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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