Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Elder Jepsen: Mission Entry 105 - Remembering Jesus Christ our Savior during the Christmas Season

Elder Jepsen with sister-in-law Brittany and brother Paul, both returned missionaries. 

This last week has been a lot of fun but also frustrating. Christmas is a beautiful time when more people are friendly, happy and open to talk about the Christ in Christmas, while others get so busy with arranging and preparing for Christmas that it leaves no room for Christ. It saddens me to see our Savior forgotten at the very time that we have set aside for remembering Him. 

In the New Testament, Luke, Chapter 10, there is an excellent parallel to what has sadly happened to many people's Christmas as preparations for the event begins to overshadow the Spirit of the event: 

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 

Here in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated December 24th in the evening, focused around a big family dinner, followed by a reading of the Nativity Story and an exchange of the presents from under the Christmas tree. The event has for many generations been the time when family gathered  at home for the evening, remembering the birth of our Savior. Singing hymns and fun traditional songs about Christmas together. Unfortunately, the reading of the Nativity Story, singing the many beautiful hymns are disappearing and other traditions are taking their place.

This, the first Christmas of my mission people cancelled our few teaching appointments, or people were not home. It's saddening that at a time when so many are celebrating the birth of Christ, that we as bearers of His message are cancelled, forgotten or ignored. But, we'll just keep on trying! 

While we didn't get to talk about our Savior as much as we would have liked during Christmas, our hearts and stomachs were filled to capacity. A lot of good people invited us to their home for dinner during Christmas and we enjoyed all the good food, mandarins, clementines, treats, and sweets. Ay! Christmas was fun. 

Happy New Years!

Elder Jepsen

Monday, December 26, 2011

Elder Neil L. Anderson - Children

I am grateful to my great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and all the generations before them for having children, or I would not exist and none of my children would exist.

Thanks to my parents I have had the experience of living, surviving the struggles and fathering of four wonderful children. I have had the privilege of seeing the beginning of life in my children, their development of personality and character, their choices, battles and victories. Thanks to my parents I can be a parent, a blessing I would not want to be without.

As we celebrate Christmas, I am grateful that Mary and Joseph took on the challenge of parenthood at a time when they had to flee their country to protect the newborn baby Jesus. They didn't give up, resigning themselves to just having another child when it perhaps would be more convenient.

Mary and Joseph had had to travel through a hostile desert (the parable of "The Good Samaritan" reminds us of the dangers) at a time when a pregnancy only would slow them down and put their lives at an even greater risk. It was a calling for Mary and Joseph and yet they chose to be parents. Life is all about choices.

Elder Neil L. Andersen talks about parents and their children in "Children:"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Elder W. Christopher Waddell - The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are now seen almost all over the world and everywhere they go they are easily recognizable. Future missionaries or returned missionaries are not always as easy to recognize but they both have a mission in common. The preparations of the future missionary speaks volumes of who the returned missionary is going to be.

To teach God's words it's not enough to recite a text, it must first be lived, experienced, felt and then through the Spirit, understood. A lot is expected from these missionaries, as they give not only two years of their lives to share their beliefs with others but also who they've become through living that same gospel.

Although so much rests on the preparation, a mission becomes a strongly formative experience and it is a treasured time for those who serve, spent in diligence, faith and devotion. While not everyone agrees with the message of the missionaries, many look up them wherever they go--and with good reason. Missionaries  are good people!

In the words of Elder W. Christopher Waddell. A mission truly is an "Opportunity of a lifetime."

Elder David A. Bednar - The Spirit of Revelation

Opening our heart to the experience of honest, humble and sincere prayer can be a rewarding experience. While prayers can happen anywhere and anytime that we may be in need of God's help, it's been my experience that the optimal conditions are with a minimum of distractions. I find it beneficial to first find a quiet and comfortable corner where I can spend some time in the scriptures, this helps empty my mind from much of what might otherwise get in the way of clear thought.

With proper preparation, prayer can be a time where we may be allowed to share in the Lord's peace and receive His comforting directions, if we are ready to hear them. Elder David A. Bednar explains it best:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Elder Jepsen: Mission Entry 104 - This is it--I am on a Mission!

