Yes, winter is most definitely right around the corner, and I don't know whether I should be shaking with trepidation or excitement. Maybe a combination of both would be best. Here in Nordstrand, we knock on doors every night, and the winter jackets, scarves, and gloves have officially come out. I am not too sure how I feel about that, but hey, sånn er det bare. It is what it is.
Here is a just a little side note before I begin: When you set up a washer, it is IMPORTANT that it is leveled before you use it.... When we set up the washer here, we just took it out of the box and plugged it in, then we put some clothes in the washer to wash overnight. Clothes take longer to wash here in Norway, so nights are usually the best time to wash clothes. After we went to bed, we woke up in the middle of the night to a cacophony coming from inside the bathroom. Our washer already sounds like it is trying to take off and fly when it starts to go into a spin cycle, but this time it was incredibly loud and banging around. When we got into the bathroom, the washer was banging around and hopping up and down, and it had moved out in front of the door. We unplugged it and sat on it until it stopped, and then we sat there for a minute, hearts racing, and then went back to bed :) But, the next day, we leveled it out and now everything works fine. So, my advice would be this: Usually, it is a good idea to read the directions before setting something up. Especially a washing machine :)
The members here in Oslo are great. The Relief Society president is named Pauline, and she is from England, and she is the only person I have ever heard speak Norwegian with an English accent. So that is funny. She is really nice and has short blonde hair and is always inviting the missionaries over. Are Svendsen, my favorite member, is a rich lawyer that lives in a really really nice apartment in possibly the sketchiest part of Oslo. Are is a star member missionary, and he is always bringing his friends to church and meeting random people who somehow end up coming to some church event. Even with members like Are, we don't have a ton of baptisms here in Norway. As of right now, we have had 43 this year, and I don't know how much higher it is going to get. We haven't had any baptisms in Oslo since I have been here, but we are trying really hard and I have faith that number is going to turn around soon.
Tracting is really long and there are a lot of people who say no. I haven't really had any bad experiences yet, just nights of not finding anyone and people slamming doors in our face, but it is always worth it when we find the people that are interested in talking to us more. One funny thing was that we talked to a man that really wasn't interested. (I guess you need a little background first. The word for interested in Norwegian is interesert, and the word for interesting is interesant. So keep that in mind.) But when people find out we are Americans they try to speak English to us a lot, so that guy did the same. He glared at us a little bit, looked down, and then said in a quiet voice, "I'm not interesting." It was all I could do to not laugh as he closed the door and we walked off the step, but I guess what I am trying to say is that we find ways to keep it entertaining :)
Even though this week was really really slow, it was good. We didn't teach any lessons, and we just went out knocking on doors every night, so it was really really long. But, we found a lot of good potentials, and we even set up a few teaching appointments, so this week is going to be a lot better. And everyone has been expecting this at first in this new area, so hopefully we can just get things going now. We set up three dinners with members this week, and we are going to meet with David, the Buddhist again. When we asked him to send us his address, he said that he didn't have one and that he would have to send us a "description" of how to get to where he sleeps, so I have no idea what that means, and I am a little nervous about it, but we will see tomorrow! Hopefully I will have more to report next week!
The slow week has given me a lot of time to think about life and what it means to be a follower of Christ, and I think that it has been really good for me. Sometimes you just need time to think, you know?
I have been told all of my life, that in order to understand another person, you need to be able to walk a mile in their shoes and to see the world through their eyes. But that has never really made very much sense to me, because the world is the same for everyone. Whether it is through my eyes or your eyes, a rock is a rock, a tree is a tree, and a person remains the same. Right?
I think so. But, as I have pondered what it really takes to understand a person and to know what it is that they are going through, I have come to a conclusion. We all look at the same world and the same things, and no matter who the viewer is, God's creations remain the same. In and of itself, the fact that I am looking at the world does not change its reality. However, what does matter and what separates us from each other is that we look at the world and notice the things that are individually important to us.
As a missionary, I look at the world and I see good places to proselyte, and people who are likely to accept the gospel. An architect looks at the world and notices structures, buildings, and angles. An artist sees lines and colors, a mother watches carefully over her children, and a religious man sees the hand of God in everything around him. These are all different ways that we observe the world, and we are each different from each other. We have different backgrounds and priorities which shape the way in which we view the world. But, there is One who views the world as its very creator.
Christ views the world and its inhabitants for what they can become.
It is such a profound thing to think that our Savior keeps our eternal possibilities in His view. His eternal perspective is not marred by our occasional faults and mistakes. He always remembers what our true purpose is here, and what it takes to get there. As I have begun to try to more fully understand my Savior, I have done my best to see the world through His eyes, and to pay attention to the things that He thinks are important. As I have done this, it has been like He reached gently down to me and lifted a veil from in front of my eyes. When we try to look through Christ's perspective, we can understand so much more of the world around us. Our charity grows.
I know that if we all do our best to look through Christ's eyes and make His priorities our priorities, we will be better able to help each other on this journey toward perfection. Christ will always be there for us, so let us all make the decision to always be there for Him.
I love this gospel and I love all of you, and I am so grateful for all the love and support I have received this week. It has been much needed, and my prayers have been answered through those that I love. You are all the best, and I hope that we can all make the most of this next week! Gud vær med dere til vi ses igjen!