Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

This week we went to Kristiansund on splits, and it is a really beautiful place. It is a smaller area, so it really reminded of Narvik (although it is nowhere near as small as Narvik is) and it was good to be there with the elders. One of the problems with being a zone leader in the north is that I don't really feel like I know the missionaries here very well, because we don't really get a ton of face time with them. But oh well, you do what you've gotta do. 

I have been sick this week, which is slightly ironic, because I was sick at exactly this time of year last year as well....huh. But it hasn't been too bad. Just a cold, so I have had a super runny nose and been really tired for the past few days, but I think I am getting over it now. I sure hope I am, anyway, because I don't have a ton of cold medicine, and all kinds of medicine are pretty hard to come by in Norway. 

Another cool thing that happened this week is that Elder Clayton M. Christensen (Author of "The Power of Everyday Missionaries") came to Trondheim this week! He gave a fireside at the church yesterday, and it was so good! He is such a cool guy and just happens to be a professor at Harvard in exactly what I want to study, so whatever. Also, we are going out to dinner with him and a representative from the university here tonight, so that will be a lot of fun. It is just general authorities galore here in Norway right now! I am excited to talk to him more about things.

It's going really well with Evelyn right now, we have been meeting and she is coming to church every week and reading in the Book of Mormon. It's great! And she was having a really hard time accepting the Word of Wisdom because she didn't understand it, but yesterday she said that she was standing over a pot of coffee for like 15 minutes trying to decide if she was going to drink it or not when it suddenly just smelled dirty. She said that coffee isn't even appetizing to her anymore, and I know it was a miracle from God helping her to overcome that weakness. We are going to meet with her tomorrow and commit her to be baptized, so I am really excited. 

We went geo-cacheing today and that was fun. we found it!

I live in Norway :)

Moods of Norway- best store ever :)

From Sister Kate Christensen:

Dear Parents,

We're a family from the Boston area and were in Trondheim this week. Our friend Alf (directly to the left of the elders) once studied abroad in Hurricane, UT and promised his host grandmother that he would always be kind to Mormon missionaries when he saw them. Here's a photo from after dinner tonight.

You have truly lovely and hardworking daughters and sons. It was great to meet and spend some time with them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Spite of the Rain

It has been another really fast week, and I can't believe it's another one gone. The work is going really well, and I really don't have any complaints there- our district is killing it, and Trondheim is the place to be. I hope you all get a chance to come and visit one day, because it really is a beautiful city. Sometimes I have moments when I take a step back and realize how crazy life is. I think to myself, wow, I am living in Norway, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is almost as if I come up for air from the rushing river of missionary life that I live in, look around and take in the scenery, and then plunge back down into the depths and hold on as life surges forward. It's really pretty nice. 

Unfortunately, Piotr didn't get baptized on Saturday. He told his parents about the baptism and they got really mad, so he randomly decided to fly out to Poland and I am not really sure when he will get back. I guess he promised his family that he wouldn't do anything with our church, because they are really strict about that in Poland, so I am not really sure what is going to happen next. I am expecting him to get baptized, but that is a really tough situation, and it takes a strong individual to be able to make the right choice. I will do everything I can to get him baptized, but we will have to see. 

What's more positive is that Evelyn is doing great. She believes in Jesus Christ now (she used to be Muslim) and she is coming to church every week. She is just getting used to having a belief in Christ for now, but I think that the time for her to be baptized is going to come really soon. I don't know if I told you or not, but she is someone that I contacted on the street towards the beginning of my time in Trondheim, and I think she is so cool. Miracles really do happen!

Some news that is  also very exciting is that the area presidency approved all of the Norwegian missionaries traveling to Oslo on the 7th of September for the Elder Bednar conference, so I will get to be there! I love Oslo and I love Elder Bednar, so this is going to be great. It will be 5 hours together with an apostle, so what could be better than that? Probably not a whole lot of things. :)

It's a rainy day in Trondheim today, but you know what? That is quite alright. One of the biggest things I have learned on my mission is the importance of creating your own weather. There are a lot of things that we can't control out there- the price of milk, that guy that cut in front of us in traffic, or the pessimistic co-worker to name a few- so it is important to learn to focus on the things that we can control. Our own attitude toward life and the challenges we face is a strong indicator of our personal progress towards becoming a dedicated disciple of Christ. When life's storms come along, and they will, just look up into the rain and smile, because we can all be our own sunshine today. I love you all, have a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

So today isn't a pday, which means that we only get a half hour to email, so I don't have time to say a lot. We are going to be traveling to Bergen and will be there on Wednesday and Thursday for a joint pday and two zone conference. We will be visited by a member of the area presidency, so that will be really good I am sure. I will take lots of pictures while I am there, because it is beautiful and I have always wanted to go to Bergen. Who knows if I will ever get there again! 

