we believe, where the church came from, the restoration) Then we met with Tom because he is our mission leader, after that we had a delightful evening with Tom and the Cullingford Family. (Eating dinner, playing guitar, Tom talking about how bad he wishes he could teleport.)
... and now I am here. :D I hope everything is going well with you all!
Much loves!
Ældste Swan