Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23

Spending time at Oslo Institute Center on a blustery day.

February 23

What a good week! The weather has been really warm the whole week and we were able to do really good work the whole week. We also didn't travel anywhere, so we have gotten a couple weeks of relaxing before we are at it again next week.

Some things that happened this week were that we worked really hard and found some new investigators (Bjørnar, Renata, and Anurag).  We taught Henrik twice and it went really well.

We had an open house at the church and one of the members invited his friend! It was awesome :) So hopefully we will be able to start meeting with him. And I got a phone call this week.... do you remember Pauline from Narvik? She is getting baptized in a couple of weeks! And I get to go :) When they told me I was soooo excited :)

A new transfer is here, and that means a fresh batch of new missionaries as well. They all came to Norway on Tuesday, and as we picked them up from the airport and drove them back to the mission home, I reminisced of my days as a new missionary and all the things I have learned since then. Here is a quick list of some of those very important things:

  • I have learned to be bold in the testimony of Christ no matter who attempts to deny His divinity. I know that He lives and I am not afraid to say it! I am proud to be counted among the believers.
  • I have learned to plan and to be organized. I don't know how I got through life before my mission, because I never planned anything. But here I have come to understand the importance of planning and using time wisely, as well as how to do it.
  • I have learned the power of prayerfully setting goals and then going out and working with real intent until we have achieved them. There is no excuse for coming short of our hopes, desires, and dreams. Failure is an event, and not a condition, and it is always an option to get up and carry on. Success is within my reach.
  • I have learned to be humble and accept correction. To accept repentance as the only way and to be able to think of others before myself. I have learned what it means to serve someone with one's whole soul and to desire nothing but their happiness.
  • I have learned to communicate effectively and that no relationship is perfect. Through effective communication, however, we can overcome all differences and develop love between us. Thank goodness for companionship inventory :) 
  • I have learned that there is fun to be had no matter what the circumstances or situation. That life is about enjoying the journey and that there is no trial or adversity so great that we cannot face it with a smile and say, "Ok, God, I know what this is. I know that this is a chance for me to prove I'm worthy."
  • Above all else, I have learned that God my Father lives and loves me and that I truly have the capacity and potential to come back to him one day. What knowledge gives greater joy than this?
I have experienced a lot of hard times up to this point on my mission, but when I looked into the eyes of those new missionaries, I saw myself. August 2013. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And boy have I come a long way. I am so excited to see the growth and the blessings to come as the Lord continues to shape me as His servant, and I am so grateful I have time left on my mission.

I am in a good place, and I know it is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that I am able to say that. He lives, I know he does. And He loves us. Go tell somebody about it :)

I love you all! Have a great week.

Pday Pictures:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 16

You asked which word I would use to describe my week.... can I use the word "blur?" Sometimes I don't even remember what happened in which week, but all I remember is that it has been good. I can't believe that two transfers have gone by while I have been here in the office.... that is crazy. But it has been a lot of fun all the time, that's for sure.

This week we did the normal pday things, and then we started the craziness. It's been one of the worst weeks in a long time as far as missionary work goes, because we weren't ever in our area! But we got a lot done and we saw a lot of cool miracles.

On Tuesday we went on splits to Drammen and it was a lot of fun. One of the elders, poor Elder Naumu, was throwing up the whole day, so he had to sit at the apartment with another elder while we went out, and I don't think it was a lot of fun for him. But we still saw a lot of miracles and we were able to find a lot of new investigators with them. 

I got the opportunity while I was there to interview a woman named Johana for baptism, and she is amazing. It was hardly 3 weeks from the time she met the missionaries to the time she was baptized, and that does not happen in Norway. She was so prepared and it was awesome to see her react to the gospel.

When we got back from Drammen, we got a few things done, took a second to catch our breath, and then we were headed up to Trondheim for the weekend. It was great to be back and work on the streets where I worked last summer. I was able to go to the baptism of Enoch, one of my investigators while I was in Trondheim, and it was the most amazing thing. So peaceful and so joyful to feel the Spirit confirm his action and help him feel the truth. Also, some of my favorite members live in Trondheim, so I was basically in heaven all weekend.

Enoch and his family.  They are the best!
Then we came back home and I had the best day in church that I have had in a really long time. I don't really know why... maybe it's because I was more prepared than I usually am, or maybe the Lord knew I needed it, but I came out of those meetings on top of the world. I just wish my investigators could feel the same thing when they are finished with church. Being a missionary is such a bizarre thing, but it's the craziest ride I have ever been on in my life.

God answers prayer. Always remember that. But also always remember that a 10 cent prayer does not merit a million dollar answer. God gives us answer in accordance with our willingness and desire to do the work necessary to get it. We have to do some searching ourselves. We have to knock on a few doors before we find the one that will open. So don't let anything stand in your way. Go discover the mysteries of God and allow His testimony to fill your hearts! I love the gospel and I love the Lord.

