News for the week: It is zero degrees and snowing today! Winter is here, and I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Maybe I will do a little bit of both :) The Norwegians are all bringing out their winter gear, so I guess that it is time for me to follow suit. I have known that this was coming, but I guess I was just hoping it would stay away a little longer. But, I have heard that Norway is beautiful in the winter as well, so I might as well take the positive outlook on life, right?
This weekend we traveled to a place called Romerike for a stake conference. The European Area Presidency was there to reorganize the stake presidency, so is was fun to be able to meet them and spend a little time getting to know them. I know that they are called of God. Romerike is about an hour away from our apartment by bus, so between traveling and the actual conferences on Saturday and Sunday, we weren't able to get a whole lot done on those days. Earlier in the week, we just knocked on a lot of doors, and contacted people on the streets. I am still waiting to find that "golden" investigator, but I can see that there are people being placed in my path, so I just need to talk to them!
It has been a pretty routine week here in Norway. We still don't have a ton of investigators, since we are in a new area, so it is just work work work for us, trying to find people to teach. And I know that the Lord is leading His work, and He guides his servants. So we have been busy, trying to find out exactly what it is that He wants us to be doing.
But isn't that a challenge sometimes.
Although we aren't really teaching anyone right now, per se, we have a man named Andreas who is in a band and really cool, but he came as an observer (he is studying to be a religions teacher), so I don't know if he really wants to keep investigating. We also met a woman named Nina, but she is bipolar and a little suicidal and used to be a Jehovah's Witness, so the situation is kind of weird there. However, we did get a really positive referral yesterday, so we are going to go visit them tonight. It is a family, and I hope that we will be able to start meeting with them.
A little more about Nina: Every day I pray that the Lord will put someone in my path who is prepared to receive the gospel and I can talk to and help them come unto Christ. I pray for Him to open my mouth and speak through me, that I can be a tool in His hands. However, it is hard to not get a little routine when you pray often for things, so on Thursday this week, I decided to be more specific. I prayed specifically that we would be able to find someone in the hour we were going contacting before our appointment. It is hard to find people here, but I knew that it was the will of the Lord, so I set out to do it. Then, as we were walking that day, I saw a woman smoking by a garbage can. She was a little out of the way, but I just knew that she was who we needed to talk to, so we went over and said hi. It was Nina, and she told us that we were guardian angels for her that day. We sat down on a bench and taught her about the gospel and she said it was exactly what she needed to hear. She told us the whole time we were together, she didn't feel the need to smoke, and she was so grateful that the Lord had led us to her.
This week I have been thinking a lot about faith. Faith is a gift from God, given to the obedient. It is not something that I will ever be able to achieve by myself, nor can I expect God to just give me faith. It is something that I have to work for. Actually put some effort in. And it is not fun, sometimes. Faith isn't easy. As I have been thinking about ways that I could increase my faith, I began to study the handbook for missionaries, and I realized just how many rules there are. Some of them are little things that don't seem to matter, and some are obvious no-nos. But if I want to be able to have more faith, I have to be able to be exactly obedient to all of them. It sounds like a big task, and, I have to admit, I was overwhelmed for a while. It didn't seem possible to me to be exactly obedient 100% of the time. But then I realized something.
God doesn't reserve His gift of faith to those who are perfect at being obedient. If that were the case, which one of us would qualify for this precious gift? God gives us the faith we need to be more obedient, based on our desire to follow his commandments. And then, when we are a little more obedient, He gives us the faith we need to be a little more obedient. To follow one more rule, one more commandment, a little more fully. It is a cycle that revolves around our efforts to repent, become better, and follow our Savior Jesus Christ.
Cool, huh? So this week I have been trying to be as obedient as I possibly can, and, I am by no means perfect, but by doing the things that I am able to do, I am experiencing an increase in my faith in the saving power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. And it is amazing. Don't we all need to have a little more faith in our Creator? He stands ready to give it if we but try to follow Him.
I have a testimony of the divinity of this work and I know that it is being hastened. Let us all put our hands to the plow and not look back until the Savior finally says, "It is enough."
I love you all and I hope that you have an amazing week!