Monday, October 21, 2013

Disciples of Christ in our Day - Elder Kolby Madsen

Written by Elder Kolby Madsen, serving in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Well, we had a freaking crazy week. I am not going to lie, the Lord has blessed us so much here in Frederiksberg. I can’t believe what has happened! The Lord is very mindful of this area.

So, I'll start with last Monday. We were trying to decide which library to go to (to email home) because we found out there was a library closer to our flat (apartment). So we just felt like we should try it out and see how it is, because it’s a ton closer. As we were sitting there, this African guy sitting next to Elder Francis taps him on the shoulder and asks for help making the "at" sign on the computer because it is different here. So Elder Francis helped him. Then, the guy leaned over, tapped him again, and asked us how we can believe that we have the proper authority from God to baptize, saying that that the authority was lost with Moroni. Elder Francis asked him who he is, and asked him if he had time for us to meet with him and talk to him about it. He said he didn't have time right then, but that he would give us his number for us to call him. So we just went through our day like normal after that.

The next day, Tuesday, we had an appointment with a new lady named Carla (name changed for privacy). She is about 30 years old, and is a doctor. She brought her boyfriend along, which was fun. He had some questions, and she already knows all about our church because she was an investigator a while back. She actually knows the previous Mission President really well, but she doesn't want to change her drinking habits. She truly respects and loves the church, so that is good. Her boyfriend was interested, but didn't want to have us contact him. He said he would call us. So later that day, we went and visited some less active members of the church and had a great day.

Then Wednesday came around, and we'd scheduled an appointment with the guy who is not a member of the church anymore, but still loves the missionaries. At 1 o´clock we rushed over to his house after lunch. He told us that he forgot about our appointment, so we made a different one. Then we returned home to grab the map so we could go contact some more people.

When we got home, Elder Francis decided to just give that guy from the library a call. We had a pretty open day, so we called him and he answered. He said he was back at the library, so we went over there ready to give him a Book of Mormon and teach a little about priesthood authority.

Well, we got there and he told us that he had just moved to Denmark the week before, and that he'd been living in Italy before coming here. He said he met with the missionaries in Italy, had learned a ton, and he was looking for missionaries here in Denmark. He couldn't find any until he saw Elder Francis, and although he doesn't speak Danish, he could recognize a missionary name tag.

He told us that he loved the temple that is being built in Italy, and he talked about how beautiful it is. So we told him that we actually have one really close by, and we asked him if he would like to go to the temple and see the church building because they are right next to each other. He gladly said, "Yes!" We walked and talked along the way, and started to really build a good relationship.

When we got to the temple, we showed him the outside, then we gave him a church tour. At the temple here in Denmark, they have an open garden area. So we went took him there and taught him more about the Book of Mormon, and gave him the book. He was super happy because he had left his other one in Italy. He said he had been reading it and had some questions, but he moved and could not find the missionaries. As we talked to him, he asked us what the Lord would have in store for him if he decided to be baptized. We told him of the love God has for him and his family. That's when he told us that his whole family is dead, except for his wife who lives in Ghana where he is from. He was in Italy until he got laid off because of the economy there, and he came here looking for work. By this time, we were both crying. We told him that there is a reason for everything, that we will help him, and the Lord will bless him as he follows the plan that God has for him. As we spoke with him, we felt prompted to invite him to be baptized, and he said, "Yes." He is scheduled to be baptized on the second of November!

After that way good appointment, we received a referral for this man named Adam (name changed for privacy). He lives on a street close to us, and all we really knew was that he was from Nigeria and he plays soccer. When we got to the address, we realized these were the nicest apartments we have ever seen in Denmark. So we buzzed in (ring the doorbell), and this 6 foot 5 inch African man wearing all Nike gear says, "Welcome, Elder. Come in."

As we got to know him, we learned that Adam is a professional soccer player here in Denmark (I am leaving out some details in this blog post for privacy). He was awesome! We talked to him about sports, and what his schedule is like as a professional athlete. He told us it’s pretty crazy, and that it’s hard to come to church because of travel. But he said he will come whenever he can. Then he told us that he wants us to come over every week!! We gladly accepted, and told him that we wanted to come support him at his next home game. He said it will be on November 2 at 7 p.m. We explained about the baptism scheduled for that morning, and he was way excited for Kevin (name changed for privacy). Then he told us that he will be giving us those tickets to the game for free!! SUPER excited!

That was probably the single greatest day of my mission, so far. We were blessed to set a baptismal date with a very willing and loving man, and we met one of the nicest, most humble people I have ever met...who just happens to be a professional athlete.

Well, fast forward to Friday night. We received a phone call from Kevin, asking to meet with us. When we met him, he said the lady he is living with has just told him that she will be having family over for a wedding, so Kevin needs to find a place to live for the next three days. We told him we would do our best to help him out. We called a family in our congregation, and they said they had no idea what we could do. So we told Kevin that we needed to include our Heavenly Father in this. So we had him pray and ask for help.

Kevin's prayer was amazing. He was just genuinely grateful for all he has received, and for all the Lord has done for him. Then he asked for someone to open their home to him and allow him to stay. So, we called our Ward Mission Leader, and he said he had no room because they already had someone staying over, but he felt that we should ask Adam (the soccer player). Elder Francis and I looked at each other and said that we both felt that way too, but we didn't want to bother him. In the end, we decided to do as our Ward Mission Leader asked because he and the Bishop have stewardship over the missionary work in this area.

When we called him, Adam said four words that have changed the way I will look at him for the rest of my life..."Just bring him over!" We told Kevin that we had place for him to stay, and we explained what Adam does for a living. We could see that Kevin began to get a little nervous. After we dropped him off at Adam's house, we went home for the night. Adam called to tell us that he had training the next day, and that Kevin was welcome to come, but he hoped we would help him find a job. We made arrangements to pick Kevin up the next morning and take him job searching.

The next day, we woke up and headed over to Adam's house. When he let us in, we noticed that Kevin was wearing a new sweater. Adam told us to sit down, then he fed us some Nigerian breakfast that was so good. He said the next time we come over, he wants to make us dinner!

After breakfast, we took Kevin to start looking for a job. As we were walking, he told us that after we left the night before, Adam treated him like a brother, like he had known him his whole life. Kevin said he had woken up at 5 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and he saw Adam reading his Book of Mormon. Kevin explained that the culture in Africa is that when a man reaches the point where Adam is, most people forget about their family and everything but the worldly things. Kevin feels that Adam is the exact opposite.

Adam will forever be an example to me of a Christ-like man; someone who has been blessed with a talent, and is a professional athlete, yet he forgets himself and takes in a man he has never met. He gives that man a bed and a place to stay, gives him new clothes, feeds him, and makes sure he is doing the things his Father in Heaven asks him to do.

I found out Adam was baptized three years ago. He has been playing professional soccer since he graduated from high school, and he joined the church in Slovakia, while playing for his first professional team. I am so inspired by the faith and devotion of this man, caring for someone who many people would not even give a chance. He cares for those in need, he serves his Father in Heaven, he knows what he has, and he knows who gave it to him. This is the attitude all members of the church need, no matter how much or how little they have. We all need to be the good Samaritan. I will never forget that day, or the example of Adam, a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

I love you and hope you have a great week. The Lord's work will continue to move forward, and that is more obvious every week I'm here. I know He is hastening His work, and I know that the time has come for us to do all we can, to serve Him, and help Him in His efforts to bring all His children unto Him.

Med meget Kærlighed (with much love),

Ældste Madsen

Moving the Work in Denmark (October 14, 2013)

The Lord's Work is Never Bad (October 28, 2013)