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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!