Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Once again we had quite the week! Our baptism last weekend went great! The people attending were overwhelmed by the good spirit there and it was an all together pleasant experience for all. Our meeting ended and then the event took a turn that I had never before imagined. The activity hall was right next to where we had the baptism and suddenly a basketball made its spontaneous appearance. Before long we were all busy having a round of hoops with the whole family. Soon a member of the bishopric showed up and joined us for a short while - it was like taken right out of a musical. We all had a great time and it was an unforgetable baptism.
Bicycle rules here in the States are quite different than home in Denmark. People bicycle on the sidewalk and this is all legal and an acceptable practice. Well aware that in Denmark such behaviour would make enemies of the police and become an expensive prank I have had to seriously redefine my boundaries and that almost always has the potential of trouble. If bicycling on the sidewalk is acceptable, then (it seemed) there is a lot less holding back our creativity when rushing to another appointment accross town and getting through congested downtown traffic.
Just the other day we met a police officer when stopping at a traffic light (also on a bicycle) who had tried to catch up to us for three whole blocks (Police bicycles are apparently not equipped with sirens). I should have known it was too good to be true that having this much fun on our bikes was legal. It turned out that bicycling on the sidewalk really wasn't a problem but, pretty much all the other stuff was. He soon began to list our many traffic violations within just three blocks and totalled it up to a ninety dollar fine!!! After having sufficiently scared us into repentance, he thankfully let us go and it WORKED. I have been repenting ever since and perpetually paranoid since that day. I can now say that I am and have been a good law-abiding citizen. No worries Mom... I learned my lesson! ;)
The weather has been impossibly hot and muggy the last few days, it's terrible and almost like Denmark at its worst (or best depending on point of view) and I'm quickly getting myself a good and healthy missionary tan!
Thank you for all your prayers. Love y'all
Posted by Olden Greys at 2:36 PM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!!! I don't know how old you are, but I am not sure it matters--you've been there for me as long as I have lived and we're still having that beard growing contest when I get home!
I really enjoyed my Mother's Day call on Skype and wish that I could have talked to you more, but it was after all Mother's Day and you have always taught me to love, honor and respect her. I did enjoy everyone's voices and news. Just seeing you was great, even if mostly in the background! It's actually rather difficult to express my feelings for you and I'm kind'a getting a lump in my throat thinking about it, but seeing you brought me a great deal of comfort. I want you to know that you give me a lot of strength just being my Dad. I am amazed at how long it took for life to tire you out. The experience of seeing you fight battle after battle for the family, while overcoming obstacles in your own path as I was growing up, has given me a lot of strength and I am feeling that now as a missionary. I have never known you to take the easy road and as I have learned over the years from you, the road to the best choice is ALWAYS UPHILL and if the road you are on is not uphill, you're going the wrong way! You've made me a better son, missionary--and man (once I finish my mission). I love you Dad and miss you so much. I almost can't wait to see you again! But, I also know that I would want to at least finish my mission before I do, so I'm not in a hurry. Phrasing it in a typical Danish west-coast farmer attitude... "It takes the time it takes." :)
I realized the other day that I haven't really gone "knocking on doors" for several months. We just have so many other things to do! Not that I really miss it. There are other much better ways to find people to teach and better things to do with our precious time. Missionary work here is great! I love it! The people we are teaching are doing great! They come out to church and they love it! We bring them to a fireside at our mission presidents house and they love it. We are doing a few baptisms this weekend, they are all progressing so much and it makes me so happy!
You can't possibly have all the miracles of seeing people discover and grow closer to God without paying the price of disappointment after disappointment. I naturally experience all the pains of missionary work. Appointments that fall through are common; People that you get super excited about teaching and then you never can get a hold of them again; Bike punctures in the middle of nowhere; Rain decides to start pouring on an otherwise sunny day and we get WET! We had a couple of rainy days this week and I had to laugh at my own stubbornness for not bringing and wearing one of Grandma's bright and cheery ponchos. But now the weather is both hot and humid, a lot like when in Denmark the weather goes from one extreme to another within hours. I have had so many interesting experiences that just complete the missionary picture and I wouldn't want to be without any of them.
Another thing that I've been enjoying is biking! I'm finally getting some of my bicycling muscles back that I had from before my mission. We have to meet with people when it suits them best and with "our convenience" not being one of our top priorities, many of our appointments end up across town from each other leaving us to put thirty to forty blocks behind us within ten to fifteen minutes. With a few of those appointments during a day and who needs a gym?
Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Happy birthday, Mom! Hope you had a wonderful day, I sure did. (I am just sitting down for the camera, for the remainder of the day we did real missionary work). I could essentially send you last weeks email again this week. Not that there was anything boring about this week, it was just AS GREAT AS LAST WEEK, like so may other weeks on my mission and that's a good thing. I am happy with what I doing and where I am at in my life. I am surrounded by people that feel the same way about missionary work as I do and I am constantly learning and growing. We work at becoming better missionaries, stay busy teaching people that we meet right in town and I feel blessed beyond all expectations. What more could I want in life right now?
I am enjoying my time out here and I feel privileged that I can focus just on the gospel and the Lord's message to all of us. I will never tire from seeing the change in people as they discover that God is real, He lives and hears our prayers. I am amazed that God's message to us, essentially a collection of rather simple truths still seems like one of the worlds greatest secrets. Drawing nearer to the Lord and learning His teachings has the potential of solving many of the big problems in the world, if only people were not so busy trying to prove themselves greater and smarter than God.
I have known and looked up to many missionaries in my time and I have been looking forward to this time, where I myself could have this experience most of my life. Now I am here and time is running faster than ever expected. I feel like I still have so much work to do, time just won't slow down and I am constantly trying to catch up.
Love you all,
Posted by Olden Greys at 9:35 AM
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This is my new companion, Elder Harbor. GREAT missionary!
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! YOU'RE GREAT, thank you for still trying after all these years of our mischief. I hope you know and are reminded how much we children (and Dad, I know) appreciate you as just one lonely little day is scheduled to celebrate all your hard work over the years (I know, the balance is ridiculous) but, I love you for all you have done for me. In my calender EVERY day is Mother's day and Father's day.
This week was over the top! Once again I got one of the best Elders in the mission for a companion. I am blessed to be surrounded with the best missionaries and leaders that I can constantly look up to and learn from. My new companion is Elder Harbor (pictured with Minneapolis in the background and a bicycle helmet in the foreground) and he is an amazing and awesome missionary! It's his birthday today and he's from South Carolina. He goes home in six weeks, is a hardworking Elder, has a great sense of humor and would have been great fun to work with for longer than just the few weeks he has left.
I mentioned a family a while back... and they're all getting baptized, three generations worth! I am grateful just to be here, serving God and be a part of all this. I am being blessed beyond what I can contain or express. Everybody that we've been teaching in that family have shown great faith and an amazing willingness to change. So far, six people are scheduled for baptism and more are on the way. I don't really have a total number to give you, as it keeps growing and they have invited their friends as well but it seems that it might be around fifteen people. We can of course not take any credit, as this really happens between these people and God, who had prepared them to hear the truth. They love the gospel, their parents love the gospel and the grandparents love the gospel. When they all attended church last Sunday they summed up the experience to be unlike anything they had ever experienced before and they really felt God's Spirit there. They can't wait for the next Sunday and I keep expecting to wake up and find out that I was just dreaming it all!
I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have to meet and get to know this family and see them change and grow as they begin to recognize God's Spirit in their lives. I am grateful and humbled as well to know that my Father in heaven has entrusted me with teaching the gospel to such a wonderful family.
Grateful to be here. Love y'all,