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August 27, 2013

Running up a downward escalator

Yesterday was my beautiful wonderful mother's birthday. And my incredible dad's birthday is on Thursday. So I'm taking this chance to say I love you to the two best people in my life! I love you more than the sky and trees and books and music and my bike and pastries and Denmark and all my other favorite things. Happy Birthday!! Tillykke med Fødselsdagen! 

You know that feeling when you've been on a long vacation, and then after what seems like a million hours in the car you finally finally finally walk through the front door? Or when you've had a really long day at school or at work or running errands all day, and you're just exhausted by the end of the day when you finally kick off your shoes and sink onto the couch and let out all your breath? There's no feeling like the coming home feeling.
This week Sister Peterson and I went to the Copenhagen Temple. And when I finally finally finally walked through those big doors, I felt that overwhelming sense of comfort, peace, and belonging. The feeling that comes when you finally get home. The temple always reminds me how much God loves us. It's like you can feel his love embrace you as you walk down those holy halls. And as I walk down those halls I always wonder what they would have to say... if walls could speak...
Its truly a place where Heaven meets Earth. So even though I'm a million miles away from my house, I'm so thankful that I got to go home.

The experience we had the next day was a complete 180....
A couple weeks ago an inactive member of our ward called us up and asked if we'd like to do a service project. AKA- run her whole wedding reception. So we spent the day setting up tables and chairs, decorating the reception hall, arranging plates of sandwiches and muffins, cutting cake, refilling drinks, talking with the guests, and then cleaning the whole place up afterwards. It was really fun! I love it when people get married. And the wedding was beautiful. It was in a really pretty Danish church, and it was totally that typical wedding you see on TV or act out with your barbie dolls (except for it was in Danish) -complete with the wedding march and chiming church bells. 

But the moment when I heard the pastor say "til death do you part," my heart sunk. We had just come from the temple the day before... where what's sealed on earth is sealed in heaven and marriage is for time and all eternity. And my heart broke even more when I learned that she was a returned missionary who once dreamed about temple marriage just as much as I do....

Actually, more than six inactive members that I know here all served missions. Go ask Elder Holland what he thinks about that....
Its the saddest thing to me. That people who spend 18-24 months doing nothing but preaching the gospel and helping other people build testimonies sometimes end up forgetting their own testimonies. 

Have you ever tried to run up a downward escalator? (Of course you have... everybody's tried to go backwards on an escalator before.) So what happens if you get tired and stop running up? You don't just stay in the same place, the second you stop the escalator starts taking you right back down. Well its the exact same way with life. In Mosiah 1:17 it says that "as they were unfaithful they did not prosper nor progress in their journey, but were driven back." Its a constant effort. We constantly have to be exercising our faith, always moving forward. Because if we aren't progressing in our journey then we are automatically being driven back. Life is exactly like an escalator. I really like what Dallin H. Oaks said about how "Jesus's teachings were not meant to be theoretical. Always they were meant to be acted upon." Following Christ is not casual or occasional. Its a continuous commitment and way of life.

We recently re-activated an awesome lady, who actually served in the Temple Square mission. She's half Danish half Italian and she's pretty much our best friend! We went to visit her last night, and were surprised when her boyfriend stayed to eat brochette and talk with us. (Usually he chats with us for a minute and then leaves.) At the end of the night we shared a little spiritual thought, and that simple scripture sent an Avalanche of questions! He really opened up and let us talk with him about the gospel. FYI: this whole thing was happening in a whirlwind of Danish, English, and Italian with our friend translating all over the place! I took 5 years of French and Sister Pete took 5 years of Spanish... do the math and that equals Italian right?? Wrong. But even though we couldn't understand him and He couldn't understand us, the Spirit was speaking in its universal language that everybody can understand. He accepted our invitation to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if its true. As our friend walked us down to our bicycles afterwards, she told us how her boy friend has never been open to the missionaries before. But he told her that we brought a special peace and he could feel our love for the gospel. So now he wants to learn more. 

Missionary work is so great! Only when you're a missionary do you do everything you can to learn a new foreign language in a few short weeks/months, only to end up teaching in a completely different language that you don't even know a lick of. Haha. God is great. And apparently He has a really great sense of humor too.

I hope you all have a fantastic week. Keep running up that escalator! 
Søster Rogers

PS you should google "Caroline Wozniacki." She's some famous Danish tennis player. And everybody here always tells me I look exactly like her. I have no idea what she even looks like so I'll let you guys be the judge. 

                            Its so magical when things you've only seen in pictures turn into real life.

