Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26

Hey everyone! I woke up this morning and it was pouring rain after having snowed for the entire week before, so that's how my day has been going. It's going to be a good day for the orthopedic surgeons and the crutch-makers here in Norway because the roads and sidewalks out there are SLIPPERY! Today I am grateful that I'm not old. 

We have been doing some travelling this week, and I have loved it. We went to Oslo on Thursday and then Stavanger on Friday, and my sleep levels are getting dangerously low after this weekend. But it has been fun. Such a good opportunity to have a personal ministry among the missionaries and really see an immediate impact being made on them. I had some really good experiences during our trainings role-playing with some missionaries. We would talk about the things that they could do better and then try it again, and at some point during the lesson I could just see the light go on in their heads and I knew they had just connected the dots. It is sucha good feeling to teach and help others to grow. So we will be travelling to Bergen, Tromsø, Drammen, and Trondheim next week, and that is basically where our time will go, I think. If you look at those places on a map, you will know that we will be all over the country this week. But that is just fun :) 

Despite all the craziness, we also have had some good things going on in our area this week as well. Sometimes it is frustrating to deal with people's agency, but it is also exhilarating to see people use their agency to make choice which lead them closer to God. We haven't been able to meet with Barzi because he has been busy, and I don't know if it is going to improve. He seems to want to take things at his own pace, so we will see what happens. But the best thing that happened this week was that we got to meet with a member's husband, Henrik, and talk to him about the gospel. Even though we live in their basement, we have had opposite travelling schedules lately which has made it difficult to meet. But we finally made it work and it was awesome! Karene is a less-active member and Henrik isn't a member, but their daughter has started coming to primary lately, and a direct quote from Henrik last night was, "Yeah, I am expecting to get baptized, I just don't know when." He is so positive and prepared! So we are going to go up there every week and help him figure out when he is going to be baptized :) It will be so good to see their family back in church. Already I can picture him as a bishop in the ward at some point down the road. They are a really great family.

As missionaries, we always see the tender mercies and miracles of the Lord, but one that sticks out in my mind this week happened on Thursday. We came back from the workshop in Oslo and were exhausted/starving. We were headed to the office to get some food, when half-way through a round-a-bout I got a strong impression that we needed to go to a specific apartment complex in Sandvika. So I talked myself into listening to that voice instead of the natural man and turned around to go there. We knocked on 3 doors, and at the 3rd door a guy named Asad answered and let us come in. He is from a Muslim background, but isn't very Muslim at all, and was willing to listen to our message about the Book of Mormon and to let us come back. It was a miracle that the Lord led us to someone who was prepared to accept our message. So we are going back tonight and we will see how that goes. Cool, huh?

Life is really good. Sometimes it's busy and it is never easy, but it's good. It is filled with moments of laughter and moments of tears, but I think it is the ups and downs in our lives that make the ride fun. And life should always be fun. I love you all, and hope that you have a great week. Go invite a friend to do something to come closer to God! It will be worth it, I promise. And I would love to hear any success stories :) Talk to you next week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 19

We started the week on Monday by not having a pday, but kind of having a pday at the same time. I know that makes no sense, but what I mean is that it wasn't supposed to be a pday, but we had so much to do that it didn't really turn out to be very different. Somehow we are just always busy, no matter how much we end up getting done. So we just keep chopping away. 

On Tuesday we did a lot of different things, but one good one was that we were able to teach a girl named Tea and her friend, Draya. Tea is half American and half Norwegian, so she speaks both languages perfectly. She is the daughter of one of our former investigators, and is really cool. Draya is a muslim girl who has lived in Dubai and travels a lot and is just doing her thing in Norway for the time being. We met them at a cafe in the city, and had the best lesson I have had for a long time. The Spirit was strong, and we committed Tea especially to try the "God experiment." Read the Book of Mormon and pray every day for three weeks, with a promise that an answer will come by the end. I am so excited for her atheist mind to be converted and realize there is a God in heaven who loves her. Teaching the gospel is so much fun, and there is no greater joy than that which comes from helping people we love come closer to God.

On Wednesday morning we hopped on an airplane and headed over to Bergen to start our adventures with Elder Kopischke. From that day, I was in meetings for 6 hours a day, every day until now. It was exhausting. Spiritual experiences can be so tiring, and it's such a bizarre thing. Do you remember when Joseph Smith had the first vision or when he had his run-ins with the angel Moroni a few years later and how tired he was afterward? Okay, so maybe my experiences this week haven't been quite of that caliber, but it's been pretty intense all the same. 

