Monday, December 29, 2014

December 29

Happy New Year, everyone! 2014 has been one of the hardest years of my life, but also one of the best. I can't believe that it is over already. I remember distinctly last New Year's eve. I was standing on the roof of the Rasmussen's apartment in Oslo, talking to Elder Badger. His black year had just ended, and mine had just begun, and now, almost exactly one year later, the year is finished. Where did the time go? I'll tell you where it went: it went to a lot of knocked doors and a lot of people contacted on the street. It went to a lot of time spent with the members and time spent teaching investigators and doing everything except forcing them into the water to get them baptized. And you know what they always say - time flies when you're having fun.

At a year and a half into my mission, I can honestly say that missionary work is fun. I am standing on the edge of this year, looking out at 2015, and I am a little nervous to make the leap, because 2015 brings change. That word which is so beautiful and so necessary, yet so scary at the same time. I am comfortable as a missionary, and I have found my niche in the machine. But change is exactly what I need and I am excited for all of the adventures that 2015 is going to bring. Including the next 6 months of being a missionary. From this point on I am going to be sprinting toward the finish line. No looking back. It is a race against myself, and with the Lord's help, I will win. So I hope that you all have some goals for yourselves as well, because that's where progression really comes in. We have to set goals which will help us and others to achieve our Heavenly Father's ultimate goal for us, which is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." What a wonderful journey we are all in together.

I had a wonderful Christmas with the Norwegian people. It was the best to be able to talk to my family, and it felt just like I was sitting back in Highland, Utah. What a weird feeling! We ate delicious Christmas food, sang and danced around the Christmas tree, shared Christmas traditions, and received many gifts from our friends and family. We have been so blessed, and I am ready to show my gratitude by giving the Lord my all.  

My testimony of the Savior is very simple and quite deep. Over the course of the past year and a half, I have discovered that Jesus Christ is not just a bright idea which helps people to have hope in a dark world. He was not just a wise man or a great teacher, and he was more than just the heir to the throne of the Jews. Yes, He he was more even than the Savior of the world, born more than 2000 years ago in a nation who sought His life. None of that would matter if it were not for the glorious fact that Jesus Christ is a real presence now, in our lives, today. He lives. Sometimes I worry that we focus too much on what Jesus Christ did instead of what He does. Less on who He is and more on who He was. Because for me, when I picture Christ, I don't picture the lonely man walking the roads of Jerusalem. I picture the healing hands which pick me up when I am down. I think of the gentle arm He has given me on those days when I didn't think I could go on. When I didn't think I could knock on one more door or talk to one more person. I think of the times when I was ready to give up, and the Savior said to me, no, one more. Reach one more, feed my sheep. I have at times been in the depths of despair and darkness, and I felt I was nothing. But still, the Savior reached out in His infinite mercy and touched me with His love. He has given me a new heart and cleansed my soul. So yes, I know that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, walked among the Jews in Jerusalem and finally died for all of our sins on Calvary. There is nothing I love to think about more than the life of that Holy Man. But more importantly than anything else, I know that He lives so that we too might live again. He lives to take away our weaknesses and pain and heartache. He knows exactly what we feel in every trial we meet in this life, but He also loves us enough to let us go through it, sometimes seemingly alone, so that we too can grow and gain the capacity to give life to others as well. He is the gift this Christmas season, and I am so grateful to be able to wear his name on my chest and share that knowledge with others now. May we all live a little bit more like Him each day is my prayer.

Thank you so much for all of the support that I receive from each of you, it really means the world to me. Good luck with your New Year's resolutions, and remember: Walk confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. The only thing stopping you is your self! I love you all!

On the 26th we had a big multi-zone Christmas celebration and that included the talent show. For the talent, we had "Elder Childs and the Dancing Reindeer." Just a silly performance of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and it was a lot of fun. It was good for all of the missionaries to be able to blow off some steam during the Christmas season. I feel so blessed, because some of the missionaries were having their get-togethers with only 6 or 8 missionaries, where we had 40. So that was fun.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15

Hey everyone, I hope you all are doing well. I am just sitting here in my office, enjoying a jule brus (which means Christmas soda and is delicious. It is a Norwegian specialty, and it is amazing), and looking out the window at the green grass on the ground. What? I thought I was in Norway, but this winter has been even more mild than the last one. Weird stuff. But it's a good life, it really is. I don't have a whole lot of time, so I am going to give you the events of the week bullet-point style this time. So here we go.

