Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25

You are probably wondering why I didn't email Monday, and that is because we didn't have time to take a pday this week. On Monday we helped one of our investigator families named Magne and Caroline to clear out their front yard after they had renovated their house. I wish I had taken a picture of the mess, because it was literally a mountain. So that took a little longer than planned, but it was great to help out and to do some work with my hands. We loaded it all into a trailer and then took it to the dump, where we had to sort it into tons of different containers, since we are in Norway. I hope that he felt God's love because of our help. Then we had to take care of moves, because that is coming up and we wouldn't have any other time to do it. So we did that, flew to Trondheim yesterday for zone conference, and now we are going to finish up moves today and fly to Stavanger for zone conference tomorrow, so it's pretty crazy for us in the near future.

I am trying to think of what has happened before that this week....we had a leadership meeting with all of the District Leaders, Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the mission on Wednesday, and that went really well. We did some training and President Evans did some training, and then at the end we had a question and answer session for about an hour and a half, and that kept us on our toes! It was weird to me to be the one standing up front with the answers. It was an interesting experience, but the spirit was definitely strong, and that was good. We had zone conference in Oslo on Thursday, and Elder Gunther and I did a musical number together. We sang a medley of "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy" and "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" which we made up and did it a capella. I thought it turned out really good, and it was great to do it with Elder Gunther.

Other than that, I was on splits on Tuesday, and it was good to have a full day of work, and life is good. Things are going alright with our investigators. We are going to go help Henrik install a door this evening and teach him afterward, and really try to establish a good teaching relationship and see how that goes. We will also meet with someone named Christian who we found recently, so hopefully we will be able to help him want to be baptized. Jon Axel and Arve are still basically just the same, I just pray that they will feel the truth of the gospel sometime. We will just keep on working!

This week has been crazy. As part of traveling around and conducting zone conferences I have had a lot of time to spend memorizing and thinking about scriptures. I have a goal to know the scriptures better and my scripture study has really increased in effectiveness because of it. One scripture I found this week which really hit me is found in Paul's letter to the Galatians, and says in chapter 2:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

This scripture hit me with great power because I, too, have been saved by Christ. Saved from myself and saved from the person I might have become, had it not been for his grace and mercy in my life. Now I live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I am living, I owe therefore to Him. To dedicate all that I am to His service. And that is what I have tried to do. I haven't been anywhere near perfect, but I have made steps in my life to live more by the faith of the Son of God, and that has made all the difference for me. I love Him with all of my heart, and I know He loves me, too. As Elder Packer recently taught us, this really is the truth most worth knowing. That He loves us and through His love we can be clean, time and time again. What a powerful gift which we have been given and can in turn give to other people. Share the gift with others so that they too, can feel of His love!

Homemade Sushi With Elder Gunther and some investigators.

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16

Well, this week was definitely one of the high points of my mission, and the reason was that Paulina finally got baptized! Here is a quick recap for those of you who don't remember: I found Paulina in Narvik a year ago while I was serving there, and we became quick friends. We met a lot in Narvik and taught her all about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and she loved it. She soaked in everything that we told her, and she quickly gained a testimony. She wasn't able to be baptized back then due to some family situations, and I left Narvik feeling like I had a job unfinished, but I kept doing my work trying to find prepared people. In the mean, time she moved to Bodø at the new school year, and I told the missionaries to contact her and try to teach her again, and I have been following up the process ever since. She is amazing, and now this week I was able to travel up to Bodø and baptize her up there in the fjord. What an amazing blessing that the Lord gave me. I am so grateful.

That was obviously the highlight of the week, and it's a good thing, because we didn't get a whole lot else done in our area. We were on splits with Hamar and Narvik this week, so between the baptism, traveling, and being a little sick, things have been pretty crazy. But I like crazy :)

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I got asked kind of last minute this week to give a talk about it, and I was really grateful. As a missionary we are always thinking and talking about the Book of Mormon, but giving this talk really helped me remember the power it truly has to shape our lives. Why do we let ourselves get so focused on other things that we don't even read in the Book of Mormon each day? I never go a day without eating, so why should I ever go a day without feeding my spirit as well? Food for thought. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who gives us guidance through His prophets both in ancient and in modern days, and I cannot wait until General Conference! Bring on the revelation! Life is good, we should always remember that. Have a wonderful week!

Some really amazing boller that we got on splits.

I got to see Kikka again!


Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9

For the first time in months, today it feels like spring is in the air. I traveled back to Trondheim this week, and in the process hit 100 flights on my mission. So much traveling. It was amazing to go back and see the people who I have missed since I left and to go to work in the town I love so much.

Henrik isn't back yet from his travels, but we were able to do some work in our area, visited Arve and Jon Axel (who both read in the Book of Mormon and I just pray that they will get their answers) and visited some other people in the ward. I wrote a job description for a travel coordinator so that we can get out of the office and do some work, and we worked on the coming transfer. I translated church this week, and that is always a challenge.

Also, you would be proud of me, because this week I borrowed a sewing machine and fixed a couple of pairs of pants that completely ripped out the entire crotch. I even threaded the top and the bottom all by myself and sewed in straight lines. They look good! Like mamma, like son, huh? Haha so that was good :)

This week Elder Halverson and I have been studying a lot about pride, and I have really started to understand how truly degrading it is to our character and to our spiritual life. Pride is at the base of all sins, and I was stunned to really open my eyes and understand all the ways in which pride is made manifest in our daily lives. Pride is shown in the motives for the things we do, and, unless we consciously manage it, threatens to take over the very core of who we are and the choices which define us. I have never prayed harder to get rid of something in my life than I have this week with my pride. One of my favorite scriptures lately is in D&C 112 and says, "Be thou humble and the Lord they God and give thee answer to thy prayers." May we all strive to embody the characteristic of humility in our lives, and, in so doing, clothe ourselves with the protection of God.

Paulina's baptism is this Saturday, so I am preparing myself for the cold water of the fjord. There will be no better feeling than the contrast of the freezing cold water of the Norwegian fjords and the warmth of the Holy Ghost, flooding through our hearts in confirmation as Paulina goes under the water and comes back up a new person, reborn in the spirit. So I am pretty content. It is good to be alive!

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2

Happy March! February has always been a short month, but this time it went by unusually quick, probably due to the amount of traveling and craziness that has been in my life. Speaking of traveling, we went up to Alta earlier this week, and it was a lot of fun. Alta is the area with the northernmost missionaries in the world, so we were on top of the world - literally. We went out and worked hard and experienced many mighty miracles. We taught tons of lessons and found a lot of new investigators, but the people who stand out in my mind are named Stian and Amanda. I was working with a brand new missionary, Elder Daly, who got to the country a little over a week ago. The whole time we were together I was praying that we would have good experiences so that he could have a good start to his mission and learn something good. We showed up to our first appointment but it didn't go through, so we didn't have anything to do in the middle of the day in Alta, Norway. Not a very good prospect. The city center wasn't big enough for 4 elders to be contacting there, so we said a prayer and started walking up the streets, trying to find a house where it looked like someone was home. We walked for a while without much success, and then, as we were approaching the center, we saw a couple walking in the distance, and I knew they were our investigators. So I told Elder Daly to contact them and pumped him up for it as we approached them and then we went for it. She was 5 days overdue on her first baby, and they had a thought a lot lately about the meaning of life and what God means for them. It was perfect timing. We asked them if we could come to their apartment with them and bore testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the wonderful ways it can bless them in their lives. They said we could come back and meet the new baby and teach them more next week, so I am excited to hear how it goes. The Lord was definitely watching out for us. It was a huge miracle and I was so grateful.

We came back to Sandvika and didn't have a whole lot of time left, but we still had a great week somehow. We have a lot of appointments coming up next week, and we found some new people to begin working with. Henrik is traveling for the next couple of weeks, so I don't think we will be having very much progress with him, but we met with Jon Axel and Arve and they are both doing well. We committed them both to read every day in the Book of Mormon. I just pray that it will help them gain a testimony of the restored truth.

This week Paulina, my investigator from Narvik, asked me to baptize her as well. I was so excited and honored when she asked me to do it. She will be the first person baptized in Bodø in over 3 years, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. The Lord is truly good to me. 

I don't have anything to complain about. The Lord has blessed me so richly in my life, and I have so much to be grateful for. If you haven't been to Norway, you should come here. It is amazing. I love the people, I love the culture, I love the nature, and I love the church. Life is so good. I know the church is true and nothing can ever make me deny that. Keep the faith, everyone! Have a wonderful week!

My life right now. I feel like I am in the van more often than not most of the time...sometimes I wonder how that thing even fits in parking garages.

Dropping off our buddy, Elder Allen.