Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"We have been shanghaied!" "what does that even mean?" "I don't know it just means we've been tricked!"

Dear Family og venner, 

I speak really bad danglish now. Seriously, the other day I was reading something in english and I switched the word hjælpe for help. Søster Ripa just grinnede. I also was speaking english and switched the word "ham" in for the word "him" so I said "Well, we will just talk to ham later". So when I come home and say weird things, just be patient. 

So this week was a really good week. We were able to see our friend Joakim, who is the Swedish ballroom dancer a couple times this week and that was neat. We went over to bring him lunch (cause he's been terrible about eating, so we decided to make him some lunch and bring it to him) and then he invited us to go on a walk this past saturday with him through this really cool forest. I love danish forests. So beautiful. So green. We had a really good chat about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Joakim impresses me because he just understands the gospel so well and is so open to trying things that scare him, like coming to church or praying beccuase he says he knows it will help him become a better person. 

We met with our friend Ashley, he reminds me a lot of Dad and Matt. He could definitely fit in at a Briscoe Family reunion, I'll tell you that, despite the fact that he is from England and doesn't look like any Briscoes that I know of. But he is studying engineering and loves puns. So many puns. All the time. He's great. 

We also went out to a place called Odder to visit Vibeke. Vibeke was baptized April 2013 and she is just so sweet. She always spoils us missionaries by making us food or buying us cake or ice cream. She is just incredibley sweet and kind. She lives out in a tiny little....hold op...i can't remember what is called in english....well in danish, it's a landsby...tiny little city, town, but smaller than that. Oh well, you know what I mean. It's called højby and she's right by the ocean. It's a gorgeous place. 

We also started teaching this young man from Nigeria named Jerry. He is so neat. Super open and super interested in learning about the gospel. Very intelligent too. He's studying here in Denmark and we just started talking to him on the street and then we met with him this pastthursday and had a really good conversation with him about church and the Prophet Joseph Smith. 

Then on Sunday, we were doing a musical number in church with a guitar (don't worry we checked with the bishop and he was okay with it) and I was really nervous and sounded awful on my little solo part but oh well. Sådan er livet bare. 

Well, that's about all that happened this week that I have time to describe. Sorry for the short letter. One day, I'll show you all picutres and tell exciting stories in hopefully understandable english. 

Love you all! have a great week! Go enjoy summer and be friends with lots of people :)
Us and our friend Joakim
 Sister Ripa and I in the middle of no where
 Sister Ripa and I and our friend

Lots of love

Dearest Family,

I don't know why I titled my email "lots of love" because the love I felt this week wasn't much stronger than the love I feel pretty much every week as a missionary. It's funny because coming on a mission, you just love people, everyone. Including your neighbor who spills smelly fish all over the stairs and you slip on the fish slim and smell like gross fish in your appointment. But still, you love them and you bring them cookies. If you want to be better at loving people no matter what, become a missionary or just become a disciple of Christ or a good person, whatever you'd like.

Oh I forgot to tell you about a neat experience that happened this past sunday (not yesterday but the sunday  before). So President and Sister Sederholm were visiting and speaking in Sacrament Meeting and President was speaking and I was sitting with David and Sister Ripa and some of our other friends who were visiting. And I was busy writing notes down from what President was saying so I wasn't looking at him when all of the sudden I hear him say "Now Sister Briscoe didn't know I was going to do this but Sister Briscoe, can you come up here please". and my head just jerked up and he repeated "Come on up" So I am came on up and I was super nervous, like my heart was beating super fast and my palms were sweating. and he says "Sister Briscoe is going to relate to you all how the church got started and the story of Joseph Smith" and then he sits down and I just start teaching the first lesson in front of everyone. It was actually really neat though because as soon as I started teaching and testifying about Joseph Smith's story my nerves were immediately gone. Afterwards David asked me if me and President had planned that because he thought it looked like I had something already prepared and I told him "no, it was the Holy Ghost who helped me". Hopefully that made an impact on him.

Anyways, this past week has been great. Sister Ripa and I have just been enjoying life. We helped our friend MaiBritt move into her new apartment and then she had her baby on Friday! That was exciting. Also, when we were helping MaiBritt move, we met her neighbor who was this really really nice older gentleman and we started talking to him and he opened up a little about his life and some of the hard things he's seen so we gave him a Book of Mormon and he started crying out of gratitude.

