back ground

February 24, 2014

On my very first day in Slagelse back in June last year I met the sweetest elderly couple on the planet. Hans and Ulla are the adorably in love white-haired couple that you'd see if you could fast-forward a fairytale 60 years after "and they lived happily ever after." They made me my first Danish dinner that first evening, and I still remember the puzzled confused look on Ulla's face every time I tried to say something! Luckily my Danish improved over the weeks and months and Ulla could understand me eventually :) I loved talking to her about her childhood and about her mission. I loved hearing her go off about the wonderful chapter she'd read in the Book of Mormon that morning. I loved listening to her bear her powerful testimony. I really admired Hans and Ulla for their incredibly strong testimonies and their love and dedication for the gospel. They would read the scriptures together every single day and pray for missionary opportunities. When Sister Peterson and I were first left alone in Slagelse without our experienced trainer, we used to go to Hans and Ulla's house and they would pretend to be investigators so we could practice teaching them lessons. Sometimes after dinner they would pass out hymnbooks and we'd all sing our favorite hymns as if we were sitting around an invisible campfire. Sometimes they would invite us over in the afternoon for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot cocoa. Ulla had such great taste and always had the cutest sweaters and jackets and jewelry. I loved telling her that she had great style because it always made her so happy. And truly, I would wear the things Ulla would wear! When we'd go visit them along with the elders Ulla would always insist that my companion and I got to sit on the fancy little pink sofa, because it was the "missionary sofa." Haha visiting them was always a highlight of my week! I got to spend my very last day in Slagelse at Hans and Ulla's house, just like my first day. They made us one last big delicious meal and then it was so hard to say goodbye. Ulla gave me a pink cookbook because she knows I love to bake, and she was so thrilled to give it to me because she knew it was the perfect gift. She told me how I'd really become a daughter or a granddaughter to her over those past 6 months. I love Ulla Larsen. I love my Danish grandma. I miss seeing her at church every Sunday and visiting her throughout the week. I miss her sweet smile and her sweet spirit.

For the past few weeks I kept thinking how I really wanted to sit down and write a letter to my dear Hans and Ulla. 

Tears streamed down my face during that phone call when I realized it was too late, I'd never get the chance.

On Saturday I took a trip to Slagelse to go to Ulla's funeral. It was a beautiful service for a beautiful woman. I'm thankful for the gospel and the comfort that it brings. The gospel brings us so much peace and so much hope when we lose our loved ones and when we go through difficult times. The gospel really can help us find joy and happiness even in the worst situations.

That's why I'm a missionary... to tell people that they can be with their families and loved ones forever. To help them find hope in the knowledge that there is more than just this life.

Now Ulla is a beautiful angel dancing in the Celestial Kingdom. 
I'll see my Danish grandma again someday.

Its been a really good week here in Denmark. Have I told you lately that I love this place? I love it even more when the sun shines on it :) 

We have this incredible friend from Uganda who is investigating the church. His brother moved to Utah a few years back and found the church, and then referred his brother to the missionaries. So we've taught him several lessons, he has so much faith and he knows that God will let him know whether or not this church is true. He said he will want to be baptized when he gets his answer! So we had made an appointment to visit him this week and we were sooo excited! We made an awesome lesson plan and even had the perfect member to come teach with us. 
But then 5 minutes before the lesson He called to tell us that his daughter was sick and he needed to take her to the doctor.
We had already traveled all the way out there with a member from our ward, and we were really bummed that it fell through! We were about to turn around and go home, but then we thought we might as well stop by one of our other investigators who lives just a few blocks away. So we knocked on her door.... and she was home! She said "well this is a lucky coincidence, I'm normally never home at this time!" (Coincidence?? I think not!)
It was really unfortunate that our lesson was canceled, but I know that in the end we ended up exactly where we really needed to be.

Sometimes I wish that the Lord would just fill out my planner for me... Sometimes I wish He would guide every single step I take and tell me exactly where to go and when to go there and who to talk to along the way! 
But the Lord trusts us to make our own decisions. We can't just wait around for inspiration to come, because "often the answer to our prayers does not come while we're on our knees but while we're on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us." (Pres Uchtdorf rocks.) 
We'll never know if we've made the right decision if we never actually make it. 

