Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a very merry christmas! 

This week was pretty good so i guess I will share. First and foremost it was a stellar Christmas week because i got to share an hour with the fam over skype :D Probably the best one yet, it was great. The crazy thing is that it made me aware that there is less and less rope and I am approaching the end of the line. I figure the Lord has some big plans for me so that he can solidify all the lessons He has taught me into my brain, so i guess i'd better tie a knot and hang on for the ride. Crazy stuff!

Spiritual thought:

I want to start with my spiritual thought because it was a really neat epiphany i had Christmas eve. So a little bit of background... all of the missionaries on Fyn and Jylland gathered for a Christmas zone conference on Thursday and we were all psyched because that is when they have the missionary that closest resembles Santa Claus dress up and pass out packages sent from home. That is to say, the office hides all the packages until Christmas so it is a more enjoyable surprise. Wellll.... this year about two thirds of the packages were stolen this year out of the mission van that was parked overnight in Århus. So it was a major downer in the beginning but it wasn't the biggest deal since we mostly get cool socks and shirts and candy as missionaries. (Oh by the way, if you sent me something, thanks for the love but it was stolen. Youre awesome though ;) ) Well coming back to Christmas eve now... Elder Baadsgaard did this thing that is a tradition in his family that I thought was neat. We took a piece of a miniature nativity set and then took some time by the light of one candle to think about what gift we are going to give Jesus this year. Once we thought about it, we put it into the manger scene nativity set and said what we were going to give Christ this year. Well i picked up one of the three wise men that was in crouching position and turned it in my hands and thought back to the story of Christ's birth and what the wise men did and so on. As i was laying there, i thought "What would it be like if i were there as one of the wise men kings?" I thought about how they must have known it was going to be a very significant experience in their lives which is evident by the gifts they brought and how long they traveled and so on and so on, but i imagined that they really would not have quite got the full meaning until they finally arrived. I imagined being a wealthy, wise kind and thought that i would have thought something like, "Wow i'm excited to give this child my gift. Anyone would be honored to receive such a gift. This is exciting," or something along those lines. But i looked at the crouching wise man and i began to visualize how when this very prominent man arrived, he must have thought "Woah... this is all i brought? What could i give in return for so much more??" and then humbly knelt before the child and offered all that he had brought. 

Well it was really neat to think of that part of the story from that that new angle. i thought how as people, we really cant give much in comparison fro what we have already been given. We have the greatest gift already, each and everyone of us and it is called the Atonement. It was already purchased, and at a very, very steep price but it was purchased because He Loves us! So i compared myself this this wise man this year and thought what i could give Christ. Id like to withhold what i said because i want to leave this opened ended to you... the one reading right now. What are you willing to give Christ this next year? 

(Hint: it is like a new years resolution but this time you actually mean what you say and try longer than 7 days to do it. Its much easier... the reward is much more worthwhile :) )

Well food for thought is on the table so i hope youre not too full from christmas dinner haha. Heres what happened though in the new chapter of "Skive: Missionaries v. World"


Well, our good friend J* has decided he isn't going to miss out on all the blessings and stuff so he is getting baptized on Wednesday! He had his baptismal interview and is all ready and raring to go! It is honestly amazing to watch this guy go. He is already figuring out how faith works miracles and the steady stream of them has not been lessened at all. On wednesday he called and said that he was having legal issues with the government and that they were planning on taking their twins who have will be born in february and so on and so forth (i dont actually really know anything legal wise or why they government said that... good thing thats not the point though here. haha i was pretty lost). Anyhow, J* said at the end of the conversation, "Jeppson, will you and Baadsgaard pray for us? We will pray too." i said certainly we would and then he said then he figures it would all be fine then. the next day he called again and said that the lawyers worked it all out and whatnot and that the government won't bug them again. he goes, "yea i'm just glad prayer works every time and that everything just works out if you stick out your trials." Well im glad to report he is on to something :) 

K* didn't really have/expect Christmas to happen for him, so we brought some gifts from the equivalent of the dollar store for him and even though they were simple he got way way stoked haha. He is down to 7 cigarettes a day which is amazing! He is still cruising at K* speed but be is progressing really well. Last lesson he goes, "man why are all the Lamanites and Nephites always fighting and stuff? like, they just keep going and it says like ' (this is where he quoted like a whole chapter, but paraphrased)' and then they just keep fighting!" He knows what he is reading surprisingly well for a guy who we found on trippy drugs haha. It is amazing to see the difference! He said a really beautiful heartfelt prayer that really pointed out that difference in him to me this past week. He has been sick off and on but he is doing well.