  • We went in to get a rock chip in the windshield of the van fixed only to find out that we actually need to get the entire windshield replaced because it is that deep. Looks like we will be spending some time in the shop.
  • We had a "burny" pday with an elder who finished his mission on Thursday. We did all the cool things that can be done in Oslo all in one day, and it was great fun.
  • We made the hour-long trip to the airport four times during the week, so we had a lot of time to listen to great talks. We have been listening to the mission presidents' seminar lately, and it is so good. The apostles really care about this work.
  • We went to the annual Jul i toner (Christmas in tones, or notes...that's a bad translation, but you get the point :) concert and it was so good. I was reminded of how much I love music and I can't wait to get involved in that again.
  • I got a lot of packages and letters from people, and you all had such clever ideas. A special thank you to everyone who has been sending me Christmas tree ornaments. You are the best! 
  • We worked hard to share "He is the Gift" with everyone that we met. I listened to a talk this week that really changed the way I look at missionary work. I want to spend the next 6 months of my life finding people in the Lord's way and being the best missionary I can possibly be. I love this work. 
  • Our apartment is starting to feel more like a home and less like a warehouse, so that feels nice. We even went to IKEA to get a few things this week, and in the process discovered that IKEA food is so cheap and so good. Too bad it's Swedish. We got a used exercise bike from someone and we are getting settled in.
In short, it's been a great week, and I can't even begin to tell you all about it, but I guess that's why I have 60 years after I come home to talk about it, right? I hope you all have a wonderful week and always pray to have eyes to see the unseen opportunities to share the gospel. The Lord leads us to people or people to us all the time- all we have to do is look for them. Go make a difference! I love you all!

This is me being burny with Elder Clarke back at Holmenkollen. So weird that I was there one year ago....

the office grind....

We went to a viking museum and it was the best. The vikings were so cool! They found tons of ships buried in a place called Tønsberg in Norway, and I drove there last week. It was pretty cool.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 8

Hey everybody, it's been another great week! Time is going quick, and it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. This was the first real week with snow that I have had so far this year, so that was nice for a change. It's not fun driving in, though, but that just takes me back to my Utah days. The days are getting shorter and colder, but it is also starting to feel a lot more cozy and to be a lot more like what people typically imagine when they think of Norway. Little wooden houses with smoke coming out the chimney from the fire in the fireplace, snow covering the trees and rooftops, small trolls walking all over the place, the whole lot. Well, most of that is true anyway. But I really have no idea what people imagine when they think of Norway, but I can tell you this much: Norway is the best.

This week we have been working really hard to prepare for some conferences that are going to happen in January, so we have spent a lot of time in the office looking at our computer screens. It was actually a pretty tough week as far as the work goes, because we didn't really ever have time to go out, but the Lord blessed us anyway. We spent most of the week pleading with the Lord for some success, and it wasn't looking so good on Sunday. But we got out and taught a wonderful woman named Liv Lund and her son Matthias. The Spirit was so strong as we taught and testified of the gospel, and they both committed to be baptized on the 10th of January. Pray for her, because she really needs the gospel. 

We are also working with Jon Axel still, and he is such a good man. He could be a member except for the fact that he isn't baptized yet. We serve him every week and desire so deeply for him to be baptized, but he just can't seem to recognize the answers he is receiving from Heavenly Father. Sometimes as missionaries we want everything to happen right now, because we work in the short term. But sometimes God's plan is a little broader than that. Ultimately, the most important thing will always be love, and that is the biggest thing we can do to help God's children along the path. So we will just continue to love Jon Axel.

Life is so good, and I am so happy. I am making so many friends in the ward here, and I am going to love the time I have to spend serving the good people in Sandvika. We decided that this week we are going to have an "English fast" where we only speak Norwegian. Our mission is really young, but I am excited for the opportunity to speak the language and work for the gift of tongues.

The work is going forward, and I just want to be a part of it. I hope you all do too! Love you all, and we will talk next week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 1

Hey everyone, I thought last week went by quickly, but I was in for a surprise, because this week was even faster. Life has been such a blur of events, and it just seems like one continual day for me now. My train-ride from Trondheim to Oslo actually went really well, and I was able to meet a lot of really great people on the way. I had a travel buddy, Sister Robbins, to talk to along the way, so it didn't end up being too bad. It feels really good to be back in the Oslo area. For those of you who remember, last year I began my mission by serving in Oslo, and I was there for quite a long time. I am now in Sandvika, which is a suburb/city about 20 minutes outside of Oslo, so although I am in a new ward, it feels good to be home. And some of my friends from Oslo have even moved to this ward while I was away, so it feels great to be back.

