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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

The weather here has definitely been moving toward winter, and I think that summer has officially given up. It was pretty cold yesterday and it rained raindrops the size of grapefruits (okay, that might have been a slight exaggeration) that had us soaked in the three minutes it takes to walk from the bus stop to the church. Good times! So I guess it is time to break out the winter gear and see how that goes. I can't believe it is already almost October. The leaves are changing and falling off, and I am just counting the days until snow. Bring it on!

This week it was zone leader training meeting, so we split the zone in half and did two meetings. The meeting included some discussions about urgency, member work, and teaching, and some minute-to-win-it games and some good practicing on our skills. President Evans came and he enjoyed the meetings, so that was a good sign. We had a meeting in Trondheim on Tuesday and then in Tromsø on Thursday. Sometimes all this travelling makes it tough to get stuff done in our own area. But that's how it goes sometimes. At the meetings, we decided that conversion is the thing we can focus on right now to help the work go forward in our zone. Our own personal conversion, teaching investigators for conversion, and helping the members to become converted. That's where it's at. The apostles have been pretty clear.

We were not able to meet with Evelyn again this week, but I did call her and we finally established contact again. She said she wasn't doing very well because she hadn't been able to stop thinking about what we told her about the Law of Chastity, so that is a really good sign. We are going to meet this week to talk to her again. Miranda is a Norwegian lady from Trondheim and is about 40 years old. She has had a really tough life, and doesn't understand a lot of things because of that. And she really likes cats. She is a little different, and I can't tell if she is positive or not, so we will just have to wait and see on that one. Kulwant is doing really well, and we have a set appointment every Monday at 8 at his restaurant. He gives us free food and we talk about the gospel, and we are going to go for a baptismal date tonight. He is really cool! The missionary work is going really well in Trondheim.

We had a baptism in Trondheim on Saturday, and it was for a guy named Charles. He is from the Ivory Coast and is really cool. Pretty shy and there is a slight language barrier, but it was good to watch him through the teaching process become converted to the gospel. He was meeting with the sisters, and it is always good to end the week with a baptism. Good stuff!

Have a great week everyone!

Me in Tromsø. What a good city.

The elders in our apartment in our matching ties for the baptism. Good times :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Missionary Life

A run-down of my week:

Monday: We had pday and literally did nothing. Sounds really lame, but it was the most glorious thing I have experienced in a long time. We woke up really early to fly back from Oslo and there aren't a whole lot of silent moments on a mission, so it was much needed. 

Tuesday: I don't know if you remember Trond, but we met with him again this week, and nothing has really changed. It has been two weeks since the last time and we committed him to read the Book of Mormon for a few minutes every day but when we came back to follow up he hadn't even done it once. It is so hard to teach people when they just insist on being objects all the time. We are supposed to be agents in this life, but I think that by our own choices we can change that. Sitting on your couch all day doing nothing is one way to turn yourself into an object. But we will keep trying. But something cool did happen. At the beginning of my time in Trondheim, I met a girl named Miranda on the street and she was really great, but we haven't been able to contact her ever since. But on Tuesday we were waiting at a bus stop and I looked over my shoulder and realized that Miranda was standing right there. I said, hey it's good to see you! And then she told us she is having a tough time and would love to talk. We walked back to the church together and talked about the Book of Mormon and she said she would be baptized. It was definitely a miracle from God that we found her again. It's all about the small, day to day miracles. 

Wednesday: We had Mission Leadership Council, which means we woke up really early (again) to fly down to Oslo (for the second time in a week). I really love that place. Every time we have MLC, Sister Evans makes us the most amazing cinnamon rolls for breakfast and this time she made us Cafe Rio style burritos and I was dying. I am convinced that Sister Evans is an angel in disguise sent from Heaven down to Norway to protect all of us elders from ourselves. (And not just because of the food :) We love her so much. MLC is always a great experience and I can't believe it has already been a month since the last one.  

Thursday: On Thursday we met with Evelyne, who we were expecting to be baptized this week, but unfortunately there was a bit of a hiccup in the plans. She has been having problems keeping the Word of Wisdom completely, so we were talking with her about that during our meeting, and started to say things that made me a little suspicious. My last companion taught her the Law of Chastity a while ago while I wasn't there and he said she agreed with it and had committed to live it, but after our meeting I wasn't so sure. So we retaught the commandment and she flipped out about it. Said it was really old-fashioned and unnecessary. So she left because she was too upset. And we haven't heard from her since. It was really disappointing, but I think she will be back this week and I think she just needs some time. She will be baptized, she has done this before. I should have known there no such thing as a smooth road to baptism. 

Friday: We are working with a less-active member named Audie, and he is really cool. He is from Sri Lanka and he has been a member for 20 years, but is only just now really learning about the gospel. We have been teaching him about the Book of Mormon, and with every visit we make he gets a little happier and a little more willing to open up to us. He is having a lot of problems in his life at the moment and the gospel is really helping him with everything. On Friday we were able to meet with him and he referred his friend to us! That is a big deal in Norway and his friend is so cool. He came to church on Sunday as well and he loves the Book of Mormon and loves the gospel. He and Audie are having some shared financial problems and they are both relying on God to help them through it. It is moments like that, sitting in the room with Audie and Kulwant, that I am reminded why it is so amazing to be a missionary.

Saturday: We played soccer, met the coolest couple ever, and picked up the new senior couple in Trondheim, the Rappleyes. They are really great and so excited to be here and serve. We picked them up at the airport and then drove them to their apartment and ate dinner together. It reminded me of my first days in Norway and that was a really long time ago. Sometimes I miss being a greenie.

