Monday, March 27, 2017

Like sand through the Hourglass so are the days of our Lives

I only know like one person who would get that song reference haha.

Well another wonderful week in Denmark has come to pass. A sick wave caught my companion for two of the days but thanks to large amounts of EmergenC packets in our apartment I successfully fought this years sickness. It got Elder Erickson and I for three days in Odense last year but I came out on top. Fun fact: If you make something delicious like cookies or muffins just because you have time to spare, just remember that you'll probably eat them all... not that I did that or anything.. ;)

Well we werent really in our area too much due to splits in Nykøbing Falster with my past companions Elder Beck and Elder Shuppy and also due to sickness. However, I have some neat experiences:

We stopped by J* this last week (the older man in a wheelchair) and my testimony of baked goods increased. I think i understand why the Romans believe in ambrosia because cookies soften hearts! (and waistlines... but just don't think too much about that). Anyhow, we got him all set up for next time so that we can come and help him set up an account on family search and go hard finding his family:) He already knows a bunch about his ancestors so it shouldn't be to crazy difficult to help him. He once again blew our minds with his vast knowledge of war history and I'll bet i would have made my Grandpas proud of how much I could keep up with him. It made me want to study the great wars more ( and no I am not calling my Grandpas old... it is just a grandpa thing to know everything :D)

Wanna here a "coincidence"? Well the very first day of my whole mission I woke up to Elder Pitcher doing pushups to the Lower Lights. We did studies as missionaries do in the mornings, and then my very first thing I did on my first full day was do service for a cool couple named Lasse and Pernille. I must have talked with time like 15 minutes tops and helped them move for 3 hours tops and then they drove away. You can imagine in my new missionary brain that i thought i would never see them again...  Well 7 blue moons later I ate dinner with them:) Elder Thurman was tight with them when he server in the area a year ago and so we visited them and had a great time. They are way legit and know more about missionaries and missionary work than new missionaries do. They aren't members but they had me fooled my first day haha. And to top it all off, they're moving again, and I will help them move my last week of my mission.

Just like a movie heh heh. Cool stuff.

Other Stuff:

Elder Beck and I had a proper wrestling match in the apartment down in Nykøbing Falster. It is actually a huge apartment so we had plenty of space. We laid down a mattress, but the problem was that the carpet surrounding it was as close to sandpaper as it gets haha. So we got carpet burns for dayyyzzz but worth it. I've never been so out of wrestling shape but I won 7 to 0. ;)

I finished the Book of Mormon in Danish when I was inside all day with Elder Thurman.  Way neat :) then we watched Johnny Lingo... both versions:)
Spiritual thought:

This computer has a time so I have 3 minutes and 48 seconds left...

Elder Uctdorf Says:

We are as happy as we have it in our minds to be. We can pull out the weeds and water the flowers, or we can ignore the flowers and focus on the weeds."

You choose. :)

I gotta make like a banana and split. 

Ældste  j

Monday, March 20, 2017

(Insert your favorite food here)

I am running out of title ideas...

This last week was pretty quality! We were just jammed with appointments and the likes so we will how much i get out before i get to the spiritual thought :)

This week we were all over the place but we did some quality stuff! We are still in the defining and refining stages with all the new stuff rolling in but it is looking like we will have some good stuff stick. We have been working to get appointments with some of the new people we found last week and then refresh the investigator pool. Its fun being at this stage because ive done it so many times that im fully confident the Lord will tie up all the loose ends which are many right now. So we have just been enjoying the ride. Elder Thurman has a metaphorical 8 foot beard by now so ill be seeing him off to the airport in 4 weeks so we have been savoring every bit! Here are two quick snippets of little miracles:

So we went out to a town called Udby to drop by one of the new friends we made last week. She ended up not being home so we discussed whether we should keep finding in that area since we were already out there or if we should go somewhere else. I had a thought that we needed to go stop by another lady and then just knock out there instead. It seemed rather impractical since it was a thirty minute drive back to the city but we followed the prompting and took a drive back into the city. We stopped by one of our friends and she was glad to see us but said she could meet in two weeks because she is moving work or something like that. So that was nice to get contact with her. Then we went and knocked for the 30 minutes we had and as the fates of cool missionary stories directed, we found another friends J* on the very last door we knocked :D She said she is very seeking and open to all truth so we gave her a Book of Mormon and said that this would be worth checking out if she is into truth and stuff. I hope that after i die i can get the job where i direct all the cool things that happen that we call luck or coincidence. "Director of Coincidence"... good title hahaha.