Go have a wonderful week and make someone's day. There is no better way to find happiness than by giving it to someone else. I love you all!


We all got matching hats.  :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9

It has actually been a decently warm week in Norway considering the time of year, and with the change in weather, the missionary work is starting to defrost throughout the country as well. It sure is encouraging to see. I think the changes were due to several things, one of them being a really good MLC meeting we had this week, but we were able to do a bit of traveling and saw a lot of miracles along the way.

We started the week by having splits with the Oslo zone leaders, and that meant that I got to spend the day working with my best buddy Elder Gunther. I really think that President should just let us serve together, because I think we would be one powerhouse companionship :) No but really, it was great to be with him, and it was the most bizarre feeling to spend the day together, because we did some awesome missionary work, but it also felt just like 18 months ago when we were all sitting around a fire back in good old American Fork talking about life. Like nothing had changed. We are obviously different and I know that in my case I have changed a lot for the better, but we are still best friends and that was a really comforting thought to me.

While we were having a great time in Oslo, our companions were working in my area, and they saw miracles as well. They arrived at an appointment only to realize that the woman they were supposed to meet with wasn't home, so they decided to knock on a few doors in the area instead before they moved on to the next thing. One of the first houses they tried was owned by a guy named Per, and this guy was seriously prepared.

He has always had a close relationship with God in his life, and as a result of that, he has been prompted to live the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity without ever having been taught them. He was reading in the book of Amos a few weeks ago and read Amos 3:7 about how God doesn't do anything without telling the prophets first, and then wondered where the prophets were. Just before the missionaries knocked on his door, he prayed to be able to find God's accepted people on the earth, and he was pumped to see two servants of God outside his door. We went back later in the week and he had read 200 pages of the Book of Mormon and was taking in every detail. The only problem is that he left yesterday to Spain for 8 weeks. The worst! But at least we will have something to look forward to in the future :) 

We also had MLC this week and traveled to Stavanger for splits where we were able to find 8 investigators. The Lord has been pouring down His miracles on us left and right and I am truly grateful.

I have thought a lot this week about goal-setting and it's role in our eternal progression. I thought about how many people set goals in life and how many people actually reach their goals, and it is just kind of pathetic, really. I am a big believer that if we work hard enough and are persistent enough, then we will be able to reach our goals no matter what. It may take time and it will definitely take some effort on our part, but if we truly want to be successful, not reaching our goals should not be an option. I think having that perspective really changes the way we work for things.

I love the gospel and I love being a missionary. Never be afraid to share your testify unflinchingly at all times and be an example of the believers. There isn't anything better than that :) I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2

Well, it's been a great week, as always! We kind of had to put the work in our area on hold this week as we travelled around the mission a bit, but the Lord still blessed us, and I hope that we will be able to help these people to come unto Christ. It stresses me out when we leave and don't have much contact in a week. A week seems like nothing at all, but in missionary work, there is so much that can happen in a week! 

We had meetings in Bergen, Tromsø, and Trondheim this week, and went on companion exchanges in Drammen and Oslo as well. Got some good miles in, and met a lot of cool people around the country. If there is one skill I have gained on my mission that I am grateful for, I think it might be the ability to talk with and meet new people. It is such a rejuvenating experience to open yourself to someone and make a new friend. Human relationships are so refreshing.

As far as the area goes, we had a pretty good week in that Henrik came to church again and went to dinner with one of the members in the ward! So good! It feels amazing to see an investigator get fellowshipped in such a good way, because to be honest, Henrik's wife (a member) needs it just as much as he does. So hopefully they are on the road to testimony and conversion right now. I thought that the home teaching message for this month was so fitting for missionary work, because I meet and work with so many people who may have testimonies, but they sure aren't converted to the gospel, and it shows. That seems to be such a relatively "new" idea in the church, but it is so important that we always focus on conversion in the things we do. In missionary work, in parenting, in our teaching in the church, and especially in our own lives. The level of our conversion determines the strength of will we will have in the trials to come, and in today's world and the hardships that accompany it, we need all the strength we can get. Sorry for the ramble, but it just makes me so sad to see people fall away because of a lack of conversion.

Another bright spot of the week was Arve. Arve is a Norwegian guy who is married to a member from Brazil, and we were able to start teaching him this week. He has read in the Book of Mormon before and has an issue with the fact that the church doesn't oppose the death penalty, but we are going to take a "put your questions aside and get a testimony first" approach and see if we can't help him. I think that the Plan of Salvation is our in with this guy, so I can't wait to see how it goes. 

Life is pretty crazy as usual, but I love it. I love being a missionary, and there are so many blessings that we receive every day. We are so lucky and we don't even realize it sometimes. I thank God every day for the blessing of his love. It's amazing.

I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week!