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December 16, 2013

Farvel Slagelse

I don't even know where to start.... 
The beginning I guess?

On monday night we went to TIVOLI to see all the Christmas lights! It was so Christmasy and magical. Almost like Temple Square! Almost even better.

I've been all wrapped up in the Christmas Spirit this week! Missionary work ROCKS at Christmas time. Almost all of our time has been spent baking Christmas cookies and frosting Christmas cookies and delivering Christmas cookies and singing Christmas carols and making Christmas cards and delivering Christmas cards and teaching Christmasy lessons and sharing the beautiful Christmas message.

My sweet mom even sent me this WONDERFUL 12 days of Christmas countdown that I got to start opening this week!
 I feel so loved. I have the best fam and friends in the world.

Bettina and her husband made us a delicious feast one night this week. They were so happy that we were there to spend time with them, and it was amazing to see the change in their countenance as the Spirit that we brought into their home really touched their hearts. Bettina told us about one of her friends who told her that she shouldn't meet with us and shouldn't go to our church; she told her all these rumors about Mormons being bad news and tons of trouble. But Bettina told her friend that that's not true. Because the two Mormon girls she knows are the nicest sweetest people she knows! And that she always feels GOOD when she goes to church. 
I love Bettina so much! I love that she loves church. I love that she feels the Spirit and feels something special and different when she's with us. MY testimony strengthens every time I'm with HER. Because when I bear my testimony to Bettina I can literally see the Holy Ghost carrying the words into her heart. Bettina is always saying that we are a blessing to her, but she doesn't even know how big of a blessing she is to me and my life! Seeing the gospel bring her so much joy has brought me more joy than I can even describe or fathom or contain. She's changed my life. I feel so so blessed every time I'm around her, because every time I'm around her the Savior draws so near. He speaks to her through me. And He pours His love for her into my heart. And He lets me be His instrument to guide her back to Him. 

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Being a missionary is the most beautiful experience.
Anybody who has the opportunity to serve a mission and doesn't take it is making the BIGGEST mistake of their lives.

The next best thing that happened this week was when Sister Grant and I had the opportunity to go to the Temple with a family in our ward! I've never had such a special experience at the Temple than I did that day. We even did a session in Danish! I wish I could just move in to the temple and stay there FOREVER. I love walking down those halls with Heaven's angels all around me. I love how strong the Spirit is. I love everything about God's holy house. Going to the Temple is going home.

Then one morning my world stopped turning.
President Sederholm called.
I knew it was coming... Somehow I always know these things! I guess its the Lord's way of preparing me. Well maybe I was a little more prepared, but that hasn't made it any easier.......
You guessed it. I'm being 
I'm leaving my beautiful wonderful special Slagelse. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhh.
For lack of a better way to express my emotions....
I love this place and I never want to leave! I don't want to leave my best friend/ BEST COMPANION EVER sweet Sister Grant. I don't want to leave all my grandmas and grandpas and parents and brothers and sisters and best friends here in the Slagelse menighed. I don't want to leave my investigators who I've come to LOVE soooooo much. I don't want to leave my adorable apartment or my cobblestone street or my perfect European storybook town.

Saying goodbye to Slagelse has been even harder than saying goodbye to St George 8 months ago... Because this isn't just "ok see you later, I'll be back someday." Its "so long, farewell, goodbye."
I started feeling really super down for a few days! Because I kept thinking about how as soon as I move away I'll just become another one of the missionaries thats come and gone. Soon to be forgotten.... 

But then on Sunday in Relief Society, Hanne- one of my Danish moms- gave me a nice little farewell tribute.

And then she choked up and she started to cry.

And then I started to cry. 

Because it was a tender reminder that I really have made a difference here. 
And I really needed that.

So yesterday was my last Sunday at church here! It seriously still feels like my very first Sunday at church was just yesterday! Except yesterday my first Sunday I could barely understand a single word. 
And yesterday my last Sunday I was asked to translate
Yesterday my first Sunday I looked around at the faces of so many strangers.
And yesterday my last Sunday I looked around at the faces of my family.

I feel so blessed to have been here for 6 whole months. That's a third of my mission! Its been the best time of my life.
Slagelse will always be the most special corner of the globe to me. 
Here in this town I've come to know my Savior Jesus Christ. I've turned to Him. I've followed Him. I've walked with Him. He's strengthened me. He's held my hand. He's carried me. Here in this place I've witnessed His miracles. I've seen His hand. I've felt His presence and His love. 

Slagelse is my Sacred Grove. My holy ground. My home.

While my heart hurts and feels so heavy, I somehow feel OK too. Its time for me to go. I've done my work here. And on Wednesday morning I get to go somewhere new! To meet more wonderful people who will change my life while I'm trying to influence theirs. 
I'm going to serve in Frederiksberg, AKA the heart and center of COPENHAGEN!!

I've always dreamed about living in a big city! My whole life I've always dreamed about moving to New York or San Francisco or Boston.... well Copenhagen is even better! I'm really excited for the experiences that are ahead, and I know I'm going where the Lord needs me. 

So this week I was really reminded that this isn't about me. Its not about what I want or what I think is best. It's about the Lord. And His will. Because He knows whats best.

I think that that's something we could all remember more at Christmas time... that its not about us. 
Just like President Monson said in the Christmas Devotional,
"Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit... Our celebration of Christmas should be a reflection of the love and selflessness taught by the Savior."

If you didn't have a chance to see the Christmas Devotional.... here you go!
Merry Christmas.

I love you guys.
I hope you have a wonderful week baking Christmas cookies and singing Christmas carols and watching all those good Christmas movies! Remember that 
"We find the real joy of Christmas when we make the Savior the focus of the season."
-good old Thomas S.Monson

Sister Rogers

 Merry Christmas!