Also, there is this friend of ours named Ana, that the elders are teaching and she got baptized this saturday! That was a really really wonderful experinece. the feeling of peace and happiness and love on that day was very strong. It was great to see Ana make that very special covenant and promise between her and God. She's a great example to me.

And I embarrassed one friend we met with. His name is Pavel and he's from Estonia. He's a really nice guy but he got way embarrassed when we met with him in the park and then I saw the Elders across the park so I yelled "Elders! Elders!" and just waved at them. Apparently you are not supposed to flag people down in public and Pavel had to walk away and pretend like he didn't know me. We caught up to him though and were able to teach him about the plan of salvation.

We were also able to meet with our Swedish friend Joakim. He's awesome and he learns so fast. He also told us more about his awesome life as a professional ballroom dancer. It sounds pretty intense to have a dancing career. "I wanna dance with you Fran!" (anyone get that movie reference?)

Well, life is good. It's the best. The weather is great. Sometimes it rains a ton and sister ripa and I look like we've been out swimming but other than that, can't complain.

I love you all! have a great week! Go do some selfless service :)

Love, Diana

Quick update on my life

Hey everyone! Hej Alle Sammen!

Livet er bare godt. Jeg elsker det.

So this week has been really awesome. Just a great week all around. What happened that made it so good? well, we were with our friend David again and that is always fun. He actually came with us to an appointment that we had with a couple of Jehovah's Whitnesses. We didn't mean for him to come with us. We had an appointment with him at a member's house at 11.30 but an appointment with the JWs at 10.30. Well david decided that he would just show up an hour earlier to our appointment at the member's house (because he thought we were meeting the member an hour before or something) and we all showed up at the same bus stop and said "ah, what the heck, if the JWs can help David believe in God, that'll be just fine" So he came along with us. The JWs just ignored him though and talked to us the whole time, trying to get us to bible bash but we refused and told them our danish wasn't good enough and then left. Afterwards David was joking around and saying, "you just need to throw out scriptures like they do. Alma 2! Nephi 3!"

We also had a great dinner with Ashley and the Elders and the sweetest woman here named Eva, who loves squirrels. Her house is full of them, not live ones, by the way. just decorative squirrels. Sometimes older danes decorate their homes with animals, but like it's a theme. like hedgehogs in one house, mice in another. It's very interesting. love it.

Oh also this week we had an awesome experience. We had had one of "those days" where everything was going wrong and stuff was hard and we left the apartment after dinner and I just said a silent prayer in my heart and said "Heavenly Father, please, I'm tired of these atheist guys we meet with, can you please send us someone nice and open?" So the thought popped into my mind "it would be great to find a nice, open, young woman." So we stopped by a couple people, who weren't home and there was this woman sitting oustide drinking some wine and I thought "her, I have to talk to her" So i went up and asked her about the music she was listening to and pretty soon, we were sitting down with her just telling her everything about the church and it was great. She actually told me some things I really needed to hear. She was so encouraging and it was just a great experience. We took a picture with her (i'll send it next week) and we are definitely going to keep in touch, cause she's moving to Austria...or she did move. but we got each others information and we'll keep in contact with her.

Well, Sorry it's so short. I ran out of time.

love you all!

Knus. Diana

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jo, tak

Okay so for those of you who do not know danish Jo tak (pronounced like "yo talk") means yes please and is a very common danish expression. I love it. I probably overuse it but oh well.

This week has just been a "jo tak" kind of week.

More and more members are opening their homes up and getting excited about the missionary work that they see happening here. For example, we brought Ashley to this older member's home. Her name is Eva and she loves LOVES the gospel. She was so excited to open her home up to us and Ashley and she enjoyed herself so much that she offered her home again for us to come over there and teach him and so we taught him over at her house twice and she invited him over for dinner with us and the elders tonight. Seeing Ashley's growth and change is a modern day miracle.

Things are going well with David too. We had a really good lesson with him at a member's house about the Atonement. The spirit was definitely present but he says it is very hard for him to understand or relate to the things we tell him. He's making more friends in the church so that is good. He comes to CUV every tuesday and I think he's getting to the point where he would feel comfortable going without us there which would be really great. He's awesome.

