Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope it's been absolutely grand :) This has been a fantastic week here in Vejle, Denmark, as I hope it has been wherever you may be! Life is going swell, and now that the days are getting longer, I can truly say that ''it only gets brighter from here on out'' without making it sound like it's been horribly forfærdelig (awful)!! But worry not, my dear friends! And have I got some lovely things to share with you this week :)
1. There are so many lovely people herud (out here) in Denmark :) Last Monday, literally right after we walked out of the library from emailing, a man started tapping on the window and motioned for us to come over. So here we were, two men within, and two Sister Missionaries outside, and one of the men starts talking to us. But unfortunately, we can't hear a single word he's saying! So this man starts huffing on the window, getting it fogged up, and then starts writing backwards so we can read it
'' Å R H U S '' (a town here on Juland).
When we nod, and say we know what Århus is, he writes
'' P E R K I N S '' (who is a Sister who served up in Århus).
Sister Sorensen freaks out because she knows who Sister Perkins is, so we try comminicating with him that we know her. After about a minute of not understanding what anyone is saying, we realize that we can just go inside and TALK with these men! So we finally get smart and have an actual conversation. The man is a member up in Århus, and had his friend with him, who isn't a member of the Church. They had actually JUST been talking about religion when this man saw us walk by the window, and he wanted to introduce us to his friend. Unfortunately, the man wasn't interested, but it was an enjoyable experience! Hahaha, and it was great to see how excited this man was to do his own missionary work! No matter where you are, you can always be a missionary, spreading the joy of Christ and his Restored Gospel :) I challenge you all to open your mouths, and share the joy that you have received!!
2. We traveled to Børkop trying to find a referral, and though it got too late and we couldn't find her street (Denmark isn't as nicely organized as the cities I'm used to using a grid system), we got this great picture* on the train platform.
3. I've already fishtailed twice on my bike, and it wasn't even icy yet!!
4. Sister Sørensen and I watched some teenage hoodrats shoot fireworks at each other. The fireworks were pretty, but we were a tad concerned for the safety of the individuals involved. No one died, though, which is fantastic, and our bus eventually came to get us, so we will never know the outcome of that teenage late night outing.
My good golly, Christmas is just so great :) Denmark celebrates Christmas the most on the 24th, and then the 25th is just carried over as a fun time, too :) We were able to spend time with members on both nights, and had the most fantastic food! I miss Stuffing and American Peanut Butter, but once you get a taste of Danish Cuisine, you forget that there's anything else in the world! We loved Singing/dancing around the Christmas tree, and just having a grand old time to hygge with everyone there :) And on the 25th, we all got to Skype home and talk to our dear ones :) Definietly a lovely Christmas <3
6. Our District has had a goal this week to eat 80 bowls of ris a la mande, the most delicious dessert you could ever have (until you try another Danish dessert, and everything just goes crazy in your mouth). Well, ladies and gents, this District goal turned into a Zone competition, and I am proud to announce that last night, Sister Sorensen and I ate 15 bowls of the Ricey pudding of heaven, and brought our dear Fredericia District to a total of 85 bowls downed. The next in line for bragging rights in the zone only ate 49 bowls, followed by 33, and finally, 24. I can only say, that while I love that dessert, 15 bowls made me not want it for a little while. And by a little while, I mean that I'll probably eat some tomorrow ;)
7. As far as a more serious topic, the Danish has been improving, slowly, but surely!! This past transfer has been full of me being seriously culture shocked as far as not being able to communicate with the people, but last Wednesday, something that has never before happend, happened!! We were talking to a young mother in the ward, and we were just having the most wonderful conversation! Near the end, she asked if we would teach part of Primary that coming Sunday, which we happily accepted! But it wasn't until after the conversing parties had left one another's presence that I realized I understood every single word and idea that she was saying. That was probably the happiest moment of that morning, even surpassing learning that bakeries are still open on Christmas!!
I know without a doubt that the Lord has helped me learn this language. I still cannot communicate as fluidly as I would like to, but I've gotten to the point of being able to understand about 65% of what people say to me, which is absolutely fantastic! I still have a long way to go, but I know that with patience and hard work, I will continue to see the growth of this ability I have the opportunity to achieve! I have already seen the Lord's hand in my experience here in Danmark :) <3
My time these past 6 weeks in Denmark has been incredibly wonderful for me! I've learned so much, and I hope, in the true sense of the word, to be able to continue learning! I know that this message is true and that it changes lives. No matter how many people reject us, close doors in our faces, laugh at us, stare at us, glare at us, and try to tell us we are ''confused and on the wrong path'', I know for sure that My Savior and Redeemer loves these people, and I'm glad to say that I love them, too! The message of the Restored Gospel is one of Peace, Happiness, and a renewed Hope. As we read in Alma 58:11, ''[The Lord] [does] speak peace to our souls'' as we become discouraged, and he lifts us up in confidence and renewed energy. This is the most exhausted I have ever been, but what better state can one be in than in exhaustion from being a servant of the Lord, spreading joy, happiness, and the message God's love?
I encourage you all to continue Discover the Gift, Embrace the Gift, and to Share the Gift. The Gift is Christ, and he accepts all who come unto Him.
Have a Wonderful week, and the most wonderful New Year :) Here's to 2015!!
Until we meet again!! <3
Med kærlig hilsen,
Søster Morgan B Soelberg
*Pictures, as always, are included above