I am on a mission and this is the best Christmas present I could wish for. But, there is another and not quite so common potential in Christmas presents:  When my family fist came to Denmark, I was very young and my parents had spent a lot of money on airfares and freight for us to come here. We didn't have much and this was the year when Christmas presents took on a whole new meaning to us all. Dad came up with a plan, shared it with us and we all agreed that it was a good thing. We were celebrating Christmas and all presents were to be to the Saviour, just like the wise men brought their presents to Jesus. Dad proceeded to give us examples of what kind of presents our Savior might appreciate. My sister suggested that all secretly bring a straw and place it in a little basket, representing the crib where Jesus would lay every time we had given our Lord Jesus a present that we thought would please Him. Throughout the month of December we all saw this crib slowly fill with straw and when it was time for Christmas it was as full as it could be. It was our best Christmas ever and by time Christmas came around, Dad had fashioned a special letter as if it came from Jesus, thanking us all for the many gifts and that He was very grateful that we had spent this Christmas thinking of Him, by serving His brothers and sisters. In return we received a small little porcelain platter marking the year, so that we would all remember Him and this Christmas, always.

This year I am the recipient of my personal gift from the Saviour and I couldn't be any happier. I am actually on a mission and I have looked forward to this time for as long as I remember. Because of US-visa problems I am still here in Denmark, no more than a half an hour from where I used to work and live but I am a real missionary on a real mission. A mission anywhere is still a mission and eventually "Elder Jepsen goes to Washington."

Although my trip to the mission field consisted of hopping on a local bus for a couple of blocks--I still feel plagued by jet-lag and have felt a constant need for sleep since the first day here. On the upside, I have no problem falling asleep at the end of the day. Starting a mission is hectic, demanding and hard work. This is why you didn't hear from me last week, sorry.

It's now fifteen days since I was set apart as an Elder, my trainer's name is Elder Tolman and I really enjoy working with him. We were both moved here to Frederiksberg at the same time and we're both new to this area. I love being a missionary and thanks to the Lord and Elder Tolman I already feel like I have been doing this all my life.

We are in the Frederiksberg area and congregation, the Mission office is in our area and we share an apartment and area with the Assistants to the President. We also have a married missionary couple in the area and two Sister missionaries.

Because we are close to both the mission office and the Temple, there is always a lot happening here and with the population density so high in our area, there is always lots of people to meet and teach. We have been spending much of our time teaching people in the streets and knocking on doors.

Yesterday, I had my first real teaching appointment. It actually came as a surprise to me when we were invited inside but it was very pleasant surprise. They were very friendly people, there was a welcoming and pleasant Spirit there and we taught them about the Book of Mormon. I am looking forward to meeting with these people again. I so enjoy being a missionary and I can hardly wait for tomorrow, next week, next month and next year--this is all I had hoped for it to be. I am happy and grateful to be here and be a part of this mission.

It's not easy to begin an area where we both have moved in on the same day. Fortunately, Elder Tolman has experience in being a good missionary and that's a good place to start.

I hope you are all doing well and  may you all have a Merry Christmas!

Elder Jepsen

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wise Men and Women Still Seek The Lord!

A couple of millennia ago, wise men foresaw the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These "Wise men" gave up both time and expense to travel great distances based only on their conviction and knowledge, to seek out Jesus Christ, although only just a child when they finally reached Him.

What did these wise men know, how did they know it and why? I am afraid I am unable to answer all those questions satisfactorily but I do know that the wise men were never described as unstable men that might  easily have been swayed by a sudden whim. They were wise, because they had spent their lives seeking wisdom and knowledge, because they had learned to put thought and prayer into their decisions.

The method of thinking, living and acquiring knowledge used by these men, led them to uncover the when and where of the birth of our Lord, with such surety that they simply packed and left for the event--and they were since spoken of and recorded in history as being wise. This is indeed who many people today think of if they hear the words "Wise men." Their wisdom consisted in finding their way to our Lord and Savior.

We now have a detailed record of the teachings of not only Jesus Christ but also His apostles and many prophets, speaking of Him for centuries. We have what it takes, it should be easy to copy the feat that established those men at the time of Christ as wise.

By referring to these men of the past as wise, we have recognized their actions to seek the Lord as wise. The scriptures have made the words of our Lord easily accessible to us all and many people fail at prioritizing a pursuit of the gospel in life, thinking tomorrow, next week or sometime when I get old will be a better time--is that wise? Wise men and women still seek Him, throughout life!

