back ground

March 31, 2014

How did I get here?

Hej godmorgen!
Its been so sunny and springy here in Copenhagen that I went to church yesterday WITHOUT A COAT. That deserves a hallelujah! I love the sun.
Its been a reeeally great week...

One day President and Sister Sederholm came along to a lesson with our beautiful wonderful Polish friend. She is the non-active member we've been working with who has so many doubts and concerns about the church, and she was really excited to talk to President Sederholm about all those little things that she's been having a hard time understanding and accepting. The lesson was an incredible incredible experience and the spirit was so so strong. My mission president is a man of God. After talking through all of her questions and doubts with her, President said "Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is true? Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?"  Because that's what everything comes down to. Thats something that I've really learned throughout my mission. It ALL comes back to our testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. Because if we have a solid testimony of those fundamental principles, then everything else just falls right into place. If we've received a witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that He really did appear to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees to restore His church to the earth, then all of our questions and doubts and fears can be swept away. And if we hold to that testimony whenever more questions or doubts or fears come, we'll never even falter.

This week I finished reading the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. In Danish. What an incredible experience, to read the book that I've treasured my whole life in a language that was nothing but gibberish to me less than a year ago! When I read that last page of the Book of Mormon, Moroni exhorted me to remember how merciful the Lord has been unto the children of men, to ponder it in my heart, and to ask my Eternal Father if these things are true. 
And that's what I did. 
I thought back and remembered how the pages of this Danish book had delivered so many messages of strength, peace, and encouragement to me over the past months. And I remembered how I was able to use those passages of Danish scripture to teach so many people about Jesus Christ. I thought back and remembered the Spirit that I felt whenever I opened the book and whenever I shared the book. 
And as I prayed to God, that same Spirit of peace and joy filled my heart. Testifying to me once again that it really is true. Whether its in English or Danish or Polish or Chinese, the Book of Mormon is true. I know it. I love it. And I'm so so thankful for it.

On Saturday Sister Hadley and I were walking down the crazy busy Copenhagen streets that were flooded with marathon runners and watchers...

(side note: Its my new life's goal to run the Copenhagen marathon one day. I even ran 2 miles this morning to start training! haha...)

But anyways. As we were out and about talking to people, we met a really rad guy named Sejr. (Translation= Victory. So rad.) We started talking to him about our church only to find out that he already knew just about everything about it! He said he once had a friend who was a Mormon, and that he'd always been really impressed by the standards his friend lived. He told us that if he were to join any church, it would definitely be the Mormon one. 
I'm really proud of Sejr's mormon friend! Because of his faithfulness to the gospel and his dedication to living his testimony, he was a really great example for those around him. And now Sejr wants to come watch General Conference with us this weekend! 
A good example can go a really long way.

Another day this week we went to a beautiful botanical garden to meet with our Chinese investigator. And as we were walking down the winding path surrounded by beautiful beautiful nature talking to our sweet friend about Jesus Christ, I had one of those "how did I get here?!" moments... How on earth did I land myself wandering through a botanical garden in Copenhagen Denmark with a 65 year old Asian?? 
Then the words of Russell M Nelson came to my mind. 
"Each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny."
Even seemingly small decisions can impact our lives in such significant ways. I'm really grateful for the decisions that I've made throughout my life that have lead me to where I am today. I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, which has helped me make the right choices, and has made it possible for me to repent when I've made the wrong ones.

So Sister Hadley and I are working with this wonderful lady who just started coming back to church and is struggling to quit smoking. We go read the Book of Mormon with her a few times a week and offer her support and encouragement. She is going through the church's 12 step program for addiction recovery, which is something I've introduced to a lot of different people throughout my mission to try and help them overcome their addictive habits. 
But I decided that I really need to have my testimony of the program if I'm going to be telling all these people that it truly works... So, my companion and I got ourselves an addiction recovery manual and we are going through the whole program to overcome our addiction to sugar! 
Haha. Its really hard. And just like my smoker friends, I've gone through multiple relapses! But I'm really gaining a better understanding of the atonement, and how Jesus Christ truly can help us overcome any challenges or weaknesses that we face.