The second little miracle that happened was that we received a referral from a man who is investigating the church in another area of greater Copenhagen. We were told that he is in a wheelchair, and a huge pessimist on life, especially religion. The man who gave us the referral said his friend said he may could use some help around the house, because his care takers are lagging. So we took a nice drive out to a cute little Danish town that nobody has heard of and visited this guy. So you know as missionaries how we have ministerial certificates? Well its no big deal if you didnt because nobody asks to see official recognition of who we are haha. I bring it up because ive always wanted to flash that thing like the FBI gets to all the time and for the first time of my whole time here in Denmark as a missionary, this guy asked :) So check that off my missionary wish list hahaha. Anyhow, it was super neat to talk with him because he is a very wise older gentleman and very humble. I think the "pessimistic" man we were supposed to expect was a front because it takes a humble person to truly recognize the light of Christ, especially paired with a calling as a missionary.  

So here is the neat part:
The subject skipped around from various subjects until we arrived at how we help with family history.. He basically told us that it was a clever approach to get in doors but after joking with him we offered to help. He can definitely sense that there is a bigger picture to why family history work is an important part of what we do but he settled on "no strings attached" haha. After that point the conversation changed again and we discussed things that normal young men dont usually discuss due to lack of depth haha. Im grateful my mission has really cultivated me; plus, Elder Thurman happened to have a lot of common interests so im glad the Lord used his personality/interests.

Okay sorry for getting off track.... this is the neat part:) 
He asked our age and we told him: 21 and 19. Well that was the kicker. He then came with  "You two are the nicest young men I've ever met, and I can learn much from you." Well i, for one, would love to inhale some of the wisdom this guy has so we told him that we would love to come and talk with him! You could feel he was perceiving the Light of Christ! He then related an experience he had when he was younger, when two Mormon missionaries came to his door and he was really hungover so he told them to hit the road, but told them they could come back. those elders never came back but the Lord was definitely determined to help this guy because here were two young Californians who were discussing girls 10 minutes prior to knocking on the door hahaha (hey for the record... Elder Thurman has to go home to do different kinds of "finding" ;) ) 
All in all though, it was once again a privilege to be a ​tool in the Lords hands to help a man with great potential:)

Other mentionable things:
We went to the gospel choir practice again on Tuesday. Its a legit deal because they expect us to perform on palm Sunday :) the coolest part of Tuesday was alternating solo  verses of "Let it Be" by the Beatles with Elder Thurman in an old Danish Church on a hillside backed up by 30 danish women and one american guy in his 60's... never could i have imagined doing something like that haha so spontaneous!! That was yet another surreal moment of being a missionary because you'll do anything just to meet people and talk to them about God's plan for them!! It is such a blast:) I think they are having us sing it because it says "Mother Mary" a couple times in the song haha so i think thats why it qualifies to be sung. Way memorable though.

We went on splits with Elder Reed and Elder Dibble on Friday. The apartment was basically on fire because the heaters were cranked up so we spent alot more time laying there sweating and talking then sleeping that night haha. It finally cooled down after we opened the only openable thing to the outside (the door to the balcony). The next day we did some great finding and had an eating appointment with a recent convert and his Spanish speaking Albanian wife. She could only speak Spanish really so i successfully translated for the other missionaries. Her husband uses google translate to communicate so its an interesting dynamic...what can you do its love. He then showed us his 1997 Lotus Elise.... such a nice car!! 