 Welcome to Nyhavn

 In front of the Denmark Temple

 We got to see Den Lille Havfrue (the little mermaid) statue on her 100th birthday!
 At the last Young Women Broadcast Elaine S. Dalton described this statue in her talk about standing firm despite opposition and adversity. Kristina stands on a pier in Copenhagen looking out over the sea toward Zion.
 All matchy for the wedding

August 19, 2013

Missionary Moments


 I remember my very first Sunday in Denmark. It was super hard to understand anything that was being said in Sacrament meeting, but it was an amazing experience because even though I couldn't keep up or follow along, I still felt the Spirit. I could still feel the warmth and peace in my heart when the Spirit testified to me that the words I heard were true, even though I couldn't understand most of them.
This week I had another neat experience when we went to a Jehovah's Witness church service with one of our investigators. Unlike that first Sunday in the country, I could actually understand the language and the things that I heard. (well except for when people would start talking crazy super fast!) It makes a big difference when you actually understand the language! But even bigger than the difference between my Danish comprehension 9 weeks ago and my comprehension now, was the difference between the spirit that I felt. There was no warm peaceful feeling to testify of truth. It was a really nice meeting and everybody was really kind and friendly and welcoming (though a little skeptical when they noticed the name tags my companion and I proudly wore!) and it was a really great experience. Now I can say with even more conviction that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on the earth today.

A lot of other fun things happened this week... Like one morning a loud trumpet interrupted our scripture study... We raced to the window to see a whole brigade of horses and trumpet players parading down our little street like it was no big deal. Denmark rocks.
And one morning instead of exercising we decided to feed all of our brownies and cookies to the family of ducks that live at the park across the street. (We didn't break a sweat, but we definitely still got rid of a ton of calories!)
Another day it was super rainy, so we spent our lunch hour cuddled up on our thrift store sofa chairs with steaming bowls of chicken noodle soup while Mormon Tabernacle Choir music filled our little apartment. Sister Peterson and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Because missionary life is so cute sometimes.

We laugh at each other a lot actually.... Because we say so many things that only missionaries would say. Like one day when we were having a picnic on the middle of our apartment floor (because our kitchen table was completely hidden beneath mountains of scriptures and planners and notes and maps and progress records.....) and as we were sitting there eating omelets we talked about how eating eggs is like eating chicken in the pre-earth life. HA. Those missionary moments happen a lot! Its funny for sure, but its really awesome. Its awesome that our minds and thoughts are constantly focused on the gospel.

The other day Sister Peterson asked me why I love the Book of Mormon so much. (I rant for like 10 minutes everyday about how much I love it.) The scriptures are seriously the best thing to ever exist! The coolest thing is that its just a bunch of people's journals. Real people. Who were sitting down with a pen in their hand (or some other ancient writing utensil) writing down all of their thoughts and experiences exactly like I do every night in my own journal. I love reading about their encounters and experiences and relationships and dealings with God, while I'm having my own experiences with that very same infinite being. I love the scriptures because they make me feel closer to Him. The scriptures make me feel connected to the prophets that wrote them and to the people they wrote about. Connected to the angels who guided them and the Lord who spoke to them. And connected to the millions of Saints from the pioneer times down to these latter days who held/hold the very same book in their own hands- pouring over its pages and learning about the Savior and how to find happiness in life. I love studying the Book of Mormon every single day, and then talking about it with everyone that I meet. The scriptures means so much more to me than they ever have. And its because I love it. Because I choose to love every passage and to learn from it and apply it- not only to my own life and how it can help me become a better person, but also the ways it can help and bless the lives of others. Its incredible to me that one book can be so universal and apply to every person on the planet, but in such unique, personal, specific ways.
That's why I love the Book of Mormon.

I hope you all find time in your crazy busy lives to read from the scriptures every day. Even if its just one chapter or one page or one column or one verse. I promise that if you take the time to read, you'll find strength to overcome your challenges and so much peace and happiness every day. 

Have a good week!
Søster Rogers

             A random zip line in the middle of town. No wonder Danes are the happiest people on earth.

August 12, 2013

The sun is shining

Hej alle sammen! Jeg håbe at I har det godt!

Its been kind of a rough week over here in Denmark. But I've learned a lot of good things along the way.......

We had a zone training to go to in Copenhagen this week. Sister Peterson and I- being our adventurous greenie selves- decided to take our bikes on the train with us so we could bike into the city for our meeting. Long story short... we missed the street, biked 30 minutes too far, and got hopelessly lost in a huge European city. The APs had to come rescue us and we were late for zone training. 
On our way back home that night guess what happened? We got on the wrong train and ended up on the opposite end of Denmark. It was the longest day everrrrrrrr. And when I finally got home that night all I wanted more than anything was one of my dad's big bear hugs. Or to sit on the laundry room counter and talk to my mom for an hour or two. Or to make cookie dough and watch a few episodes of Friends until 2 am with Amanda. Because that's what you do when you have a long hard day. But instead I climbed into my creaky little twin sized bunk bed and went to sleep hoping the next day would be better.

It wasn't. The rest of the week was full of spontaneous downpours of rain. (I mean that both literally and metaphorically.) The bike I just bought broke. All of our appointments canceled on us. Half of our plans fell through. I had a door literally slammed in my face.....
It was the last week of the transfer, so on Saturday Sister Peterson and I sat down to go over our goals and talk about the past six weeks and how everything has been. We were being really hard on ourselves and feeling pretty down. Our numbers weren't very high and we still have soooo much to learn and soooo much to work on and soooo much we can improve. 

