Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lyserøde Skildpadder

This week was another good addition to the books. I really enjoy the spontaneousness of missionary life in all its glory because things work out (or don't) in very interesting and unexpected ways and somehow it all comes full circle and the dots connect. I'm sure Heavenly Father is often amused when we finally connect the dots and realize that somehow, in some way, life continues to roll smoothly down the tracks. 

Jenkin Lloyd Jones says, “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

I guess this week I am starting with a spiritual thought but people... enjoy the ride! The tracks are being laid and will continue to be laid if you are taking the right line towards the best destination; furthermore, it is in Heavenly Father's best intention to get us there. If you try any other train line to get there, you will fail. So don't freak out and pull the E-brake because if you're living right before the Lord, the "delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts" won't be all that challenging to go through and the "beautiful vistas and thrilling burst[s] of speed" be even more enjoyable. I think that is one thing that stood out for me during the course of this week.

So here are some snippets of the week:

J* is doing pretty well. He didn't have a chance to read too much in the Book of Mormon but it is super neat to see how he continues to change. His heart is definitely being softened towards the gospel and it is always just a good time talking to him. :)

As far as our area goes, we are just going through basically everything ever to do with this area because we know that the area is at least getting "white-washed" as we call it. But there is a chance that something else could be happening so it is our job to hand over a smooth running area. ´That being said, i have a cool story :)

So 2 years ago, Elder Magleby and Elder Mcbride were serving in Holbæk and they saw a name on a 4 year old list of people who had been interested at that point. They decided that they would go through the list and find out where everyone is at and then organize whatever happened as an "organizational" thing. Anyway, they stopped this guy and he let them in and they talked a little bit but because it was later in the evening and he has small children, they said they would come back another time. (by the way, i know all of this because i called Elder Magleby and asked :) ) Well after that, things fell through and somewhere along the line they were forgotten again. So here we are 2 years later... and Elder Jeppson and Elder  Ziegler were serving in Holbæk and they saw a name on a 2 year old list of people who had been interested at that point. They decided that they would go through the list and find out where everyone is at and then organize whatever happened as an "organizational" thing. (see what i'm talking about with how dots connect?? haha) 
We stopped by them on Saturday and introduced ourselves and said we wanted to stop by and how everything was going and if they remembered the previous missionaries.  They did and said they really enjoyed it so we talked a bit as their young girls ran around like young kids do when a stranger comes to the door haha. Eventually we asked if they would like another visit again and they said yes but weren't quite sure what the intent was. After explaining our purpose and a bit about the Plan of Salvation, we agreed to come back next Saturday a bit earlier when dinner wasn't in the works. The coolest part was that we told them were we were from and they were way surprised that we could speak fluent Danish and then they in turn surprised us because his wife had worked in a city right next to where Elder Ziegler is from... in Switzerland!! What are the odds?! There were really good vibes floating around at that doorstep as we left :) Way neat.

Alright two more stories and then some fluff and im outta here heh heh:

It is important that i add, that last Monday we made a goal to find and teach families and have prayed and fasted for the opportunity to do so. Well prior to meeting the S* family, we got a call the very first day of our companionship from President O'Bryant and he had a referral for us to get in contact with. The water heater broke in the mission home here recently so a man was sent to come and fix it around the time transfers happened. Sister O'Bryant being the stud mission president's wife that she is, got talking with him and eventually the conversation went from what these two Americans are doing in Denmark to what he believes in and so on. (Thats what you get for asking a missionary personal questions haha). At some point this man expressed that he is religious and he goes to church with his family but is still searching for the right church to go to. He was willing to meet with us and gave Sister O'Bryant some contact information which was passed to us. We gave him a call and he sounded pretty happy to hear from us and said he would like to meet but just needs to talk with his girlfriend and find some time. Way neat!

