Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your Denmark Missionary 07-28-10

WOW! What an amazing week I just had. I feel like I am walking on the moon right now! This last week was pretty crazy and I must say I truly enjoyed it! It was weeks like this past one that reminds me how much of a miracle missionary work is and why I am a missionary.

Denmark is not, unfortunately the most religious country in the world. In fact most danish people are afraid of religion and WILL NOT talk about it. To most Danes, religion is a private topic that you only discuss with your family... or not at all. I am sure they have there reasons, and I have huge respect for those reasons but it sure makes missionary work a little difficult, haha. However, even with this difficulty and problems Denmark faces with religion, BAPTISMS HAPPEN!

This week was Christina Wydallis' Baptism. She was baptized last Saturday, July 24th 2010, and confirmed on Sunday July 25th 2010. Elder Meyer Baptized her and I confirmed her. The whole experience was just incredible! We started preparing for the baptism earlier that week of course. We had to create the program, ask people to give talks, move a piano into the sacrament room.... etc etc. That was a lot of work, but we got it done and just waited for Saturday. That morning before the baptism we arrived at the church, filled up the baptismal font, placed Hymn books on the seats, opened the windows to cool down the building (because of no air conditioners) and waited until 1:30 for Christina to arrive. She arrived and changed into her white dress, and Elder Meyer into his white clothes. Then we took some pictures and waited for everyone to arrive. Attached is the picture of Christina and everyone that helped teach her, and of course her dad Tom.

The program began and we had about 70 at her baptism. Whats more amazing is about half of those people that came were Christina's friends and family. It was great to see the support and love she had from all the people she knew. Then of course the rest were members. It was a fantastic turn out! I mean really fantastic. I have seen some other baptisms in Denmark of other people (not people I have taught) and non of them had that many people come. So it was just amazing. The program began with the hymn "God is my light, then the opening prayer by me. I don't know why but I was way nervous about the prayer. I always get a little nervous when I have to speak Danish in front of a TON of people. I do OK at appointments and when I am out contacting but WOW is it difficult for me when its in front of a hug congregation. SO it was really scary for me. However I said the prayer, and everyone said I did fine. One person told me, "You were nervous... I couldn't even tell, as you sounded completely fine." haha. SO I was a little nervous for no reason. SO yea, my prayer went fine. Then we had a talk by a member that goes to the same school as Christina named Zanna Ronnenberg. She spoke about baptism and did an amazing job. Then after her we had a musical number on the piano by a member named Rita Taylor. She played 2 songs, one in the children's hymn book called "Baptism" then another one called, "Come thou font of every blessing." She also did an amazing job. I think just about everyone in the room was about to burst into tears, as the spirit was incredibly strong.

Then after the musical number we all headed to the baptismal font. We held the program in the chapel. The baptismal font is in another room close by. We all walked over and saw Christina be baptized! It was just incredible. The spirit was of course, SUPER STRONG! I mean so far out of my entire mission, I have never felt it so strong, then when I saw Christina come out of the water! IT was just indescribable. I mean WOW! Then after that she and Meyer when to change into some dry clothes, why the rest of us waited in the chapel. Then she returned and we continued the program. We had a member named Tina Di Bella give a talk about the holy spirit. She did awesome, and is actually the member that has helped us teach Christina. So shes way amazing, and is now a good friend to me. We had a good time teaching Christina with her. Then after Tina we had our new mission President, President Andersen give a little talk. He is an amazing speaker and did an incredible job. He wasn't originally going to speak, but I think the bishop asked him too. So he was a last minute add in. haha. Then we had the bishop give a short, Welcome to the ward talk. Then we sang the song, "Because I have been given much" as the closing. Christina chose all the speakers and songs, all me and Meyer did was make sure it got done. So of all songs for her to choose, she chooses the song that has a tender place with my mom and my family. So that closing song meant a lot to me.

