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Monday, December 21, 2015

Glæde Jul!! :D

Dags!! It's been a way great day today :) and last week was absolutely amazing :) Sister Moseley and I made sure that she had her best week ever (really, it was only her last few days), so we visited a lovely member family (we'll also be with them for Christmas!!) and spent the pday with them :) they're way sweet, and probably my favorite people in the world!
Tuesday rolled along, and we had an eating appointment with our Bishop, who lives up in Hillerød. Guess what else is in Hillerød. Castles. Beautiful castles. Castles like Frederiksborg. Which is the castle which contains all of the Carl Bloch paintings
It's beautiful. I almost started crying. But I didn't. All is well.
We didn't have a chance to go inside, but it's definitely on my list of things to do while I'm in this area (which I'm pretty sure is the rest of my mission!)- so that's a great thing to look forward to :) There are a couple of castles in my boundaries up here on North Sjælland, so expect some exciting pictures <3

After the great eating appointment with the Elders and Bishop's family (and a little bit of bus problems), sister Moseley and I made it safely home in time for her to finish packing her bags- the poor babe was having a little bit of a stressful night, but we got it all taken care of, and she successfully got everything put in it's place (well, almost everything....I've found a few things that need to get to her from here....we'll figure that out in a little bit...). The next morning, we embarked into the crisp December Morning Air (by the way, it's only been about 50 degrees here in Denmark- way great, but way weird! Where is winter?) and made our way down to Copenhagen!! We had our Christmas Conference, which was wonderful and beautiful, and we all enjoyed it so much :) Christmas is just such a beautiful season of miracles and happy feelings all around <3 we even got to watch a movie at the conference!! We saw the new (ish..... it's new to all of us) pixar film ''Inderst Inde'' (also known as Inside Out, I believe...I've only seen Danish advertisements for it!), and it was so cute :) haha, but it was extremely weird seeing a movie that wasn't Jonny Lingo or the Testaments! hahaha!!

Sister Moseley left that night to stay at President's house, and I headed down to Gladsaxe to be companions with Sisters Mann and Hadfield for the rest of the week. We had a blast! All of the people they work with down there are absolutely stellar, and soooooo amazing :) their faith and progress are so inspiring, and I hope to be able to see them all again :) I'm writing about it all in my journal tonight!!

Fast forward through a lot of great appointments and meeting so many wonderful people, and we finally get here to Today :) The 21st of December 2015. It's the shortest day of the year!!! the days only get longer and lighter from here on out, and in only 90 short days, it will be Spring again :) super exciting!! <3
In one of our appointments down in Gladsaxe, we were talking about the joys of Christmas, and how wonderful it is to read about Christ and Mary and Joseph in the Bible :) I absolutely love reading the Christmas story, and feeling the love and peace that radiates from the words. Whenever I think about the story, I feel such an strong gratefulness for the blessing of parents!! Just think about all the trust that our Father in Heaven had for Mary and Joseph to raise His son, the Redeemer of all mankind!! That's a huge responsibility!! and Mary & Joseph must have done something right, because I think all of you would agree with me that Jesus became a pretty great guy :) hahaha! So ''Thank You'' to all of those Mothers and Fathers out there; past, present, and future!!! It's the greatest responsibility anyone can have, and I look forward to my own opportunity someday!! :) (here's a special shoutout to Mom and Dad!!! xoxoxoxo, y'all are amazing!!!)
Anyway, as we were in this lesson talking about Christmas, I brought up and out the Christmas story found in the Book of Mormon!! The people on the American continent were also looking forward to the advent of the Savior of the World, and had many prophecies on how they would know that He had come- one of those prophecies being that on the night of His birth, there would be a Day, a Night, and other Day of light, which would all appear as One Day. As the time grew closer and closer, many people began to doubt, and some of the unbelievers became quite violent to those who did believe. Well, on a very difficult night, the prophet Nephi prayed to the Lord, sharing all his concerns for the wonderful people, when He received the glorious promise that he and his people didn't need to fear, but that the Lord would be born that night, and the sign would come for all in the land to see.
and Lo and Behold, the Lord's promise came true (because it always does :) we never need to doubt Him!!). That night, the sky was filled with light, even after the sun had visibly gone down, and everyone knew that the Savior of the World was born :)
The World keeps on getting darker and darker. I personally have NO IDEA what is going on in the world, but I can see the effects that it is having on all the people here in Denmark. People are afraid and worried about the future. But they are also more and more open to having faith and trusting God. 
But even though the world is getting darker, we have Christ's light and love to guide us through rough times!! Christ's birth was marked by a star that led the shepherds and wisemen to the small, lovely family in the manger. It was also marked by bright lights in the heavens and tidings of joy to people all across the world! I know that Christ's influence can have the same exact effect on our personal lives!! He is the Light and the Life!! He is everything we have ever needed and will ever need!!
It may be the darkest day of the year, but we have the blessed opportunity to be a bright light of testimony and love to others around us :) I love you all, and I know that you all have other people in your circles of influence who need your light and your love! keep being strong, and keep being a source of happiness for your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, students, classmates, and fellow citizens. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week :) here in Denmark, we have 3 days of Christmas celebration!! For a complete synopsis, I will quote darling Sister Williams email:

