Thursday, March 26, 2009

Outreach Services Missionaries: Wild Mountain Abroad (Blog of the Month)

What couple missionaries end up doing on a mission isn't always as mundane as what regular proselyting missionaries do. I came across a very fun mission assignment that a few senior couples are performing in the Copenhagen Denmark Mission and a few other European missions. I had never heard of a Outreach Services Missionary before I ran across the Wild Mountain Abroad blog that Belva and Carl Wilberg write. I especially like the idea and commend the mission president Douglas J. Olauson for his innovative style.

Sister Belva and Carl Wilberg play games with single adults as their missionary assignment. If you want to stay young and work with young adults many who are returned missionaries there are couple missionary assignments as game players in Europe available. The average cost of serving in Copenhagen is about $2,300 per month. They sell gas by the liter so it is nearly $10 a gallon. In all the major cities the mission president has outreach services missionaries assigned. They work at creating a fun place for members and non-members to gather and fellowship together. They organize activities and occasionally teach a class or two and sometimes even assist the regular missionaries.

Every weekday this Senior Outreach Missionary couple, leave their apartment at about 2:15 in the afternoon, and go to the Outreach Center for young single adults (18-30). There are many events everyday in the Center. The Elders and Sister missionaries teach the gospel to investigators. There is a pool table, a foos ball table, ping pong, a computer room, a kitchen for all kinds of treats, and small meals. The couple help out look out for the young adults and missionaries.

Missionaries use the centers to teach missionary discussions. It works out also with the older couple acting as chaperons so it doesn't matter if elders teach women or sisters teach men. A cool technique that is used in Copenhagen is guitar playing as a missionaries sometimes perform to warm up an investigator.

Sister Melva Wilberg likes what is being done in Copenhagen and wants the same program in Odense, a 1,000 year old town where she is serving: "This is Sister Lijenquist (a Sister Missionary) who used her BYU Spanish to teach a young Portugese boy- Danish. There are many quitars among us. There is one in every center and the Elders often bring their guitars with them. We're thinking about finding someone to teach guitar lesson here at our center. These centers are full of activities and great young adult leaders."

Sister Wilberg continues:

Every Tuesday, Elder Wilberg and I finish preparing a meal here for our Young Single Adults who come for Family Home Evening. Many of them come directly from school or work on their bikes or the bus and have not had time to go home before this event. We have a lot to learn about Danish spices, sauces, and where to find one valuable can of cream of chicken soup. Campbell's soup has not come to Denmark. I had forgotten how many times I use chicken broth, cream of mushroom soup, and other soups as a base for my recipes. How can you have "chicken delight" without Campbell's soup. We have made spaghetti, that doesn't taste like spaghetti,
taco soup that isn't spiced like taco soup, Saucy chicken with mayonnaise, cream of something soup (from the frozen section) on rice- that didn't resemble the original recipe. I have burned pizza, serve carrots soaked in water (everyone serves carrots in icy water here- they are very crisp), introduced rice crispie treats to a whole group of new "Danish Rice Crispie treat fans". Thank Heavens for marshmallows.

This is our Outreach Center. It has a new name. From now on it will be called the "Center for Young Adults." (or at least until they decide to change the name again). We gather down those stairs near the green sign.
I am redoing that sign with our new name and pictures that will invite people to come in to see what we are doing here. We go up and down those stairs almost every day with two lap top computers, our scriptures, every paper or notebook that we might need during our time here. We often bring treats, popcorn, always carrots, cucumbers, apples, and food for a meal every Tuesday for family night with the hungry Young Single Adults.

We have long conversations with people who drop by. We have planning meetings, guitar sessions, and have become acquainted with some of the nicest people that we have ever met here. I hope that we will be able to help the Center to grow. I would also like to find a little niche here to start a class of some kind. I love to teach. Maybe there is a Beginners Book of Mormon Class that needs to be started, or a "What to say to an Empty Journal" class that someone needs. Maybe I can find someone who would like to create family trees on Photo Shop or write their own life history. Does anyone want to come to Denmark to learn something new? We'll be ready for you.

I visited Copenhagen not too long ago and was surprised that so many people spoke English. You can actually get by without speaking Danish and most of them speak English since it is taught in the schools since the fourth grade. I am thinking if I don't go to the West Indies on a senior couples' mission I might want to consider going to a historic country like Denmark and hang out with some young adults. I probably could get by with a minimum of Danish. Check out the Wilberg's blog since the pictures are exceptionally well done and give you a feel for serving a similar type mission.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Dr. B said...


Thanks for sharing. I go to a lot of work to come up with interesting topics. So I appreciate anyone that comments. I get so few of them. I put up twice as many missionary blogs on my sidebar. I am always looking for topics to write on. It is actually a good technique when you start out blog to post as many comments as you can to drive traffic to your blog. I hope you enjoy blogging.

Dr. B.