Then after the program, everyone ate some refreshments and congratulated Christina! Me and Meyer gave her a new Book of Mormon Triple and a new Bible. We also gave her a "Key" to heaven. We used this analogy one time with her about the priesthood and referring it to keys. How our church is the only church with that priesthood authority or priesthood "keys". So we told her that in order for you to enter Gods Kingdom, you need the right key. So she really enjoyed that. So me and Meyer got creative and got her a "KEY." She thought it was really sweet! haha. Then Elder Meyer gave her some church movies. He gave her "Charley" and "the other side of heaven." Then I had my family send some letters congratulating her and some Reese's. Christina loves Reese's. So that made her really happy. The of course she got many more gifts from members. She just had the perfect day. I don't think she realized she was getting gifts, so she was very grateful! You should have seen Christina's smile! She was just so happy. Her dad Tom was also a very happy dad. He was very proud of his daughter. And of course hes a funny guy, so he goes up to Elder Meyer and says, "thanks for drowning my daughter," haha. As Elder Meyer Baptized her. I just love Tom, he always makes me laugh.

Then later night, after the baptism, Christina sent us a text. She was like, I am a Mormon and happy to be one. She just thanked us over and over. What she doesn't realize is its us who are extremely grateful. Christina strengthened my testimony and helped me as a person. I don't know how I am ever going to thank her. haha. In any case, shes always going to be a good friend. Her baptism was just amazing!

Then on Sunday I gave her the confirmation. I was way nervous the whole day. The slagelse ward starts backwards, so its Priesthood, Sunday school, then sacrament meeting. So during priesthood and Sunday school I was just sick to my stomach nervous. In fact I actually left priesthood early and sat outside to get some fresh air. I was super nervous. I was nervous because after the confirmation part you give a blessing, and blessings are said by the spirit. Its nothing I can really prepare for. So I was nervous as I am not the best at danish and was worried I would know what to say. However because the blessing is directed by the spirit, the spirit was helping me speak. I gave the confirmation and blessing and did pretty good. Everyone told me I spoke fine and clearly. They were able to understand me just fine. So I was glad. After that, I felt pretty good! haha. I was no longer sick to my stomach! haha. SO the confirmation went good and Christina is now officially a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Shes a Mormon! Shes also the first baptism in 3 years in the Slagelse Ward!!!

Well after the baptism I had to transfer to my new area Århus. My new Companion Elder Hebbert met me in Slagelse on Monday and we stayed there until Tuesday. I had to finish packing and a few members wanted to feed me and say good bye before I left. So Hebbert and I hung around in Slagelse on Monday. I am really going to miss Slagelse. I saw this ward go from Nothing to a baptism! I love all the members and just really enjoyed it. I will also miss my companion Elder Meyer. He taught me a lot and we had a good time. I made a lot of friends, so its hard to leave. :( However I have some more adventures waiting for me in Århus! So then on Tuesday Hebbert and I headed out in the morning around 11 to catch a train. Then to my surprise Tina Di Bella, a Member, showed up to wave me off at the station! That really meant a lot! So she helped me get all my stuff on the train and then said goodbye and gave me a few gifts for the journey! That was a lot of fun to see her again!

Then I arrived in Århus and I am officially writing from the Library in Århus City! Its the 2nd largest city in Denmark with Copenhagen as the first. Today is only my 2nd day, so I don't have much to say, except I think I am going to be OK here. My companion is a really nice guy and I think me and him will get along fine. Until next week, I will let you know how its going here.

Well my spiritual message for today basically goes with my entire email about Christina and her baptism. You know when I got to Slagelse, Elder Meyer and I were quite frustrated with the area. It seemed as no missionary work had been done for years in that place. We didn't even know a baptism could even be possible. However we worked hard, and had the faith that we could get a baptism. We were able to turn that area completely around. So my message is this, when life gets hard and dark, and trust me, it will. We can always turn things around with our saviour Jesus Christ. We can go bad to good in no time at all if we have the faith. Elder Meyer and I were able to turn the Slagese area around in only 3 months. So Anything is possible.

Well everyone, I think I have written enough for today! haha. I hope all of you have an amazing week. Thanks again for all your help and support and prayers. It means a lot.

Med Kærlig Hilsen,
Ældste Skyler Hardy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Din danske missionær 07-22-10

Hello Everyone!

OK, so this week has been pretty crazy! It’s been crazy for multiple reasons and here's one of then. I have just found out I will be transferring to another area. My new area is called Århus (English Aarhus) and its back on the main part of Denmark (the part connected to Germany). Its one of the larger cities in Denmark so it should be quite exciting. I have been made the senior companion and my new companion is Elder Hebert. I will tell you more about him as I get to know him. Transfers are on Tuesday, so I have a few more days here in Slagelse.

