Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 014 - Visa news from Germany

Guten Tag (a german greeting translating to "Good Day" and what a GOOD day it is with the latest and greatest news from Germany).

I'm working on a letter to the Melines that I will be sending off ASAP. It won't be long before I leave and I still need to resolve the matter of the mission bike. Thanks for reminding me about the letter to Minnesota. I'll fill it out as soon as possible, there is just so much to do all while I want to be a missionary too. Thanks for the the work you've already done, you've done a GREAT job helping me along.

Please let Anita know that as one of your best and closest lifetime friends I feel that I know her to be a very special person. If she wishes to share any part or all of my communications, my mission and testimony with the good people of 100 Mile House or anybody else to please feel free to do so. I am grateful to be a part of her world also.

My two companions are very hard working and we get a lot done. I have already learned a lot from them, and I'm looking forward to learn more. Much to their credit (they must be some of the most effective Elders in the mission), we're also the area that teaches the most lessons in the mission, thereby allowing me plenty opportunity to practice my teaching skills. Elder Ockey has a great planning skill, and utilizes every precious minute, and that's a big reason to why we get so much teaching done and I just LOVE it.

I just recently recieved an email from Germany, concerning my visa (hence my German good mood in the beginning of the letter). Things are suddenly moving quickly now. I will be going to the embassy some time next week to take care of things and I might finally leave within the next couple of weeks.

My computer is really slow and it's hard to write stuff so I won't write too much more. It's really a pain.

Stake confernce was GREAT and I learned a lot. I'm glad I took notes. The Prophet was there (over satellite), and he shared a lot of thoughts that all were highly inspired and what we needed to hear. Our Mission President also spoke, he is a good man, spiritual and motivated and what he had to say touched me deeply.

I enjoy being here and being a part of this great work. I learn and grow every day and my heart grows from seeing others experience the same growth as I share my knowledge and feelings about God. As I experience the process happen around me I can't help marvelling at the power of humble and sincerely, honest prayer. If we ask prayerfully, God has the answers and he will give them to us when we are ready to hear them. They may not always be exactly be what we expected but if we always got what we expected and how we expected it, why bother asking? If God was to answer when, where, what and how we expect, would that not make us His master? He is our God and Master, as we follow his directions we are His subjects and he will grant us knowledge and answers when our hearts are ready. When that happens it is as envigorating and enlightening as if pure light flows in your veins and for those brief moments everything looks clearer, as your heart confirms that this is true and this is right. I truly love having the Saviour in my life and it saddens me when people don't open their hearts to Him, as life is so much easier with Him in it. Everything takes on a entirely different perspective.

Sorry that this email is short. I hope you are all doing well and that you are enjoying the weather.

I love you all very much. Take care!

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 013 - Getting Ready for the BIG Transfer

I guess my Mission President is getting me ready and on standby for that BIG transfer to the MTC. I am now again serving closer to Copenhagen in the Allerød Ward. I haven't attended their congregation yet, but I'm looking forward to meeting the people there.

I am now serving with Elder Ockey and Elder Nielson, who will be my last two companions in Denmark. Both Elder Nielson and I will be leaving the mission in the immediate future. Elder Nielson is an Infield Assistant to the Mission President and Elder Ockey is a District Leader. Then there is me, the kid who hasn't been to the MTC yet . . . and by the looks of things, might not be going for another month!!

My visa situation currently involves a petition packet in transit from Germany to the Salt Lake City Missionary Department. If they don't receive it on time they can't get in to their system in time for my arrival (which can happen and then I won't be going anywhere for the next month). But I am cool with that, as I have a lot to learn from my two new companions.

Will Paul be in Denmark in time to see me off at the airport?

I'm working on the reply to the Melines, but we really don't have much time. I'm sorry for the neglect, it has been bothering me for a while because I do want to write them, I just never get to it. Sound familiar? PLEASE, let them know of my gratitude for all the attention on my birthday, it's been too long already.

Bedding? I am really not picky and I want to say that I am cool with almost . . . anything? BUT, I quickly realize that someone (probabaly with much the same sense of humor as my own Mom) might, just for the fun of it use it against me, so I better be a little more specific: As long as it isn't flashy, pink, flowered, cute, feminine or otherwise “pretty,” (that'd be more than my self confidence could bear). PLEASE, let Anita know of my gratitude! I am so grateful to have one thing less to worry about and that very subject was actually giving me some cause for concern.

