Monday, June 16, 2014

Holy Days - 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: Highlighted words link to additional information. Some names are omitted for privacy. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

They celebrate them (Mother's Day and Father's Day) here, but they are just not as big as we do it back home. Plus their Father's Day is during the week, so that is weird. They have three huge holidays and they are all about Christ, but they just use those days to party and get wasted. It's funny because we did service on one of the days of remembrance, and this guy said that we should be home resting. When I asked why, he said, "Because it's a hellige day (holy day)." The member who was with us is a really good friend with him, and she said, "If it's so holy, why are you drinking and having a party tonight?" I thought that was funny, and he just walked upstairs and smiled. But it's true that holidays, which actually began as "holy days" have become so bad around the world....not only in Denmark.

Well, this week we had some really great opportunities to go and visit some people. We also had a great zone conference and many other things.

We Met with K** again, and he had many questions. We had planned to teach about the restoration of the gospel, but it turned out being a lesson on the plan of salvation instead. He is great and has lots of questions. He said that all his questions were answered! Having lots of questions is better than just sitting and listening to me teach. He is searching for truth himself.

Later we we met with H**. He's very quiet, said he is having a hard time with life and doesn't have enough energy to talk about anything. He said he would like to learn, but he is just not feeling good. So we talked about music because I noticed that he had a guitar. He really started to open us, and he played us a song. It was awesome. He is very good. He's what is called a førtidspentionist (pre-pentionsist). They become pentionists here at the age of 55 (I think). For health reasons he can't work, and he finds it really hard to fill his time. He said he needs friends and stuff, and he wants a job but he can't just go and get one because the government won't help him. Well, we told him that as he reads and prays for help with finding something to fill his time, he will be able to get something to do. We told him that we will do our part to help him, but we needs to show his faith to the Lord. He said okay and then played a song for us in English. I really liked it.

The next day we had our zone conference, which was amazing. We are to studying about how to learn our mission language. It been going really well. One of the things that I have not been able to do very much is to speak Danish all day, every day, outside of the apartment. The best way to learn the language is to speak it. Well, Elder Howland is very good at that, so we have been doing it and our language skills have gotten better. We both enjoy the language and now we speak more Danish than English in our companionship.

Teaching in Danish during Zone Conference
At zone conference, President Serderholm had invited some people from the area. Usually we have our conference in English, but our focus was Danish this time. For the meat of our discussion, we had the opportunity to practice teaching some Danes. We taught our lessons in Danish and they gave us feedback. There were seven people who pretended to be investigators, except one really is an investigator who lives in Århus. His name is D**, and he is half Spanish and half Danish. He has met with the sister missionaries in Århus for a while, has read the Book of Mormon, and knows almost everything. After all of our practice teaching and stuff, D** stood up and said that he has always been amazed at how fast the missionaries pick up the language. He said that he could recognize that there were a couple grammatical mistakes, and if there were more he didn't catch them because the message speaks for itself.

Long story short, speaking the language (Danish) is important, but the language of the Spirit is more important. President stood up and asked, "D**, do you believe in God?" He answered with a big, Danish, "NO!! But I love to learn about this church."

As we went on, President invited all of the people we taught to come up and stand at the front of the room so we could thank them. I have never done this before, but we sang acapella, "I am a Child of God." Half way through, I started to realize that we sounded way good, især fordi (in particular, because) we did not practice at all. President just felt impressed to do it. At the end of the song everyone left except D**. He wanted to stay and hear the rest of the conference.

As the conference went on, President Sederholm talked about how there is a difference between tongue and in the scriptures when it talks about how everyone will hear the gospel in their own tongue and language. The tongue is the mission language, and the language is the language of love and spirit. This was very interesting to me because I remembered when I was companions with Elder Zalewski. We were both relatively young in the mission....I mean, I was only out six months and he had only been here six weeks. We made it by and even had some really good things happen. I remembered back to how bad my Danish was, how bad my grammar was, and it hit me. That's the language of the Spirit! It's what made our companionship function. We both relied on the Spirit so much, and that was when things started falling into place.

On our way home after zone conference, we got a text from the Assistants to the President (APs) telling us that D** scheduled a baptismal date! He had felt something so strong during the song. I know that President Sederholm is a man called of God to lead this mission. I know that he is inspired. This was truly a miracle and we are all very happy to be a part of it.

I love you and hope you have a great week

Ældste Madsen

Journey of Life (June 9, 2014)

Weakness Can Become Strength  (June 23, 2014)