Another reason, this week is crazy is CHRISTINA is getting BAPTIZED on SATURDAY!!!!!!! I am way excited and it’s been a crazy last week teaching her and getting ready for her baptism. We had an appointment with her last Friday; here is how the appointment went...

So we had an appointment with Christina and Tom on Friday. At this point we were not 100% sure Christina was going to be baptized yet. So we sat down and the ward member that was with us asks Christina, "How did it go with the fasting" and she said, "I thought it was great, but I don't think I received an answer" so we then said to Christina, "well, we will talk about it after the lesson. We then taught her the 10 commandments and following the prophet. We showed a short clip called "Mormon Messages" from Thomas Monson and Tom said to us, "I could feel something really strong from him; I know he’s a good man." So Tom is feeling the spirit.

Then we finished with the lessons, and the entire time Christina was distracted. It was like her mind was far away thinking about something else. Then we started talking to her about her baptism. She basically said she wants to learn more, she doesn't feel ready, and said, "I DO NT KNOW! DET VED JEG IKKE!" So I bore my testimony to her, we ready scriptures that showed or encouraged her. 'Then out of the blue Tom in a way bore his testimony to Christina. He said he knows this church does good things and its here to benefit the world. I have already seen the different in my life. In fact, the last few weeks of not meeting with this church, I almost thought I'm in trouble, I am playing with fire over here." Then the member Tina also bore her testimony and it was just a way spiritual moment. Then Elder Meyer said, "Well Christina, We need an answer, because if you do get baptized we have stuff we need to do to prepare. So let’s say a prayer, and after we say it, you’re going to give us an answer." Christina said, “OK". So Elder Meyer gave a prayer. Let me tell you, I thought it was the longest prayer of my life. Then the prayer ends and Christina says, "I want to call my sister real quick" We said OK, and she left the room to call for a few minute's"

So me and Elder Meyer sat and talked to Tom. We started talking about the Danish language. Tom also struggles with it and he’s lived here for 15 years, haha. He said he knows the words everyone is speaking but doesn't always understand the meaning of the words that are being used. So he can easily misunderstand what people say...

Then Christina comes in and sits down and says, "The answer is yes! I want to be baptized. I feel like its right, and If I didn't get baptized I would feel really bad, which means to me that this church means a lot to me, which means I know its true (Remember its in Danish, so it was said a little different." Then Tom says to us, so you’re not getting baptized? Then Christina says, "No dad, I am!" Then Tom runs at her and gives here a HUGE hug and says, “See I told you that stupid Danish, I didn't understand. CONGRATS MY DAUGHTER!" and Just gives her the biggest congrats a father could give to her daughter. Then tom says, Man now I want to get baptized. haha.

So Christina decided to get baptized. We felt she already had her answer. After she decided to commit to the baptism, she said she felt a lot better. Like a big weight was lifted from her shoulders. So this week we have been getting ready for her baptism, by getting the members involved and just trying our best to make this day perfect. We have had to get her baptism dress ready, but the one at the church is way old, so we had to ring to another ward to see if they had another dress she could use. We found one, so then we had to coordinate with our Zone leader to see if he could bring it over to Slagelse when he comes to interview Christina.

Then we had to make the programs for her baptism. So we had to call member to give talks (With Christina's Help. She helped plan her baptism, don't worry), to play a musical number, to pray, etc, etc. So we then had to go help a member with the musical number, but choosing what to play and hear how she’s playing it. We decided to have a member who's really good at the piano, give a special piano solo. So that's taken a lot of time too. Then we had to go actually create the paper version of the program at the library. The computers are way limited at the library, so it was really tough to create the program using such limited programs and really slow computers. So then that took a lot of time.

However, it’s been a lot of fun, and we have been really busy. Right now everything seems to be going really slow as we are waiting for Saturday! Haha. We have had it difficult to go and work as all we want to do is plan for Christina's baptism, and for the actual baptism to happen! haha.

So to be honest I don't have much of a spiritual message for the day. It’s just been a crazy week and I haven't had much time to think about it. To be honest I am surprised I even had time to email home! Haha. So a quick message is its good to be busy, especially when you’re being busy for the lord or for others! Try to always be busy doing good things and our loving Heavenly Father will bless us.

