back ground

April 28, 2014

Chapter 3

Hellooooo from the beautiful city of Horsens!

After an intense game of tetris last night (trying to fit my entire life into 2 suitcases) I woke up bright and early, said goodbye to magical Copenhagen and hopped on a train. I was hoping it would whisk me off to Hogwarts.... but Horsens is just as good :) I've only been here for a couple of hours but I'm in LOVE with it already. My new companion Sister Katelyn Pearson from CEDAR CITY is fabulous, our apartment is absolutely adorable, and Horsens is just so lovely. 


But let me tell you about my final week in København....

So a few weeks ago our beautiful Brazilian investigator Glaucia texted us and said "I like my church and I like the Bible and that's good enough for me." We were super bummed that she dropped us because she was so sweet and seemed so so promising. 
One day we were thinking about Glaucia and how awesome she was, and so we sent her a little text, saying that we hoped she was doing great and asking if we could come by to say hi. To which she happily agreed! 
It was actually my bff Sister Peterson who first met Glaucia at a bus stop a couple months back. It just so happened that Sister Peterson came on splits with me this week! Of course she was way stoked when I told her we had an appointment with Glaucia. 
When we first got there Glaucia told us how one of her friends had told her not to meet with us, which was why she'd texted us a few weeks ago about not being interested. But then she said that she 's thought more about it and that she feels happy and good with us, so it doesn't matter what her friend said.
Then she told us how for the past few weeks she's felt distant and far away from God. And that she wants to be closer to Him. She told us how a few days before she was praying to God to be closer in her life.... and then that was when we texted her and asked if we could come visit! She said she knew it was an answer to her prayer, and that she was so happy we were there to help her come closer to her Father in Heaven. 
The Spirit was SO strong as Sister Peterson and I both bore our testimonies to beautiful Glaucia about the Book of Mormon and how it can help us come closer to God than anything else. the tears in Glaucia's eyes told me that she felt the Spirit testify of truth too. 
Its moments like that that I LOVE being a missionary.

But that beautiful wonderful spiritual special experience was very much contrasted by an experience quite the complete opposite........

Sister Pete and I were walking down the busy Copenhagen streets, talking with people about Jesus Christ. We stopped to talk with a man and I said "Hej, vi er ud i dag for at snakke med folk om Jesus Kristus og hvad han betyder for dem." To which he replied "Sorry I don't speak Danish....." We said "oh no worries, we actually come from the U.S. so we speak English!"
Suddenly the man turned into a monster. He exploded in our faces and screamed so many horrible terrible words that made my heart drop and my blood boil. He called us murderers. He told us that we should die. He told us that he wanted to kill us and that he wanted to rip our heads off. We tried to calmly walk away but he blocked us and stopped us and continued to spit words that felt like knives tearing at my heart and stabbing at my spirit. 
I've never felt so hated. I've never felt so violated or offended. I've never been so abused. 
It was like living a terrible nightmare when he followed us down the street with more and more abusive words that tore us apart. We were afraid he would physically attack us. I wanted to break into a dead run and get OUT of there, but I was afraid that would just egg him on and then he'd really hurt us. So we stayed calm and just walked. We weaved between cars and crossed the street, hoping we could shake him off. But his cold breath and cruel words followed right behind us still. Finally we slipped away into a little crowd of people and dodged off the sidewalk into a graveyard where we stood until he was gone. 
Sister Peterson and I looked at each other with horror struck faces, our bodies both shaking from that destroying experience. We did the only thing we could think to do.... Pray. 
Heavenly Father please calm our hearts and strengthen our spirits. 

That experience taught me a lot. 
Sometimes we are persecuted or abused or bullied because of who we are or where we come from. And sometimes, in the face of ridicule and torment, its really hard to stand strong. Hope seems distant and faith seems dim. 
Since that day, I've thought a lot about the One who suffered it all.

"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him and he suffereth it, and they smite him and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long suffering towards the children of men." (1 Nephi 19:9)

Christ's love lead Him to suffering and torment. So by following Christ's example and trying to fill our lives with Christlike love, we are going to face a lot of challenges and trials as well. But Christlike love is the greatest need on this planet! I truly believe that the pure love of Christ can change the world. 

WELL on a brighter note! Sister Hadley and I went back to Glaucia's a couple days later and had another lesson with her. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her- when Christ comes to the Nephites and then teaches them about baptism. The chapter paved the way perfectly to a baptismal invitation.... but before we could even open our mouths to invite her to take that step, Glaucia said "If baptism was the most important thing, do I need to be baptized too?" She basically invited herself!
I died a little inside when-with a pained look on her face- she asked if being baptized meant that she'd have to buy long skirts and start dressing like we do. Haha! We assured our fashionable friend that she could hold on to all of her trendy clothes! And she set a goal to be baptized on July 19th. YAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! It was the best day ever.