Other Fun stuff:
We watched finding Dory for the Christmas zone conference :) Quality entertainment. I think Inside Out knocked the socks off of this years movie but i laughed pretty much the whole time so no worries.  Good Stuff:)

We spent Christmas eve with The senior couple in herning, Elder and Sister Forslund and then we skyped and hung out with the Larsens in Århus on Christmas day after church. Shoutout to senior couple because they really are awesome:)

Today we went to the branch presidents house to eat a Christmas lunch. (they go hard all of December here). It turned out to be a four hour, 6 course meal... absolutley intense haha. We started with all types of herring on bread and stuff and then more fish came out and then a main course thing and then more and then more and then more and then..... yea you get the point. 4 old people and the missionaries vs a 6 course meal was a pretty entertaining meal haha .

Well i just decided thats all i have in me right now. Enjoy 2016 while it is here because ill be coming at you quick in the new year. 2017 bound!

New years greetings from the future,

Ældste  j

Saying goodbye to the one and only Elder eaves (for now)

Christmas Eve road trip to Herning

I started a new tradition.  Christmas eve ginger beers :) 

Its a tie :)

My half Danish half American christmas:) 

Christmas Day Skype :) 

Our Nativity

Bermuda J and the triangles (Elder Bennett found our band name haha)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Music Tour In Europe: Check

This past week was pretty awesome. It consisted of touring to the three biggest cities in Denmark and giving live concerts and being kinda famous and stuff. (gotta love vague truths right? ;) ) The week of the music group finally came so much singing was done and many cool things happened because of it. I think it is actually cooler what we did, than touring in a rock band anyhow because how many rock bands make people feel the love of Christ? None! (that i know of i guess... at least not Styx Or Boston or the Steve Miller Band)

Here are some cool highlights:

We got to do a bunch of caroling on the Gå Gades in Svendborg, Odense, and Århus which was a blast because we made so many people stop and smile:) It was great to see even the people who had no time to stop crack a smile as they were walking past. It is amazing what music can do and furthermore how well it speaks to our souls. We did a lot of fun stuff like surrounding random people and then singing to them like it was a private concert and then we had Book of Mormons wrapped up to give as Christmas gifts to them. The coolest one we had by far was a nice girl in her 20s who was on her bike who stopped to listen. One of the sisters in our group went and gave her a Book of Mormon and began to chat so we all decided to sing to just her. As we sang, she became overwhelmed by the powerful Christmas spirit and began to cry. Come to find out after the fact that she is also a singer and loves music:) She also was about to move to Africa for 4 months so i can imagine that it must have been a lot of uncertainty and excitement and stress at that point in her life but it was neat to see the power of music in action. 

In all three concerts we were really fortunate be blessed with energy and enthusiasm to sing very well. We were all pretty tired from having to wake up and rehearse and do this, go there, knock on some doors here, figure out food for 20 people and so on. I think most of the week i was a bit more on the everything-is-funny type of tired so that made it even more fun for me haha. It is pretty tiring to work with that large a group at the speed and focus we did so it was very fulfilling to finish a concert and think... "hey, it worked" They were all three very excellent concerts which really bespeaks the preparation that went into them. We even got standing O's at all of them which was way neat because i feel like in american we throw standing ovations out like candy but i could see as the audiences applauded that we had really touched some people. It was definitely a very different style of missionary than im used to but it was neat to be a part of. 

Whats New? Well i have a new companion named Elder Baadsgaard from Spanish Fork Utah. His family actually originates from Skive area so he is way stoke to go and knock on the doors of every Baadsgaard here in Skive because it is not a common name and there are not many with it in the area. He set up the entire music group from the ground up so needless to say he is a music wizard! His piano skills are absolutely crazy good... i feel like a third grader playing mary had a little lamb next to him haha. He is a great guy though and an excellent missionary and we are going to do some WORK! 