We had a good meeting with two young men.We met them on the street 3 or 4 weeks ago and then we finally were able to set up an appointment with them. They came with a lot of questions and kept asking us one after the other so that unfortunately we didn't have time to teach them a whole lot. But we set things straight and told them we would love to answer all of their questions about Joseph smith and the three different worlds after we die, but we would want to answer them another time. And then they also told us "Hey, we were talking together and we would really love to come see a church service at your church if we can. is that possible?" I said "jo tak!" that would definitely possible. So they will be coming this sunday.

Also, yesterday our friend Joakim came to church. He is from Sweden and is a professional ballroom dancer. Yes, pretty legit. He came to church and we played sharades in our guest class and he got way into it.

Another fun thing about this week is that we were invited over twice by our good friend Duyen (from vietnman) for a vietnamese bbq and then a taste of a vietnamese dessert. I love Duyen. She doesn't speak danish or very much english but she is so loving and open. her husband speaks some danish and no english so meeting with them is lots of fun. Most of the time they talk to each other in vietnamese while Søster Ripa and I sit there and smile. And then we point out scriptures in a vietnamese book of mormon for them to read.

Hmmm, I feel like some other stuff happened this week....lots of it...but I can't remember/I'm too lazy to write it all. I'll try to see if I can get some pictures sent again.

I love you all! Jeg elsker jer!

Love Diana

Monday, June 16, 2014

I guess it's just been one of those weeks.

Oh those weeks, you know what I'm talking about? One of those weeks where you drive away on the bus without your companion, and one of those weeks where you get hit in the eye with a soccer ball, one of those weeks when you find out August 15 is going to be an amazing day, and one of those weeks where you just feel tons of love for the patience and kindness of others.

Okay, so funny story, Sister Ripa, David and I were all taking the bus and then Sister Ripa's and my stop comes up and so we say "bye david" and head for the door and Sister Ripa hops out of the bus but someone comes in and prevents me from following immediately after her and then to my great horror, the bus doors close and do not open again, despite me yelling to the bus driver "JEG SKAL AF! JEG SKAL AF!" nope, he was just lige glad. So Sister Ripa is just calming waiting at the bus stop, I'm freaking out because I have no idea where this bus drives and David is just laughing because well, he thought seeing a sister missionary freak out was funny apparently. Luckily though, David did walk with me back to Sister Ripa's bus stop because we were in a part of town I didn't know and I don't know I could have found it without his help. Sister Ripa was fine. I wasn't though. I had to hug her like 3 times before I felt a little bit better. She just laughed and thought it was all pretty funny.

Also, I'll share another classic Diana story with you all. So we play sport every saturday with the ward and investigators. and this week was the first time I was able to really play (due to a series of minor injuries with my legs and feet these past couple of months). So I was really pumped to play football (soccer) but that excitement quickly faded when one of the players kicked the ball super hard right when I was in front of him and it smacked me right in the eye. yes, so I have a slightly blue/blackish eye.

This past week was zone conference and we are learning about chapter 7 from PMG (learning your mission language) and an activity that we did was teach danish speakers the gospel. So we brought in people from Aarhus and Randers and divided into groups and then taught them. One of the people we asked to help out and be taught 4 times in a row by missionaries was David! And then after that activity, the assistants invited David to stay for the rest of the conference. He loved it. Oh, David, our little atheist missionary, what on earth are we going to do with him? ...probably just continue to teach him until one day he wakes up and realizes that it's true. We actually had a really good lesson with him and another investigator, named Elliot. Elliot had called us earlier in the day, wanting to meet up so we met up for a little bit and then he walked us to Maria's house becuase we had an eating appointment there. Maria saw Elliot and immediately invited him to join us for dinner. And after dinner, we wanted to have a lesson with David about the Holy Ghost and we invited Elliot to join us. So that was fun. Two very different people in the same lesson made things really interesting. David, the shy quiet logical thinker, vs. Elliot, the outgoing, outspoken spiritualist. But they got along well together.

Sister Ripa is awesome and I love her. She teaches me more than I teach her. She is fun, nice and patient. Pretty much the perfect companion. Plus, she speaks very good danish already. Still cannot get over how great her danish is.

