Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 13-27

These last 2 weeks have been really busy. Hilary left for BYU on Monday the 13th. She helped out so much and it was great having her here for the first month. We are sure going to miss her. Now I have a confession about the blog. Yes, I am the one who has been writing about the experiences we are having here but once I had finished I would hand it off to Hilary and she would make it just a bit more lively. So now the true test comes to see if I can make my writing interesting. I may have to call on Jarom and Heather to help.
Jarom and Heather started school on Wednesday the 15th. Getting them to school was a new experience. We live about a 20 minutes by car from their school without a lot of traffic. We left for school 45 minutes before it started, we hit rush hour traffic on the out skirts of Copenhagen and then within the city there were, as Jarom calls it, flocks and flocks of bikes. We finally arrived at their school 5 minutes before it started and could not make a right turn into their school because of so many people riding bikes. After sitting through the light changing from green to red 3 times, Jarom and Heather finally decided they better jump out of the car and make a mad dash to school. It is different driving here, you cannot make right turns on a red light and bikes have the right of way. We decided after a few days of driving to school that the train was a better form of transportation. It gets them there faster and we don't have to worry about hitting a biker.
On Sunday the 19th, we left the house at 7:30am to attend church in Odense. Shawn and I were asked to speak in both wards they have there and Jarom and Heather spoke in 1 of the meetings. I think the Danish members are going to get tired of hearing from me and the kids and just ask Shawn to speak. At least that is what we are hoping for. After the second meeting we hurried back to Copenhagen for a fireside where we listened to Elder Groberg speak. Such a busy Sunday! Shawn and I retuned around 9:30pm ready to go to sleep.
On Tuesday, the 22nd, we had our first group of missionaries arrive from the MTC; Elders Nordfelt, Lindstrom, Strong and Vandenberghe. After a very long flight they were really tired but excited to be in Denmark. The Assistants, Elder Bailey and Elder Pierson, took them out to do some street contacting and sightseeing. Church of My Lady and Frederiksborg Castle were two of the places they got to see. After that they came back to the mission home where I fixed them dinner and we had a testimony meeting and then they were more than ready for bed.
On Wednesday the new elders met their new companions and were off to their new areas. Three Elders, Elder Feil, Elder McCleary and Elder KLC, completed their missions, had their departing interviews and departed for the mission home for dinner and testimony meeting. We enjoyed having new Elders and Elders returning home in our home on two different nights. What a special spirit they bring.
On Thursday, we took two of the departing Elders to the airport to return back to their homes. Elder McCleary's parents came to pick him up at the mission office. I even shed a few tears to see parents and son reunite, it brought back lots of memories.
On Friday Shawn left for Iceland for his monthly visit. He hardly had time to breath, he went from the airport to interviews to zone conference to more interviews to church to fireside back to airport. Wow! What a weekend. He had a wonderful time but was spiritually and physically drained. This next week looks to be not so busy but only time will tell.
Hilary on her way back to BYU.
4 new Elders
3 Elders on their way home.
The new Elders and their companions in front of the Temple.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week of Aug. 5th

This week was full of new opportunities, new experiences and new . . . . Royal titles? That's right, this week Shawn and I were dubbed a King and Queen; or else we would have been if we were living in the time before the world wars. Either that or we would have been servants and I prefer to look at the glass half full. On Friday and Saturday we were in Frankfurt, Germany for a new mission presidents training. We stayed in a beautiful hotel that at one time was a palace for the royal family. They spoiled us with all the food and accommodations; so even if we really weren't dubbed as King and Queen we sure were pampered as if we were. It was fun to see some of the mission presidents and their wives that we got to know in the MTC. It was sure nice having Hilary here so Jarom and Heather were able to stay at home with her. Returning home was a little bit scary because teenagers home alone never results in anything good, but we were pleasantly surprised to return home to nothing broken.
On Tuesday Shawn and I traveled to Århus for a zone training meeting and to another one on Thursday in Copenhagen. It was good to see all the missionaries again and see how excited they are to see each other.
On Friday we took Jarom and Heather to an open house at their new school. Well, new might be too strong of a word, more like used school. It is a school you would find in a used school lot rather than at a dealership where only new schools are sold. You can tell the building used to be an old office building. But once you get on the inside it is actually quite nice. At this new student orientation that they attended they both were able to meet some students and take a tour of the school.
On Sunday we attended Stake Conference in Herning for the Århus stake. Elder Craig Wright an area seventy from England was there, and he did an excellent job speaking. Shawn and I were asked to speak also. With an interpreter my talks only need to be half as long as normal talks but I still am not very fond of speaking. I did bear my testimony in Danish for the first time and I hope someone was able to understand me. Shawn did his in Danish and did wonderful as usual. After conference, Shawn was able to reacquaint himself with many members of the church from thirty years ago. It was a delight for him to see them again. Many of the children are now grown with their own families and serving in bishoprics and leadership positions. What a blessing it was to be among the valiant saints in Denmark. They are firm in their faith and love the Lord. How blessed we are to have the good news of the gospel in our lives and share that wonderful message with all who will receive it. We miss and love you all, yet know in our hearts that we have been called of God at this time to do His work. Yes we are inadequate for the task, but in the strength of the Lord all things are possible, even for us.
Thanks for your love and support and especially thank you for your prayers.
The are needed and greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week of July 30