I got to the office on Thursday, and we got right into business, and we haven't really stopped since. Which I like. It is really good to be busy, and time goes quickly. Life has been a whirlwind of buying plane tickets and organizing meetings and transfers and working to make sure everything in the mission goes smoothly. There is a lot to learn, but it is a great adventure. 

My duties now as AP include a lot of logistics things. We are in charge of tickets for all of the splits for missionaries in the mission (zls, sister training leaders, dls, etc.) and so that is crazy enough in and of itself. We also are in charge of organizing everything for the mission report every week for President Evans, and we do a lot for that. We also do a lot of things that President needs, like evaluating different statistics in preparation for different meetings he has. It is just a lot of crazy practical stuff to keep everything going smoothly. The church keeps really meticulate records, so we are always updating things on their database. They know every area, companion, and call each missionary has had, on top of all the key indicators they get for their whole mission. And on top of everything else, President Evans basically treats us like his counselors, so we spend a lot of time talking with him about the transfer and different missionaries and who should get what call, etc. So life is good. We get to the office around 7:30, then we work until at least 2, then try to do some things for our own proselyting area, then we are always back to the office around 8 o clock to do more office chores. We have been getting back home around 10:30, so everything really just blends together. It's fun :)  One of our other responsibilities is to go on splits with all of the zone leaders every transfer, so we will be travelling at least 4 times a month, plus zone conferences and different meetings that we will be going to. So we will be doing quite a bit of travelling.

Even though we are extremely busy, we also have been doing our best with proselyting so that we can be a good example in the way we work in our own area as well, and it went fairly well this week. We had one of the most spiritual teaches of my mission with a man named Jon Axel on Friday, and I know that he is going to be baptized. He is nervous to make that big step in his life, but his son, who was baptized last December, joined us in the teach and pleaded with his father to be baptized and join him on the path which leads to eternal life. The tears were flowing and the Spirit bore powerful testimony that the church was true. I left that appointment feeling so refreshed and energized, and I am so grateful for the opportunity we have as missionaries to be a tool in the Lord's hands. 

The Sandvika ward is really great, and I am loving serving here. We had a ward Thanksgiving party which was hosted by Sister Evans, and it was great to be able to meet all the members. I already have some good friends, and I can tell that it is going to be a fun time in my mission to be here in Sandvika. I think I am tired all the time, and we are working from 7:30 to 22:30 everyday, but it is so worth it. I love going out to find the Lord's elect. I love being relentless, and I love looking back and seeing the way the Lord's hand is in our lives. 

The Rasmussens are still in the YSA center, and I am so excited to be back where I can see them again! They are the best :) We are actually going to go down to a Thanksgiving dinner (with all the normal Thanksgiving goodies :) that Sister Rasmussen is making for the missionaries later today, so that will be a lot of fun. They are like my second parents out here in Norway.

It has been great to serve with my companion, Elder Skinner, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us. I hope you all have had a great week, and just know that I love you!

Thanksgiving Dinner at the YSA Center

Thanksgiving Feast!

With Elder Rasmussen

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24

Well hello, again, everyone! The way time is flying right now, it feels like I just barely typed up my last blog post, but here I am again and it is one week later. Crazy. We have done a lot of good things this week, and for some reason, the weekend was especially good, but we will get to that later. 

So first things first. The time has come for another transfer to happen, and this one was filled with rumors. I had no idea what was going to happen to me, but it turns out I am going to be transferred away from Trondheim. I am really sad to be saying goodbye to the members here, because I really love them a lot, and they have become my family in Norway. But that's life and I knew it would happen sometime. I am going to be moving to Sandvika to be an assistant to President Evans. It's a big change and will definitely be a challenge, but I am excited to go serve, and I am sure there will be a lot of great opportunities in the future. I don't actually know what the address of the apartment is at the moment because the APs just moved, but until further notice, those of you who wish to send something in the mail can send it to the address of the mission office:

Elder Dallin Childs
Postboks 894
1306 Sandvika

Anyway, that will be a change, but I'm sure it is going to be a lot of fun and I am really excited. This week has been a crazy one. We had a lot of good things happen on Tuesday, and for some reason, Tuesday is turning out to always be a really good day for us. Probably the biggest miracle story is a man named Svein. I met Svein on the streets about two months ago while we were on splits with some missionaries, and we taught him about the Book of Mormon. He was interested in how our message could help him to overcome problems in his life, including depression and struggles with drugs. I promised him that it would make all the difference, and after a prayer, we made an appointment for him to meet us at the church later that week to continue to talk. But he never showed up. Since then I have tried to get in contact with him, but to no avail. So honestly I had given up on him and moved on. This week we were out contacting on the streets when we ran into Svein again. It was the best, because I knew that this time is was going to work out. We talked again about the Book of Mormon again and invited him to come to the church on Sunday. He came and we were able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and testify to him of the power of the atonement to change his life. I am so excited to watch his progress in the gospel. Svein committed to be baptized on the 24th of January, so I am excited for him to come unto Jesus Christ. 