So despite the scary scary man, its been a wonderful wonderful week. Full of beautiful streets that I already miss and incredible people that I miss even more. 
It was really hard to say goodbye. Goodbye's are the worst thing in the world. 

There seems to be something inside of me that resists endings.... 

"Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions- temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How  grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.
(President Uchtdorf ROCKS)

I'm so thankful for my time in Copenhagen. The people I met and the experiences I had there truly changed my life. I'm a better person today than I was when I first stepped off the train at Copenhagen Central Station last December. 
And how grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.

Today is the beginning of another wonderful chapter of my mission.
God has been so good to me.

Have a beautiful week everybody!
I love and pray for you all.
Sister Rogers

P.S. here's a link to the newspaper article about Sister Hadley and me!!

p.s.s. When I looked out my train window this morning I saw two horses galloping across the beautiful Danish country side. 
Maybe there are are horses in Horsens? 
I hope so. I love horses.

Two of my favorite lovely Danes!

This woman changed my life. Deidre is the big sister I had to come to Denmark to find!
 Splits with Sister Pete!

April 22, 2014

The Growing Zone

Glædig Påske! I hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend.
Påske lasts from Thursday through Monday here in Denmark! All the shops and stores and libraries and virtually the whole country just closed down for 5 days. (In case you were wondering why I didn't write to you all yesterday...) Denmark sure knows how to take a vacation!

Holy cow the week flew by SO fast.
But it probably felt much longer and seemed to go by a lot slower from the eyes of our mini missionary! I think we exhausted cute Søster Nielsen with our never-ending busy schedule and very demanding missionary life. I forgot how big of an adjustment this life style is.... waking up at 6:30 and work work working all day every day! I think she had a wonderful experience, even though she said it was much harder than she had expected. Missionary work is really good at yanking you out of your comfort zone! But you know whats true is that "there is no growing in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growing zone." It was amazing to see the growth and change in sweet Søster Nielsen from the beginning to the end of her missionary week. It was a blessing to serve with her!

One sunny spring day we were invited to an Easter picnic with some cute young families in our ward. I had the time of my life holding hands with my 4 year old best friend Nora and playing Mermaids and Pirates before feasting on PB&J's, coloring Easter eggs, flying kites and blowing bubbles. It was the best afternoon ever.
Tell Abby how much I love her and miss her!!

Later that day we met up with Maria (the rad spunky journalist with the fabulous nose ring that we met at the Easter concert last week!) Sister Hadley and I posed awkwardly in front of the beautiful Copenhagen temple as Maria's photographer snapped candid photos of us before having a little tour of our church building and sitting down for our interview. Being interviewed was SO fun. It was like taking a normal missionary experience and turning it totally upside down! Instead of trying to tell someone all about our church and trying to get them to find a slight interest, we were pried for answers to all sorts of exciting questions like "What makes your church so different?" "What kinds of things do you do every day as a missionary?" "What role does your religion play in your every day life?" or my personal favorite "Why did you decide to go on a mission?" We were able to fill her in about our missionary lives and tell her all about the church and how its changed us and made us so happy.
The last question the journalist asked us before wrapping it all up was to describe in one sentence what the church means to us. I wanted to make it a really really long run-on sentence that my AP English teacher would scold me for! Because it means absolutely everything to me. And its quite difficult to squish EVERYTHING into one mere sentence!
My faith in Christ and His restored gospel is the reason I can go through each day with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.
That's what I told her.
It was such a unique way to share our unique message, and we are so super excited for the article to be published! Hopefully a lot of people will read it and decide to further investigate what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is all about.

COOL STORY. We were on our way one afternoon to visit our African friend and help her move into her new little home. As we were walking down this random side street (out of all the MILLIONS of Copenhagen streets) when we ran into our investigator (out of all the MILLIONS of Copenhageners) sitting at a bus stop! We hadn't been able to make contact with him for a few weeks, so it was a HUGE tender mercy that we just happened to run into him. He even came to institute with us the next day!

Ah. It was a great week. Full of sunshine and appointments and traditional Danish Easter food. Such as lamb. And smørrebrød. (Open-faced sandwiches smothered with butter or liver paste or plain straight fat and then topped with salmon or shrimp and boiled eggs and onions and cucumbers.)
On Sunday I was asked to sing a solo in sacrament meeting. Like 20 minutes before church began! bahhhh. That was fun.