Well have a great week, all! I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Med Kærlighed, Din Danske Missionær,
Ældste Skyler Hardy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Your Denmark Missionary 07-15-10


Its so good to be on the computer again, being able to write to you all! I got some more emails this week from friends and family thanking me for my emails, so It makes me so happy that my letters are read and enjoyed! SO THANK you right now for your wonderful love and support! I gladdens me to know that you are all there watching my back at home!

So to begin as always... Christina is doing well! Shes as awesome as can be and really is still progressing. We are still planning on having her baptism on the 24th... so its been really exciting for Elder Meyer and me and especially the ward! We are starting to plan her program, getting members involved, making sure yummy brownies will be there, etc etc! So its been a lot of fun here in Slagelse. In Copenhagen we have a UV Center which stands for "UNGE VOKSEN" which in English means young adult center. This is a place were all the young adults 18 until there married can go and hangout, talk, eat food, play games, have family home evening etc. Its ran by the church and has been a great thing for all the member young adults and for new converts for the church. So they heard about Christina and all the young adults at the center want to come and see her baptism. I thought that was way cool and Christina is just going to love it! Not only do we have Slaglese excited we have people clear in Copenhagen excited too. So her baptism is going to be quite a little party. haha. However the baptism is completely up to her and will change if she feels shes needs more time! So were hoping for the 24th...

Tom her dad is still doing GREAT! We talked to him the other day and he has been swamped with work. I mentioned last week that July is vacation month for basically all of Europe. So because of that a lot of people have taken off work and so extra shifts have opened up. So Tom took a full load and has been working really hard these last few weeks. So he hasn't had a lot of time to meet. However he told us hes still working on getting married, and hes supportive of Christina and her choice to get baptized. Hes a great week and just loves us missionaries. He just cracks me up every time I meet him. haha.

So this last Friday I was actually in another city called Anmager. This is a little island right next to Copenhagen. Its connected to Copenhagen by bridge. It has about 100,000 people living on it. So its one of the smallest areas in the mission but an area with one of the most people! So pretty crazy. The missionaries over there had a "missionary week" with there members and asked if we would come for a day and help them out. So we get there and what a project they had. They created a display to put on the sidewalk, and coordinated that all the missionaries would go on splits with a member. So in a since we would have 8 sets of missionaries out and about preaching the word. So we began and I got display duty. Can you say awkward! haha, It was kind of one of the hardest things I have ever done. I just felt weird on a sidewalk with a board.... I would prefer to just sidewalk contact. However I sucked it up and did my duty. Nobody was really interested, in fact many thought we were another church, haha. Then around 1:00 we all met up again and the ward members were exhausted. I don't think they realized how tireing missionary work is. So they kind of quit, haha. They said there taking a P-day. Good old ward members. However the day was successful and we helped the Anmager missionary's find a ton of new people to teach. So exciting stuff.

Then yesterday we had my companions year mark! So I went with his MTC group to Copenhagen to celebrate for our p-day. We went and saw another castle, Christinansborg castle. Then we went and ate some American food, and then took a boat tour around the Copenhagen canals. Then to top it all of we got some ice cream at this famous ice cream place in Denmark. It was a really fun day. Now, I don't want to scare you, but my year mark is next! That's right, I am about 2 months from my year mark! Its amazing how fast time flies!

So my spiritual message for today goes with my good friend Christina and her baptism coming up. I know this church is true and seeing a friend join the church is going to be quite the blessing in my life. Our church is unique and I am truly grateful to be a member. So my message for today is for those who are members, dont take the membership of this church for granted. I know its tuff to be members, but our membership is so special. We are members of Gods TRUE church, how cool is that. I mean were are some of Gods Elect on the earth, enjoying the blessings and beauty of his gospel! I just think thats pretty cool.

Thanks again for all your love and support! I hope all of you have a fantastic week! Take care!

Love, Your Denmark Missionary,
Ældste Skyler Hardy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Your Denmark Missionary 07-10-10

Hej Alle! Det er god at snakke med dig i day.