There were a lot of other things which happened this week, including getting splits in Kristiansund canceled, seeing the northern lights, taking pictures of the Mockingjay movie posters, running from the church to the train station with the sisters to catch our train, and saying goodbye to all of the members. That was really sad. I am going to miss the people in Trondheim so much, and it is even worse because I don't know when I will see them again. But that is life. 

It's really good to be a missionary, and I am so excited for the experiences. You should try it sometime :) Have a great week, and we will be talking next week, from Oslo!!! Back to my home, baby!

This is me at the gågate, which means walking street. Every city has one, and it is the place where they have a lot of their stores and things. No cars allowed, which means it is full of pedestrians.

This is a famous statue of Olav Tryggvason, who was the guy who made Norway Christian a long time ago.

Arnold and Ali (from left to right.) Ali is probably the nicest man I have ever met.

One of the members in Trondheim, named Birgit, who is awesome.

This is the sweet hat I knitted!

It has the "marius" pattern, which is really traditional Norwegian. What do you think? :)

"Bestemor" which means grandma. it's an old lady in the ward who is really nice and she got surgery on her knee, so we went and visited her. She is the best.

Eli Johanne. One of my favorite members under the age of 8. She just follows me around all the time and tells me I can't leave Trondheim. She is the best :)​

This is Audie (at the house) who is a member and is also the less-active who has made the most progress on my mission. He referred his friend, who is in the other picture. His name is Sing and is from India.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 17

I am sitting here at the computer to write about this week, and to be honest I can't even remember when it started. Last Monday.... that seems like a really long time ago. What happened? Well, I am assuming we had Pday... let's see. Every Monday night we have an appointment with a member in the ward. We go to their house and eat dinner, and they usually invite a non-member or less-active friend. They are really cool. So we went there this week and had dinner together with a girl named Marita who is in the process of coming back to church right now, and she is really cool. Adrian, the husband, had told me beforehand what we were going to be eating, so I had been looking forward to it the whole day. We had open-faced sandwiches, but we made them ourselves. They set a giant bowl of shrimp on the table, heads and all, and we peeled a ton, put mayonnaise on bread, and piled a bunch of shrimp on top, and it was delicious. Pretty messy but really so good. So that was fun.

On Tuesday we had the whole zone in Trondheim again for a ZLT, and it turned out to be a big success. We talked a lot about the area book and about teaching and saw some huge miracles throughout the zone as a direct result of missionaries being more diligent with the area book. So that was cool.

We also went to Bodø in the middle of the week, and that was fun. For all of you who are complaining that it isn't even cold in Norway and it isn't fair, you should go to Bodø, because it is freezing, and the wind never stops blowing. So I had a cold 24 hours. I got to see my good friend Elder Brink and work with him while I was there as well. Here is a personal message to Sister Brink: Elder Brink is doing great, he looks healthy, and he is alive--You have nothing to worry about. :) It was good to see those elders again, and we did some good work. Between stake conference in the weekend and everything else that happened this week, we really didn't have time to do much of anything in our own area, but we somehow managed to have a great week again. The Lord sure does bless us. 

At Stake Conference there was a visiting area authority from Germany, and he gave a really good talk about joy. It is such an interesting topic, because we are all looking for joy, but no one seems to have it. I feel like we spend most of our time talking about our problems and the things that go wrong in the world. Sometimes I get to church and hear the different conversations people are having, and imagine myself being an investigator in our church. I think one of my first thoughts would be, "If I join this church, am I also going to start having all these problems? I haven't even heard of problems like these before!" I think that we should spend more time talking about the joy of the Savior and His atonement, and less time worrying about the things that aren't exactly perfect. I am convinced that one of the reasons God sent us to the earth was to convince us that it is possible to feel joy no matter what our circumstances are. We can have joy because we know that we are saved through Jesus Christ. I love that. That is why I am out here, and I am not going to let anything get in the way as I work on allowing the joy of the Savior to always dwell in my heart. I am so grateful for Him and that we can always know that no matter what, he will be there for us in our heart aches and trials.

Game night with the homies. That's the typical Friday night for ya.