We had zone training and i met my "grandson" :) Elder Jensen who i trained is now training so i officially feel like an old missionary. I am trying to stay young but I am at that point where every missionary i see says "Hey woah... you are so dead! Like you go home so soon!"... So yea if you're wondering I am perfectly aware of how fast time is going (my mom is stoked though haha) As Danish people say, "Sådan er det bare" (thats just how it is)

Spiritual thought:

We had a way great gospel discussion yesterday with a man in the ward who I would say is a gospel scholar. Here is a knowledge bomb he dropped that i really appreciated:

The light of Christ is like a candle at the end of a dark hallway. When at the end the opposite end of the hall, how much of ourselves can we see? Almost nothing. However, if we begin to step towards the light, we start to recognize our true appearance, both outward and inward. Our strengths,our talents and our "good side" become apparent; however, more prominent to us become our weaknesses and imperfections. In this light, many will turn back and continue in the false security of darkness at the opposite end of the hall, away from the light that so glaringly illuminated their human weakness and imperfection. This is pride: to ignore or refuse to acknowledge our human frailty and our need for a dependence upon the redeeming power of the Savior. Those who choose such a path are willingly living in the shadow of what they could be if only humility was involved.
On the other hand, those who continue to move humbly forward towards the light will soon come to bathe in the light by which Christ sees us. Thus, the Lord " give[s] unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me." If we choose to do so, we will successfully press forward in the light of our Eternal potential. 

Hopefully i remembered it all :) That was a strikingly simple example for me and i hope it helps you as you ponder how you can continue to Become. 

Spring comes tomorrow!! Rejoice :)


Ældste  j

Found a boat named The Emma... shoutout to my sister who didn't know she owned a boat in Denmark

Elder Dibble (with ratdog in hands) and Elder Reed

Elder Reed and I chillin in the 1997 Lotus Elise.  Lækkkkkert!

Our Apartment

Cleaning the "Narnia Hole" (aka our storage unit)

Pretty little parts of our area

Elder Thurman posting up

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Scuttlebut

I just had a flashback to the 7th grade when my dad was driving our middle school carpool group to Springview Middle school and what came to mind was my dad giving us the word of the day. I haven't forgotten it since so if any of you are wondering just what that means exactly, its basically the sailors term for "the talk of the town/ the lowdown/rumors. Lets negate the last definition because this is not going to be an email session of me telling rumors haha. 

So here is the news:

Well this past week has just been chock full of miracles and quality stuff. For starters... i dont know if I've ever laughed so much in one week than i have with Elder Thurman. I can at least say with confidence that it is in the top tier of how much I've laughed. Doing the Lords work has just become even more of a privilege working with Elder Thurman because it is just so dang fun. He is someone that really has turned himself over to the Lord and relies on the Lord so much that it makes me want to be better and its fun to because he is just a character. Like i had to open a new file in my "types of people" category of my brain because I've never met another like him haha. But don't start thinking we spent all our time laughing because the Lord blessed us mucho.

So coming into this week our area didn't have a bunch. Elder Thurman said that things were going pretty slow and that nothing was really going through. Well at this point in my mission I am used to giving the area some love so that it gives back because it has been a pattern that the Lord builds me through me building his patches of "the vineyard" that I am called to tend. So we went hard finding, calling old potentials/investigators, and letting the Lord guide us. A couple fun stories:

Neat story number 1:
So on Monday night we went and shopped at Netto because it took forever and a day for me to finally come back to our area and settle in. So we bought food and went to check out. At this point it was 8 so we were hurrying to get home but the Lord set us up for a missionary opportunity. Luckily, we caught His drift when the young guy behind the counter asked if we were "those guys with the tags." We flashed him our badges (not the FBI ones) and told him why we are running around Denmark with ties and nametags. He ended up being pretty interested so we got his number and shot him a text that night. The next day he set up a time where we could meet in the library and he said his girlfriend was interested in learning about our message as well. So two new friends made us give thanks to the Lord :) 

Neat story number 2:
Rewind to my very first day in the land. Elder Pitcher told me that after studies we would go help a guy named L* and his wife P* move out. Of course as a brand new missionary, i was ready to ride a dragon into battle blindfolded if that was what a mission was so i was ready to help. Well, on the 30th of August in 2015 (if i remember the date correctly) we helped them move for about 3 hours and then they were off and i honestly never thought much of it after. What stuck with me though is that Elder Pitcher loved these two and talked about them a lot and so sometimes they would bubble up from my subconscious. Some may call it random, but i think that was the Spirit that helped me remember them because as i was looking through our area book, now march of 2017, i read their names and stopped. They are in our area! haha what are the chances? (well the answer is 100 percent because God made it happen) But Elder Thurman is way good friends with them so he called them to see if we could come by and visit them and he put it on speaker and introduced me and they remembered me.... what?? The wet behind the ears kid from California that they talked to off and on for a couple hours? Well you can imagine i was stoked because these people are way cool and once again, the thing we call coincidence struck again and i was left to wonder what other dots would connect in the wind up weeks of my mission.