HAPPY LATE 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE! I hope you all had a great holiday, especially since, if I am correct you celebrated it on the 3rd, which so happens to be the best day of the entire year. If I recall its some amazing missionaries birthday that day... oh haha its me. Just kidding! My birthday went well! I am officially 20 years old. My birthday was good, we went into the center of the city and did some shopping... then we bought some food and watched a few Disney movies at the church. I basically wanted a lazy day for my birthday... so we didn't do much. :) However it was perfect! I had a good day. Attached is a picture of me in front of a street sign, that's called "AMERIKAVEJ" or in English... "AMERICA ROAD" so yea. I also have uploaded some pictures of me on my face book... I promise right now, all I do with face book is upload my pictures, I don't play on it. I am a good missinonary... I promise. so yea.

So to begin, Christina is doing well. Shes still reading in the Book of Mormon and coming to church, and holding her appointments. Her baptismal date is officially for July 24th. I would ask that you keep her in her prays as when the baptismal dates arrive, weird stuff happens. The devil throws all he can at people to stop them. Shes quite the young lady though. Its been really fun to get to know her and teach her about this church she feels, "she already knows". We had an appointment with her on Friday and she brought a friend with her. We also brought a member with us, which helped. The appointment went really well. We taught her about tithing and fasting. She understood tithing really well, and in fact thinks its a good idea, and said if shes baptized she will follow it. She had no objections or issues there, which is amazing. She says she can see what we use the money for and thinks its beautiful. As for fasting we told her all about it and shes game for fasting to help her find an answer. We actually began the fast right after dinner Friday night and will end it today around 5:00. It was actually her that suggested we begin sooner then later. So in short, Christina is a diligent young lady and is searching for the truth. She told us that its been difficult for her as most of her friends have converted to the Muslim faith and haven't been very supportive of her attending our church. However shes fighting through it and said, "That because of her friends, its made her want an answer even more." So shes doing great! I think of her as a friend and look forward to her baptism.

Tom has been very busy with work, so we haven't had a chance to meet with him. However he is planning on coming to church on Sunday and will talk with him then. In Denmark in July just about everyone takes their vacation. So its been really tough to meet with people as everyone is out. However its been good and we have stayed busy, so all is well there!

Then this last Monday we officially have a new Mission President! we had our first Zone Conference with him! I think he is going to be the best thing ever for the Danish mission! Like, I don't know why, but I just really clicked with him! Is name is President Andersen. He is danish and was in fact a Stake president over here. So he is well known with the members. All the members are in fact way excited because hes danish! In all, I feel that my danish is going to improve, and that we will see much success this next year. Hes going to be awesome and I am excited to see what happens.

We also have some new investigators named Karla and Flemming. They are actually the parents of another investigator that we have. I think I have mentioned we are teaching a girl named Sheena that's from Brazil. So she introduced us to her parents and now her parents are meeting with us. Karla is from Brazil and married Flemming who is Danish. We showed them the Joseph Smith movie and they just loved it! Karla actually cried during it. They just thought the story of Joseph Smith was very unique and it makes sense. Then yesterday we met with them again and taught them the plan of Salvation. They also enjoyed that, very much. Karla in fact was almost stunned, as the current religion shes in, as something very similar. Shes a member of some small church that exists in Brazil. They are both really positive, and love having us over. Karla is also thankful for the help we have given her daughter (Sheena). She thinks we were sent from God to help her and her family. So they are good people and are listening to our message. I am excited to see that happens in the future with them.

Then on a funnier note, we ate with the family Nwokedi who are members of the church on Tuesday. Sister Nwokedi is Danish and married a man from Nigeria. They are a fun family and have a 16 year old boy and a 3 year old boy. They invited us over for dinner and we ate a African dish called "fufu."I think that's how you spell it. It was quite the interesting dinner. "Fufu is a thick paste usually made by boiling starchy root vegetables in water and pounding with a mortar and pestle until the desired consistency is reached" Then they serve it with a soup like stuff. SO you use this thick paste to grab the soup and you eat it. However, you don't chew the fufu as its really sticky. So you have to swallow the fufu without chewing... so its was quite a fun dinner. Very different and very not Danish. haha.

Well that's my week. Things are going good with him and I am happy to be serving a mission. I hope all of you have a great week, and again thanks for all your love and support!

Love Your Denmark Missionary,
Ældste Skyler Hardy