Well I don't know about you guys but I am stoooooked for General Conference this weekend! 
If you have any doubts or questions or if you are searching for any answers or guidance, be prayerful this week and then take those questions to General Conference. I can tell you with all the surety of my whole soul that the Lord will speak to you personally through the words of our Prophet and church leaders. 
I'll never ever ever forget the morning of October 6th 2012 when Heavenly Father spoke guidance straight to my searching heart. That day changed my life, and sent me on a path that would lead me to a beautiful botanical garden in Copenhagen Denmark, where I could share my testimony of Him with another one of His searching daughters.  

Well. Time to go buy groceries!
I hope you all have a dejligt day. 
I hope you love the Book of Mormon as much as I do.
I hope you strive to always be an example of the believers to all those around you.
I hope you make decisions today that will lead you to a beautiful destiny.
And I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!
Happy Conference weekend!!!

Søster Rogers

March 24, 2014

One day Sister Hadley and I went to our cat lady friend's house to help her clean her kitchen.
She hadn't cleaned her kitchen in MONTHS. 
There were dishes of molding decaying cat food cemented onto the counters.....
And that's when it happened.
The moment I've been waiting for for the past almost year. 
It was like a big neon sign was flashing at me "Congratulations! You did it! You are a MISSIONARY!" 
As I was scrubbing at plates of rotten fish and trying to hold my breath so that the awful stench wouldn't trigger my gag reflex, I smiled. because I am a missionary. 
That day in the kitchen I thought about what it means to be a missionary. 
It means doing things you don't necessarily want to do!
It means being selfless, and sacrificing your own desires to help others.
It means making other people's problems your own problems, and solving them together. 
It means enduring and not giving up, even though it can be HARD.

Even though it smelled bad, it felt so good to lift someone's burden. It always feels so good to serve. 
Lucky for us, we found several other service opportunities all throughout the week! We spent one afternoon cleaning up trash in a park. We spent one evening making dinner for a lady in our ward. And we spent 5 hours on Saturday sorting 2,000 genealogy films into number order and then filing them at the new Family History center that was just relocated to our church building. We were about halfway through that project when one of the filing cabinets got completely stuck and we had NO idea how to fix it. We couldn't get the drawer we needed to open for the life of us! We fussed with it for half an hour with noooo luck. So my comp and I said a prayer. And I knew without a shadow of a doubt that after we said Amen the drawer would open. Because if faith can move mountains it can definitely move a jammed drawer, right? Well to my dismay it still wouldn't budge. 
But not even 3 minutes later, we heard someone walking down the hall. We asked the man for help, and he knew exactly how to make that temperamental filing cabinet work. He opened the drawer with ease.
I never found out why that random man randomly came into the church building that day, and I have no idea why he randomly came down to the basement where we were working.
But it was an answer to our little prayer. 
I think its so wonderful. That God loves us so much that He is willing to help us with seemingly silly little things like filing cabinets! It was a testimony to me that the Lord really does hear our prayers and he really does answer them. Just not always in the time or the way we expect!

Service projects and answered prayers make for a really good week! And on top of that, my companion and I have had a lot of success with our investigators and teaching lessons this week. One day we had planned to take our Chinese investigator to a member's home for dinner and a lesson. But that turned into us all being invited to a different member's home- the member's home where our African investigator just happens to live! Well if teaching 2 different investigators at once wasn't already enough to make a missionary's wildest dreams come true, one of the members decided to bring another in-active friend along as well. It was like a missionaryworkfirework! What a great night.

Then on Saturday night our relief society president called us up and asked us if we could teach Relief Society the next day. She must have heard the talk by Elder Russel M Nielson's talk "Ask the Missionaries!" 
I guess I should go add that to my list of what it means to be a missionary- It means being able to whip out gospel lessons on a moments notice! Haha I was really nervous to teach relief society though... Especially with so little time to prepare. But the lesson went really well! The gift of tongues rocks and the Spirit rocks and so do sweet relief society sisters :)

Well the sky is blue and the sun is shining and I'm going to go ride my bike to the park. 
Hope you all have a beautiful day and a great week! 
Remember to clean your kitchen more than once a month.
And if you need to sort through thousands of genealogy films or need someone to teach a lesson at church on Sunday or need help with anything at all, Ask the missionaries! 

Here's a nice little poem for your reading enjoyment:

I know not by what methods rare
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard
and will be answered soon or late
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
will come in just the way I thought
But leave my prayers with Him alone
Who's will is wiser than my own
Assured that He will grant my quest,
or send some answer far more blessed. 
-Eliza M. Hickok

Søster Rogers

March 17, 2014

There were lots of tears in my eyes when I logged onto my email account last Monday to see a picture of my GORGEOUS best friend with the most unbelieeeevably gorgeous diamond ring sparkling on her finger while her handsome man was kissing her face.