People, the Lord hand is in your life:)

Neat story number 3:
On our way to district meeting, our train broke down for like 2 hours which was a bummer because that made our district wait a while haha. The cool thing is that we had a sweet experience because of that. Now I am not saying the Lord made it brake down just for this but he definitely used it to give us a cool opportunity. There was a guy on the train who was pretttty salty that the train broke down because it was his first day of a new job and he couldn't get a hold of his boss. After the initial rage wore off, he became curious as to why two young Californians were sitting on a train on the way to Slagelse with name tags that said "Oldest Jeppson" and "Oldest Thurman". Well one thing led to another and we sat him down and taught him a nice 30-40 minute lesson about what makes us volunteer to run around Denmark and ask people "annoying questions about religion" haha. But he got locked onto the message and the spirit definitely softened his heart because i got the impression that he was not someone to ever care to sit down and talk about what he hopes and believes about life. So that was a super neat testimony to me that all the Lord really needs us to do is just open our mouth wherever we are :) 

And one more neat story because i dont have enough finger stamina to type out all the neat-ness:

So my good buddy Jordan the member (the former Elder Lee) and Elder Evans did some knocking like 3ish months ago and found a lady who said they could return. Well because life gets pretty lifey, there was never an opportunity for them to meet; however, they were "sweet young men" and the lady was impressed with the things they told her/the way she felt talking with servants of the Lord. So we knocked on the door of what we thought to be "another stop by" when she invited us in because she had a 15 minute window of time. Well "coincidence" would have it that she was just thinking about the missionaries because her husband has lung cancer and life threw a curve-ball because she was suddenly trying to come through it with her head above the water. Well we had a great convo with her and ended up telling her that we are here to help and set an appointment where we would do some service landscaping her yard and then bring her cookies. She wasnt expecting that at all but i could really tell she was very touched because two young American missionaries cared to help. It is neat to play a role like that because those kinds of things are what really help me feel the Lord working through me. :) 

Well here are some other noteworthy things before i close:

We are 2 of three male voices in a Danish church choir. It is way sweet because we sing gospel music in an old church on a hill with killer acoustics and it is just a blast. The other man is also American and he married a Dane, thus the reason he has lived in Denmark. They actually invited us over for dinner as well so we are pretty in with the Folkekirke here:) It is was fun to be a part of and makes me wish we sang a little more gospel music sometimes haha. 

We have had 5 eating appointments this last week and I'll just say that I'll come home in shape if round counts as a shape. The ward here is pretty big and wayyyy awesome. They pride themselves on taking care of the missionaries and feeding us and stuff so i love it already :) I've met a ton of really awesome members already and it is only week one so I am looking forward to serving in this ward!

We did service on a cow farm sorting giant meat freezers :) Way fun stuff. They showed us all of their cows and stuff and there are like 60 of those suckers! They provide milk to a company called Arla so its a legit operation. We got some way nice steaks and some fresh milk straight from the cow (and filtered) for our work so not a bad gig:) Elder Thurman got to name one of the calves he saw be born last week so he named it Pink Floyd so that gives you a taste of who he is:)

Spiritual thought:

Here is a cool little allegory i read this week:

This is the story of two frogs. One frog was fat and the other skinny. They inadvertently jumped into a vat of milk. They couldn’t get out, as the sides were too slippery, so they were just swimming around. The fat frog said to the skinny frog, “Brother frog, there’s no use paddling any longer. We’re just going to drown, so we might as well give up.” The skinny frog replied, “Hold on brother, keep paddling. Somebody will get us out.” And they continued paddling for hours. After a while, the fat frog said, “Brother frog, there’s no use. I’m becoming very tired now. I’m just going to stop paddling and drown. It’s Sunday and nobody’s working. We’re doomed. There’s no possible way out of here.” But the skinny frog said, “Keep trying. Keep paddling. Something will happen, keep paddling.” Another couple of hours passed. The fat frog said, “I can’t go on any longer. There’s no sense in doing it because we’re going to drown anyway. What’s the use?” And the fat frog stopped. He gave up. And he drowned in the milk. But the skinny frog kept on paddling. Ten minutes later, the skinny frog felt something solid beneath his feet. He had churned the milk into butter and he hopped out of the vat.
Moral of the story: Don't be a fat frog and give up! Keep grinding through and soon enough you'll make butter :) or in more profound words:
 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." -- Zechariah 13:9
"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Spring is officially here in 10 days. Get stoked:)

Ældste  j

Monday, March 6, 2017

Holbæk Bound!!