Yesterday we were invited down to go eat with a way awesome member family in Herslev. That is about an hour and 10 minute drive so we made it worth it and just used the day yesterday to work in the bigger city in the vicinity of where they live. We had a great appointment and then after the spiritual thought, the mother of this family said that she had something to ask of us. She had felt since the day she invited over to eat that her neighbor should get a chance to hear the gospel. She told us that she has fought back and forth with that impression because that is something she has never done in the 17 years of living in that neighborhood. One thing led to another and there we were, walking up to the door of the neighbors house. I must admit my frustratingly large imagination had already written up the story line of this neighbor family by the time my knuckles hit wood so you could imagine that i was slightly confused and bummed out when we got a polite but rather "standard" answer to the invitation to learn about a message of eternal families. I will tell you though it was neat for everyone because none of us were sure what God had in mind for that but in any case, He knows we are listening now. In the beginning of my mission, it probably would have been a major bummer but we drove away happy because we all felt that we had walked away with something there.

Other stuff:
We taught a past investigator that is a very firm catholic. Way sweet dude! He is a very religious young adult among a lot of so called irreligious people (I honestly believe, however, that every human silently believes and hopes in something). In any case, it was understandable when he, with some considerable amount of zeal, tried to "reason" us into Catholicism. See... the problem is when three young guns with a lot of faith get together and have a discussion there is a tendency to use the bible like a card game, where there are turns taken to try and trump another's turn. I love Elder Ziegler as Swiss as he is but if you know a Swissman, they are very opinionated but with good reason due to excellent education and background. For example, you might speak 5 languages more or less fluently (haha its way cool because I'm being taught some german during this companionship) Anyways, my point is that Elder Ziegler went head to head with our young friend on a main point of doctrine in which we did not share common belief in and that sent C* off... like he was prepared for "the bash" from the moment we set an appointment haha. I learned a ton though in that lesson; namely, the spirit of contention drives away the spirit and leaves people to argue with "logic". Woohoo. 

You can probably guess how I feel about bible bashing.... I would recommend you avoid it.

Well, shoutout to everyone taking care of my mom! You guys are champs!!!

Everyone... have a great week. 


Ældste  j

                                              Morning workouts by the fjord!
I'm running all the workouts we did in wrestling on "swiss military man" Ældste Zielger heh heh

Week 6 in G# Major

Well my fate is sealed! Elder Thurman is gonezo and my new companion is..... Elder Ziegler! Haha crazy stuff. So we will be staying in Holbæk for a 6 week sprint to the finish before signing off and following the sun in the sky back west (Well actually Elder  Ziegler is from Bern, Switzerland soooo ill be solo on that journey but you get the point) It pretty much isnt even real and ive decided that until im actually in the airport in the act of going home, im here forever :D Gotta stay in denial as long as possible right? 

Well we woke up at 5 and we are in the office right now and i have a couple minutes to shoot off some emails before the current of today takes me until i come to a spot where i can get control of the schedule haha. Transfer days are nuts because you have to do a lot of waiting and switching around so im not sure what is going to happen but at some point ill get my comp and we will drive on back to Holbæk. 

So a quick recap of the week and I am off:

We met with J and had a good last visit with him for Elder Thurman. It was pretty neat because we both felt at the same time to start talking about the Book of Mormon and how we had a copy we wanted to give him. He was very intrigued by it and said he would love to read it. The thing about his situation is that pretty much all he does/can do is read or watch good old western movies. He is really in to family history and history in general, war and military strategy, and philosophy and religion so im sure he'll find something in the Book of Mormon to relate to ;) Way sweet though! We are the only friends he has so it is a privilege to come and visit him and learn about his life and stuff. At this point he has really inspired me to live life without my brakes on and make it worth writing about so ive benefited a ton from our "chats" haha

This week was easter week so that basically means that everyone and everything is off schedule haha. Denmark is especially closed down in the past couple days so there has been a lot of no contact with people/ people dont want to meet at all until next week. Here is kind of what happened:

Monday: Essentials pday so that we could have time during the week to take our pday time (ill get to that)

Tuesday: Travel for 5 hour by bus and train because the main line was shut down for this week because of track construction. That made getting down to splits a loooonnng ride haha

Wednesday: Had a way good splits down in Nykøbing Falster! We had a great 3 hour block of door knocking and we also went to the famous Møns Klint for a couple hours. Møns Klint translates to "The Cliffs of Møn" and the coolest part is that they are made of chalk! So we had a fun time hiking around and in Elder Beck and I's case, straight up (more or less) Dont worry i dont think you could even rate it a class three climb except for one part ;) But the buddy system wins all so we had a great time and took tons of pic

Thursday: Traveled for 5 more hours and then had district meeting and a district activity where we grilled burgers and played soccer and stuff so it was pretty chill. Ill be honest i prefer to take my pday all at once haha but this week was pretty unique.