Flooding: Update on our Brothers and Sisters in Thailand

While still in the recovery process of the Monsoon floods in Thailand from October and November 2011 estimated at US$ 45 Billion, Thailand is hit again. In the worst flooding since 1942, more than two thirds of Thailand is now suffering, swamped by flood waters, 500 people have lost their lives, 160,000 people are surviving in temporary shelters and approximately 9 million people have been and are still affected. Food is sparse as rice fields are submerged and lost, lives are uprooted as hundreds of factories are shut down. I ask that you please remember these people, your Brothers and Sisters in your prayers that they may be blessed to make it through these obstacles.

The Newsroom of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has issued a statement saying that all missionaries and members are safe and accounted for. The Bangkok Thailand Mission President Michael Smith informs that “We stay in touch with all our missionaries and ensure they are safe and on dry ground.” 

But the situation is still critical as people, families and children are suffering every day. Missionaries and members alike are actively involved in helping both the members and general population through their overwhelming obstacles in anyway possible. More than 500 members have been affected by the catastrophe, many members are surviving in the upper floors of their homes, while others are relocated. Church leaders have worked closely together with local leaders and other relief organization in the distribution of thousands of food and sanitation kits, blankets and portable toilets.

Our Lord and Saviour made no distinction but considered every human being in need when He in Matthew, chapter 25, verse 40 stated: "... Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

This is further confirmed in Doctrine & Covenants, Section 52, verse 40 where we reminded to "... Remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple."

People traveling in Thailand are advised against entering the Preah Vihear and Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple areas on the Thailand/Cambodia border and to avoid all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla. All people traveling in areas that have been affected by the flooding should be warned of increased health risks contained in flood waters.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gratitude: Something to be Grateful For

I am grateful that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have a missionary program. I am grateful that every day of the year we have missionaries in the world who's main purpose is to share the message that God lives, hears and answers our prayers.

Many years ago a couple of missionaries went out of their way, left the more comfortable city roads and began bicycling through the countryside. This is back when my parents were young and I wasn't yet born. Technology in Danish farming was mostly nonexistent at this time, leaving very little time for my parents to talk to any missionaries. The tractor had only just begun showing its appearance and was in the beginning not very versatile and only available to a select few farmers. Much of the work was done either by hand or by horse. Many crops had to be weeded and thinned, simply by farmers working their way up and down row after row of crops, until every field was completed. This would make for strong but sore and aching backs. This was not an optional hobby for anyone, it had to be done in time or the losses could ruin the farmer.

Taking a look at the situation, the missionaries quickly understood that if time was a commodity, they would have to make time and give time in order to get time in return. They both grabbed some tools and soon stood shoulder to shoulder with my parents while showing both their worth and sincerity. These missionaries were both able and willing to share in other's burdens. This was no small token effort, they knew how to work and work they did, enough so that when they had saved my parents the time needed for them to stop and listen, they did. When enough time, teaching and listening had passed, my parents were baptized.

I am grateful that missionaries continue to serve for the same reasons as back then. It gives me hope and I find it impressive, that young men and women worldwide are giving up precious time to share what they believe in. It is not only young people serving on missions but regardless of age they all sacrifice their time unselfishly. This wonderfully inspired program changes everyone involved for the better. I am grateful to have served a full-time mission, that my good wife has served a full-time mission and that our sons have followed and are following our example serving full-time missions.

I am grateful that thanks to revelation, strong spiritual leaders, Godly doctrine and a lot of good people of faith, reverence and obedience, we have a missionary program with 52,483 missionaries (2010 Statistics) in 340 missions around the world and the church materials are translated into 166 languages.

There is far more cause for gratitude to be found: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not spend their efforts advertising the good they do around the world, it seems they have much better things to talk about. It is consequently a little known fact that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter'Day Saints has 8,583 Welfare Services Missionaries and Humanitarian Service Missionaries stationed around the world and that since 1985, more than 178 countries have benefitted with more than $ 1,3 Billion of humanitarian assistance from the welfare program of the church.

Indeed, I have much to be grateful for and I'm grateful that I am not the only one. If it wasn't for people believing that God still lives, if it wasn't for prophets, seers and apostles alive today, receiving revelation for all who will take some time and listen, I might never have heard about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my children might not have so much to be grateful for and we might never have learned the value of gratitude.

