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