Candy, I like candy! ;) I didn't know there was any candy that one could dislike, isn't all candy great? Like when someone from the middle ages are moved to our time in the movie “Just Visiting” and they ask him if he likes "Hot Dogs" and he aptly replies "I like all kinds of dogs" (you know, "People die if they don't eat" and I will eat and enjoy almost anything edible). I really appreciate both the thought and attention. Thank you.

Elder Champenois and I had our last day as a companionship together Tuesday, Which also happened to be the day that we had an appointment with some guys our age. One of them has been particularly interested in our message the last many visits. He has told us that he really has felt a difference in his life, after he began talking to us. We did our very best to share the lesson and I think it went well. I felt the Holy Ghost present and the spirit there was pleasant and strong. When I committed him to be baptized he replied with a simply "Yes." Calm and assured he had felt the wonderful spirit witness to him through our message and the immense love of our Savior in his life.

I feel truly blessed to have witnessed a person who just barely stopped smoking hashish weeks prior to our meeting, to just three weeks later wanting to be baptized. The Holy Ghost is truly one powerful teaching partner, and I am grateful that we are privileged to have it with us. I pray that he will endure in his newly found faith and that baptism just becomes his first step of many toward a better life. We set a baptism date that will be just prior to my planned departure from Denmark. I am so grateful for being here on a mission, sharing a world that I so enjoy being a part of. Words really does not much justice to how this feels.

I hope you all are doing well at home and that there's not too many things stressing you out. I really love you people. I miss you, but not too much. ;)

Well, gotta go now. Au revoir!

Elder Jepsen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 012 - Hard at Work (learning a lesson)

Thank you for sending me the recipe and don't worry Mother, every single time I present your mac-n-cheese I ALWAYS make sure people know it's my own "Mother's Way of the Ninja" and NOT something out of a cardboard box that I am talking about. Thank you again--Mother's own homemade mac-n-cheese AAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!! (Sorry, but thinking of the stuff and I very nearly start acting silly).

I'm glad to hear that something is happening for Dad's back and it seems that Eric is becoming quite the Bonsai expert--I am impressed.

I've just recently had mac-n-cheese at a friends place so I know the gargantuan contrast there is between "Mother's Own" and the stuff from the cardboard box! Once again, thank you the recipe! I love you!!!

Food is important: If you don't eat--you die, every missionary knows that!

When I last talked to the Mission Presidents wife and she asked me what I'd like to eat for my last dinner here in the Danish Mission I told her of my birthday tradition of mac-n-cheese. When she heard about your amazing prowess in making the killer cheese sauce she really wanted your recipe and she might consider giving it a try. I sure hope she remembers the Tabasco, it's just not right without it.

We had a rather interesting day last Thursday. My companion had decided that we leave the city and try contacting an area on the map that looked like a nice residential area. It was close to a place called Hyldtofte, . . and so with sun on our backs we headed toward a supposed land of promise. After a little train ride we began our walk out of town attempting to find doors untouched by previous missionaries. As our adventure began unfolding and we encountered the distance seen on a little map in real foot-on-pavement distances, the thought of possible shortcuts soon became appealing. Halfway there we saw a field road that seemed to go straight through and might reduce both distance and time invested. As is the tradition for any sort of shortcut, whether conceptual or otherwise they never get you what you want. We ended up walking in fields for a good part of the way, trying desperately to find a way back to our mission. For what was essentially a complete waste of time, it was fun. When we finally finished trudging we were actually within a reasonable proximity to where we intended to be.

What my companion had imagined to be a little honey-pot of untouched doors with people all awaiting our arrival with baited breath, was not even a residential area, but (this is were that big embarrassing drum-roll gets in the way of my story) a summer cottage area where NOBODY lived. We (with very little hope left) knocked on some doors but non held any rewards in store for our efforts.

In the search for something that we could do and be reasonably sure of a positive outcome when faced with our obvious absence of success, we decided to drown our defeat in ice cream while the sun was mocking us from a clear blue sky as if to say"I told you so. Maybe now you can remember who you work for."

With our planned contacting and teaching swiftly wiped from our "To-Do List," we were right back to trudging . . . right back to the apartment. Nothing was really easy anymore that day, but what seemed to hold the least obstacles in our path was a walk to Rødbyhavn. If we hadn't realized our failed efforts by now to be futile we were reminded as the wind picked up something fierce. This was no longer one of those pleasant experiences that you write home about (and yet, here I am doing just that, sorry). But I guess when it comes right down to the facts, missionary work is also about finding the places where no return is needed, or we wouldn't know where to increase our efforts?

