Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back to Business

This is Elder Wilberg on our mission cell phone. It is our connection with the missionaries and the people whom we serve in Odense.

Before we came on our mission, I asked our language tutor, Elder Wesley Bradford- "How are the Danes about time? Do they like to be on time or are they happy with "Mormon Standard Time"(casually late). Wesley said," You can come five minutes early, be on time- but they are not too pleased if you are more than five minutes late."

I don't know how they do it. Most of the young adults that come to our center arrive by bike, some by bus, and some by train. Only a few have access to a car.

To get to the center on time, these students, friends, and visitors sometimes have to leave on their bikes 45 minutes before the event. Time slows down when you can't jump in a car for a short errand or rush to a meeting.

This comfortable biker is Elder Wilberg in our borrowed bike. We are blessed to have our mission car to carry us all over this side of Denmark in all kinds of weather. But our young adults come on time to meetings and events at the center no matter what the weather. If they have a flat tire, they walk. Once they come, many stay late to play one more pool game of "CRUD" or eat carrots and sit and talk with each other. Our day should end at the center at 9:00 in the evening but many times we come home at 10:00 because someone has come down stairs to talk to us or play the guitar or tell us about their travels.

About a month ago, Carl and I decided to go out and mingle with the Danes. It was our "visit the people" day. We created this day. I woke up ready to make rice crispie treats. Carl and I studied our pile of Young Adults lists. We prayed about who we should visit. We planned to take some treats, and a little handout about the outreach center to each young person on our list. We wanted to get acquainted with the people we serve.
Our GPS (our little man in a box that gives us directions in the car in- American English, Australian English, or English English)...could not find any of the streets that we needed to visit. We called Bishop Held, one of our two Bishops..for some help. He said that the lists come from Sweden and that they sometimes translate the street names into Swedish terms. Instead of "vej" (way), they may call it a "boulevard." This is another way life slows us down here. We have lots of bright ideas that dim as the day goes by.
We optimistically made five plates of treats- for five new friends we wanted to meet. We were not trying to save the world, just cheerfully meet five people. We found two addresses, without the help of our little English friend in the box- but we couldn't get through the security doors to their apartments. One apartment didn't have enough numbers on the keyboard for us to call her.
We ended our day bringing all five of our plated treats home. We ate one plate for dinner, while we watched a movie. Through the week, day by day, we ate each little "meet the people" plate of rice crispie treats. This missionary work is work.

The only people that we have found, when we go out on our "visit the people day" are these two serious people in the window near the "steadfast tin soldier" statue. Maybe we should be a little more "steadfast" on our "Visit the People" days.


  1. I love the sculptures! Do they eat rice crispy treats in Denmark?