Friday: The best part of Friday is that we had a way spiritual visit with these hip young members in the ward. Martin is from Denmark and served a mission in Finland where he met and then went back for his wife, Sini. They're way legit! But they had us over before Elder Thurman left and gave us some food and a ton of pastry! Way great

Saturday: I turned a ripe old age of 20 :D I like 20 wayy better than 19 but id be fine to stop aging here heh heh. Anyway, today we were supposed to have sport but because everyone was in Hygge mode no one showed up. The sister then told us they need us to come to the church before our eating appointment because they had an investigator who is a man and they needed a third party to at least be in the church so they could teach him. Well it ended up that that was all a sham and they pulled the wool over my eyes because it was a set up to give me cake and say happy birthday haha way sweet! So dont worry i got cake on my birthday after all. 
​After that though we went to an eating appointment but it turned out that they had totally spaced on it and were on their way to a Thai restaurant... so they just took us along. Ill be honest i dont know if i could have had a birthday dinner than some way spicy panang curry and then a sweet little Thai lady gave me some cool chip things because it was my birthday. Then we went back to their house for some dessert and had a way great spiritual thought. We went in a circle and everyone had a minute to talk about why they are grateful for Jesus Christ and the spirit was just strong! So thumbs up on saturday.

Sunday: Just a good old day of church followed by Easter dinner with some members:) 

Spiritual Thought:

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
​Boom. Easter. I invite you all in the wake of a great Easter season to follow Nephi's example and do as stated above. 

Happy Easter! God Påske!
Ældste  j

Happy 20th Birthday 

Møns Klint!!


Last Goodbyes- Elder Thurman and Elder Beck 

​Goodbye pics ft Martin and Sini

Monday, April 10, 2017

Only Six Titles Left

Don't worry I am not counting down or anything... only Returned missionaries will understand that sometimes your brain runs away from home on pdays... ​Every time i sit down to email i solidify what happened as a write the title and that might just be the hardest thing i face today haha. Just a little sneak peak inside the mind of Elder Jeppson...


Story time. So we went to go help our friend J* with family history this last Thursday. He has a tonnnn of family records, pictures, and other family memorabilia in a huge dresser drawer but the problem is that since he is in a wheelchair he cannot easily access it. So we got to go through a bunch of "cool old stuff" way back to the late 1800's and talk a walk through his family's history. Way sweet:) I took a picture of just a bit of the cool old stuff and its way cool... and old heh heh. (Should i only use those two adjectives for the rest of the email?) Anyways, we set up a family search account( which was a journey of its own) and then started to plug stuff in. Well he had a hard time remembering his Grandfathers birthday and other information so we we rifling through all of his stuff to see if there was any useful info. If you have never used the family search database, you might not know that it is the worlds largest by a long shot. So if you plug in your grandfather and he has already been indexed into the database, it will automatically link all of the additional info; namely, more family :) So this was pretty huge if we found something because his family has been very Danish going all the way back to kings and the likes so if we found the right info we would be able to hit a jackpot. 
Well this is the part where it got pretty neat because there was a large box with tape all over it. It looked like it hadn't been opened since he last moved so i took my knife and popped it open and starting going through a bunch of new photos and papers. I came to a small stack wrapped in a newspaper that had the names of two individuals on it  so i unfolded it and found a registration card. I wasn't sure at that moment if that was who we were looking for but I asked what it was and he said that it was required during World War I that everyone carry a certain identification card on them at all times. This card looked important but i kept going through more of the stuff but i had a nagging feeling that i should probably look a little harder at the card. Well, "just to be safe" i thought, i went through the rest of the box but when i got to the end of the line i felt again that i should open up the file wrapped in newspaper and look at the card. I asked who the man was on the card and he said "oh... well that is my grandfather!" So we were able to plug it in and BAM we found a line going back to the 1600's through his grandfather. Way sweet!! He was able to see that it really is legit stuff we are helping him with and that we aren't just two monkeys in suits pushing buttons. That was probably one of the victories of the week! :)

