Monday, January 6, 2014

Fireworks and Lessons Learned - 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 highlighted words will link to additional information. Clicking on photos will enlarge them. Some names are omitted for privacy.)

Well this week was, yes, you guessed it, great! And it will continue to be like that because we are on the Lord's errand. We had a good week. It started off with some great service with the Amdi family. We laid floors. I think I told you last week, but it was way fun, so I will write it again.

On Tuesday we had a day of not really being able to work because the Danes just party and fireworks have been going off every night since Christmas Eve. We went to see Coach that morning because he was sick, and we thought we would try to give him a blessing (let him see the power of God), but he declined. We kept talking with him, and we actually talked about eternal marriage and families being together forever. It was a very good chat, and he didn't seem to realize that we were teaching him. We also talked about the plan of salvation. It was really good, and this time it seemed to sink in with him. It’s great when moments like that happen. It helps me feel like I am doing something out here. Most of the previous missionaries have just dropped him right off the bat because he says, "It’s not going to happen." The more we visit, the more we can see progress. It’s not very big, but it's progress.

While being here in Denmark, I've noticed that the gospel comes to people in their own time and speed. Conversion is a continuous process, and that is what makes this so great. Even if we are going slow, we will always be loved by our Heavenly Father...even if that means it takes us 20 years to finally figure it out. Sometimes that’s just how long it takes. Every soul is precious in the eyes of God!

Well, that evening we went to the Amdi house for a party to kick off the New Year. It was way fun. We played chicken foot (the dominoes game) and I played chess against Simon (Amdi's son, almost 15 years old and nationally ranked in Denmark in chess). Needless to say, he kicked my butt. I think that is why he likes playing me; because he can make crucial mistakes but still win effortlessly, haha. Later we watched the queen's address, which was way cool to see. Different culture, way fun opportunity.

After listening to the queen, we went outside and set off fireworks. President Amdi was wearing these safety goggles and so was Simon. I just laughed inside, thinking, "Wow, if they knew what I would do with fireworks back home!" Anyway, they were very safe and cautious. It was nice, but then they got the roman candles and, I am not very proud of this, but I had to teach them the right way to use them by holding them in your hands. So after I showed them, Simon started shooting the lights and signs around on the streets. It was way funny. A great evening.

The next day we spent cleaning all day because missionaries in Denmark are not allowed to be out on the streets the night of New Year's or the next day. The reason is because the fireworks are ridiculous. I have a picture on my camera that doesn't really do justice to the real think, but we were out in the country and the whole sky was lit up with the fireworks. That's considered illegal in Utah! It was crazy cool and fun to see.

After that, we had a great lesson with N**. He is the son of one of our less active members who is from the Philippians. N** is 14 years old and a complete stud. He is awesome. We went over and taught him about authority, and at the end of the lesson invited him to be baptized. He said that he would love to. We don't have a date yet, but next time we meet with him we hope to schedule one. We just need him and his mom to come to church. They weren't able to make it yesterday.

After church we had the opportunity to ride out to a less active member's house. He lives about 12 km away, so it would only take an hour to get there...or so we thought. While on our way, there was a "T" in the road. One the map, there was no "T." So, we did what all missionaries do and chose the right, haha. But, that felt wrong, so we stopped and said a little prayer out loud in the dark and tried to feel a prompting. While sitting there I really was not receiving anything except to ask Elder Wilsher, which seemed weird because neither of us had ever been there and Elder Wilsher hadn't even seen the map. As I looked at him to ask what he felt, he said, "Well, I think it's back the other way and to the left." In that instant, a train started to speed by and I remembered the train tracks on the map were on the opposite side of where we were supposed to be. I told Elder Wilsher, "I guess it must be this way." Right after I said that, I felt again that I needed to ask him what he thought. He said, "I really think we need to go back," so we did and he was right!

This was an important lesson for me to learn, and I'm happy I did. I had to put aside my stubbornness for the first time in my life, and I followed the prompting of the Lord. We ended up getting to the guy's house. Unfortunately, it was a 12 km bike ride bike home when we found out he was not there. I was thinking to myself, "Why did we feel prompted to go in the first place?" But I realize it was a growing experience for the both of us. For one, I learned to rely on my new companion, knowing that he is assigned to this area as well, and he has the same right and privilege to receive inspiration as I do. And second, we are a companionship and it's not just me teaching him. He learned that if he feels prompted to stick with it. We talked afterward about what we had learned from this experience. What could be considered a very small thing, was very big for us. I am so grateful to have Ældste Wilsher as my companion! We have had so much fun and get along great. He is amazing.

This week we had the opportunity to see the film, Ephraim’s Rescue. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. After watching that and the biography of Thomas S. Monson has made me strive to be exactly obedient, and to follow the will of the Lord at all cost and at all times. I want to able to say that whenever the Lord calls upon me that I can and will do what He asks.

I know that this church is true, and that through Joseph Smith the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is true and living prophet of God today. I know that in all things and in all places, the Lord knows every single person who has or will live on the earth. And He loves us more then we can imagine. I know this with all my heart. I know the Book of Mormon is, in fact, the word of God. In the sacred and loving name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Med Kærlig Hilsen (With love),

Ældste Madsen

Godt Nytår fra Danmark (December 30, 2013)

It Hailed on Us All the Way Home (January 13, 2014)

Elders Wilsher, Madsen and Whitlock

We found the following photos on Elder Madsen's mission blog. These are from his recent Zone Conference.

Chatting with the surprise there, haha!

No idea....