There is a mass of things that I would love to tell you about today......
Like about our road trip up to Århus with our best friend Lærke where we spent our Pday exploring Aros- an incredibly strange and beautifully fascinating art museum.
Or how we went on splits with Søster Ripa and Søster Hendersen and we all sang "Joseph Smiths first prayer" on the crowded city bus. And the whole crowded bus clapped and cheered.
Or about our two awesome new Egyptian investigators who were so happy to hear about our message and read the Book of Mormon.
Or about the muffins that Sister Hale and I tried to make for breakfast for all the sisters sleeping at our apartment. (if you think you can make muffins without baking soda and without measuring cups...... you are wrong!)
Its been a wonderful week and I could elaborate on all the week's wonderful adventures all day long!
But what I really want to capture today is the incomprehensible feeling in my heart.... My heart is so so full.
I just want to tell you about two little experiences that have caused my full heart to flow over like Niagara Falls.
Sister Hadley just forwarded me this email she received from her aunt-
"Dear Megan, It has been fun to read about your missionary experiences. I thought you would find my experience at the Church Museum of History and Art, this past, interesting. I am a docent at the museum. I work every other but have missed a lot this summer because of foot surgery. This past I was walking past the front desk when a docent at the desk asked me to help a gentleman from Canada that had just walked in. Oddly, she said she felt impressed that I should be the one to talk to him. I found and introduced myself to him and asked if I could be of help. He was very excited to learn about the Mormon story. We were standing near the diorama of the Smith farm outside Palmyra, NY. I told him Palmyra was located along the Erie Canal in northwestern NY . He told me he knew of this canal is because he lives in eastern Canada... That was when he started to tell me his story. He, in a heavy accent, said he was born and raised in Denmark and moved to Canada when he was 22 yeas old. We talked about Denmark. (I am pretty sure I am the only docent on my shift that has been to Denmark.) I told him how much I enjoyed my visit there, and that I now had niece serving a mission in his beautiful country.
He then told me the reason he was at the museum. While on a recent visit to see his sister in Denmark, he was traveling by train and met two wonderful sister missionaries from the Mormon Church- Sister Peterson and Sister Rogers. He spent about an hour with them. During their conversation they must have said something to him about early church converts coming from Denmark to Utah in wagon trains and handcarts.
He said he was now on a trip to visit his son in British Columbia and while traveling across the Canadian prairie he could not stop thinking about these early Danish pioneers traveling across the American prairie to Utah to live their religion. He said he decided to take a big detour and drove south to Omaha Neb. to learn more about them and the Church. He visited the site of Winter Quarters and then decided to follow the Mormon Trail to Utah. He had just arrived in SLC and was going to spend the day at Temple Square. Along the way he stopped at the visitor’s center for Devil’s Gate and Martin’s Cove. In the center is a list of those who were in the Willy and Martin Companies. Seeing the Danish names on the list, and learning how they had suffered at that location, was a very moving experience for him. While at the center he was given two copies of the Book of Mormon, one in English and one in Norwegian because it was similar to Danish. (The center did not have a Danish copy.) He then asked me some questions about the Book of Mormon. I showed him the large painting by C.C.A. Christensen, a Danish painter, of Winter Quarters. He was looking forward to seeing the Church’s copy of Thorvaldsen’s “Christus”. He has never seen the original in Copenhagen. He thought it funny that he would see it for the first time in Utah. I told him a little about Temple Square and that there were missionaries, on the square, that would be glad to answer his questions. I had to leave early, but other docents continue of help him. I thought it was extraordinary that I, on one of the fewI’ve worked this summer and just before the museum closes, would meet this man, whose journey with the Church began with Sisters serving in my niece’s mission in Denmark; and through my connection to you, you could possibly let Sis. Rogers know that she and Sis Petersen made a positive impression on this man. It started his quest to know more about the Church and the gospel."
Tears tears tears.
I've talked with a LOT of people throughout my time in this beautiful country.... On buses on trains on street corners on doorsteps. So many that its impossible to remember them! But I remember this man and our conversation as if I spoke with him this morning. He even gave Sister Peterson and I little pins of the Canadian flag.... I still have the pin in my jewelry box. Sister Peterson and I were brand new missionaries at the time..... I never dreamed that that simple friendly conversation would spark such a journey! You never know what kind of an impact you might have on people. Friendship and kindness and train ride conversations are NEVER wasted.
The real miracle is that this story found its way back to me......
How many times do beautiful things happen that we never even know?
Dale Carnegie said "Perhaps you will forget the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime."
Maybe one day in Heaven we'll be blessed to behold the beautiful gardens that grew from the seeds we didnt even know we planted.
One starry evening Sister Hale and I met with our atheist investigator as we were on our way in for the night. When we discuss life and religion and God and the gospel with our extreme atheist friend, it sometimes becomes a bit nonsensical! But there have been moments when I have seen a light come into his eyes - moments when I have actually seen the Spirit touch his heart. Its happened on multiple occasions, but its never been so clear or powerful or soul-striking as it was on the starlit street that night, when I bore testimony to one of my best friends and told him how much God loves him.
"Don't you know how badly I want to be like you? Don't you know how badly I wish I could believe?" He confessed. "If I'm right, I've got NOTHING. If you are right and the God you believe in is real..... you've got EVERYTHING. Its the most important thing in the world."
And then, for the first time in the 6 months that I've known him, he said a prayer.
He folded his arms. He bowed his head. He closed his eyes. And in the shadow of the castle I call home, he prayed to the loving Heavenly Father he longs to believe in.
I know he felt of Gods love for him. I could see it in his eyes and in his countenance. I could feel it myself.
Now its been a few days and my friend still hasn't come to the conclusion that God is there..... I don't know if he will ever make the choice to believe. I don't know if he will ever choose to act on what he felt and let it become faith.
But I KNOW that he felt of Gods love.
"It is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things... Yea, and the most joyous to the soul."
1 Nephi 11:22-23
The best feeling I've ever felt is the feeling of Gods love. Its a feeling that this keyboard can't interpret.
The best part about the best feeling isn't even feeling it for myself.... but for others.
For those people I see on buses and trains and street corners and doorsteps.
And for the people I don't see.... who have been loving and supporting and praying for me back home.
For the people I teach and the people I serve. For the people who teach and serve me.
I feel like my little black nametag was the key to a chamber of my heart that I never knew existed....
My mission has been a key that unlocked an ability and capacity to love that I didn't even know I had.
I know I'm going all hippie on you... but Love makes the world go 'round!
Love is all we need.
Like President Monson said, Love really is the very essence of the gospel.
Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment. Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound. These words and actions and many others can communicate love.
May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.
I'm going to hug you all to death when I see you in a few short weeks.
I hope you all know how much I love you!
I hope you all know how much God loves you.
Said my atheist best friend Michael:
"If I'm right, well then nothing even matters.
But if you are right... well then the god you believe in must be damn proud."
my missionary posterity. so much love.
early morning exercise sometimes means chasing ducks in your pajamas.