Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Gift of Love - 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: Clicking on the highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

Kære Mar,

So, this week was way hectic. We were looking forward to meeting with this lady that has been investigating the church for about 25 years. She knows everything front and back and believes in everything...except the fact that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. And she does not want to get baptized without believing everything fully. Our Branch President's wife suggested that we go over and see her because she hasn't met with missionaries for about a year, so we did. While we were there, she told us three stories of friends in the church that have written down their testimonies and how much they meant to her. She said that even though they are dead now, their testimonies physically live with her. She loves to refer back to those.

Well, the second we realized that she loves testimonies and she doesn't really feel that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, the thought came that we need to tell her about the testimony of Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon. She kept talking and I tried to bring it up, but for some reason I could not say anything. Then she talked about how she really liked the testimonies of the three witnesses and what they had to say about the gold plates. So I figured she'd already read the testimony of Joseph Smith if she has read the other stuff.

As the appointment went on, we still could feel it. She told us she wanted to come to church again and meet the old friends she had in the branch, but it would be couple weeks because of how busy she is. We just smiled and agreed.

Well, the time came when it started winding down at the end of her last story, and before we could say anything about anything she just says, "Should we say a prayer?" Before we could say anything, the couple that was with us said yes. So we all prayed together, and as we are walking out it hit me again to ask her if she has read the testimony of Joseph Smith. In a very puzzled tone she asked, "Joseph Smith has a written down testimony of his experiences and of the gospel? Where?" So I showed her and she said she would read it.

After 25 years of investigating this church, she has never read the testimony that brought my family across the ocean from this very peninsula that I am serving on right now! This lady knows more about the pioneers and the history of the church than most members, and she told us that one day she wants to go visit the museum we have in Salt Lake. We have an appointment with her this week, and we are going to stop by and see if she liked what she read. Even if she doesn't gain a testimony of Joseph Smith, at least she will have been able to read it in his own words.

We had a great day in church yesterday. A new member moved in from the ward just south of us so she can attend school. Her dad is in the Stake Presidency. She is very nice and funny. Even with her, we still only had nine members in church yesterday. We're still trying to get the less active members coming back to church.

We've decided to change our focus on building within the church. Something that has been on my mind about this area for a while. We are also going to be meeting with those families we met last week. The Lord has blessed this area so much, and He is ready to bless the members.

This week at Zone Conference we had a huge party. But first we had the conference and we learned that things are going to be different this year. In Denmark, Christmas (Jule) is three days long. The main day is the 24th, then they party on the 25th and the 26th, haha! Danes always party. Anyway, so what used to happen is the missionaries would be with members on the 24th all day and then just sit at home on the 25th and 26th. For the most part, they would just shut down for about seven days.

This year we are going to work straight through it all. We are going to adjust the way we work, but it’s not going to be sitting at home...that’s lame. We are not going to be knocking or contacting on the street, but looking for service opportunities. We are going to the local hospital to just sit down and talk with some of the people who don’t really have family left. We are going to go to our investigator’s house and spend the 25th (evening) with him because he will be all by himself. We came up with this because at this time of year we have noticed that people are friendlier. They usually just shut the door and say, "Nej tak," but they've started saying Merry Christmas and listening for a bit before they say they are not interested with a smile. We have come to see that as we celebrate Christ, we need to do what he would do. We need to walk with those who need a friend, mourn with those that mourn, and be with those that are lonely. We plan on giving back to Christ what he gave His whole and love. The focus won’t be the Book of Mormon. It won’t be the Plan of Salvation. It's going to be Christ, His love and compassion, and His gospel.

One of my favorite quotes is: "Preach the gospel at all times, and if you have to, use words." ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Let’s remember what Christmas really is about. It's about Christ. Let’s give Him the best gift this year...of love to our fellow brothers and sisters of the world.

Med Kærlig Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

P.S. There was a huge wind storm that came through Denmark, so our party after Zone Conference was cancelled because all the trains shut down. No yearly movie for us, but it's okay. We had a great conference!

Thanksgiving in Denmark (December 3, 2013)

Prayers Needed (December 18, 2013)

Best Kabab in Denmark