J* is still way way way way excited to be baptized next week and the area is in great condition work wise. We actually had an eating appointment with a lady who used to house missionaries 5 years back and she was way cool. Then we got invited right after that to come to the church and pick up some left over food from the ward Christmas party. Well, the people who were there to give it to us decided instead that it be a grand idea to just feed it to us at 8:45 at night... So we got wrecked haha. I haven't been that full in a very very long time and i don't plan on doing it again. Thats life though as a missionary :D

Spiritual thought:

This poem is my all time favorite Christmas poem that President O'Bryant shared last Christmas and really touched me. Its called the "Christmas Guest":

It happened one day at December’s end
Some neighbors called on an old-time friend.
And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green.
And old Conrad was sitting with face ashine.
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched the twine.
And he said “My friends at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,
The Lord appeared in a dream to me.
And He said, ‘I’m coming your guest to be”
So I’ve been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir.
The table is spread and the kettle is shined,
And over the rafters the holly is twined.
And now I’ll wait for my Lord to appear;
And listen closely so I will hear,
His steps as he nears my humble place.
And I’ll open the door and I’ll look on his face.”
Then his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known.
For long since his family had passed away.
And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas Day.
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest,
This Christmas would be the dearest and best.
So he listened with only joy in his heart,
And with every sound he would rise with a start,
And looked for the Lord to be at his door.
Like the vision that he had had a few hours before.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all he could see on the snow covered ground
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn.
And all his clothes were ragged and worn.
But old Conrad was touched and he went to the door
And he said, “Your feet must be cold and sore.
I have some shoes in my shop for you.
And I have a coat to keep you warmer, too.”
So with grateful heart the man went away.
But Conrad notice the time of day
And he wondered what made the dear Lord so late,
And how much longer he’d have to wait.
Then he heard another knock, and he ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more.
A bent old lady with a shawl of black,
And a bundle of kindling piled on her back.
But she asked only for a place to rest,
a place that was reserved, for Conrad’s great guest.
But her voice seemed to plead, “Don’t send me away,
Let me rest for awhile this Christmas Day.”
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sup.
After she had left, he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were slipping away
The Lord had not come as He said He would
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.
When out of the stillness he heard a cry.
“Please help, me and tell me – Where am I?”
So again he opened his friendly door.
And stood disappointed as twice before.
It was a child who had wandered away,
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day.
Again Conrad’s heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he could make this little girl glad.
So he called her in and he wiped her tears,
And he quieted all her childish fears.
Then he led her back to her home once more.
Then as he entered his own darkened door,
He knew that the Lord was not coming today,
For the hours of Christmas, had all passed away.
So he went to his room, and he knelt down to pray.
He said, “Lord, why did you delay?
What kept You from coming to call on me?
I wanted so much Your face to see.”
Then softly, in the silence, a voice he heard.
“Lift up your head – I have kept My word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor.
Three times I came to your lowly door.
I was the beggar with bruised cold feet;
I was the woman you gave something to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked, three times I came in,
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best.
I was honored to be your Christmas guest.

Let us have Christ as our christmas guest this year. A very merry Christmas to you all!!

Sister Jones is a wizard at the fiddle and Elder Hager is a wizard with a guitar, and i play the tin whistle... this is what happened

We all sang bass for the music group so we had a last hurrah together 

Sister Quinton, Me, Elder Hager, Sister Peterson, Elder Nielsen, Elder Shuppy, Elder Brown, Sister Jones at the Svendborg Station 
Pics from the Christmas District :)

Elder Shuppy, Nielsen, and I in an elevator  #swag

The entire group in Svendborg

Elder Dibble, Me, Elder Brown, and Elder Hager on a train

The last concert in Arhus...the band's gotta split now.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Travel Team

Coming to you live from the Copenhagen area with the latest and greatest recent highlights in the Gladsaxe Library:


J* is still just stoked out of his mind :) He couldn't make it to church because his wife has diabetes and got sick but he called and told us to make sure we announce his baptism to the Ward haha he is so solid. We met twice with him this week and somehow he caught on to the whole "Feed the Missionaries" mentality because they made us some way good food both times. We had some Christmas duck and potatoes and stuff and then the Next time we had a Whole smørbrød sandwhich night haha. We also got to talking about temples with him and now he has his sights set for after he gets baptized so the faith just keeps growing! We also watched the "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration " movie with him and now he has a new favorite movie called "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration"... 

So we are pretty inspired by J*.

K* is still working on smoking .He was pretty grumpy in church cuz he had only had 4 cigarettes but that is also understandable cuz before it was a bit more haha. He is coming along though and still meets with us regularly.

