Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lord's Hand in All Things - 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 Danish.

(**Note to reader: If you click on the highlighted words and phrases, you will link to more information. To enlarge the photos, just click on them.)

Hey MOM!

Ok, first things first, they invited me to sit by them. Not my fault. (Note from Kolby's mom: I was giving him grief about sitting with the Sister missionaries and not with the Elders at their zone Thanksgiving dinner. I saw the pictures on the mission blog. See below.)

It was a great Thanksgiving week. I really enjoyed the food and the day. It reminded me of home, and we had a great zone training. I learned a ton. I love it here. It's way fun. We had a great week, and the Lord is blessing this area so much. He is very mindful of the branch and the people that live here.

The Danish is going great. It's weird being the one that has had more experience with the language now, but I have seen that I have grown a ton in Danish. Ældste Zalewski and I are getting along great. Just working hard.

The Lord's hand is in all things. That's what this week has shown me. To start off, we met an American guy who coaches the local basketball team. The team is one of the best, and he was actually hired because he was American. I call him "Coach" because it just fits him.

So we were in another "Let's meet the new missionary appointment" on Monday night, which is standard to all transfers. While we were in the appointment, his neighbor came over and needed to talk to him. While sitting there, she said "hi" and talked to us about how she lived in American for 15 years, loves that Americans talk to everyone and have respect for everyone, and stuff like that. Then she told us that she loves the church and attended in America, but she said she didn't know they had them in Denmark. She said she wanted to learn more about our church, so we gave her our card because she said was busy and would just call us.

On Tuesday we started our day like a normal work day, which in Herning is way different because we are traveling all the time. It takes hours to get to one house, so if an appointment falls through, we get to knock! We ended up knocking pretty much all day.

So Wednesday comes around and we had a great day at our Zone Training/ Turkey Day! It was great. I loved it. While we were there, they talked about how we need to take advantage of our referrals and try to contact them as soon as possible. Right as they said that, it hit me really hard that we need to not wait to contact that lady that lives by Coach. So after the Zone Training, because of the distance to travel home, it was bedtime, lights out.

The next morning we had a pretty good schedule, but we couldn't go into Herning. We had to go into Ikast and spent the day working there.

Friday came around and we still couldn't make it into Herning. Saturday, we started our day and didn't really have anything planned but a lesson at 2 o'clock. So, we went to that appointment and she was not home. That wouldn't be too bad except we had a 2 hour trip out there, so we decided to visit a less active member of the church. We looked at the guy's name and the first thing that pops in my head is, "This guy is not Danish. That has America written all over it." I thought it was a joke, but we went to his house and rang the bell. A lady looks at us, calls for her husband, and in English says, "One minute." He came out with this feisty, 20 pound dog, says he was going to walk the dog, and asked if we would join him. We found out he was a missionary in Denmark about 20 years ago, moved back for his ex-wife, and now he is remarried to a non-member who came with him to church for a year, but felt like she was going nowhere. He kept coming until about 6 months later, when they were learning about families, and he felt like a failure because he knows everything about the gospel and could not hold on to the one thing that we hold near and dear to our hearts as members of the church. Families.

He told us he feels guilty for his divorce, not because of how it ended, but that it ended. He feels like a failure that he did not do all he could to hold on and push through. About an hour into our conversation, he said, "You know, guys, if you were to receive any inspiration to change my mind as to why I am not celestial material..." As we started to walk back his house, I felt impressed to tell him a little about our family. I told him that sometimes we don’t know why things happen, but I know that there is a reason for everything. We have the atonement. Then I told him that my parents are divorced, so I have been on the other end of what he is going through. He said it hurts him so bad because he can see what his daughters go through, and that's what makes him hurt the most. The Spirit was really strong, and things were said that I can't remember. He said that he just can't let it go. We told him that sometimes people feel guilty, when in reality, the Lord has already forgiven them. A way that Satan can work on us is by making us feel guilty for those things that we have already been forgiven for. What is done, is done. But the Lord does not give up on us. Elder Zalewski and I bore testimony of the things we can receive from our Savior, and told him that he needs to not be so hard on himself. At the end of the conversation, he said that he has some things to think about, and that he hadn't heard things like that before. That’s how we know it was the Lord.

So Saturday, after that bomb day with the guy above, we said we will not go home until we meet with Coach and his neighbor. The way we felt best to go about it was to go to Coach and just straight up ask him to take us over to her house. At the time, we were super scared because that's really forward, and might be taken as rude. But we really felt that is what we should do. So we rang his bell, he let us in for 3 seconds, just enough time to say, "Hey! I am going over to my neighbor’s house for dinner. Come with me."

1 Nephi 3:7: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

The Lord provides a way. We went over there, she talked to us, we went into her family room, and there were pictures of her kids and family everywhere. I felt like I walked into a home in Utah. It was crazy. She told us that she really loves her family, but wants to keep her boys in a good family environment. We told her about families and the blessing that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Coach started to tell her that the church would be great for her and that she needs it.

Well, long story short, we softly invited her to be baptized and she said yes. We have a return appointment on Saturday to teach her and her boys. The Lord truly works with us and has His hands in everything. We have about five appointments set up this week which, for Herning, is unheard of.

The Lord is hastening His work. He is bringing those who are ready to Him, and we need to do our part in bringing them back. When the door opens, we need to keep it open. Take advantage of opportunities. When the Lord calls, he qualifies. And He has called every single one of us to preach His gospel, and to bring any and all from all ends of the earth unto Him!

Med Kærlig Hilsen,

 Ældste Madsen

In Denmark Trains Magically Split in Half (November 11, 2013)

Sacrifice Brings the Blessings of Heaven (November 26, 2013)

Waiting at the train station
Still killing it with my cooking skills!

Zone Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving...again :)