CONGRATULATIONS to my perfect best friend and her perfect fiance!!!
My heart breaks over the fact that I can't be there when my best friend goes to the temple to get married, but I am SO thrilled. Matthew Mitchell you are one lucky lucky lucky man and I hope you know you have to share your woman with me when I get home!

You know, sometimes its hard to be so far away. Sometimes its hard when the only communication you have with your family and friends is through email once a week. Sometimes its just hard. You all know how much I LOVE my mission. I love my mission more than anything. And being here is worth every sacrifice. (Even the painful sacrifices- like missing out on wedding dress shopping and flower arranging and happily-every-after planning...) 
I love love love my mission and I am SO happy to be here. But that doesn't mean that it isn't hard... Its definitely not all sunshine and butterflies. (Rain clouds and gross spiders are much more abundant!)
I'm going to say it again- I LOVE MY MISSION. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. 

But every once in a while I find myself gazing up at the peak of this mountain that I'm climbing. 
I think that might be part of human nature. We sometimes focus a little too much on the destination instead of enjoying the journey. We sometimes get caught up in dreams of tomorrow instead of living in the moment. 
The truth is that if we live our lives always waiting for tomorrow, tomorrow will never actually come.
And if we keep hiking with nothing but the peak in mind, we'll miss out on all the beautiful things decorating the path. 
We have to remember to stop and smell the roses.

Well on Saturday I was blessed with not just a pretty rose or two to decorate my path, but a whole rose bush!
My companion Sister Hadley and I woke up BRIGHT and early (Yes! It truly was BRIGHT and early, not DARK and early! Spring is almost here and the sun is coming up earlier and staying up longer and its the BEST thing that's ever happened to me! I didn't realize how depressing the winter darkness was until I realized how HAPPY the spring sunlight is!) -sorry for the long sunshine tangent- we woke up bright and early and hopped on a train to my hometown of Slagelse. A piece of my heart will forever belong to my beautiful Danish home. Slagelse is so special. And it was especially special to be there on Saturday...
In Slagelse I have this GORgeous friend named Natascha. She started investigating the church at the end of last summer, and the Elders were sooo lucky to be able to teach her about the gospel because she was so ready and so prepared for it! Natascha and I became good friends- I always loved talking to her at church and seeing her around town. I'll never forget the day before I moved to Copenhagen, when I said goodbye to Natascha and she told me that I was such a light to her. That I always made her happy and that she wanted to have that same light that I had. 
On Saturday Natascha came up out of the waters of baptism glowing and radiating with that light. 

I'm so happy I was able to be there! Natascha has already converted more people to the church than I have as she's been sharing the gospel with all of her friends. She's not just a light, she's a FIRE. In 20 years from now she'll invite the cute missionaries over for dinner with her family and they'll ask her about her conversion story and she'll tell them about her baptism day. I'm so blessed to have been a part that special day that she'll never forget. 

Some missionaries around the world get to see dozens of baptisms on their missions. Some missionaries get to see hundreds. Even though I have only been to a few here in Denmark, I feel so very blessed. Baptisms are so special and so sacred to me. Of course I would love to fill up that font every single Saturday, but even though it happens on a much more rare occasion I know that the missionaries are making a difference here in Denmark! The gospel is spreading and the church is growing.

If the day wasn't already wonderful enough, when we got back to Copenhagen we got to do a session at the TEMPLE. Two best things in the whole world: baptisms and temples. And we had both wrapped up in one wonderful day. 
That's what you call a rose garden.
My companion became really close friends with a recent convert who lives in the last area she served in. Marie is a wonderful woman with an incredible conversion story who loves missionaries and loves making people happy. But Marie has been fighting and struggling and battling cancer for a long time. And the doctors just gave her 6 months. 
She showed up -for what was most likely her last temple trip- with no hair on her head but a big smile on her face. 

I can't imagine what that would be like. To know your time is almost out. To never even know what 30 feels like...
Seeing Marie's smile and hearing her laugh despite the tragedy she is facing was really inspiring to me. 

In reality, none of us know how long we have left to walk on this earth.
I want to live every single day like its my last. With a smile on my face and laughter on my lips, with joy in my heart and a testimony that shines like a light in my eyes. 
I want to live every single day admiring the beautiful things that decorate my path. 
Smelling roses, gathering roses, and sharing roses.