This month as a mission we've been studying studying. (Nope that wasn't a type-o) We've been studying the importance of gospel study and how we can study better and more effectively. One of the best things about my mission is that its really taught me to love studying the scriptures every day! I remember back in high school and college when it would be so hard to make time to sit down and read the book of mormon. But back then I didn't understand how incredibly important scripture study really is and how big of a difference it really makes....

I do now though. It makes a HUGE difference! Think about Joseph Smith... And how his studying and pondering of the scriptures as a 14 year old boy changed the entire world. His gospel study lead to the First Vision and the Restoration of the gospel!
Studying the scriptures can have an incredible impact on not only our lives but the lives of others as well, even future generations.

Last general conference President Boyd K Packer taught us how important scripture study is. He said that even though we live in really difficult times, "peace can be settled in the heart of each who turns to the scriptures and unlocks the promises of protection and redemption that are taught therein."

I know it can be hard to find time to sit down and open up the scriptures back in that fast-paced crazy busy world that you guys live in! But I know that if you make the time for it and commit to reading the scriptures every day, even if its just for ten minutes, it will make the biggest difference in your day and the biggest difference in your life

I'm pretty sure, actually I'm positive, that the adversary will never take a day off! 
So neither should we

The scriptures are like apples.... 
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. 
A chapter a day keeps the devil away.

If you already do read the scriptures every day, well then YOU ROCK. 
If not, start today! It'll make a difference. It really will. 

Have a great week you guys! I love you and miss you and pray for you all. 
Don't ever put off telling your loved ones how much you love and appreciate them. You never know what tomorrow holds and you don't ever want to miss your chance.
Jeg elsker jer
Sister Rogers
 waiting for our train

February 17, 2014

There is sunshine in my soul todayyyyy!

Man was I thankful for the few bright rays of sun that broke through the clouds this week.

Sister Hadley and I had big goals and big plans and big hopes for this week. We had so many lessons planned with all of our rockin investigators that we didn't even think we'd ever have time to eat lunch! But one after another all of our appointments were canceled and burned and postponed and rescheduled. What we thought would surely be the best busiest most successful week of our entire missions turned out to be quite the opposite.

How discouraging.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever set a goal and then fallen so short of it? Have you ever just felt like a failure? 
Of course you have... we all have big goals and big plans and big hopes. And sometimes we just fall short.

After I've "fallen down" a couple times I find myself thinking that I must just be "clumsy." That it must just be the way that I am. 
Sometimes we assume that because we've fallen down before, falling is our destiny. We might even feel so discouraged by our shortcomings and failures that we find ourselves thinking that we will never be able to succeed. 
We think its our nature to fall short of whatever it is that we're trying to accomplish. That its our nature to give in to a temptation that we struggle with. We think its our nature, that its just the way we are and the way we'll always be forevermore. 

Well its true- after Adam fell, it did become our nature to fall.
But the more important truth that I think we often forget is that our nature can change.
Every thought, every word, every action changes us. For better or for worse.
That's the purpose of the gospel- to help us choose good thoughts and good words and good actions, so that we're always changing for the better. 

But all the while the adversary's method is to change us for the worse- one thought and one word and one small act at a time.
I think he really likes to convince us that we're failures. He likes to confuse us about who we are and what we truly desire and what our real potential is.
President Uchtdorf explains it so well-
"We want to spend time with our children, but we also want to engage in our favorite hobbies. We want to lose weight, but we also want to enjoy the foods we crave. We want to become Christlike, but we also want to give the guy who cuts us off in traffic a piece of our mind. Satan's purpose is to tempt us to exchange the priceless pearls of true happiness for a fake plastic trinket that is merely an illusion and counterfeit of happiness and joy."

Sometimes we fall. We fall short and we fall down. Falling is what we do! "But as long as we are willing to rise up again and continue on the path.. we can learn something from failure and become better and happier as a result."
We just can't let our shortcomings define or discourage us. 
The best thing about the gospel is that there is ALWAYS hope. There is always someone there with outstretched hands- waiting to help us up again when we've fallen.

I've learned a lot from this week of failures....
I learned that its really important to make really good back up plans so that when things fall through I have somewhere to go!
I've learned that maybe its not the best idea to overestimate myself... its probably a good thing to plan time to eat and time to breathe!
I've learned to keep going. Even when it seems like nothing else could go wrong I've learned to keep my head up and keep going. (Ok lets be honest I've been learning this one my whole mission, and I'm still learning it every day...)
And I've learned that there's always little bits of success stashed in the corners of my failures. Not success in the form of lessons taught, but success in the form of lessons learned.

