Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Bye, Aske- The Blue boy of Odense

Dear Aske,

It is time to say goodbye to another well prepared missionary from Odense, Denmark. In a few days you will begin an experience that will change your life. I really mean this.

You are leaving behind wonderful life long friends.

You are saying "good bye" to your family.

What a fine life you have had. We all know that you are very strong and full of enthusiasm for this mission. We wish you well. This is not an easy thing to do.

Today, you are leaving a comfortable, full life... to serve the Lord. You will be truly blessed ,day by day as you become a full time missionary and say "good bye" to all the good things at home.

You have chosen good friends, worthy to go to the temple with you. They will not forget you.
It has not been a struggle for you to follow the Savior. You have a very soft heart. It has been a pleasure to be with you as you have prepared yourself for this mission.

Maybe you can bring the game of "CRUD" to Germany and Austria... a good gospel message should always end with a friendly game of "CRUD." (better check with your mission president- but this has worked well in Odense)

You have many friends all over Denmark. These boys gathered together in Alborg and asked me to take their picture- they discovered that everyone at the table was named "Mark." They even spelled it out for me. What a bunch of fun-loving kids. You know how to enjoy life. That will be part of your mission.

When you enter your mission you will be twice blessed- once when you enter the MTC in Provo- and fill your days with a spiritual feast of German, Preach My Gospel, The Book of Mormon, and all kinds of bright ideas and inspritation from the Holy Ghost.

Then, after lots of hard work.. (remember, it is called,"missionary work)"- you will fly to one of the most beautiful "Sound of Music" places in the whole world...a new mission- The Alpine German Speaking Mission.

Wish I could go there with you. What a beautiful place.

You will begin to teach the Gospel to total strangers. You will learn to love these people, like you have never loved anyone before- It is a gift from the Savior. I can't tell you how important these people and this country will be to you. I didn't realize until I returned home from Denmark how much all of you mean to me. You won't know this until you are well into your mission.
The Savior promised,
"And if it so be that you should labor all your days, and bring, save it be but one soul unto me- how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father !" D&C 18: 14
The Savior places great value on every soul that you teach.. He said: "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." D&C 18: 10
He has promised that you will find great joy as you gather his children into the Gospel.
I have traveled with you across the "fifty dollar" bridge to Copenhagen to do baptism for the dead, and have heard you sing with Rene, all the way home- every Primary and camp song that you've ever heard. We should have paid you and Rene an extra fifty dollars to stop. We laughed all the way home.

I have seen you spend four hours to turn blue for "Festelavn".

Then Grethe Hillgaard turned blue.. it was quite a night.

A spooky blue night.

As a blue boy, you had the strength of ten men until you hit the barrel so hard with a bat that it bounced off the barrel and hit your head instead. You entered the hospital for stitches that night- the blue boy from Odense with Emil, our worried chef.
You returned to the party with blue stitches and another bat, to continue the madness of the night.

Getting ready for a mission does strange things to you in Denmark. At the same time you turned blue that night, JJ came to the center as the Phantom of the Opera... lurking in the shadows with his face half black.

In a month or so, you and JJ will be in the MTC together. Both of you are going
to newly formed missions- You to the Alpine German Speaking Mission and JJ to the St George Utah Mission. They have no idea the kind of amazing men the Lord is sending from Odense. I don't know whether the world is ready for both of you.

You have sung your last song in Alborg.

You have danced your last dance at Festinord with James Bond and the gang.

You will have to give up howling at the moon, and growing strange wooden claws at midnight.
But you are ready...more than ready to do the Lord's work. You may already be in Utah by now. You might not want to show your new companion these last few photos. He may be afraid of Danish werewolves.

63 years before the birth of Jesus Christ an army of 2000 young sons joined Helaman on a mission to fight for the right. Helaman loved them like his own family. He said:
THis little force which I brought with me, yea, those Sons of mine, gave ..great hope and much joy" to those whom they served. (Alma 56:17)
Helaman saw their courage and said: "Never had I seen so great courage, nay, not among all the Nephites... They had never fought yet they did not fear death. They thought upon the liberty of their fathers more than they did upon their (own) lives.
They had been taught by their mothers- that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them."
(Alma 56: 45-59)
They were "true blue" through and through. Scriptures record-
"They were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted... for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before Him."
(Alma 53: 20-21)
Why are these boys willing to give up two years of their lives to serve the Lord in these last days?
Elder Boyd K. Packer describes the world in which they will teach:
"The world is spiraling downward at an ever-quickening pace. I am sorry to tell you that it will not get better. I know nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstance. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds the wickedness and depravity which surrounds us now. The first line of defense - the home is crumbling. Surely you can see what the adversary is about. We are now exactly where the prophets warned we would be."
(BYU J Reubon Clark Law Society Devotional- Feb. 28, 2004)
Thank Heavens that in this world of Chaos and confusion, the Lord has reserved his best for the last. These "Strippling Warriors" are prepared and willing to go anywhere to serve Him. They are some of his best and most obedient children.

I am grateful for the example that Elder Crosley, Francis, and Clayton set for Paul, from China, and JJ, from Greenland. I am thankful for Sister Burton and Sister Roberts who
took the time to cross the street and introduce JJ to the Gospel a little over a year ago.
We will say good bye to him during Thanksgiving, where we will all meet him in Utah before he goes into the MTC- preparing for his Spanish Speaking Mission in St George Utah. (See the previous blog post for his story).
A few months ago, we said goodbye to our first "strippling son" from our little missionary training class in the basement of the Odense First Ward. Emil is the first of the three- He landed in Greece just weeks ago... bore his testimony on Mars hill in athens, and then suffered from food poisoning that landed him in the hospital for several days. He spent his time there becoming good friends with the staff - I am sure that they have not heard the last of Elder Emil Held.

Emil, with these other Elders are now serving in the Greece Athens Mission.

To Aske, who begins his mission this week, we say thank you for preparing so well to serve the Lord. He will take care of you and we will not forget you...The Blue Boy of Odense.

We will miss this little army of three who spent time with us in the center. We feel very much a part of your mission.

In this old church we lived and learned together. This mission has changed our lives. Your missions will do the same.

Have a fine stay at the MTC, Aske...and then on to Munich- what a great adventure.

The world will remember the true "Blue Boy" from Odense.

A marvelous work is about to come forth - Good Bye to our three strippling warriors of Odense. God Bless You. We Love you all and will not forget this happy ride. Love, Sist W


  1. Dejligt!!

    Daryl Tanner
    Odense, 1965

  2. HOw exciting! That someone from my old ward is coming to where I live! We are in Ogden. I am the niece of Keith Held. Anyhow, good luck to him, and If I see him it will be fun to reminisce about Odense and all of our common accountancies:-)