back ground

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.