Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween!

 It's not quite the same being in Norway celebrating a holiday so closely entwined with my good old American culture, but it is Halloween nonetheless. We carved pumpkins and ate candy, and I have even seen a few costumes around the city! So, it's safe to say that my patriotism hasn't been completely crushed yet.

The days are getting shorter here, and I am not exactly sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it will probably be cool for a while for it to be dark, and if I go to the North this Winter it will be dark the whole day, so that would be cool for a second, but then again, I am a fan of the sun. We are losing about 15 minutes of daylight every day right now, so that is interesting. It is weird to go study every morning and watch the sun come up later and later every day. 
It's been a pretty good week, but nothing too exciting has happened. The craziest thing that happened this week was probably when Elder Whitmer and I went to get our hair cut today. We don't have very much money right now, and haircuts cost a fortune in Norway. Literally, I think the conversion is just over 100 dollars. So we were looking for something cheap, and we were walking down the street, and we saw a sign for a cheap frisør, or barbershop, so we went over to take a look. We had to walk down a dimly lit alleyway, but there was a little salon at the end, with one man who cut hair. It was only 20 dollars, so we figured, why not? It only took 10 minutes total for both of us to get our hair cut, and I think it might have been the sketchiest thing I have ever done in my life. I was surprised I had both of my ears at the back end of that experience. But we survived, and we have missionary appropriate hair now, so what more could we ask for, right?

Next week, we are going to have a harvest party on Saturday for the ward, to try and get member missionary relationships up and to get all the members to be friends with each other. Everyone is really reserved here in Norway, so they are not as tight knit in the ward as they are back home. We got in contact with a less active Family who is really excited with the party, and we are going to start working with them. Their name is the Ivanovs, and they are from America, so fingers crossed that they will make us a good Thanksgiving dinner! There is a really good chance, I think, so I am excited. They are a really cool Family.

We have been visiting a lot of less active members lately, because we want to start working with them to come back to Church and to give us referrals. Oslo has 600 people on the ward list, so we have had a lot of people to visit, but it is hard, because I think we have found close to 20 people already who don't live at the address listed on the ward list, and a lot of whom don't even live in Norway anymore. So it feels like we are just updating the ward list more than anything, but that is okay, we are finding a few that we can work with. As far as investigators go, we don't have anyone really that we worked with this week, but we had a few lessons that we taught.

The other day we were having a long day because we had been in Oslo for a lot of it and hadn't really been able to get anything done, and we were pretty tired. But after dinner we needed to go out, so we said a prayer and headed out to an area to knock on doors. We got out there and started knocking, but we both just didn't have a good feeling about it at all. We couldn't really focus, and things just didn't feel right. So, we said another prayer and asked if there was somewhere else we needed to go. We both felt like we needed to go visit a person we had met at the beginning of the transfer, but that nothing had really happened with. We got to her house and she let us in. We taught the message of the restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong, and in her prayer at the end, she thanked Heavenly Father for the peace we had brought to her home. It was so cool, and she is the most positive investigator that we have found, and the Lord really led us to her this week. We had a goal to find 3 new investigators this week and it was coming down to the end of the week and we hadn't found any. Her name is Rhoda and she has 2 children, so we reached our goal and everything was good. The Lord helped us to do the things He had commanded us to do because of our faith in Him. 
Like I said earlier, it has been a kind of long week, but it has been good. This week I have been thinking a lot about this work. I am amazed by the simplicity of the Lord's means in accomplishing His work and His glory. He sends a bunch of 20 year old kids out into the world to faraway places where they can barely speak the language. In the hands of these young people- people who the world would scarcely trust with the simplest of tasks- He places the salvation of countless numbers of His children. There are a lot of instances in the scriptures when Jesus was scoffed at and mocked because of the things that He did, and this is another one of those times when the world tries to tell its creator that He doesn't know what He is doing. Oh the irony. And yet, in spite of it all, the work moves forward. In fact, it is hastening. It is amazing and it grows my faith every day that the Lord really is in control of our lives. So, I put on my shoes, put my trust in Him, take up my cross, and set out on my path to Him. And the Journey couldn't be more worth it.

I love you all, have a great Halloween!

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