Lots of good things did happen this week though.... 
My companion and I celebrated valentines day with blondies and ice cream and pajamas and candles and awkward date memories.
And one day we visited a friend in the hospital and played guitar and sang to her, and all these hospital workers came and applauded for us afterward.
And then we contacted a man on the street one day who gave us his address and told us to come by. Turns out he lives in a crazyhouse with a bunch of creepy people. But hey, he came to church on Sunday
We also learned how to knit from one of the less active ladies in our ward. I finally got the hang of it and my new goal for 2014 is to knit myself a sweater! 

I hope you guys all have a great week. If you get bored you should like youtube a knitting tutorial. Because knitting is really quite enjoyable. 
But if your attempt at knitting a sweater turns into an utter failure, or if you fall down or fall short in any of your other goals or hopes or plans, don't give up. Look up. Reach up.

"Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him who's love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone, suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you immeasurably more than what you will ever, ever, in all eternity make of yourself. 
He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge.
 You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God." -Lawrence E. Corbridge

Jeg elsker jer! Have en dejlige uge.
Sister Rogers
 I can't believe i LIVE here.
 Temple date
 Beautiful day in the neighborhood
 GIANT straws

February 10, 2014

Today I have officially been out and about this missionary business for exactly TEN MONTHS.
I think that calls for a delicious danish pastry. 
Or maybe some broccoli. Because I'm being healthy.

Ten whole months of being a missionary! I love this life.
I love it because I don't have to worry about impressing people or dressing cool or getting asked on dates.
I love it because I don't have to worry about paychecks or payments.
I don't have to worry about tests and research papers that my GPA (aka my life) depends on. 
I love it because all those worldly worries are simply GONE.

But then again, there are plenty of other worries to fill their place....
All of those worldly worries are replaced with ETERNAL ones as soon as I put my name tag on.
Like how we're going to reactivate a returned missionary that fell off the path.
How we're going to help a smoker of 50 years give up cigarettes. 
How we're going to help a woman who lost her leg find the hope to carry on.
And the thing I worry about most is how I'm supposed to help people find the faith that they've never had....
This week I've met SO many people who have said faith means absolutely nothing to them. People who say that God simply does not exist. I replied to one man with a simple but fervent testimony that I know He does. The man seemed frustrated at my certainty and asked me how I could possibly think that I know.

I could have given him a thousand reasons!

God's reality is so apparent in everything around me. 
The blue book that I carry every day is visible tangible evidence of God.
The fact that I can share this book with others by walking around everyday with a body that lives and breathes and thinks and grows and feels is evidence to me that God is my Creator.
The beautiful family who sent me off to Denmark and who's love and encouragement supports me everyday throughout my mission -and throughout my whole life- is beautiful wonderful evidence that God loves and cares about me and wants me to be happy. 
"Even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it.. do witness that there is a supreme creator."
All things denote there is a God.

I can see so many evidences with my eyes... But even when they're closed, I know.

As I've been pondering a lot this week about all the reasons why and how I know God exists, I've thought about how the Book of Mormon and my family and the trees and the stars and all the other wonderful beautiful things around me are evidence of God. 
But I've also realized that even the bad things in life are evidence of God and how much He loves us.

Sounds a little crazy right? I'll let Lawrence E. Corbridge elaborate on this thought.....

"Every challenge you face, every hard thing you confront, every bad thing that happens to you, every unfairness, every conflict, every sadness, tragedy, every disappointment and heartache, every temptation and every opposition happens for one purpose only: to give you the opportunity to respond by applying in your life the teachings of Jesus. As you do so you are changed to become more like Him.
The purpose and central blessing of life is change. It is to be changed to become more like Jesus Christ. It is to incorporate into your character the qualities of His character. It is to move from one degree of intelligence and capacity to the next, and from there to the next, until you see God face to face and know Him as He knows you." 

The Lord gives us so many beautiful blessings in the form of families and friends and scriptures and mountains and sunsets and etc etc etc....
But He also gives us so many beautiful blessings in the form of hardships and challenges and trials.
God loves us so much that He gives us experiences that will help us learn and grow and change and become better. 
He loves us so much that He gives us the opportunity to become like Him. 

Well despite the unfortunate pattern of atheism that seemed to follow me around in all my conversations on the Copenhagen streets, its been a really good week.