The butterflies from my on-the-spot sacrament meeting solo fluttered right back into my stomach the very next morning....
Because the morning of fateful Transfer Calls always invites butterflies and anticipation and anxiety beyond compare!
Sister Hadley and I were in the middle of our companionship study having a dejligt discussion about the 3rd Book of Nephi when the phone rang. I saw that it was good old President Sederholm. And my stomach dropped.

He said "Sister Rogers have you packed your bags??! You are transferring to the lovely town of Horsens as a Sister Training Leader."

And I said Oh my.
Since then the butterflies have made a permanent home out of my stomach.
Everything is about to change.
I've spent my whole mission living on this little island of Denmark called Sjælland. Its my comfort zone. And I love it.
And I've spent the past 4 1/2 months living in Denmark's Capital city where there are more people than the rest of the country combined.... Its my comfort zone. And I love it. 
But next week I'll hop on a train with all of my suitcases and my bicycle and my guitar (that's gonna be an adventure itself....) and move to a part of the country I've never been.
It seems that whenever I start to get comfortable, Heavenly Father decides to shake up my world! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because after all... 
there is no growing in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growing zone.
I'm excited! I'm excited for the new people I'll get to serve and the new experiences I'll be blessed to have. I'm feeling especially blessed and especially humbled to be a Sister Training Leader. It seems that whenever the Lord gives me responsibilities like this its for my own learning and growth wayyyy more than it is for the benefit of others!! I'll try my best to be a good example and a good leader, but I know I'm going to learn SO much from all the sisters I'm so blessed to serve. I'm definitely feeling a little apprehensive, but it gives me faith and confidence knowing that my mission president and my Heavenly Father have faith and confidence in me.
I've faced a lot of mountains on my mission! (metaphorical mountains of course, seeing as this country is flatter than a crepe.) But if there's one thing I've learned its that the Lord is always there to strengthen me and support me and help me climb them. He's always there. He lives.
That's what its all about Easter.... The gospel.... My mission.....
Its all about the living Christ. That He lives and loves us today. 
Because He overcame sorrow and sin, so can we. Because He conquered death, so can we. 
I'm so thankful for that beautiful spring morning just outside the walls of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago when two angels appeared to a small group of women and said "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen."
I'm so thankful for that beautiful spring morning in New York, when He- the risen, living Christ appeared to the boy Joseph and restored His fulness of truth.
I'm so thankful for what that truth means for me in my life. It is the reason I can go through each day with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. And I'm thankful for the knowledge it gives me of the beautiful morning that lies ahead, when Christ will return again to the earth. 
And I'm so so SO thankful for the blessing I have of being a missionary, helping prepare the world for that beautiful wonderful day.

Have a good week everybody! I love you all.
Søster Breanna Michele Rogers

April 14, 2014

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

At 6:30 AM the sound of my alarm interrupts my dreams. I force open my tired eyes and roll out of bed and onto my knees.
I am a missionary.
I wear tights and the same three skirts and worn out shoes as I walk around Denmark's quaint streets, preaching and teaching and working as missionaries do. I talk to people young and old, white and black, tall and short, kind and..... not so kind. I talk to people on buses and trains, on street corners and on front porches- searching for the Lord's elect. I study the scriptures for hours and hours and I pray on an hourly basis. I teach lessons about the restored gospel. I visit the sick and comfort the lonely and serve those in need. I attend inspiring missionary meetings and conferences. I invite others to come unto Christ. And I witness Christ's miracles every single day. I can see His hand and feel His presence as I strive to walk in His very footsteps, to bring happiness and salvation to the children of God. I represent Him. For an entire year my black name tag has identified me to the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. 
When its finally 10:30 PM I collapse back into my bed, feeling like I've made a difference in the world.
I love being a missionary.
What a year! Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes of missionary life. This has been the hardest, most stressful, most demanding, most exhausting year of my life!!!! It has also been the most meaningful. Most influential. Most spiritual. Most wonderful. 
I am SO THANKFUL. I wouldn't trade the experiences of this missionary year for the whole world. 

Since my comp Sister Hadley and I are TWINS (we both embarked on our missionary journeys on the exact same day) we decided to make our 1-year-iversary extremely epic! 

We lit fireworks.... (don't try this at home!)

and we baked a marvelous chocolate cake, complete with celebratory Danish flags and candles to honor our 12 months of missionary service.

HURRAH for 6 more months of my Danish missionary life!!
Not only did I have an an epic year mark, but this has been an INCREDIBLE week. Holy cow. Where to begin...