Beginning den 1 December, the decorations are up and lit. the gågade is covered in lights and pine and the Christmas market is up and all hyggeligt. Although the air is filled with Christmas cheer and magic, the traditions are what really get me. 

The first thing is the fact that the Danes have 3 Christmas days. Juleaften (24th), Første Juledag (25th), og Anden Juledag (26th). But their BIG celebration, and the day that is actually Christmas for them, is the 24th.

The second thing is the Christmas tree. The Christmas trees here are decorated in burning candles, songs, nissemænd, angels, hyrdestokkene (candycanes) and julehjerter (Christmas hearts). Everything has a special symbolic meaning. And then you might ask, "Oh wise Sister Williams, why do they have SONGS on the tree? What is the meaning behind that?" Well, let me tell you, folks. Because everyone holds hands, and dances around the Christmas trees with these songs. You then run around the house in a glorious christmas train of singing and joy and you run through every room and end up back around the Christmas tree. We do indeed sing and dance as they do in Whoville. After they have danced around the tree, Santa comes and hears them singing and comes in and delivers the presents. They then open their presents and go to bed. The other two days are just chilling with family and friends.  

We also eat a HUGE dinner of fleskesteg, rødkål (red beets cooked in vinegar and sugar), bread, chips, brown sauce, sugared potatoes, potatoes, basically anything that could make your heart stop in one sitting. We then follow it up with Ris ala mande, which is rice pudding with chopped up almonds in it served with a topping of warm cherry sauce. There is one whole almond in the entire batch, and whoever gets it gets a special present. 

The hearts of the people here in Denmark turn to Christ on Christmas, and they all have special church services on the 24th, even us! Everyone is super open and happy and just really nice at this time of year. 

Christmas time is such a special time here in Denmark. There really is no better place I would rather be than here in the land of fairytales for this wonderful time of year. 

I am going to end off with a challenge to you all. Earlier this year, I asked you all to study the last week of Christ's life for Easter. Today, I am going to do a similar thing. I invite you all to take one of the gospels and study the coming of Christ. Think about why this time is so special and take to heart a story of the baby Jesus. 

Glæde Jul og Godt Nytår

Søster Williams

And there you have it :) Sister Williams is such a pro at saying all the right things :) <3 we all love her!!!

Here are a few photos to end it off!! xoxoxoxo!! I'll talk to a few of you on skype this Friday!


Sister Moseley's farewell picture :( Sister Williams and I are super sad she's leaving!!

We taught the Young Women on Sunday :) here's a white-board full of Danish!! :D

Danish Christmas Cookie Swag. Shoutout to Sister Hadfield. She's a babe.

-Søster Soelberg

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