The super solid dinner we made the other night. A member bought us a ton of chicken breasts, which are suuuuper expensive in Norway, so we made up a batter and deep fat fried it and made wok. It was delicious :) #asianskillz

The actual food.

The Norwegian sunrise.

Bodø splits.

Look! It's Elder Brink!

Me with my two friends who went home this week. Way sad, but I guess that's life.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10

In Norway some of the holidays are a little bit different, and one of those is Father's Day, which was yesterday. Happy Father's Day, Dad! And happy Father's Day to all the rest of you dads as well. I always think it's funny because on Mother's Day and Father's Day in the states, the primary always gets up and sings and then they give everyone a gift afterward, but in Norway it really isn't much of a big deal. Weird culture differences. 

It's been a good week for me. But I feel like I always say that. If I had a bad week, I wonder if I would say anything else.... Probably not :) We have been working really hard, and it is paying off. Last week was pretty rough, so we decided that we needed to go out and change it, and we were able to see some miracles. The week reminded me a lot of the scripture which talks about us receiving blessings only after the trial of our faith. We went out and were going ham at the beginning of the week and we found some of the coolest, most prepared people I have ever met. The only problem was that they were all from different parts of Norway, so we couldn't actually teach any of them. I know it really doesn't matter as long as they are baptized, but it was a little frustrating anyway. But we just kept going out to work and finally on Sunday had the miracles come rushing in and we were able to find some new investigators and commit a guy named Gebru to baptism, and I was just really grateful to the Lord. He always pulls through.

I guess I don't really have a lot to say today, but I just want to end with a scripture I memorized recently, because it has really meant a lot to me lately. It is in D&C 84:88 and says, "And whoso receiveth you, there will I be also. For I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall dwell in your hearts, and my angels round about you to bear you up." Every time I read that scripture before, I though about the angels lifting and protecting us, because that is pretty dang cool, let's be honest. But I think a really important part that I have missed before is when the Lord tells us that His spirit shall dwell in our hearts. It is so comforting to know that whenever things get hard and the road gets dark in front of us, that the Lord not only sends angels to be with us, but that he sends His spirit to dwell within us, because of the covenant of baptism which we have made with Him. Because of this, there is no darkness that can penetrate us, and no evil or negative influence which can ultimately crush our hope for salvation through Jesus Christ. We will always have the power to overcome whatever comes our way. No matter how big the trials, the Lord starts from our hearts, the very core of our being, and gives us strength to go forward into whatever the future has to offer. So hope on, dream on, and live on, because the Lord dwells among us in Zion. It really is a glad message we share with people.

I love you all and hope you will have a wonderful week. Go be true disciples of Christ!

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3

Hey everybody!! One thing Norwegians say to greet each other (or say goodbye) is "hei hei." It means "hi hi" and is pronounced in exactly the same way. Probably the most versatile greeting known to man- just think about it. It doesn't even matter if people are walking toward you or away from you, it just always works. This is especially useful when we are contacting on the street and people don't even give us a chance to say anything at all. Then we only have to say it once and we have both greeted and bid farewell, all with two simple words. So hei hei everyone! Now you don't know if I am finished with the blog post or only beginning :)

It has been a pretty good week for me here in Trondheim. We haven't been doing a whole lot of traveling lately, though, which is weird for me. I have gotten so used to traveling at least once a week on my mission that when we don't do it, it just feels rather strange. Like something is missing. But October came and went before I could even blink. I haven't quite accepted the fact that we are living in 2014 yet and it is almost over, so I guess I had better get on that. We had a lot of exciting things happen this week, though, including splits with the assistants, a Halloween party, and a zone conference, so there was plenty of stuff going on to keep us busy.

During the zone conference, we talked mostly about member missionary work and the specific thing that we can do as missionaries to help it go forward. You might say that the work here in Norway isn't exactly hastened as much as some other parts of the world yet, so we have a big role to play in helping things to happen in that area of life. But I was also reminded of just how important the members are in the eternal scheme of things. Sure, we as missionaries could probably baptize people without the members (and past results show that we can), but if we want to bring people into the church to stay and contribute to real growth, it has to be with the help of the members. Always and at all costs. So that's me going off on my soapbox about member missionary work. I love the members here in Trondheim; they do a wonderful job. I know that I am going to be so sad when I have to leave them.

Here's a quick update on the work in our area: Uy came to church again and we were able to teach him afterward and give him the Book of Mormon to read. He is really sincere and this is the first time he has really given religion a chance, so I am confident that he is going to get his answer that it's true. We are hoping to get a baptismal date with him next week, so please keep him in your prayers for us. We are also going to go back to Juan's place next week and hopefully commit him to baptize his daughter as well, so the work is going forward for us here. We are expecting miracles and they are coming. I am so grateful for the help. 