Another highlight is that we did what we call "suicide calls" which now that I am thinking about should probably have a new/different name haha. But that basically means that you just call everyone in the phone and make a list of what happens and delete numbers and that sort of thing. Our phone is ancient and had people in it from all the way back to 2006 so it was about time haha. It was a neat and creative way to find because Elder Thurman is one of those people with the gift of talking in a way people listen and he is really good with people, so we channeled his talent into that haha. My goal is to stay as busy as possible until the day i go home and we had some "slower days" so it was the perfect time to do so. The results... there are now 19 people who we either have an appointment in  the works or who would like us to call back!! So that should funnel out to a couple solid new friends to teach:)

Well I am stoked to share the part two of last weeks spiritual thought so here it comes:

Once again shoutout to Scott because this put together some puzzle pieces in my head that I have been trying to put together all week :) :

We discussed the importance of building inner strengths and positive emotions.  Research has shown that positive emotions can help heal psychological wounds, improve resilience, well-being, and life satisfaction.  They encourage the pursuit of opportunities, and promote success.  They also strengthen your immune system, protect your heart, and foster a healthier and longer life.  

On average about 1/3 of a person's strengths are built into his or her genetically based temperament, talents, mood and personality.  The other 2/3's are developed over time.  YOU GET THEM BY GROWING THEM.   This is wonderful news, since it means that we can develop the happiness and other inner strengths that foster fulfillment, love, effectiveness, wisdom, and inner peace.   No one can just say, "I was born this way and it is in my genes to be depressed or anxious."  That is only 1/3 of the equation.  The other 2/3 we can change and develop!!.   

The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon.  If you keep resting your mind on self-criticism, worries, grumbling about others, hurts, and stress, then your brain will be shaped into greater vulnerability to anxiety and depressed mood, more reactivity, and inclinations towards anger, sadness and guilt.  However, if you rest your mind on good events and conditions, pleasant feelings, and your good intentions and qualities, then over time your brain will take a different shape, one with strength and resilience hardwired into it, as well as a realistically optimistic outlook, a positive mood, and a sense of worth.  In effect, what you pay attention to - what you rest your mind on - is the primary shaper of your brain.     ( Info taken from Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson Ph.D)

The gospel really teaches us all the necessary tools we need to shape our brain to find joy and happiness.

I would add my testimony that if you are living the gospel to the best of your abilities, despite all weakness, shortcomings, trials and tribulation you will come back to live in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father. That is a promise. You are good enough! You will make it! Don't leave what you know because for a moment you are unsure, you fear, or you doubt. Just because something seems unreasonable does not make it unreasonable. We must remember that "Mthoughts are‍ not your‍ thoughts, neither are‍ your ways‍ my wayssaith the Lord. For as‍ the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher‍ than your ways, and my thoughts‍ than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55 8-9 ). Someday we will come to fully understand the wonderful plan of happiness and how great will be that day. Just do your best to become what you want to be by being what you want to become everyday. It is God's intention that obtain our divine potential and somehow i don't think He aims to miss his goal :) 

Thanks Scott! To all you other lovely people, have a great week! And shoutout to my Mom for yet another year on this earth :))

Gotta jet,
Ældste  j

There is beauty all around

Old photos

Monday, April 3, 2017


Hope your minds have recovered from the mind bombs dropped at General Conference 2017. Isn't it a blessing to hear from inspired men and women twice a year? (if you're shaking your head no, I would recommend you watch again heh heh)

