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Monday, September 21, 2015

Good Times

Hello Dear Family and Friends :) It has been another great week here in Odense :) It's been full of traveling between Aarhus and Copenhagen, Eating deathly spicy food, and once again being mistaken for someone/thing I'm not! Fun times!

To start off this week, how about a little lesson I learned from the scriptures this morning? :) Yes, I'm a missionary! And I love it!

I started in the Book of Ether this morning, and we all know that when we get to that point, we're all pretty down in the dumps feeling bad for the Nephites (but only kinda.....you feel bad for Mormon and Moroni.....). So really, the Book of Ether is a nice breath of fresh air full of happy people and stories (at least in the beginning!).

Those who know the story, I pose the question- isn't it super awesome?! Those who don't know it, hang on- I'll take ya on a little ride.

We start off reading about the people who came from the Tower of Babel all the way to the American Continent. As they begin their journey, the Lord blesses them with His presence, showing them the way. After they come to the ''great sea which divideth the lands,'' the people kinda chill and get a little lazy with remembering the Lord in their lives for about 4 years. And then the magic happens. The Lord reminds them of their need for Him, and our dear friend the Brother of Jared regains his amazing relationship with the Lord. 
Up to this point, we can kinda apply this to our own lives- We know that the Lord leads and guides us, especially when we are extremely aware of His helping hand. But when times and seasons start feeling good, sometimes we become little lame slackers and aren't so good with our daily recognition of our Wonderful Father in Heaven. 

This next part is awesome.

The Lord proceeds to instruct Jared's Brother (that's the direct translation from Danish) to once again build some boats, or barges, to be able to make their journey accross the ocean. The Lord gives them specific instructions, as He did with Noah and Nephi, but this story is really special. The Lord places obstacles in the plans for the Brother of Jared to discover and work out on his own. The Lord loves us so much that He gives us opportunities to grow in ways that we didn't even know we needed.
Jared's Brother realizes that because the barges are ''tight like unto a dish,'' there is both no way for light to reach the people inside, neither fresh air to come into the ship, thus making it impossible to make the long journey and survive. Approaching the Lord in prayer, he expresses these concerns to the Lord. God gives him the solution to the first problem, telling Jared's Brother to create holes that can be stopped up on both the top and the bottom to allow for air, which the Brother of Jared does immediately exaclty according the the instructions of the Lord. But God doesn't give him the solution to the second problem. Instead, the Brother of Jared asks again, and in reply, the Lord says ''What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?'' 

Up until this point in time, the Lord has led the people of the Brother of Jared pretty much hand-in-hand, and Jared himself had instructed his Brother what to do in the very beginning. But now was the time for the Brother of Jared to make a decision. Now was the time to exercise his precious gift of agency. Now was the time for him to apply all the things he had learned in his life. In the case of this story, the Brother of Jared turns to the Scripture and discovers the perfect solution to the problem. We can all read about this amazing experience in chapter 3 of the Book of Ether (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/3?lang=eng), in which the Brother of Jared meets the Lord face to Face.

Now time to apply.
As we see in this story, the Lord gave no easy reply to the first question.
sometimes we may feel as if the Lord doesn't answer us! But fear not! He is really preparing us for something great, something unimaginable for our own minds! The Lord has prepared us with the tools necessary to make the most out of our experience here on this earth, to help us learn how we can become more like God Himself :)
One of the character traits Jareds Brother needed to overcome in mortality was his passiveness- in which he allowed himself to be lead so much to the extent that he didn't realize he could come up with solutions and ideas all on his own. The Lord provided him with a way to recognize that potential he had in himself.

My thoughts are going crazy, so I hope you all can understand the point I am trying to make here. 
The point of the story that I reaped today was that we cannot expect to have optimal growth without stretching ourselves. We may be on the right path, doing all the right things, helping people and holding the commandments- but it's all too easy to coast by. We need a stretching expereince to help us progress. In the case of Jared's Brother, he needed to come to the Lord with a question and a solution, and then be ready to act on all that the Lord asks/instructs. We can all receive personal commandments and instructions from God that will guide us to the exact path God would have us take.

As General Conference comes once again in 2 weeks (I am so indescribably stoked for this!!!!!), I challenge us all to really pay attention and be ready to receive personal inspiration and revelation from the Prophets and Apostles and other leaders whom God has called and qualified to guide us as He would guide us :)

And with that, how about some good ol' fun stuff happening here in Denmark

we made our way to Copenhagen once more for Sister Ackerman to take her Language Test!! That's my 5th time coming here to this statue!

Super spicy food made as a district with our ''secret ingredients!'' never let Elders bring secret ingredients!!!

on the ride back to Odense from Aarhus! Sister Ripa was pretty drained from Stake Conference!
​Someone in the library just scooted their chair backwards and it sounded like Chewbaca! And that's a wrap!

Have a great week!! I love you all!!

-Søster Soelberg

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