We had a really good week. One of the better weeks of my mission, and I have been trying so hard to get things going in our area so we could be a good example for the other missionaries. It was really good to see that the numbers for the zone really went up this week from where they have been, but the bad news was that it was basically ours and one other area that carried the entire zone.... so there are still issues. But we are getting there. I found a Russian girl named Evelyn this week, and she is awesome. She is probably my favorite investigator that I have had on my mission. She just barely moved here to get away from Russia and she is really cool and positive toward the church. I am excited to continue to teach her and she was in church yesterday, along with Piotr. Life is good. And Piotr will be getting baptized on Saturday, so that is exciting as well. It is going to be a really good week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

That Our Eyes May Be Opened

Another week has come and gone, and it is going FAST! Life is great here in Trondheim, and I really don't have any complaints. We have successfully made it through the drought of summer vacation, and we have all been looking forward to the fact that people are coming back to the city this week. We are on a fast-paced missionary schedule right now, and between all the traveling we are doing, trying to keep track of the zone, and also doing everything we need to in order to keep our area going, I have hardly had time to breathe, let alone think about anything else. I love it. I love being a missionary and being able to focus full-time on the Lord. It is an amazing thing.

We traveled back to Narvik this week to help them get back on their feet after the transfers, and I am really stressed about them there. They are having a rough time. But it was really good to be back and I saw Kikka and a lot of the investigators there and Narvik is beautiful, so that's always good. We also taught a few other people, visited a less-active man named Audie who we are helping to get the priesthood, and I translated in church for a guy from Layton, Utah. So it has been exciting. I am just one big ball of stress all the time because of the zone, but that is alright, I think it is a part of the job.

We have 26 missionaries in our zone, and it is going pretty well with them. The end of the summer was kind of tough for the mission, but we have been able to survive it pretty well. It has been a little bit difficult to find new investigators, but we are hopefully going to make progress with that this week. We have a meeting with the district leaders tonight and we are going to commit the zone to do something this week to show their faith that we can find, and then really hold the district leaders accountable for the results. Fun stuff!

The atonement of Jesus Christ is a real thing. We have an investigator named Trond, who really was not in a good place in his life when we found him. He had no relationship with God in his life, and he was bitter because of a lot of the things he was going through, both because of his own choices and because of circumstance. When we began to teach him, I wondered whether there was a way that this man was going to accept our message. Yet despite everything, every time we go back over there, I notice a little more light. One more smile, or more peace in his life. He reads the Book of Mormon and he doesn't necessarily understand all the things he reads, but I can see the atonement working in his life and it is such a beautiful thing. Trond is going to be baptized, and that is the wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As a spiritual thought this week, I have been pondering a lot about a scripture that is found in 2 Kings chapter 6:

14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

 15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses andchariots of fire round about Elisha.

There are so many times in our lives that we feel exactly the same way as Elisha's servant. We wake up in the morning, and for some reason, the only things we manage to see are the horses and chariots which surround us. We see the bad influences in the world and the things that are going against us, and despite all our better knowledge, we sometimes wonder if all hope is lost. But hope is never lost. I have seen this so many times on my mission with so many missionaries who, despite the miracles they have seen so often during the course of their mission, become discouraged and lose some degree of faith and hope. It doesn't have to be that way for them and it doesn't have to be that way for us. God has given us our leaders and so many other resources in life so that our eyes may be opened and we might be able to see the heavenly hosts which fill the mountains around us. There is no reason to lose hope, and there is no need to fear. When the dark days to come- and they will- it is our decision to open our eyes and choose to see the help that our Heavenly Father sends to us. Remember the words of Elisha: Fear not- for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. The Lord will never leave us, I know that's true.

Love you all!