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October 21, 2013

Christ's Atonement

One day we got a phone call from Andrea.
Andrea is the amazing woman from Peru who was inactive for a lot of years, but then came back to church about 6 months ago after she had a dream about the elders who taught and baptized her in South America. It was her 12 year old son Enzo who was baptized my second week in Denmark. I love Andrea! Her testimony was so strong and she loved the church so much. We even brought her to visit less actives with us because she had such a powerful testimony.
So the phone call we got from Andrea was unfathomable... She said she's leaving the church. She can't be a member anymore. Her almost-x-husband is moving back in and she is leaving the church for him. My heart is sooo broken. Its hard to accept the fact that everybody has their agency. And its hard to know what to do after you've already done all that you can.
If that wasn't already heart breaking enough....

Sister Grant and I went to visit Susanne this week. Susanne the adorable woman who gave Sister Peterson and I sparkly shoes. Susanne who came to know the church was true when the Spirit filled her from the tips of her toes to the hairs on her head. Susanne who quit smoking after receiving a powerful priesthood blessing. Susanne who was just baptized in July.
When we first started talking with Susanne I tried to convince myself that I'd misunderstood her Danish. But no... I understood her right. Susanne wants out. She wants to leave the church. We tried to talk it through with her- she's been struggling with smoking again and she feels like she can't pay her tithing, and she has a lot of problems with her family. We assured her that she is loved and welcome at church no matter what. That she doesn't need to be perfect, because the gospel is for imperfect people. But nothing we said seemed to make any difference... She says she can't be a member of the church.
I felt destroyed inside. I still do...
It hurts. Really bad. Its like watching somebody turn down the parachute you offer them before they jump out of a plane. 
When we left Susanne's house my heart was so depressed and I was so sad. Sister Grant and I walked along the harbor and talked about all the good things... Like the beautiful trees with colorful patterns of leaves decorating them. Then we walked past a bunch of construction work where a house was being built. And it reminded me of my dad. And how much I love my awesome dad. I'm sure that my dad would be sad if he knew that I was sad... So I tried to be happy despite all the depressing events. 

And I thought about Jesus Christ. It must have been soooo hard for Him when people wouldn't accept Him. It must be so hard for Him to see so many people walk away.

There's a story about a seminary class. The teacher picked one of the students to come up to the front of the room. Then he pulled out a big box of crispy creme donuts for the class. He went around the class one by one and offered each student a donut. But before they could take their donut, the boy up front had to do 20 pushups. 20 pushups for each person that wanted to eat a donut. Then the seminary teacher offered a donut to one of the girls, and she said no, I don't want a donut. The teacher said ok that's fine... but then told the boy he had to do 20 pushups anyway. And so it went... whether the students ate the donut or said no, the boy did 20 pushups for them all. (I hope he was a football player or something!) The object was to teach the class about the Atonement.

Whether we accept Jesus Christ or not, He suffered for us. He suffered and bled and paid the price for our sins and our weaknesses. He suffered beyond comprehension. And because He suffered, we don't have to! Yet there are some people who don't accept that.
It breaks my heart about Andrea and Susanne, and about all the others. I wish there was more that I could do...

The best thing I can think of is to take full advantage of Christ's atonement in my own life. I won't suffer, because He already suffered for me. And now He's here to comfort me through my sorrows and strengthen me through my trials. I wish everybody would accept his love. But if they won't, I still will.

I think Heavenly Father knew I was having a hard time. So He blessed me with a  wonderful day to cheer me up.
The next day Sister Grant and I along with the 3 elders who serve here in Slagelse with us were on our way to Anny and Leo's (cute grandma and grandpa in our ward) for dinner. When the 5 of us missionaries got off the bus there was a man who came up and started talking to us. He was heading the same direction as we were so we all walked and talked with him a little ways. As we stood out on the sidewalk talking with this stranger, Anny came outside. "Hi, my name is Anny," she said and shook the strangers hand. "We are eating fish tonight, would you like to join us for dinner?" After a short awkward pause, he said why not! And followed us into their home. Anny and Leo were so cute with our new friend- so eager to share their testimonies and beliefs. Our new friend told us that when he saw the 5 of us on the bus we looked like very nice people, and that he was curious why the young men all had ties and why we were all dressed so nice. He said he didn't get any "bad vibes" from us, and that when we got off at the same stop as him he took it as a sign that he was supposed to talk to us. Sister Grant and I had to run off early to catch the bus and make it to our next appointment, but the Elders and Anny and Leo had a great discussion with him and gave him a book of Mormon and a hymn book. He wants to join our ward choir! How awesome.

Our next appointment was totally incredible. We finally got to meet with Bettina again! This time she made cupcakes. And they were a lot better than the brownies we had tried to make for her last week..... hahaa. She wanted us to help her practice what to say so she can bear her testimony on fast Sunday. Holde op! She is so great. Then we taught her the Restoration lesson. The Spirit was so strong and Bettina absolutely loved everything we had to say. I will never forget the look in her eyes when my cute little greenie said "Bettina, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" 
SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!! ahhhhhhh. I wanted to cry. I was so happy.
I'm so thankful for my little black name tag and the amazing opportunity its given me. Being a missionary is so amazing. 

Did I tell you about how I might have a gluten allergy? Dumbest allergy ever invented. I love eating gluten. But Tina is taking it sooo serious... She always gives me gluten free stuff and makes me eat it haha. I'd rather just eat things that naturally don't have gluten in them instead of some weird excuse for bread. It was SO funny last time we ate with Tina and Francesco. Francesco had baked his delicious homemade Italian bread which is probably the best thing on the planet earth. And of course Tina said I wasn't allowed to eat it. But Francesco was on my side! He snuck me bread under the table :) And distracted Tina so I could eat it :) He's the best. Also Francesco said he will name his kid after me. He said he'll name is little girl "Roger." But Tina insisted that it will have to be a boy....

Are you ready for the highlight of the week? Maybe the highlight of the month or even the year...
 I GOT A GUITARRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My awesome friend Rachel had an extra guitar and asked me if I wanted it. Well its safe to say that my journal has felt a little neglected this week.... All I ever wanna do in my minimal free time is strum on my 6 string. 

One more highlight: I started talking to this guy on a train, and he asked me if I was Norwegian!!! I'm not good enough for people to think I'm Danish yet... but Norwegian is pretty close :) 

I hope you all have an awesome week. 
Remember to think about Christ, and take advantage of the gift He's given you.
Also take advantage of the cans of pumpkin you can buy at the grocery store. They don't have those in Denmark.

xoxo Søster Rogers

With Tina and Sister Peterson at the park
 I love Tina!
 We made a new friend at the park :)
 Grandpa Hans and Grandma Ulla
 Saying goodbye to Sister P
 chillin with Francesco
 Me and Sister Grant