Why then is gratitude so important? Most people understand that courteous and polite behavior includes gratitude. Upon receipt of a gift or favor, a pleasant exchange takes place confirming that this was well received and appreciated. When gratitude is turned to God it may take on a whole new dimension, depending on our scope of things. 

It may sound like kindergarten logic that giving thanks to God for the good in life means accrediting your blessings to God. But, this is not just a matter of saying "Thank you." It's about admitting that everything good in life has come from God.  He gave you the opportunity, ability and motivation, while you justified His trust in you with your efforts. Giving God the credit for all the good in your life can actually change your life for the better. 

Instead of thinking that you did everything all by yourself, express your gratitude to God. Be grateful that you could--and were able. Instead of thinking of yourself as more talented, able, stronger, harder working or luckier than others, give thanks to God that you have been given the means to help others find and develop their talents and strength that they too might succeed. 

There is a great deal of happiness found in seeing others benefitting and succeeding through your efforts. As you begin to make gratitude a regular part of your prayers, your outlook on life might soon follow and life's hurdles may not seem quite so obstructive. I have yet to learn a lot about right and wrong but I do know that recognizing the hand of of God in my life has made a difference for me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Denmark Copenhagen Mission

President Jens H Andersen and Sister Susanne D C Andersen  
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, missionary work naturally becomes a significant factor as the members want others to share in what has brought about changes in their own lives, for the better. According to 2010 statistics the church had 14,131,467 members around the world and included in that number was 52,483 missionaries distributed in 340 missions around the world. A great portion of those numbers can be attributed to missionaries serving on missions.

The Denmark Copenhagen Mission traces its humble beginning back to when Denmark in 1849 was allowed religious freedom. Missionary work officially began on June 14 1850, when Erastus Snow arrived and began serving as Denmark's first missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Less than two months after the arrival of Erastus Snow the first 15 people were baptized on August 12 in Oresund (the strait separating Denmark and Sweden). The first congregation was established September 15 that same year with approximately 50 members.

Peter O. Hansen had already begun translating the Book of Mormon in Nauvoo before departing for Denmark, allowing the completion and publishing already in 1851. Known as "Mormons Bog," this was the first translation from English to a foreign language of the Book of Mormon .

As missionary work spread through Denmark, persecution increased. The church was not understood or appreciated by all, in Aalborg a mob vandalized a hall where the members were meeting in 1851. Soon members began to emigrate, the first left January 31, 1852. Of the 26.000 people who were converted during this period, 13.984 converts immigrated to the United States by 1930. 

Today the Denmark Copenhagen Mission serves the areas of Denmark, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Most of the currently 72 (Dec 2011) missionaries are in the ares of Denmark and Iceland. Occasionally missionaries get to visit or are stationed on Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

The Denmark Copenhagen Mission President Jens Hjarup Andersen and Sister Susanne Duus Christensen Andersen, of the Allerod Ward, Copenhagen Denmark Stakebegan their mission back in 2010 and will be serving until 2013. Their family includes five children.

President Andersen was born in Helleruplund, Denmark, to Poul Borge and Kirsten Hjarup Andersen. He has in the past served as a Stake President, Stake Young Men President, Bishop and Counselor, Stake Mission President, Ward Mission Leader, missionary in the England Bristol Mission and as Coordinator in the Church Educational System.

Sister Andersen was born in in Helleruplund, Denmark  to Karl Johan Duus and Elisabeth Conradsen Christensen. She has in the past served as Relief Society President's Counselor, Young Women President and Counselor, Primary president's Counselor and Young Women's  President's counsellor.

Denmark Copenhagen Mission
Translation Division, Copenhagen Denmark
Deseret News Church Almanac

Copenhagen Denmark Temple

Copenhagen Denmark Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The long awaited temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Copenhagen, Denmark was announced on March 17, 1999 to be a re-modelling of the Priorvej Chapel originally dedicated for use on June 14, 1931.

The Copenhagen Denmark Temple site was dedicated April 24, 1999, by Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy and President of the Europe North Area.