One night Sister Had and I had prayerfully planned to go visit our Asian. We made the lengthy trip all the way across Copenhagen to visit her, and as we were walking from the train station to her apartment building a young (might I add very attractive) man pulled up next to us, hopped off his bicycle and began talking to us. "Hey! You're missionaries! How are you guys doin?" 
He was so nice and so friendly that I was convinced he must be a member of the Church from some friendly-cultured country... But it turned out he was definitely Danish, and definitely not a Mormon! He told us about his friend from Salt Lake City who he visited last summer, and how incredible he thought Temple Square was. He asked us what it was like being a missionary in Denmark, and remarked at how kind and friendly all the Mormons he has met are. UNFORTUNATELY this miraculously kind and friendly young man had no interest in meeting with us. But he did accept our card and said he'd call if he becomes interested. So until then I'll be praying for him. Because things like that don't just happen! Danes don't just hop off their bikes and start chatting with missionaries. And it turned out that our Asian didn't end up even being home that night... I know we were only inspired and prompted to make the trip out there so that we could meet Johan. 

The next night my comp and I went to a concert at a beautiful Danish church. I love experiences like that. I live for it. I love culture and history and religion and people and life and the world. I love my mission because the unique experiences I've been so blessed with have deepened my understanding of the world and how it turns and my own intricate role in the grand scheme of this wonderous planet. 
The concert was an Easter tribute about Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, called "Stabat Mater" written by Giovanni Pergolesi in 1736. It was sung in Italian or Latin or some language that the gift of tongues doesn't bless me to understand! But it was beautiful, and I felt like my Art History class at Southern Virginia University had jumped out of my text book into real life. I loved every minute.
Sister Hadley and I met a few really great ladies after the concert. Its always so refreshing and so inspiring to meet and talk with young adults who have a faith in God and Jesus Christ! There is an enormous difference in people's countenance/attitude/way-of-being  when they know they have a Savior. They were curious about our church and our beliefs and very interested to learn more! One of them is actually a reporter for a Christian newspaper, and she thought our church and our missionary-ness sounded so intriguing that she is writing an article about us for the paper! So my comp and I are giving her a church tour and being interviewed tomorrow

Then one day we answered our pre-historic nokia phone to hear the voice of a guy who said "Hi I met you two girls on the street a few weeks ago. Can we set up a time for you to come by and talk about the scriptures??"
It was real exciting. That hardly ever happens.
Except for we give out SO many cards and talk to SO many people that we had nooo idea who this random guy was. So we brought the Elders along to our teaching appointment for safe measures. He turned out to be an awesome African man that we had chatted with on the street one time on the way to an appointment with our Asian. Who knew that that simple conversation about his adorable curly-haired daughter would amount to something more! We had a great lesson with him and taught him all about the Restoration and the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He's a sincere seeker of truth and I know that when he prays about the Book of Mormon he will find out that its true.

Are you sick of my miracle stories yet?? #sorrynotsorry I've still got some more! 
On Saturday morning my comp and I went to do some service by helping our friend clean her apartment. It was wonderful because 1) I love wearing service clothes. Any excuse for sweatpants is the highlight of my life. 2) I truly enjoy cleaning. Especially the window washing floor scrubbing deep cleaning kind. And 3) its the best feeling ever to lighten someone's burden. 
After cleaning the morning away we headed straight to the train station.
Picture me in Dixie Swim Team sweatpants (sorry Josh.... I accidentally stole them! :) a rain jacket, cheetah print flats, a backpack of clothes to change into, and with a bag full of cleaning supplies in one hand and a gourmet carrot cake in the other. Yes... I looked like a fool. 
That's when a friendly guy (what is with all these friendly people lately?!) came up to me and said "What kind of cake is that? It looks delicious!" The conversation just took off from there as I told him about the carrot cake that I had baked to bring to a Baptism. We had a 30 minute conversation about delicious cake and about the gospel of Jesus Christ as we both traveled to Copenhagen Central Station, and before saying goodbye to our new Philippinean friend he gave us his number and invited himself to church! 
It was destiny. It was fate. It was skæbne. It was the Lord.

Maybe I should start carrying around delicious carrot cakes more often.....