Its like Christmas when your investigator shows up at church.
When your investigator shows up at church its more exciting than the prophet showing up at church.
When your investigator shows up at church every cloud immediately disappears from the dark danish sky.

Speaking of cheerful things such as Christmas and the prophet and cloudless skies...
I made another birthday cake for an investigator this week!
Except for every time I try to make a cake something goes terribly wrong! This time there was a giant gooey hole in the center of the cake when I pulled it out of the oven. How does that even happen??! I ended up cutting out the parts of the cake that were baked right and stacking them into a 3 layer cake with a height that was 2x greater than its width.... It still tasted delicious and our investigator loved it so I guess it wasn't a complete failure!

I'd blame my cake issues on the difference in altitude or on danish ovens or on my cake pan... but I'm still trying to work on humility. So this is me being humble and admitting that my cake-baking skills are depressingly weak.
So if anybody has any cake tips or advice, kindly send them my way! 
You'll be doing me a great service. I'm sure the next Dane to have a birthday will truly appreciate it :)

But on a more successful note....
I was walking down the street one day and I saw a FLYING SQUIRREL!!!
Ok maybe it wasn't a real actual flying squirrel because I don't think those magical creatures exist here in Denmark....
But I definitely saw a squirrel.
And the squirrel definitely flew.
It changed my life.
I couldn't remember the Danish word for squirrel..... so we asked a Dane! Not only did we tell this stranger about the life changing flying squirrel, but we ended up having a great discussion about the life changing message of the restored gospel. 

Life is so fun.

Hey its valentines day this week! Eat lots of chocolate and tell your loved ones how much you love them.

infite Xs and Os,
Sister Rogers

February 3, 2014

Most Danes are super closed up and private when it comes to religion. That was one of the very first things I learned when I used to google Denmark in my down time (was that really 10 months ago?? crazy...) Now I can tell you first hand that its true... Google didn't even lie. But one day Sister Hale and I met this sweet little Danish lady when we were on our way to an appointment. She was so open, and talked with us about God and Jesus Christ for a few minutes right there on the street!! We made an appointment with her, and when we taught her about the Restoration she absolutely loved it! We went back for a second appointment and taught her about the Plan of Salvation, and she absolutely loved that too! So we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized.... And she said YES. She wants to be baptized on the first day of March.
Wowwwwww! What a missionary dream come true! 
So this week I got a taste of what it might be like to serve a mission in South America.... ohhh it tastes so so sweet!

But usually things don't go that smoothly.... not in missionary work, and not in life. Sometimes (and by sometimes i mean most of the time. And by most of the time i mean like 97% of the time) life seems to go the exact opposite of how we planned and hoped and dreamed. Sometimes we miss the train. Sometimes people shut the door in our face. Sometimes plans fall through and sometimes people let us down....

C.S. Lewis was a very wise and wonderful man with some very inspiring words:

"Imagine yourself as a house that God comes in to rebuild. 
At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof. You knew those jobs needed to be done, and so you are not surprised. 
But soon, He starts knocking you about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to?
He is building a different house than you had planned. Throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers and making courtyards.
You thought you were going to be a little cottage,
But He is building a palace."

Remember that God has a plan for you. It might not always be easier. But its always better.

This morning I said goodbye to my rockin comp Sister Hale.... she's off to Jylland and leaving me here in Copenhagen with just a map and hopefully enough recollection to not get my new companion lost in this big city! Transfers are the worst :( I hate saying goodbyes. 
But I'm excited to get to know my new cute comp Sister Hadley! She was in the MTC the same time I was and we even flew in to Denmark together. So thats fun! 
We need to go get her all unpacked and then buy some groceries so we don't starve this week....

(no I'm not exclaiming the name of a fantastic HP character...
Fred = PEACE in Danish)
Sister Rog
 I'm going to miss knocking on doors and singing to strangers with this sky fox missionary! JEG ELSKER DIG SØSTER HALE!!!
 These elders really like to drive us crazy by destroying our pictures with duck faces and peace signs....
 Sweet Sister Swena is from St George! We're going to be best friends back in the 435.

And the Hansens are from StG toooooo! Oh I love them.
One of the best things about serving in Copenhagen is getting to know all of the incredible senior missionaries that work in the office :)

 This is a waffle on a stick. simply the most delicious thing i've ever tasted.