Upon completion of the extensive re-modelling, the Copenhagen Denmark Temple was dedicated March 23, 2004 by President Gordon B. Hinckley and the temple district includes the following stakes and district:

Aarhus Stake, Denmark
Copenhagen Stake, Denmark
Goteborg Stake, Sweden
Malmo Stake, Sweden
Iceland District

The temple floor area is approximately 25,000 square feet contained in a dimension of  45 feet by 120 feet and is located on a site of less than one acre near the center of the older part of Copenhagen. 

The original Priorvej Chapel was the oldest, still standing chapel from the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ in Denmark. Upgrading such a landmark by re-modelling it to be  the first temple of the church in Denmark had to be done with great care. Upon completion, the end result only heightened its status further with the local members. The careful re-modelling kept the neo-classical style of the meetinghouse with its original brick and columns, thereby respecting the early history of the church in Denmark, the many memories and associations of the local members, from when the temple was still a chapel.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Elder Jepsen - Mission Entry 103: I Too Am Going On a Mission!

I was supposed to be in Provo, Utah, getting ready to enter the Missionary Training Center in preparation to serve my mission. That was the plan but these are the facts: I am not in the MTC, I am not in Provo, Utah and I am not even in the States. 

I am getting ready to go and get set apart to serve in the Copenhagen Denmark Mission, where I did much of my growing up. The processing of my visa was delayed, just like it happened to my brother Lee but I will be off for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah at a later date. 

I look up to the many missionaries I have met through my youth. I have observed their unselfish service, they're great examples to me and I have a lot to live up to! I must admit that I am a little stressed about now going to be one myself but for now I am off to serve a mission and that's what matters to me. By the time you read this, I'll be a missionary serving somewhere in Denmark and I can use all the prayers I can get.

It may seem anticlimactic to some but what makes a mission great is not about new places and experiences, adventure and travel to distant countries and cultures. It's about service to God and service to your fellowman. The Book of Mormon has stated it much clearer than I can in Mosiah 2:17:

"When Ye Are in the Service
 of Your Fellow Beings Ye Are Only in the 
Service of Your God"

I am excited to go on a mission and regardless of where this might be in the world it's still a mission, because this is not about me. This is about helping others find strength and peace in God as I have. This is about making God accessible to others and God matters to everyone, everywhere. People everywhere can benefit from the peace in our hearts that come with the Lord's blessings. David A. Bednar, An apostle of the Lord stated God's gifts to include strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindnesses, support and spiritual gifts which we receive from, because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Here at the time of year when many thoughts and activities are focused on Christmas are those not gifts worth receiving?

I believe that God is the same today as he was yesterday or a thousand years ago. Ergo, it's important to me to be be a member of a church of the same organizational structure that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly and I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

My Mom and Dad both served full-time missions and Stake missions, my sister served a long mini-mission and both my brothers served full-time missions. I appreciate their examples as I look up to my family but I am not going on a mission just because they did. I chose to prepare for and go on a mission because I want to and because I believe it's my responsibility to share what I have been given. Yet I could not just go on a mission on my own accord. To be a missionary, preach the gospel  and administer the ordinances of the gospel I had to be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority.

I was called and next I will be set apart by those in authority to do so. I chose to accept this challenge and go on a mission because I believe in God, the Eternal Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. I believe that we all are responsible for our choices in life, good and bad but that God's mercy allows us access to His peace, redemption and forgiveness. I believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We can find forgiveness, strength, peace and redemption in God. The terms, principles and ordinances of His gospel are not at all difficult: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and that's what I'll be teaching on my mission.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Temperatures and Climate in Denmark

Denmark from satellite view
Denmark's is geographically located in the temperate zone allowing mild winters, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C and cool summers, with a mean temperature in August of 15.7 °C. The highest temperature recorded in Denmark since 1874 happened on August 10, 1975, when the temperature climbed to 36.4 °C (97.52 °F). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Denmark happened on January 8, 1982, when the temperature dropped to -31.2 °C (-25.96 °F ).

Denmark has an average of 121 days per year with precipitation, receiving an average total of 712 mm per year; Autumn is the wettest season and Spring the driest. The driest Spring ever recorded in Denmark happened in 1974 with a mere 46 mm of precipitation and the wettest Autumn was 1967 with 327 mm of precipitation.  The most precipitation ever recorded over a 24 hour period was 168.9 mm on July 8-9 1931. 