I think this week we drove into a wormhole because i have no idea how another week slipped by. I think God turned on incognito mode because i feel like last week only lasted 3 days worth of time haha. This is all i remember:

We visited our boy J* and he is doing well. We learned that we are the only people that really care to visit him which is sad because he knows more than most people ive met out here i feel like and you could learn just soooo much from him! He said that he really loves our company and i think his heart is really open to us because during the time we were there with him last he had 4 home help people come and he went as viking rage mode as a man in a wheelchair can on them... I saw why the person who referred him said he was pessimistic but then again he has a lot more reason than most to not be too happy about his life so i dont blame him. We got to the point where we were going to jump into a lesson but that was when the home help showed up and that put him in a less than pleasant mood, though it wasn't aimed at us.  Anyhow, we got closer to meeting the child of God in him and definitely saw parts of it. It is so neat to see how the Lord slowly softens and changes our hearts, even when we dont realized it. By letting us come back and talk with J*, he is letting the light of Christ into his life and it is a privilege to be one of the ones to help him come closer to God. It another testimony that we are in the place we are meant to be because im fairly certain that the Thurman Jeppson combo was one of the only combos to open him up and im glad the Lord is mindful of us and others and guides our paths accordingly. 

We still have a bunch of new investigators in the air right now but we have some appointments for this week which im pretty excited for because with all the meetings and conferences last week we didn't have very much time free to just go hard. This week is promising though:)

Other stuff:
We watched general conference at a members house and then they had a surprise Easter egg hunt for us because they had promised Elder Thurman one like a year ago when he last served in this ward. So i still haven't missed out on an Easter egg hunt:)

The next day we gathered at the church building in Copenhagen that was showing General Conference with most of the missionaries in the Copenhagen area. It was way sweet because like 3 of my previous comps were there and a ton of people from past districts and stuff. Im at the point where ive gotten to know everyone just about throughout my mission because our mission isnt crazy big but i really enjoy that aspect of a smaller mission. Just a bunch of aces running around Denmark preaching the gospel :)

Spiritual thought:

Here is some wisdom passed through one of my previous comps who felt like sharing something his father shared with him. Its one of those perspectives to look through to give you more insight how truth is in everything and everywhere. It drove home for me even more the words of Alma when he said "All things denote there is a God; yea even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44)

So here is the lesson: 
 So many people need to realize that there is a lot THEY can do to find happiness in their lives. The brain is an amazing organ. It is the organ that learns and is designed to be changed by your experiences. Day after day, your mind is building your brain. (This is called neuroplasticity)This is from the book "Hardwiring Happiness": "If you want to feel less stressed, anxious, frustrated, irritable, depressed, disappointed, lonely, guilty, hurt, or inadequate, have more inner strengths will help you. Inner strengths are fundamental to a happy, productive, and loving life."

Inner strengths are positive emotions but are really the fundamentals of the gospel: faith, hope, charity, honesty, gratitude, patience, etc.  Gordon B. Hinkley says: 1) Be grateful. 2) be smart  3) Be clean 4) Be true 5) Be humble. 6) Be prayerful... I could wish for you nothing better than that your lives be fruitful, that your service be dedicated and freely given, that you contribute to the knowledge and the well-being of the world in which you live, and that you do it humbly and faithfully before your God. He loves you" 

I'd invite you to find somethings in life that are currently burdening you and think about what will give you inner strength. Jesus Christ is there to help you bear the load you are currently carrying and is capable of providing that strength if you let him. For he said in Matthew 11 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Think about it:)

Shoutout to Scott for the Spiritual thought! 
Merry April,
Ældste  j

The Roskilde DomKirke

Last Weeks pics: Elder Beck and I on splits


Service on a Farm

General Conference, watching the Saturday Morning on Saturday night at 6. Sister Acosta, Sister Jones, Elder Thurman 

Me and Elder Thurman

After the temple, it was raining so we took a pic in the stairwell 

The My Plan meeting with my group featuring Sisters Hansen and Bevan who are going home with us.  Just about the best bunch of 6 to ever come through Denmark :)