From the emails I have received today, it sounds like you all are doing wonderfully well. I pray that life continues to go smoothly, but most of all that you all will find joy in the journey. Because that's what is most important, right? Talk to you later! Love you all!

Us at an art exhibit calleld "salamandernatten" or the night of the salamander.

Norway, it's awesome :) 

The tiniest room ever (where we helped a lady move)

An awesome sunrise we had.

Here is a picture of the Halloween party :) 

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27

One more good week in Trondheim behind me, and Autumn is disappearing quick. When I came to Norway, I expected to find a lot of crazy vikings here who don't even stop wearing shorts until it is below zero, but what I really discovered was that the people here are really pretty wimpy when it comes to cold. They bundle up really early in the season and the winter clothes don't come off for a long time into the spring. But I guess they just learned how to deal with the cold better. So it is winter coats, gloves and hats for the people here, and that is a weird feeling for me. But I love it! We had a good week, and we have been doing a lot to try to find some new investigators who will meet with us and progress.

Although we have been finding people my whole time in Trondheim, it has been hard for us in our own area to find people who are willing to meet and progress. Yesterday, however, we had a couple of miracles which helped to see the hand of the Lord helping us to have success in our work here. The first was that we were sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday when we saw an Asian man we didn't recognize come in the door. We went to talk to him after church and found out that his name is Uy and he is from Vietnam. He got a card on the street a while ago, and looked at and became interested. He didn't know where our church was, though, so he went through the effort to find the address and show up to see what it is all about. We were able to share a short message about the Book of Mormon and get an appointment for him to come back on Wednesday, so I am excited to watch him progress.

The other miracle was a less-active man named Juan Torres. He has been really hard to get ahold of my entire time in Trondheim, but last night we decided to try one more time and just show up at his house. He ended up actually being home with his two kids, and we were able to go in and share a message with them. He is from Chile and was a really strong member at one point in his life, but after moving to Norway and marrying a non-member, he lost focus on coming to church. He still has a testimony, however, and lives worthily, so we were able to have a very candid discussion about church and commit him to come back. He also has a 9-year-old daughter who needs to be baptized and he knows it. It will be great to be able to visit them on a weekly basis and help their family come closer to Christ.

I have had so many experiences on my mission which have helped me learn that God has a plan for each of His children. I don't know what it is or when it will happen, and most of the time I don't even know when I am a part of His plan, but my goal is just to make myself available to Him so that He can use me if He needs me. And the best part of God's plan is that He needs every one of us. I hope that we can all be there for our Heavenly Father when He needs us so He can use us as a tool with which to bless His children. Go make someone's day this week! Love you all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20

Hello Everyone,

Monday: It was two of the sisters' last pday in Norway, all hung out by the cathedral, played a few games, and just chilled so that they could have a good one. It was a lot of fun, and I was just thinking about how great Norway really is. In the evening, we went to dinner with a couple named Rebekka and Adrian, and they are awesome. We had good food and great conversation, and best of all, they agreed to have us over every week and to find people who will come as well. Can you say referrals? I love member missionary work, it is so much fun. So all of my Mondays in the next while are looking really awesome.

Wednesday: The sisters we had left, and that means we got two new missionaries on Wednesday. Fresh from the MTC. In the afternoon we went to go pick them up from the train station to help them take their bags back to the apartment and everything, and it was a really strange experience. It threw me back to when I came to Norway, and that seems like it was an eternity ago. On the way back to their apartment, we met a member named Birgit, and she is legendary. It was a great first member to meet in Norway. She sang a song to them and danced and it was just really funny. Missions are crazy, but there are so many good times.

Well, we did a ton of things this week, and it was really great, but it is all kind of getting mixed around in my head, so I think I will just throw out a few highlights. We went on home teaching splits with a couple of the men from the ward, and it was really great. We talked to some less actives who have been really hard to contact, and it was really productive. The northern lights also came out while we were walking, so that's always a plus :) A girl named Michelle was baptized yesterday in the church as well. There were tons of members who came and it was something that we have been working on for a long time, so it was good to sit back and relax, knowing that she had finally gotten there. Missionary work is the best.

This week we committed the zone to pick a time that they could go out on the streets and not come back inside until they found a new investigator- not for meals, not to rest, not anything- we needed some faith up in here. And they did it and there were tons of miracles! It was such a good experience to see everyone show their faith and then accomplish something big.   I am grateful for the blessings the Lord has poured down on us this week. I have been struggling to find out how we can get the work going up here, and I was really glad to see a lot of good things happen this week. 