I learned a lot of things that I think will help me with my missionary work, and Elder Kopischke managed to absolutely blow my mind in a couple of instances, but all those things were secondary principles that I learned. The main lesson that I got from Elder Kopischke's visit was from the way he taught. In every meeting that he went to, he invited us to come with questions to be answered. He didn't care what they were about, and in most cases he didn't even know what the questions were. Instead, as he answered a few of the people's questions, he did it in a way that the spirit filled the room so strongly. He taught from the scriptures and applied them to his listeners, and as he did so, answers came through the spirit to each individual person. He didn't even have to say anything about their question, because the spirit did the teaching, and EVERYONE got an answer. What an amazing principle. It has completely changed the way that I teach, and I think that teaching in the church has a long way to go. Whenever we have these visits, it is no wonder to me that these men were called as general authorities.

I have a lot of inspiration and revelation to digest at the moment, but I am so grateful. Things are good and I am so blessed. I am so lucky to be a child of God. Never underestimate that truth. I love you all, and thanks for your support!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 12

Today isn't pday, so I am going to keep it quick. We are having a mission tour this week with Elder Kopischke, who is a member of the Seventy. He was the area president for Europe a few years ago, and now he is a member of the missionary department, so we are hoping to get the latest and greatest from him while he is here. It will be really exciting.

After that, we will be travelling around, visiting each of the zones and having and AP workshop training about finding new investigators, and it should be a lot of fun. I think we will exhausted by the time it is all over, though. Crazy life, huh!
But anyway, I love you a lot. The work is going forward in Sandvika, and we are going to keep making progress. We had a good week this week and I am excited for the future. Please pray for a guy named Barzi. He is from Kurdistan and has a baptismal date for the 28th of February, but he won't read the BoM unless it is in Kurdish, and that doesn't exist. So we need to find a good solution to help him. His family has been torn apart, and he really needs the healing that Jesus Christ can bring to his life. So help us out with your prayers :)

Together Again in Oslo!

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5

Happy 2015 everyone! It's going to be a great year, I can already feel it. Although the first day of 2015 wasn't that good for us. It was really poor, actually. We started out the day with normal office chores and then headed out to go and get some proselytting done. We stopped to get gas on the way, and without even thinking about it, put gas in our diesel van. So that was a disaster. We had to have someone come and tow it and get it into the shop so they could drain the tank and flush the engine. We laugh about it now, but it was pretty frustrating at the time. Such a sister thing to do, right? Between that and missing a bunch of trains, subways, etc. for different reasons, we were having a pretty rough day. But we eventually made it out to my friend Athina's house, and they made us pinekjøtt, a traditional Norwegian Christmas meal, and it was all good. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and laugh at yourself. 

We had a good New Year's Eve together with the Norwegians. It was fun to play games and eat good food together as we prepared to welcome the new year in. At midnight we went outside to watch all the fireworks that Norwegians light off for New Year's Eve, but it was really foggy outside and we couldn't see much. It felt more like we were in the war than anything, because we heard a lot of bangs but didn't really see much. Driving home we could hardly see the road in front of us, so that made for an adventure. 

The work is going forward here in Sandvika, despite everything. We have done a lot of preparing for moves and several conferences we are going to have in January, but we have also done our best to be out when we could, and the Lord blessed us with a lot of new investigators this week. One family in particular sticks out in my mind. We had decided to try back a few people at a place we call "the complex." Just an apartment complex with a lot of humble people that we like to frequent when we have some time. No one was really home or said no, so we were just trying to find someone who would listen and we really wanted to show our faith. It was time for us to leave to get some more stuff done, but we decided to just try one more floor, so we walked down towards number three. But on the way to number 3 we had a prompting that we needed to stop at 5 instead. We had no idea why, but we did it anyway, and the people on that floor were just brutal. Not very nice at all. It was pretty rough but we kept going, and we came to the last door. An African man opened the door and did not seem very positive at all. But we weren't going to give up that easy. We were persistent and pushed a little bit, and he finally let us come in. There ended up being 4 people there who we were able to teach and the spirit was so strong as we committed them all to come to church with us next Sunday. They were all new investigators and are going to come. It is so wonderful when the Lord guides us to His prepared children.

Other than that, life is just crazy, but it is good. Elder Halverson is going to come into the office and serve with me this week, and I am really excited. We were in the MTC together and have been friends throughout the entire mission, so it is going to be fun. He is also from Utah, and we are going to have some adventures together. Missions are so much fun, and so is missionary work! Go do it. It will be great, I promise. 

Thanks for everything and have a wonderful week!

The district and me and Elder Skinner at New Year's.