Other News:

If you're wondering why I am in KBH (Copenhagen), it is because i am a part of the traveling music Group for the next week. We are going around to three different Places (Copenhagen, Odense, and Århus) to do three different Christmas concerts for the wards here and its pretty neat! I am fairly certain all the talent is sent to our mission because with every single member of the Group I think I've thought to myself how insanely talented they are haha. Its pretty Next level for a guy who spends most of his musical effort on the Ukulele haha. Lets just say I have learned more then all of my Group combined about singing and stuff so its been a fun couple of days practicing. Major props to people who can sing without their vocal chords getting sore cuz i don't think I have ever done so much in my Whole life haha.

The Things you do as a missionary.... :)

Spiritual thought:

I had a cool experience this week in regards to receiveing answers to prayer. I thought a lot about how we receive personal revelation last transfer (well all of them actually haha ) but as I was thinking about how I could be better/work harder I had one of theose instances where it feels like pure intelligence flows into you and you feel really wise for a moment and then realize it wasn't you haha. I got a cool answer in quote form that I thought I would share:

"Do not wait for your circumstances to improve in order to be influenced. Rather, use your influence to improve your circumstances"

Gotta love a good brick to the face type answer haha. Well in lieu of that thought I have worked on trying to realize when I have an opportunity to influence my circumstances and I've realized there are a lot more around me than I know. The thing is, it's not a good thing unless you do it so those principles go hand in hand if you actually want to see things improve in life. Food for thought.

This is yours truly, Ældste Brandon Jeppson, signing off and wishing you a Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful week :D

Ældste  j

Monday, December 5, 2016

"I don't count down, only up" --Elder Eaves

Well... one thing I learned this week is that stark reality is so stark it's hard to look at haha. I got an email this week that said "6 month letter" on the subject line.... well when i actually got the courage to open it it basically said "hey, good job on your mission. In 6 months all this will be gone. Start thinking about making preparations to return.... blahh blahh blahh". Basically, I am an old misionary now and its offically via the death letter as we call it. Just goes to show how fast time goes and how much poential you can waste if you don't use every second. Oh well. 6 months is a long time, right? (this is where all the returned missionaries laugh and then kiss their wives)

Anyways, this week was way good! I'm going to whip out some highlights for ya real quick becasue we gotta bounce:

J* and K* are still doing great and they are both progressing to baptism really well:) they are both pretty dang inspiring to me because its just so neat to be able to watch them let the gospel change their lives and improve it. A quick note on both and why they're awesome:

We taught J* the law of tithing and about fasting and he took it like a champ. We read in the Book of Mormon about it and discussed it and said he knows that God wants him to do it and he knows he will get blessings for it:D then yesterday, he straight up fasted the entire day! He texted us at about 7ish and asked how long people usually fast for... yikes i think we failed to tell him how it works but i guess in all fairness we didnt really know he would go and fast on us. I guess we need more faith in people or something haha. But for real J* is just a stud.

With K* we watched the Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration movie and really enjoyed it. It really helped to give him a visual on Joseph Smith and his life. It's way cool because K* is always referring back to 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and the story about Lehi's dream. He says "man i just want to be on that Straight and that narrow path and stuff. Gotta get the fruit right?" haha he is a beast. His apartment is really clean now and he rolled up looking way fresh to church clothes we hooked him up with that were in our apartment. He's awesome:D

Also, shout out to Sister O'Bryant and Elder Gifford... because I made chocolate chip cookies from Sis. O'Bryants recipe for J* and i think we we found his new vice to replace smoking haha. He lost his mind when he took a bite haha I have never seen a cookie make anyone so stoked. 

Then we made the Elder Gifford's snickerdoodle special for K* and some other members and K* got way stoked on those too! 

So now i have the excuse that cookies save souls;)

A lesson:

Well guess what... i prayed for patience and as i was praying i had the thought "well, you asked for it." The next day we got  patience tested all over the place. our trials of patience include (but are not limited to):
Being late to help move, our branch president got irritated at us, we got a 750 kroner parking ticket (110 dollars) for forgetting to set the meter, our appointment dropped us, then our other appointment dropped us, then the tire went flat on the car. Dont take it negatively becasue the coolest part was that i had a reasurring feeling the whole day that i would get more blessings in the long run.

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 136 it says
 "My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom. 32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling
​ ​
himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes
​ ​
may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;"

Well, my eyes were opened a little more so remember, if anyone wants to work on their patience, just know that you asked to be tried:) Don't worry, its a good thing.

Well that was my spiritual thought too:D 

now a quote from satchel Paige " Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesnt matter."

Merry December,
Ældste  j

back in Århus on splits for a day

​A beautiful lunch hour by the Fjord.

A way sweet lighthouse!