On Monday we had a dinner for Elder and Sister Jensen at the mission home. It could have been seen as their last super here on the mission; just to give you a visual. We had 3 other senior couples there to help us honor them before they left to head home. It was a wonderful evening, we enjoyed getting to know all the couples better.
On Tuesday afternoon, we went to the senior couples apartments so Shawn could interview them and check to make sure their pond side apartments are up to par. Each couple made a part of dinner for us so when we combined all the offerings we were able to partake of quite a wonderful feast.
On Wednesday we traveled to Børnholm, an island south of Sweden. This is the island where our ancestors joined the church before moving to America. Brother Franz Bøving took us around the island showing us where our ancestors' family farm was located. He showed us the well that our ancestors hid the missionaries in when the mob was trying to kill them. It was such a cool experience to not only hear of these stories, but actually see where all this happened. We traveled back home on Thursday.
On Friday one of our missionaries had to return to his home for medical reasons. It is hard to send a missionary home before completing his mission. We hope that he is able to get the medical attention he needs so that he can return and complete his mission. After a trip to the airport we had a zone leader council at the mission home. It is always nice to have missionaries in our home; for their company and because when they are here we just have that many more repair men to fix anything that needs fixing. This trip they fixed the basketball hoop that had fallen face down and bent the hoop.
On Saturday we went as a family to Tivoli gardens, an amusement park here in Copenhagen. This theme park is where Walt Disney got his ideas to make his theme parks. It was a beautiful day for activities and perfect for family fun. When we first walked into the park there was something off about it, but we could not quite put our finger on it. The kids road on one ride on which they participated in their ritual of screaming like havoc routine and light was quickly shed on our curiosity from before. What made this park so different from what we were used to was that no one screamed. As soon as the ride was over, Shawn and I quickly walked away before our kids could claim us as their parents. Later we told them it was because we wanted to see more of the park, but that was only part of our reason. After being spun in circles enough times to confuse their simple directions as up and down, and flipped upside down so much that heather began to resemble Pippy Longstockings, the kids decided they had had enough so we returned home.
On Sunday we had a fireside at the mission home for investigators, new members, less actives and missionaries. We had a wonderful evening with around 35 in attendance.
Wow! What a wonderful week; quite busy, but great none the less. After all those meals made, cookies baked, and juices concocted I decided it was time for a vacation. . . Hm maybe in three years ;) I'm just kidding we love being here with these wonderful missionaries and being able to serve the amazing countries of Denmark and Iceland.
Standing in front of well where the missionaries hid from mob
A day at Tivoli!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Week of July 22nd

On Monday Shawn and I we're invited to attend the opening session of a YSA conference for the Nordic countries called "Festinord". Each year it is held in different locations in northern Europe and this year Copenhagen had the privilege of holding it just 15 minutes from our house. Hilary and Joel, a friend of hers from Brick Oven, were lucky enough to be participants of this conference all week long. Brad Wilcox a professor at BYU, Tomas Koford who portrayed Jesus Christ in the movie "The Testament", Brother Mathew Richardson from the Sunday School General Presidency and Elder Olsen an Area Seventy from Sweden were all in attendance. Brad Wilcox was the perfect person to open the conference. He spoke about dating and had everyone rolling in laughter.
On Friday, we celebrated Heather's 14th birthday. I can't believe our children are getting so old. Pretty soon they are going to catch Shawn in age because we all know I stopped aging after 21. As a special birthday present we took Heather to the temple to do baptism with her brother. The temple is beautiful. While we were there a temple worker explained the paintings that are located in the baptistery. One of the paintings has some prominent people from Denmark depicted in it. After the temple we returned home for birthday cake and got more of a surprise than was expected. Elder Bailey and Elder Pierson (assistants to the president) showed up to bring Heather a little gift for her birthday and joined us for cake and ice cream. It is wonderful to have such good missionaries that our children consider good friends.