Well, that is all the fun stories I can think of. Oh except for Ashley! Ashley is doing so well. I cannot believe the difference in him. He's going on 3 weeks without drinking and he says he is not even tempted to drink anymore. He attributes it to praying to God, meeting with the missionaries and coming to church. Oh President, I remember so many long, seemingly pointless talks with Ashley in the park, where Sister Hale and I would leave and say "Is he really worth it?" and we would doubt there would be any hope for him because he seemed so far gone. But then every time we doubted, we would think about what the Savior would do and we would convince ourselves to continue meeting with him and sharing a little bit of light and hope. Now, he's sober, he's seriously considering baptism, he's reading the Book of Mormon all the way through and he's praying out loud every night. Never ever judge, that's what I've learned so much since becoming a missionary. If someone is struggling with an addiction or other problems, do not just shrug the person off and say "oh, we cannot help them" because there will always be something, however small, we can do to help them feel the love of their Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember that.

i love you all and thank you for your support and love!

Knus, Søster Briscoe

Elliot after we taught, wanted to take some pictures so here are pictures of sister ripa, me and david.

I am trying to frown in this picture

and the other one, I don't know what is happening.

And the last couple of photos from our photo shoot, so now I can say that I have been part of a photo shoot with a danish model (that is what Elliot does for work)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Letter from June 8th

Kære familie

så...yup, I am training. Everyone before I got sister Ripa said "oh you're going to have to train a baby" or they kept making comments about how difficult it would be to train a young 19 year old who didn't speak any danish. So I prepped myself mentally for this younger missionary who would not be able to speak or understand any danish. Well, Søster Ripa is completely the opposite of that. She is 23 years old, graduate from BYU, she served as a relief society president for a year so she has actually had more experience in ward councils and working with ward leaders than I really have. She also speaks beautiful danish and understands nearly everything. I was blown away by her danish and so is everyone else who meets her. Oh and she's also about 5 inches taller than me. Haha, so yes, she was completely opposite from what I expected. I don't feel like I'm training her, haha, I guess I'll never have the "classic" training experience. The first time I had know idea what I was doing and the second time my trainee already knows everything.

But earlier this week, I was in copenhagen a few days until Søster Ripa arrived. So I was able to see what it would be like to be a missionary in Copenhagen. I think it would be hard, people are much more busy and they speak københavnsk, which is very different from the jysk i've gotten used to.

Well on wednesday I picked up Søster Ripa and then we headed back to my wonderful beautiful city of Aarhus. Oh how I love this place. The elders met us at the train station to help with luggage so that was really nice of them. Then we went straight to an eating appointment with Maria (it was her birthday that day). She is awesome. Maria makes the best food and is always just so nice and open to new missionaries.

Then after our appointment at Maria's we went to a lesson with this recent investigator named Mahtab from afghanistan. she is so sweet and so open to hearing the gospel. She had a friend there to interpret into persian for her. We taught a simple explanation about the Book of Mormon and the spirit was so strong. It was a neat experience to be able to feel the spirit was Mahtab explained in Persian some of her past experiences with God and with Christ. Even without being able to understand the language, we were able to understand the point of what she was saying.

So it's pretty much been a normal week after getting back to Aarhus. We've taught some people, found a few new people. Went to church. Hmmm, not much exciting is happening.

Oh! Except for Ashley. Ashley has been sober for over a week! He is such a different person now. The light in his eyes is so much brighter and he looks just so much happier. He has so much hope for his future and he's keeping busy and he is really seriously beginning to take the time to figure out if this church is the true church or not. He's reading and praying every day and coming to church and coming and doing service with us or the elders. Ashley is amazing.

We also met with David. Oh David, haha, love that kid. he's reading the bible from the beginning now. He also has changed. He seems happier, lighter and laughs a lot more now.

I love how the Gospel brings peace and happiness and joy. Pure joy. that's how the gospel feels. We are the happiest when we live the Gospel. Really, we are. I've seen it not only in my life but the lives of hundred of other friends that i've made here in Denmark.

Thanks for being wonderful family, I'll hopefully be able to send some pictures next week!

Love you! Jeg elsker jer!