Right in the middle of that companionship inventory, we decided to say a prayer. When Søster Peterson and I knelt down on the hard wood floor of our little apartment, a huge wave of gratitude swept over me. And I realized that despite all the many challenges, I have SO much to be thankful for. God has blessed me SO much these past 4 months! He has blessed me sooooo much throughout my whole life. Even though I'm no where near perfect. I've made so many mistakes in my life and I've fallen short again and again and again and again. But God has never fallen short. He constantly blesses me and shows me that He loves me, despite all of my faults and imperfections. So I'll just keep trying a little harder to be a little better every day.

When things go wrong or I'm having a hard time, I've started listing things that I'm thankful for. Sometimes the list goes on and on. But sometimes when my heart is feeling particularly heavy, the list ends after the only thing i can think of is that "the sun is shining." But the truth is, we always have SOOOOO much to be thankful for! 

Today I'm thankful that the holes in the bottom of my shoes are still smaller than a nickel.
I'm thankful for the fresh vegetables from my neighbors garden that I get to eat for lunch today.
I'm thankful for the amazing members here in Denmark that treat me like their family.
I'm thankful for the wonderful package my mom sent that still found me even with the wrong address!
I'm thankful that I have a filtered water bottle now.
I'm thankful for my incredible companion/sister/best friend Søster Peterson, and that when I get lost in Denmark at least I'm not alone.
I'm thankful for the name tag Heavenly Father lets me wear with His Son's name on it. 
And I'm thankful that I can pray. I can't have one of my dad's big bear hugs when I'm feeling down, but every time I pray, my Heavenly Father "encircles me about in the arms of his love." The sun is shining.

So when things go wrong or you feel like you've fallen short or when you're having a bad day, just take two minutes to look around and think of a few things you are thankful for.
Happy Monday everybody! Make it a good one.
Søster Rogers

August 5, 2013

Hurray for Mondayyyyy!

I used to hate Mondays. Mondays are always everyone's least favorite day of the whole week. But not for missionaries! Mondays rock. I love talking to you guys. 

So it's been a pretty crazy week for us. Guess what? We got a new apartment! (There's a pretty dramatic/ scary/ interesting/ creepy story behind it...... but if you wanna hear about it you'll have to email me!
Well now we live on a quaint cobblestone street with colorful storybook houses. Right next to a big beautiful park with a duck pond (our morning workouts rock now) and only a 5 minute stroll from the Gå Gade ("walking street" AKA the town SHOPPING CENTER). Soooo yeah we're living in paradise! We love our new apartment. It's atleast 3X bigger than our last one, and now we have a WASHING MACHINE!!!!!! Life is gooooooood.

On Harry Potter's birthday Sister P and I wore maroon and gold for Gryffindor. And we ate chocolate frogs. And also we collected sea shells on a beautiful beach in Kalundborg after teaching a lesson to our new investigator Zaninka. She's from Kongo, and she speaks Swahilli and only a little tiny bit of Danish. And ZIP-O English. I wish you could have been a fly on the wall for that lesson..... you would have died! Well, just try to imagine me and my companion acting out the whole Restoration... it was like a big game of sherades. Don't worry though, Zaninka said we can come back! So I guess it wasn't too bad...

This is my 8th week here in Denmark. I can't believe I've been here for 2 months already! (And 4 months on my mission) Its so crazy to think back on my very first day in this country.... I've learned SO much and have come SOOO far. Actually I'm pretty sure I've learned and grown more in these past 2 months than the rest of my life combined. Its been so challenging, especially not having a trainer! But thats also been the biggest blessing. I've been forced out of my comfort zone and forced to do things that terrify me every single day. (Can I just say that my first phone call in Danish was the scariest thing I've ever done in my whole life?! Haha its a piece of cake now!) Thats the thing- you have to leave your comfort zone and you have to do things that scare you in order to learn and grow. 

In 1 Nephi 21:16 The Savior tells us "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me."
This scripture means the world to me. During these past 2 exhausting and challenging months I've really come to understand just how intimate Jesus Christ's atonement is. We are graven upon the palms of His hands. He suffered for our sins and our sorrows, for our pains and our trials and our loneliness, for our fears and our weariness and our broken hearts. 
He knows exactly what you're going through, He knows what it's like to be you. Everything you've ever experienced or felt is literally graven upon the palms of His hands so that you are continually before Him. He will never forget you. Thats what those deep scars in His outstretched hands are there for. To remind you that He will never leave. 

I think I'm gonna take a nap for P day today. That sounds so good right now. Moving was exhausting.....

Happy Monday everybody! Go do something that scares you.
Søster Rogers

Shout Out to my best friend Kristy Michelle MCQUEEN who just got married!!! I'm soooo happy for you!!!!!!