So today is a special little day! (St Patrick's Day- Yes. I hope you are all wearing green.) 
Its also the birthday of the Relief Society. 172 years and still going strong!
I am so thankful for Relief Society! Since being on my mission I've gained such a strong testimony and appreciation for Relief Society. And Since being on my mission I've also encountered a lot of feminist opinions and womens rights activists. One of the inactive members that we've been working with has about a dozen arguments about how she feels diminished for being a woman in the church.
But I whole heartedly disagree.
I'd echo what Elder Russell M. Nelson once said, that "perhaps the church does more to enlighten understanding about and to lift the cause of women than any other institution on earth. It provides the path to her eternal destiny." 
I'm so proud to be a woman in this world! And to be a sister in the Relief Society- the largest womens association on earth! 
The gospel has taught me so much about my divine potential as a woman, and has truly shown me the path to my eternal destiny.
While my dreams include graduating from an Ivy league school, saving Africa, becoming a best-selling author or joining the CIA, my biggest dream, ultimate goal and highest priority is to become a loving wife and nurturing mother. Because I know that's what Elder D. Todd Christofferson said is TRUE-
 "There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here." 

One more quote about women because birthdays happen only once a year:
"To help another human being reach ones celestial potential is part of the divine mission of woman. As mother, teacher, or nurturing saing, she molds living clay to the shape of her hopes. In partnership with God her divine mission is to help spirits live and souls be lifted. This is the measure of her creation. It is ennobling, edifying, and exalting."

Its wonderful to be a woman. 
Someday I'll be like my best friend Amanda and my best friend Sarah and my best friend Dally and marry the man of my dreams. (Crap... All my friends are married.) And someday I'll be like my beautiful wonderful mother and raise children of my own.

But right now, I'm a missionary!! 
I love where I'm at. I love what I'm doing. I love what I'm learning and who I'm becoming.

I hope you do too. I hope that where ever you are you love where you're at.
Remember that there will always be another tomorrow, but there will never be another today. 
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the journey.
Live like you're dying.
And don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

Have a beautiful week!
Sister Breanna Michele Rogers

"So many of us are always waiting to be happy. “If only I could graduate, if only I could afford a car, if only I could get married …” For too many, happiness is just over the horizon, never reachable. Every time we climb one hill, happiness beckons just beyond the next.
It is a terrible thing always to be waiting for tomorrow, always depending on tomorrow, always excusing our todays because we are sure that only in the future will we possess the things that will fulfill us.
Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for the right job, the right house, the right salary, the right dress size. Be happy today. Be happy now."
-Joseph B. Wirthlin
I'm obsessed with quotes. #sorrynotsorry

 or when you find a crazy awesome swing set outside your investigator's apartment building.
 or when the sky looks like this.

March 3, 2014

sorry for the novel...

I hope you're doing great and a had a good week.
Its sure been a good week in the mission field.

One day we went through our Area Book, where there are stacks of records dating years and years back, overflowing with information about previous investigators and potential investigators and people that have been contacted on the street over the years. As I was reading through these infinite lists of names, there was one name that caught my eye. I don't know why her name caught my eye.... "Elizabeth" is as ordinary and un-captivating as names come! But it stood out to me. So I decided to call her. I was so startled at how excited and happy she was when i told her that I was a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"What an incredible coincidence! Just last night I was talking to my roommate about the Mormon church, and how I really want to learn more about it!!"
Now we have an appointment to give both Elizabeth and her roommate a church tour this week. 

It seems like these "incredible coincidences" have been happening right and left. 
I'll tell you about a few more of them...

I think I've told you about our amazing African friend named Emma. Well she's been investigating the church for a few months now and is really open and interested in the gospel. 
So we were with this awesome member of our ward who was coming to visit a less-active with us. As we were walking to the appointment, she began to tell us about an experience she'd had a few days before. She had just left the library and was unlocking her bike when she looked up to see a woman unlocking the bike next to hers. She told us that she had a really strong impression to talk to this stranger. So she did, and they had a really nice conversation that ended with them exchanging phone numbers. They became fast friends and went out to lunch together. She told us about this experience because she wanted us to pray for her new friend, and that she would be able to share the gospel with her. We said of course, and asked what her friend's name was. " Her name is Emma and she comes from Africa....." 
Whaaaaaaaa??? Turns out her Emma from Africa and our Emma from Africa are one and the same!!

