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!