Due to the North Sea coastline the western part of Denmark usually gets the most wind (called a bit of fresh air by the locals there). The highest wind speed on land was recorded on Dec 3 1999 with 137 km/h (85.13 mph) wind speed averages and gusts of 185 km/h (114.95 mph). On the same day at sea (an oil-platform in the North Sea located at 55°30' N 05°00' E) the average wind speeds reached 185 km/h (114.95 mph) with gusts of 213 km/h (132.35 mph).

Because of Denmark's northern location (Denmark shares latitude with the Alaskan panhandle), there's a great deal of difference between the length of a day, depending on the season. There are short days during the winter with sunrise coming around 8:45 AM and sunset 3:45 PM and long summer days with sunrise at 4:30 AM and sunset at 10 PM. Summer days will seem even shorter as the light stays long after sunset and lights the sky long before sunrise. Winter days will accordingly seem even shorter. 

Christmas (Danish: jul), is celebrated on Christmas Eve, 24 December. The celebration for the longest day is known in Denmark as Skt. Hans Aften (St. John's evening). Celebrations of Midsummer have taken place since pre-Christian times. 

Sources for the data used:

Flag of Denmark "Dannebrog" and the Danish Coat of Arms

Flag of Denmark "Dannebrog" by Per Palmkvist Knudsen

The legend states the origin of the flag to the Battle of Lyndanisse, also known as the Battle of Valdemar (Danish: "Volmerslaget"), near Lyndanisse (Tallinn) in Estonia, on June 15, 1219.

The battle was going badly, and defeat seemed imminent. But then, right when the Danes were about to give up, the flag fell from heaven. Grasping the flag before it could ever touch the ground, the king took it in his hand, and proudly waved it in front of his discouraged troops, giving them hope, and leading them to victory.

The myth is clear. The flag, Dannebrog, was given to the Danes from God himself, and from that day forward, it was the flag of Denmark, and the Danish kings.

Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse, June 15, 1219. Painted by Christian August Lorentzen in 1809. Original located at Statens Museum for Kunst, Denmark
No historical record supports this legend. The first record of the legend dates from more than 300 years after the campaign, and the first record connects the legend to a much smaller battle, though still in Estonia; the battle of Fellin (Viljandi) in 1208. Though no historical support exists for the flag story in the Fellin battle either, it is not difficult to understand how a small and unknown place is replaced with the much grander battle of Reval from the Estonia campaign of King Valdemar II.

This story originates from two written sources from the early 16th century:

The first is found in Christiern Pedersen's "Danske Kr√łnike", which is a sequel to Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, written 1520 – 23. It is not mentioned in connection to the campaign of King Valdemar II in Estonia, but in connection with a campaign in Russia. He also mentions that this flag, falling from the sky during the Russian campaign of King Valdemar II, is the very same flag that King Eric of Pomerania took with him when he left the country in 1440 after being deposed as King.

The second source is the writing of the Franciscan monk Petrus Olai (Peder Olsen) of Roskilde, from 1527. This record describes a battle in 1208 near a place called "Felin" during the Estonia campaign of King Valdemar II. The Danes were all but defeated when a lamb-skin banner depicting a white cross falls from the sky and miraculously leads to a Danish victory. In another record by Petrus Olai called "Danmarks Tolv Herligheder" (Twelve Splendours of Denmark), in splendour number nine, the same story is re-told almost to the word; however, a paragraph has been inserted correcting the year to 1219.

Whether or not these records describe a truly old oral story in existence at that time, or a 16th century invented story, is not currently determined.

Some historians believe that the story by Petrus Olai refers to a source from the first half of the 15th century, making this the oldest reference to the falling flag.

It is believed that the name of the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, came into existence after the battle. It is derived from "Taani linn", meaning "Danish town" in Estonian. (According to Wikipedia)

The Danish Coat of Arms - First documented in the 1190s, modified 1819

Map of Denmark

This is where I have lived most of my life and where I will begin my mission while I await my visa to be processed. 

By the time this post goes on the blog, I will serving somewhere on this map as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I'll let you know where, when I can. 

The next couple of years I will be where my mission takes me. I have looked forward to this for a long time and I know there will be difficult moments up ahead but I want to give it my all and make every minute count, because two years will pass quickly but the memories have to last and lift, for me and hopefully for those I meet along the way.

If you click on the map and save it you can see it in full size and the location names will be legible.

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