Well this last week was just a super way to end the week. It was a bit of a blur and a bit hectic but life now finds me in a library in a city called Roskilde with a new companion. Roskilde is technically part of the sisters area but so is the church building and we have an eating appointment with the Bishop here shortly so I am going to type faster than it takes to forget you put toast in the toaster haha. And now for a bunch of danish references you won't understand :)

So I have been sent to my last area on western Sjælland to serve in the Holbæk area. A good way to put it is that it is similar to Skive in size and area size but there is a whole bunch more going on. Apparently this ward has made 5 eating appointments with us so far this week so I am pumped! This is most likely the place i will "die," or end my mission so it sounds like a good place to go. I'm going to be with Elder Thurman from Merino Valley California  for a transfer before he catches a plane home haha so by the end of my mission I will have had 14 companions either running around somwhere in Denmark somewhere in the western hemisphere. He is an awesome guy! I've been on splits and stuff with him before and have gotten to know him pretty well so its going to be a trip :) So i will never again see Jylland as a missionary... And now i have to learn to speak the Sjælland dialect :)

and thus begins the "lasts" of my mission. That is nuts!

But i'll give you a quick little run down of our last week in Skive:

Well we finally got M*! After an eating appointment/intense teaching appointment with her we got her to admit that she has never given it a real chance and committed her to try for reals. Basically all of her reasons not to become a member were smokescreens becuase she openly admited that she would have no problem becoming a member if she got an answer. *fistpump* 

With K* we had some good lessons and helped him figure out how he could change certain things in his life so that he doesnt have as much of a temptation to do certain things. He is really making some good forward progress and i know he will for sure be baptized sometime this year. He is still fighting some battles with certain things but he is determined. It was so neat to see in the last appointment with him just how far he had come from that first day we had kncoked his door because we were curious as to why a rainbow strobe light was illumnating the street outside form the window. The atonement truly is infinite and can change anyone! That has been confirmed yet another time to me through K* It was kind of a hard time to say goodbye but i have his email and stuff so ill be able to keep easy contact.

With A* we had a good lesson at the chrurch. Because he made dinner for us a couple weeks back, we returned the favor and made some food to go with our lesson. Pretty good lesson but lets just say he took a step or two backwards... yea. But the great thing is he has gotten an answer to his prayers and he knows it has changed him up to this point so i know at somepoint it will fully click.

Other stuff:
Had some pretty great goodbyes with people. We had stake conference again because we had a special area braodcast for all of europe so he had to go back to Århus to see that because they couldn't broadcast it in Skive. So i said a half goodbye last Sunday becuase i knew i was most likely transfering. But i did get some good goodbye pics with a few people. 

Yea well I am pressed for time but i think it sufficeth to say that last week was great!

Spiritual thought:

If there were a theme to the area conference, I would say this quote by the prohpet Thomas S. Monson sums it up :

"There is not a problem to be solved that is more important than a person to be loved."

We all have time to love people. Stop being too busy! Time is relative to the Lord and he is far more concerned with our charitable acts towards our brothers and sisters all around us! Find time, or make it.

Also one more quote:
"The smooth sea never produced a skilled sailor." A quote i saw on our door in Holbæk haha. Keep navigating through whatever the ocean of life throws at ya!

Speaking of skilled sailors, shoutout to my sister who navigated her way into BYU :) 


Ældste  j

Goodbye to beautiful Skive

Goodbye Karl

Goodbye Jakob (my bud from Iceland)

Goodbye District

Goodbye Milla the dog

Goodbye Jimmi and Vivi

Beautiful Skive

Goodbye Karsten

Goodbye Anders

Goodbye Elder Baadsgaard

Goodbye Elder Nielsen

Goodbye Elder Hager

​​​​​​​​​​Goodbye Elder Teynor