It was actually a big surprise how quickly the finding came this week. We had the Alta missionaries who found 4 new investigators the first night, the Trondheim elders didn't even leave the apartment building before they had found a new investigator, and we were out on the streets for exactly 6 minutes before we found ours. I knew the Lord would help us out, but I didn't know it would be in such dramatic fashion. 

I have been studying a lot this week about obedience and what that really means for us. Not just the how, but the why and how it is beneficial to us. I love the quote in "Preach My Gospel" by L. Tom Perry on the subject, which says, “The discipline contained in daily obedience and clean living and wholesome lives builds an armor around you of protection and safety from the temptations that beset you as you proceed through mortality.” I have such a strong testimony that this is true. There is a definition of a commandment in the Doctrine and Covenants which goes something like this: A commandment is instructions given to us from God on how we can act before Him in such a way that it will turn to us for our salvation. So the blessings of obedience are double. We receive immediate protection in our everyday lives now, and we are given guidance on how we can walk in a way which will lead us back to our Heavenly Father. I am doing my best to embrace whole-hearted obedience as my pattern for living, because I know it works. The gospel is so simple if we live it right, and I can testify that obedience is the way to go. It brings so much joy and so many blessings.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

District Picture at the Cathedral

Train Station Selfie

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13

First things first, we had moves call on Sunday, and I found out that I will be staying in Trondheim for another transfer! Woohoo! I love this place, and I am grateful for the opportunity to stay and continue to serve with Elder Shanklin. Keeping the dream team united. That is what I am talking about :) It has been a good week and we have positive things for the future, so I can't really complain much, but I don't believe that anyone has the right to complain as a missionary. We are so blessed.

On Monday we started off the week strong by going to a new mall that was opened in our area (which had a grocery that reminded me A LOT of Walmart. For those of you who haven't been to Norway, the stores here are nothing like Walmart, so I almost felt at home.) We got ice cream and then bought hot dogs and went out to the beach to have a grilling party and hang out and take some pictures. It was a lot of fun, even if the Norwegian "beach" isn't much of a tourist attraction. It was a lot of fun to have a pday as a district, because two of the sisters in our district are reaching the end of their missions this week, and we are going to miss them.

On Tuesday we had a zone leader training meeting, for which the whole zone came down to Trondheim. As always, I was dealing with a lot of stress leading up to the meeting, but it turned out to be alright, and we even incorporated an auction into the proceedings. I really enjoyed myself and I think that the missionaries got some inspiration from the Holy Ghost, so I count it as a success :) Later that day, we were able to Skype with our friend Charlie, who was baptized in Oslo a while back and then moved back to Taiwan (he is our Asian friend :) It made me so grateful for the technology we have to be able to talk to people from across the world. We also visited a less active lady who loves the fact that we are knitting and who gave us the best chair ever. I will probably have to take a picture of it just so you can see, because it was quite the adventure to get it to our apartment, and it is so comfortable. I love it. 

On Wednesday and Thursday we were on splits. Wednesday was here in Trondheim with the other elders, and then we flew up to Bodø the next day to work with them for a while. Both were really good experiences, but the highlight was Bodø, because we went up there and destroyed their area. The Lord blessed us so much and we were able to teach a lot of lessons and find new investigators- miracles really do happen. It was really cold and extremely windy, and Elder Shanklin ended up having a bike crash, but miraculously, he did not get injured, and we made it back in one piece. 

The rest of the week kind of blends together in my mind, but some highlights are that we played soccer with the members on Saturday, which is always a blast, we found tons of new investigators for our area (something that we really needed) and I was able to accompany a violin duet in sacrament meeting for ward conference, and it was beautiful. We played "Be Still, My Soul" and I really enjoyed it. While playing, however, I got to the next to last page and realized that I hadn't copied the last page while I copied the others to make life easier, so I had a mini freak out mid song while I was digging through my pile of papers and trying to keep the song going so I could play the last part. But everyone said they didn't notice, so I guess it went okay :) 

It was a crazy week, like it always is, but I love it. I have such a strong testimony that the Lord's hand is in this work and that he blesses His missionaries. The "regular" members are his missionaries as well :) Let's live our faith out loud this week, and be the best disciples of Christ this world has ever seen! I know we can do it. I love you all!

Zone selfie! I was pretty impressed with the skills to be honest... but that is our zone :)

The Zone!

Alright I know the selfies are getting ridiculous, but hey, it's a mission.

