Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your Denmark Missionary 1-15-10

Hey Everyone!

What a crazy week its been. I am starting to realize I always start my letters that way... Maybe I should be more creative. I will blow you away next week with my introduction so beware. Besides the intro, I promise it really has been a crazy week and I have lots to say. I hope this email doesn't get too long... haha. I just love talking to you yall, and love all the wonderful feedback I have gotten from all of you. Thank you for taking the time to read my letters, and to take the time to let me know (either by mail or through my parents) that you appreciate them. I sure miss you all and knowing my letters are being read and enjoyed means the world. Thank you, thank you.

Its funny as I have lived here in Denmark, (Crazy I can say I live in Denmark, haha) I have had some Danish culture shock moments and this weeks was a good one. So we were talking to this member at church named Inga Andersen. She is an awesome lady and I sure like her. I think she really likes me because she always smiles and compliments me on the little danish i know. haha. Shes a strong member of the church. She drives to church every Sunday and It takes her 2 hours to get there. Talk about dedication. The Randers branch has actually had a lot of members go inactive because of how far they sometimes have to go to get to church. Its unfortunate. Anyways, so we were talking to her and I decided to practice danish on her. My companion decided to let me do the spiritual thought. So I began and then I hear this gasp from her. So I look up and shes just smiling. So I continue and I hear her gasp again. I look up again and shes once again smiling. Then I hear a manly gasp, so again I look up and her husband was gasping. This happened though out the entire spiritual thought maybe 100 times. After we leave, I ask my companion about the Gasps. He told me that's how people let you know they are listening to you. I started laughing, I thought they were trying to say something or add on to what I was saying. Since that experience I have noticed everyone does it. I mean everyone. As i talk to people, (even in English) they gasp. haha. It caught me so off guard. Its just so weird to me, that people gasp when they are listening to you. Anyways, that's my culture shock this week.

Its been the month of splits. Last letter I told you about the splits I had with the APs (Assistant to the President). Well On Monday we had splits with the Zone leaders. So one split after another. To be honest with you, I don't like splits. I personally don't think they are the best use of time. However, I guess it all depends on who your on splits with, etc. So maybe on as I become a more experienced missionary I will start to like them more. Who knows. However luckily this time I was on splits with an elder who has served in Randers before. His name is Elder Ockey. He is a pretty old missionary. He goes home in about 5 months. So we head out contacting and contact a few people. Nothing too amazing. We were able to teach them about our church but after we taught them they said they were not interested. At least they were nice and allowed us to teach them a little. So we continued on. We were walking down this street and we see this girl, about 22 years old. I go up to her and greet her and ask if she has time. She said yea, of course. I was like yea! Elder Ockey began teaching her the first lesson. He talked about Jesus Christ and Prophet and Prayer. Prayer is actually what caught her interest. After we mentioned prayer, I noticed a change in her on how she was listening to us. It was weird. Then Elder Ockey looked at me and wanted me to each Joseph Smith. Oh boy. I looked at the girl and did my absolute best to teach her about Joseph Smith. I got pretty far, then she stops me and says, "You can speak English if you want..." Ouch.. Obviously she couldn't understand everything I said in Danish. Oh well, I smiled and taught her Joseph Smith in English. 0h how speaking English was so much easier. After I finished I testified how I knew it was true, and the way I found out was from prayer. She then said, "That makes perfect sense. If anyone knows if its true, God Would." A perfect answer. Elder Ockey finsihed the lesson and asked if she would pray tonight. She then said," I think this message is great, but what do you want me to do about it." She was nice in the way she said it, but It was a perfect questions. Elder Ockey said, well we first want to teach you more. We also want you to pray and if its true, God has commanded us to be baptized and repent. Elder Ockey was Bold, but she completely agreed with it. She gave us her number. She then complimented me on my Danish. She asked how long I have been in Denmark. I told her 2 months and she was way impressed! That right there made my day. She gave us her real number as she called us so we could add it to the phone. She insisted we call soon as she wants to learn more. It was a great contacting experience. I think she felt something. She loved what we had to say about prayer and how we can communicate with God, just like if we were to call him on the phone. Who knows how this will turn out, but the good news is, she learned something from us. That right there is a miracle. Having someone listen to us and learn something and really appreciate it. That just meant a lot to me. Then to top it all off she was really pretty. Usually we have old people to teach or men. SO having a younger person that's pretty, that's a girl, changes things up a little, lol! Elder Ockey claimed her for his future wife, haha. What a good contact. haha.

We were still on splits and decided to go to Hobro. If you remember I had a bad experience last time in Hobro. So I wasn't too excited. However I was with an experienced missionary that knew Hobro better than my companion. SO we got over there and decided to visit an investigator named Charles. Now Elder Ockey worked very close with Charles and actually set 4 baptismal dates with him. But every time that date came something happened or he cancelled, etc. So we visited him. The problem with Charles is he as been taught everything and knows its true. He follows all the commandments and loves Jesus Christ. He went to church like every Sunday and was basically already a Mormon. But something was keeping him from being baptized and Elder Ockey couldn't figure it out. Then Elder Okcey got transferred and nothing happened with Charles. So its been about 6 months since Elder Ockey was in Randers. And in those 6 months, Charles was never home or burned the missionaries. SO anyways this guy knows the church is true and told Elder Ockey many times he knew it was. So Elder Ockey was way happy to go visit him. Luckily he was home and we finally got into contact with him. Elder Ockey told him everything I just told you. How he knew it was true and asked why he hasn't been baptized yet. After Elder Ockey said all this, Charles looked down at the table and the scriptures for a few minutes. Then he looked up with tears in his eyes and smiled. The spirit rushed into the room. He said, I have still been reading in the Book of Mormon and do still know its true. However would it be okay if we met again and started over. There is some much I have forgotten. We smiled and said yes! This was a terrific experience for me. We have a teaching appointment on Saturday. I just have a great feeling about him. I will let you know how it goes. But wow, I mean what an experience!

Then after splits, the next day we had to drive to Copenhagen for a Zone Conference! Its a special zone conference because the entire mission is getting together. Which means I get to see my old MTC group. It was a long day of traveling, but we finally made it. The next day we had are zone conference. It was great. We had lots of trainings, but they were fun. The Zone leaders made a game about it and in short just did a terrific job. Then after Zone conference we were able to go to the Temple! Oh what an experience. It was incredible. I loved every minute of it. Its hard as a missionary because we always teaching about the church and getting others to enjoy it, but sometimes we forget to enjoy it too. So getting to go to the temple was great because I was just able to enjoy our church. Dont forget to enjoy our church. Sometimes we get so caught up in stuff and with members, etc. The list goes on and on we forget why we go to church. So my spirutual message for yall, is to Enjoy Church! Its the one day of the week we can get away from everything and enjoy. I sure loved the temple and am grateful for the chance I got to go! I sure love this church, heck thats why I am serving a mission!

Well that is about it for this week. Zone conference took 3 days. They had us arrive a day early and leave a day later. So I have only been in Randers for a few days, haha. Anyways, Until next week. I sure love you all and miss you. Have a fantastic week.

Love, Your Denmark Missionary

Ældste Skyler Hardy.

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