Unpleasant, fierce and in your face--the wind managed to bring along good memories of the good old west Coast back home, which was the least it could do since it took and blew away my ice cream together with my last bit of hope for the day. We walked along the coast route against the full force of the wind all the way back. Bicyclists going the opposite way didn't even have to do anything as they were just blown along like a kite-on-a-bike. To thoroughly confirm our lack of brains we managed to take two more stupid shortcuts (as if we didn't learn from from our trudging along in the fields), before we finally arrived discovering that we had to wait an hour and a half for the train back to the apartment.

With time to spare on top of all the time wasted we discussed what we could learn from this, so it NEVER happened again. Essence of what we learned: Always include the Lord in HIS work. If you try to do it on your own... you're on your own and that's not how you best can do the Lord's work.

You wouldn't know it after reading this account. But in spite of us and our own stupid folly, much to the Lord's credit and very much a testimony to the Lord's love for the people we teach, our area is progressing and we are teaching many positive people who are ready to accept the gospel into their lives. It's humbling to see how the Lord loves to bless us (and teach us) as He does. One can sometimes wonder why he sends such novices as us out to do a Master's work?

Even on a day without the kind of results we were hoping for, we are blessed to do the work we do and we couldn't ask for a better taskmaster. After a day like Thursday the Lord was ready to hear our prayers again on Friday while helping and directing us along to learn from our mistakes. Trusting less in our own ability and more in the Lord surely can help us better fine-tune our spiritual senses and be better listeners to His instructions. There is so many who would find peace, comfort and strength for the rigors of the world we live in, from what God has to offer us. Why do we keep trying to do it on our own instead of seeking him out in scripture and prayer? Life can be plenty tough even with God by our side, why try go it on our own?

I love you all and hope you all take care. We are off to teach at a real appointment now and hopefully there will be people answering, when we knock on their door this time. Bye!

Elder Jepsen

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jutland's West Coast

Elder Jepsen's home shores
In case you have been wondering about the blog background (well, you could barely see the picture on the blog because of content, so you probably haven't). But, this is the West Coast of Jutland, a peninsula in Denmark where the west coast faces the North Sea, also known as the Western Sea in Denmark. I know, multiple names for the same place can be a little confusing, but I didn't decide it should be that way. This is the view a short drive from where we live (we get a lot of fresh sea air).

Due west from here, beyond that horizon is Scotland, an unsuccesfully intended tourist destination through the viking age. The Scots sent the Scandinavians packing in those days, unlike the remaining UK where blondes and redheads still show their true origin. Instead they found warmer shores and colonized Normandy (North Men, Norsemen . . . Norman) and among other things (I don't know what to say about this) settled Moscow. But some of that viking blod is what flows in Elder Jepsen's veins, if that explains anything?

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 011

I am still in Denmark and Nykoebing Falster is a really interesting place and we've done a good deal of contacting already. The opposite end of town has a student housing area and that's where people are the most approachable at the moment. We've met a lot of really interesting people there, and many are interested in hearing about the gospel. Yesterday we racked up an impressive seven full lessons. Three of them were appointments that were scheduled before lunch, and then the other four we took after lunch.

Yesterday's last lesson was a middle aged alcoholic man, who called us over because we for so long had “been busy at work and all that traffic was beginning to annoy him. He just had to hear what this whole thing was about and why it was so important to continually bother people!" His colorful language was of course full of flowers, but he let us in and we gave him a good lesson right to the point when he spotted the weather change. Being a man of the road, he apparently had developed a healthy respect for weather changes and demanded (in his slightly drunken, but honest concern) that we head for home NOW. He said we weren't allowed to sleep at his place (not that we would) and he wanted us to get home before the weather got too bad. We tried to say that five more minutes wouldn't matter (I had hoped to finish my lesson) and then we could go home afterwards. Alas, he could not be reasoned with and we headed for home. On our way we met an old (as in “No longer”) investigator (which the Lord apparently thought was dropped prematurely). Not one to argue with the Lord's plans we delayed any and all plans of our own and managed to get drenched before we got home after all. But, we felt great and what a wonderful day it was.

This week for prep-day we went to a Crocodile Zoo. It was really interesting and we saw a lot of cool crocks (seeing them for real, some of them are HUGE . . . and almost intimidating). In the gift shop you could buy Steve Irwin toy stuff as well. We got an ice cream instead.

We have been praying to find a new family this week that we can begin teaching, but we haven't met them yet. We're trying to get as many investigators as we can so that we can add some new blood to the local congregation. We're considering starting up a danish class down here as there are many Chinese people and it's a way we can reach out to them, and help them make a better life for themselves here in Denmark. I'm looking forward to see how it works.

Time to go home for a quick lunch then back out to knock on more doors.

I hope you all are doing well. Toodles!

Elder Jepsen

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