This is us taking senior pics round two, but it was good to get a picture with the elders.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6 2014

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks... haha ring any bells?? It was a crazy week, that's for sure :) We spent a lot of time travelling and watching general conference, and as a result, we didn't have a lot of time to get much done. But it was still really enjoyable.

On Monday I taught myself to knit. Haha I bet you didn't see that one coming, did you? I am knitting a scarf :) It is a really big part of the culture in Norway, and all of the kids learn how to knit in school, so I figured, why not? Might as well learn some new skills. I doubt that it will ever be a big part of my life, but it is fun for a little while. Mondays have become really awesome lately, because we have a set appointment every week with a man named Kulwant at his restaurant. He is from India and gives us the most delicious free food, and then we talk about the gospel and God's plan. He was a referral from a man named Audie who is a less active member who we rescued here in Trondheim, and it has been the most amazing experience to see him grow and reach out to others to share what has helped him, just like Elder Bednar talked about yesterday. It's all true.

On Tuesday I don't even really remember what we did. It seems like so long ago. Let's see... I got asked to accompany the choir when they sing, so helped with that at practice, and we were supposed to meet with Miranda there and then go to choir practice together, but she didn't end up showing up. I don't know how to help people prioritize the church and God in their lives. Because I know how important He is, but they just don't seem to get it sometimes. 

On Wednesday we started the stretch of no sleep. We woke up at 4 am to fly in to Oslo to go to MLC, and that is always one of my favorite times of the month. It is so good to be with President and Sister Evans and hear their thoughts and just lift each other up. We found out we are going to be giving a meeting for the zone on Tuesday, so we have been running back and forth to get everything ready for that. After the meeting, we flew home and got back around midnight after a really tiring day.

On Thursday I had thought that I had had enough, but then we just turned around and woke up at 4 again to fly up to Alta for splits. Alta is super far up in the north, and for a minute there, I was the northernmost missionary in the entire world! Cool, right? I will send a picture :) It was great to spend some time with the missionaries up there, and travelling is always the best. At night after we got home, we went outside to go hunting for the northern lights, and they came out again. It is absolutely amazing. I think that everyone should have the experience to see them if they haven't, because it is one of the coolest things that nature has to offer. 

We woke up really early again on Friday to fly back home, and after that our week was basically destroyed. Every week can't be the best, I suppose.

The weekend was also really good because General Conference, and we got South American style numbers as far as people in church goes. Everyone came, and they all loved it, so it was a great end to the week. We stayed up late to watch the last session, and it was so worth it to see those talks. Life is good.

I am loving my mission, and I can't believe how  fast time is going. I am so grateful to all the people who pray for me and write me, and just make my life awesome. You all mean the world to me, and I hope you know I love you. Good stories to come in the future. Tell me about the miracles, and always try to be better. Have a great week!

A Quality Companionship.  :)

Alta Splits

Knitting in the airport.  We had some nasty long layovers this week.  :)

Some random sheep in Alta.  Yes, sheep exist in Norway.  :)

Me as the northernmost missionary in the world.

General conference with the boys.

The northern lights in Alta! I know it is a horrible picture, but at least I tried to share the experience with you. enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29

It has been a really crazy week, but also a good week :) There was definitely a bit of a water theme going on. Lots of rain, lots of ocean, and a baptism. Can't complain too much.

Monday: We had pday and we didn't really do anything, but sometimes you need a break from all of the craziness, and it was nice to relax. 

Tuesday: Nothing too crazy happened, but we were able to meet with a lady named Miranda, who is having a tough life and really needs the gospel. It was good to see her open up to us about how she is feeling and accept the invitation to come closer to Christ and try to strengthen her faith in Him. Also, she really likes cats. I end up praying for her cat at the end of most lessons, so that always keeps things interesting :)

Wednesday: On Wednesday we had a great finding day and found so many cool people, and then the APs came on splits and it was good fun. We are really good friends and it was great to have them come to Trondheim and go ham on the city. There is nothing like going hard all day and then coming back to the apartment, realizing that you have given everything and that you are so tired you could fall asleep standing up. I don't think that there has ever been a time on my mission where if someone told me to fall asleep, I couldn't do it in an instant, in whatever position I might be in. It is exhausting, but so amazing. 

The rest of the week is just a blur to me. The Kristiansund elders came on splits on Thursday and left on Sunday, and we had a baptism in between. Life is so good, and I love being a missionary. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Splits with the APs

One of the Members bought Pizza for Us

Our Baptism Ties

Veronika got baptized Saturday!

Early morning yoga in the graveyard.