What an incredible INCREDIBLE coincidence.

About a week ago my good friend Sister Pete called me up and said "Hey! I met this awesome lady at a bus stop, and she is super interested in learning about the gospel. She lives in your area. You've gotta go visit her!" 
So we got a new investigator this week! Thanks Sister Pete! 
She is the sweetest most gorgeous Brazilian woman with the sweetest most adorable half Brazilian half Danish baby girl. She moved to Denmark a few years back to be an Au Pair, and ended up getting married and staying here. We've had a couple amazing lessons with her and she is so excited to learn about the church and how it can bless her family. 
So we were at a church activity this week, where we talked to a Brazilian member who, coincidentally, came here to Denmark a few weeks ago to be an Au Pair. We thought it would be really cool to have her come to a lesson with us so she could explain some things in Portuguese. 
Get ready for another one of those 'what an incredible coincidence' moments........
When we told the member the name of our new investigator her jaw dropped.
"Are you for real?! I know her! We've been emailing and skyping for the past month... We got in contact when I decided to come here, and she's been giving me advice about being an Au Pair in Denmark!"  

All I can say is I don't believe in coincidence.
Not even in the slightest. 

"For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word." Alma 13:24

There truly are angels at work. There are angels preparing the hearts of those who need to hear the gospel, and there are angles helping us to find them.

We had an amazing fireside on Saturday where we learned about how we can use family history in our missionary work. 
When I think of family history, I always just thought about pedigree charts and and the genealogy books collecting dust on our bookshelf. I never really thought of family history being stories. Stories of my own childhood. Stories I've been told by my parents. Inspiring stories that I've heard about my ancestors. 
During the fireside, we were asked to think of a family member who has inspired us- our hero or role model.
Upon hearing the words "hero" and "role model" my mother's beautiful face came to my mind as tears came to my eyes and overwhelming love filled my heart. 
We were then asked to turn to our companion and share a favorite memory about this hero.
As the room began to echo with cherished memories of everyone's families and loved ones, tender feelings of gratitude and excitement and love swept the room and invited the most incredible spirit. 

Talking about our families and our cherished memories is the easiest way to invite the spirit into any conversation. And the best thing is, is that its not even an awkward subject to bring up. Maybe it can be difficult to share your testimony with a coworker, maybe it can be daunting to invite a nonmember friend to church. But there is nothing difficult or daunting about talking about family.
And family is what the message of the gospel is really all about.

So as I've been thinking about how incredible and how wonderful family history is, I've thought about those first few chapters in the Book of Mormon, and how Nephi and his brothers went to all that trouble to go back to Jerusalem in order to get the brass plates. When they brought the record back to their father, "it came to pass that Lehi found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers... And now when he saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit. And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us. Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise."

Just like it was so important for Lehi's family to know their genealogy, stories of our own ancestors can have an incredible impact on us. Knowledge of those who came before us gives us a greater sense of identity. Stories of our family's strength and courage and trials can inspire us in our own daily challenges.

A few months ago my Dad sent me a beautiful letter telling me all about the life of his own father. I remember sitting at the library with tears spilling onto my lap as I read about my grandfather, who lost his mother when he was 11 years old. He spent a year of his youth living in an unfinished detached garage with no heat, a dirt floor, and painters drop cloths as windows and doors. Then in the summer of 1949 his stepmother gave him a few dollars and a bus ticket from California to Montana, telling him to find work so that he could earn his way back home that fall. On his third day away from home, he chose to go to church where he met a kind old lady who let him weep on her shoulder that day. They took him in, fed him better than he had ever eaten, and let him earn his way. 

My grandfather passed away before I was 2 years old. But the incredible man he was- which inspired and shaped my own father into the wonderful man that he is- has influenced the person that I am today.

Now maybe my grandfather is one of those angels. 
Preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive the gospel. And leading me to them.

I could probably keep talking about incredible coincidences (AKA the work of heavenly angels) and family stories all day! But then I wouldn't have time to go eat at the Hard Rock Cafe in celebration of one of my fellow missionary's birthdays. 

And this weeks novel is already longer than one of Jane Austen's.

Have a good week everybody!! 
Learn something new about your ancestors. Or tell someone something special about your family.
I love you all!
Sister Breanna Rogers
 Just acting out a PMG moment.