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