Sunday: Sunday was really good because we had a ward activity we planned as missionaries to try to give our investigators a chance to meet the members and get involved. I kind of took the lead on this one and I didn't know how it was going to turn out, but we had 65 people there and a lot of food, so it ended up being a really good turn out for a nice event. I was pleased and I feel like it really helped the investigators who came, so I suppose all the stress was worth it. Looking back, it has been a really good week. There were obviously bad parts, like there always are, but overall, everything was really really good.

Have a great week everyone!

Eldste Childs

Monday, September 8, 2014

Elder Bednar

Well, Elder Bednar was in Oslo yesterday, and it was just as amazing as you would imagine 5 hours together with an apostle would be. We flew in to Oslo on Saturday night, and then started the day by having a two stake- stake conference where Elder Bednar was obviously presiding. It was such a good, missionary- centered meeting, and I have a good feeling about the future of this country. Toward the end of his talk, Elder Bednar promised that in the future, there will be sacrament meetings where the entire meeting will be filled with confirmations because there are so many new converts. That is a huge thing. Can you imagine a more spiritual meeting than that? The Doctrine and Covenants says that in the ordinances of the priesthood, the power of godliness is made manifest, and I can't think of a better way to spend the Sabbath. Life is good as a member of this church.

Right after that meeting, all of the missionaries hustled over to the Oslo church building to have a 3 hour meeting with Elder Bednar and his wife, and he is truly an apostle of the Lord. He speaks with so much power, and is so in tune with the spirit. We were in a question and answer session with him most of the time, and the spirit was so strong. It is really an experience everyone should have, because we all got pumped. One of the best things he talked about was praying in faith, and how we as members of the church shouldn't pray for something and just expect it to happen; we should have a desire to change something, make a plan to do it, and ask the Lord to give us courage and strength to accomplish miracles for Him in our lives. The truly meaningful part of prayer begins after we say the word "amen." I would advise everyone to read his talk entitled, "Ask in Faith." I know I have a lot to learn.

On top of all the spirituality of the day, I also saw my best friend Elder Gunther for the first time in 14 months, and our friend Athina came to the meeting as well. It was like a little Utah reunion right in the middle of Norway! There are a lot of good things happening and we are having a baptism on Saturday, but I guess I will talk about that next week, and pictures to come as well. I love you all, and thanks for everything. Have a great week!

Missionaries of the Norway Oslo Mission

Our MTC District Minus One

Elder Childs and Elder Gunther

All together again!

Monday, September 1, 2014


Hey everyone! It has been a crazy week. Honestly I feel like last Monday was a year ago, but at the same time we had no time at all. To start the week, we had dinner with Clayton M. Christensen on Monday, and it was one of the best experiences I've had to be able to have time with him to talk about the work and the things of the gospel. He is so wise and taught me a lot of things we can apply in the work in Norway. But I will probably come back to that. His whole family was there with him and overall it was a good experience. Not to mention the food was to die for.

We had some good time to work in our area on Tuesday and we got a baptismal date with Evelyn! She is going to be baptized on the 13th of September, and would have done it earlier if we would have let her. She is so cool and so dedicated and has completely changed her life so that she can come closer to Christ. My favorite quote of the week came from her, and she said this: (also, she is Russian, so the accent makes it even better :) Ever since I became the Christian, my lips have always been like this. And then she pushed her lips up into a smile with her fingers. It is such an amazing experience to be able to see people change their lives because of the gospel.

We only had a minute to celebrate the success, however, until it was time to rush off to catch the plane up to Alta to be on splits for the day. In doing so, I was the northernmost missionary in the world for a day, and I met a member named Geir who made my life.  He has some sort of mental handicap (not sure what it is) that makes him have the mind of a 6 year old, even though he is fifty. But he is so cool. He is musically gifted, so he can listen to a piano song a couple of times and then play it perfectly. He used to do classical concerts on TV because he is incredible. He was really sad while I was there because he chipped his tooth and was scared to go to the dentist, so I started playing the piano to try to cheer him up, and he got really excited. He loved the song "Waterfall," so I taught it to him and then we played Entertainer and We Are the Champions together and it was really awesome.

We flew back to our area on Thursday, and that night, every elder in our zone arrived at our apartment to sleep over for the training meeting we had all day the next day. It was a lot of fun and it was good to see everyone, but I sure am glad that we all survived the night. 16 elders is just too many for one apartment. But we all lived to see the next day, and we used it talking about how we can improve the member work in the zone. Such a productive meeting. We had splits again the next day and a lot of service, so I was pretty worn out and ready to re-charge at church when it rolled around. I love being busy.

It is transfer time again already, can you believe it? I am going to get a new companion, Elder Shanklin, and I am really excited about it. We were in the MTC together, and we are going to have some goooood times together. The address will remain the same, so no worries there. Also, my son, Elder Forsberg, will be moving into the apartment with us again and I couldn't be more excited! Talk about party. I am so committed to working my hardest this transfer, and y'all better get the baptismal fonts flowing because the baptisms are headed this way. Missionary work is great.

While I was talking to Elder Christensen this week, he said something I thought was really profound. He said he used to think that we are surrounded in this world by a lot of godless people who have rejected their Eternal Father, but then one day he realized it isn't like that at all. We are surrounded by people who have rejected falsehood about God, and just haven't had the chance to learn the truth about Him yet. We know that, and they don't, so we have to help them learn, and the best way to do that is to ask them to help us teach the gospel. There are a lot of creative ways to do it and I would encourage you all to read his book, "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" if you haven't done so, because it is really good. Missionary work will go forward according to the faith we show in praying for the courage to reach out to those in need.

On Sunday I will be flying to Oslo to spend five hours with Elder Bednar and the rest of the missionaries, and it is blowing my mind. I will give a good report about it next week, because I am sure it will be amazing. Have a great week and we will talk soon!