Søster Briscoe

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On the Edge

To my wonderful family and friends, 

Oh my word. Oh mit ord. Haha Sister Hale and I have an awesome friend here in Aarhus and him and I joke about danglish all the time and we say "oh mit ord" lots. He also calls us mangsters because we are mormon gangsters. I apparently come off as a gangster sometimes when talking to people on the street. 

Anyways, you want to know something terrible about missions? (Rolig Rolig, it's not really terrible). But SO much happens in one week and every time something remotely interesting happens you think "Oh! I have to tell my family about this!" and then you reach monday and you sit down in front of a computer and you think "uhhh...." and your mind goes blank and you remember one or two of the less-than-exciting experiences you've had and those are the ones you share with everyone. At least, this is a problem I've experienced throughout my whole mission. 

So what did I do this week? Wait...I seriously cannot remember, let me grab my planner. Seriously, my planner is my brain. If i don't have it, it's like I forgot my brain. Let's see, I'll just go through the highlights of my week day by day in a list. 

Sister Hale and I went to a beach because we had a few hours free and it was awesome. No one was at the beach, they were all in the city and we had it all to ourselves to just sit and play guitar and take naps. One of the best Pday activities ever. And then we met David there and taught him about gratitude and appreciating life. We gave him a little notebook so he could write down all the things he's grateful for. Also, when we took the bus together, he dared me to contact like everyone on the bus, which I normally don't do. But I can't resist a dare, especially when it comes to missionary work. 

Not much happened tuesday. We met with an 87 year old danish woman who lives just down the street from us. She is sweet. 
We also saw this English guy we met last week again. He's in a band and also has his own solo albums. Check him out for me and see if he's any good. Go tobandcamp.com and look for "Jimmy Biggs". 

Oh Wednesday was kinda crazy. I made a rookie mistake. We had planned on traveling out to a few surrounding towns and meet with some people and contact a referral. But when we arrived in the first town, I realized we had forgotten the addresses of the people we had planned to stop by and the map...and also because of the trouble with our phone, we had nobody's numbers so yes...that was fun. Luckily, thanks to the help of the wonderful Sisters at the mission office and also thanks to some helpful, danish window washers, we were able to find our way and make all of our appointments. I think that no matter how long I'm on my mission, I'll still always make silly mistakes and forget things like that. Sådanne er livet bare. 
But later that night we went to our friend Nina's house and she threw us a late surprise birthday party. We ate McDonalds and she gave us the best gifts. I got an apron and oven mits, which I was super happy for. 

We helped Maria move some stuff in her house (because she can't really move after her surgery). Then we saw our good friend Ashley and read Ether 12 with him in the library. That was nice. Then we went to the hospital to visit a member. I have visited a hospital and a nursing home I think once a week if not more since I've come to Aarhus. Oh and then Thursday night we met with a really cool guy from Estonia. 

....okay, I'm getting tired of this...haha, nothing cool happened on friday. Oh, except for we taught a Jewish lady and she laughed in our faces when we told her the book of mormon was written specifically for her. But she's willing to read it despite her sarastic laughter in Sister Hale's face. 

Saturday was awesome. We got up early and went to see a baptism in Randers with David. Also, David's grandparents live in Randers and he wanted us to meet them. So we had the chance to go and quickly stop by and eat some strawberry cake with them and gave them a book of mormon.
Later that night, we were able to see our good friend Isaac from Ghana. He is awesome. He understands the Bible so well and just gets it when it comes to being a follower of Christ. Now all we have to do is get him to really put some effort into reading the Book of Mormon. 

Ah, Sunday, what a great day. We went to church and had three visitors come as well. Well, David isn't really a visitor anymore because he's come so many times now. It's all old news to him. But we had this amazing lady named Mahtab come. She is from afghanistan and is seriously one of the most amazing people I know. She met the elders in Sønderborg and went to church with them once and then the Elders gave us her number and we called and she asked if we could pick her up and go to church together with her. We said of course! And she came and loved it. 
After church, we went over to a Vietnamese couple that live right above a Japanese restaurant. They made us homemade sushi for lunch. it was delicious.  
Then that night we saw Nina again and taught about fasting. She's great. She just is so patient with us when we struggle to explain a principle or doctrine and she just understands the gospel so well. 

Okay, So that was my week. Hopefully that wasn't too boring for you. I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week!

MKH Søster Briscoe