Monday, March 3, 2014

Living a Life of Worship

Spring is definitely on its way, and things are warming up.  I came to Norway expecting a harsh long winter, but I got here and it has actually been pretty mild. I guess that this is really abnormal, but I am not complaining. We will have to see what next winter brings.
Yesterday we ate had a dinner prepared by a Philippino girl named Siahanie (shuh-hah-nee) and a girl from Nepal named Pabitra (Puh-bee-truh). Siahanie met Pabitra at a Norwegian class, thought that she looked lonely, and talked to her. She felt like she should invite her to come to church with her, and now several months later, she is baptized! It was cool, because we have been trying to get the ward members to get involved in the work for a long time without any real success. Now I just wish that we could bottle whatever made her do it, and give it to the other members. It is frustrating because the members don't like it when we have a lot of foreign investigators who can't speak Norwegian, but those are the only people who will listen to us through our own efforts. If we are going to get the Norwegians to listen, it will have to be through the members, but they aren't doing much as of yet. Its a weird paradox we've got going here, but I am sure that we will be able to find a way to get through to them.
Rhoda is still planning on being baptized on the 22nd, but she needs to get a testimony that our church is true, and I think that will be the issue. She asked if she could still go to her church after she gets baptized, so we have some work to do. But she is willing, and that is all that we can really ask for. She comes from Kenya and has been here for a long time. She is divorced and has 2 children, and she had a pretty tough life early on. She has a really strong testimony of the power of prayer, so I think we will be able to use that to help her get her answer. I have been working on Rhoda for a long time, so I hope that we will finally be able to get through to her.
Other than that, we didn't do a whole lot of crazy exciting things this week. We taught a few of our new investigators, but we will mostly be meeting with all of them this week. Oh yeah, we didn't find any of them through referrals or tracting. It was all through talking to people on public transportation. That has been a bit of a focus for us this transfer, and we are finding a lot of people who will meet with us that way. Things are going well, and the Lord is helping us out. We are also starting to teach Norwegian classes. We have a class on Wednesday and Saturday at 4, and the first one will be on Saturday. I think that it will be a great way to bring in people who might not be interested on first contact, but who will be able to feel the spirit when they talk to us. Plus it will be fun to help people in that way.
Lately the Lord has really been blessing us. And I mean a lot. As a mission, we have a goal this year to baptize 157 people, but as of right now, we have only baptized 6. I know that the Lord is trying our faith here in Norway, and that He is perfectly capable of leading us to 151 more prepared people if He wants to. And honestly, we have had a lot of progress lately. The Lord is leading us to people who will talk to us, and when our own lack of skill and missionary prowess is not enough, He takes things into His own hands and gives us a miracle. Every time. What do we have to fear when the Lord is on our side?
Lately I have been pondering the meaning of true worship and the role that it should really take in our lives, as those numbered among the partakers of restored religion. I think that "worship" is a word that is thrown around a lot in the church, but that no one really ever takes the time to define. We learn in the scriptures that we should know who and what we should worship, and that we should do it in spirit and truth, but at least for me, in my life, I have found that to be easier said than done.
We have worship services every Sunday, during which we partake of the sacrament, sing praises to our God, and are uplifted by members of our own congregations. But is not worship more than forcing ourselves to stay awake for 3 hours every Sunday, all the while thinking about what Mom has in the crock pot for the Sunday night meal? It seems that all too often, our "worship" becomes a rote exercise each week that is forgotten all too soon. It has been said that the half life of a superb classroom experience is 4 days, so how long does it take to forget the things we do on Sundays if we are not completely focused?

The inspiration came to me this week that the word "to worship" is not as much verb as it is an adjective. It is not so much something that we do as a way that we live. It is a describing word, and when we, as true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, choose to worship the Father in Spirit and Truth, it means that we follow the counsel of the Savior to His Nephite fold, and "[seek first] the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." When we choose to use our time to lift the hands that hang low and help each child of God to remember his own divine potential and the love that is rightly his, then we have truly become to worship our Heavenly Father.

I hope that we all can make the choice to put the Lord first in our lives and to truly try the promise, and see if "all these things shall be added unto [us]." I know that the Lord will bless us beyond anything we can imagine when we follow His commandments and live a life that He would live.

I love you all, and we'll talk next week!
Eldste Childs

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