Remember how I was on my way to a baptism?
My Italian Fran man is officially a member of Jesu Kristi Kirke af Sidste Dages Hellige. 
I am so happy.
I remember that first week in Slagelse last June when Sister Hays, Sister Peterson and I knocked on Tina's door and met Francesco for the first time. Sister Pete and I worked with Tina and loved Tina, and she became totally active in the church again. One day we invited her boyfriend Francesco to join in our spiritual thought, and after that he decided he wanted to investigate the church. It was INCREDIBLE to see the change in Francesco over the months as we taught him about the Savior and His restored gospel. I'll never forget that day when he asked us when he could be baptized. Sister Grant and I danced around and hugged each other seven times when we got home that night! We may not speak his language, but the Spirit does. It was the Spirit that taught Francesco the gospel. And I can't even begin to describe the special spirit when you see the one you've grown to love dress all in white. 

It was such a special day.

Sister Hadley and I are suuuper blessed and get to have a "mini missionær"!! (a 19 year old Dane who is coming to be a missionary with us for the next week!) And guess what. She doesn't speak English. We're picking her up tonight and its going to be so great.

Well. Its been an incredible week.
Its been an INCREDIBLE year. 
Thank you everybody for your love and your support and your prayers. You mean the world to me.
Its a beautiful day... The sun is shining and God is smiling.

Søster Rogers

April 7, 2014

The heavens are open

Hello Hello!
How was your week? 
Mine was wonderful. Let me tell you about it.

Lots of tender mercy miracles allowed my comp and I to meet with eleven less-active members this week. That's my mission record! Usually we average out at 5-7 lessons with less-actives each week. Sister Hadley and I were feeling so so blessed to get in contact and meet with so many of our wavering friends. 

One day we were walking home for dinner when a friendly older man who reminded me of my Grandpa Ned came up to my companion and me, and with a rich American accent said "Hello! where are you from!" I was quite startled. One, because American accented english speaking people are not at all common. And two, because cheerful friendly old men are not so common either... 
Well it turns out he was an Idaho Mormon! Here in Denmark on vacation with his wife and son. We talked to the sweet little American family for a little while and it was sooo fun. I love Americans. and Mormons.

Also this week we had a fabulous Zone Training where we discussed the importance and power of the Book of Mormon. Followed by a fabulous zone activity full of hilarious skits, competitive activities and obstacle courses, and a game of volleyball using uncooked eggs..... missionaries sure do know how to have a good time!  

But yesterday was by far the best day of this wonderful week. 
One, because Sister Hadley and I had a sleepover with 2 of our fellow MTC Sisters, and we all made German Pancakes for brunch!
And two, because the prophet of God spoke to the world.
I don't know about you, but I LOVVVVVED General Conference! ah. It just gets better and better every time. 
At 6 pm last night I sat in a chapel in Copenhagen and heard the words of Heavenly Father, at the very same moment that those words were ringing through the conference center clear over there in Salt Lake City, filling the walls of my own home, and echoing through other chapels and homes all around the globe.
Isn't that amazing???
The whole time I just kept being reminded that the Heavens are open. God speaks! He loves us so much that He speaks to us today. Through His prophets and apostles and the leaders of the church He blesses us with specific direction to deepen our testimonies of Him and to help us draw nearer to Him.
I felt enlightened and inspired and empowered and I know that every spoken word was His, because He has said that "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." 
Growing up, the long hours of General Conference always seemed to drag on and on as I doodled in my notebook to keep myself awake. But now it seems all too short... all the missionaries sat on the edge of our seats watching as intently as if it was the Super Bowl! And then I felt sad when the 184th conference session drew to an end. 
But the words that Elder Robert D. Hales spoke last October reminded me that "the greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. We gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes tolive them."
I know that if we ponder and strive to apply the things He has told us, we will be strengthened. We will be empowered. We will be protected. We will be happy. And we- along with our homes and families and all those around us- will be so so blessed. 

I'm so happy that I can serve the God I love. 
And that I can tell the children He loves that the Heavens have opened and truth is restored.

I hope you all have another wonderful week.

Remember that it is worth it to courageously defend your faith.
Remember to be proactive in protecting your homes.
Remember that whirlwinds will come, but your spirit is strong and capable of resistance. 
Remember that EVERYONE deserves your kindness.
Remember to keep the covenants you have made and to faithfully fulfill the duties required of them.
Remember that keeping the commandments brings blessings every time.
Remember to increase your faith. Proclaim your faith. and Let your faith show.
Remember that the gospel is not weight, it is wings.
Remember that the load you carry is essential and enables you to return home to God. 
Remember to live with gratitude independent of 'things'. Not gratitude of the lips, but gratitude of the soul.
And remember that you have the power to increase the worlds happiness with the kindness and love you share.

and remember that there's someone in Denmark who loves you and prays for you every single day!! 
infinite Xs and Os.
Sister Rog