Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Fever

This has been my first full week in Stavanger, and I am going to start this weeks blog post with a really bold statement: I have never been happier on my mission. Ever! There are probably a lot of reasons, but I am in love with life and spring has entered full-force into Norway. I have joy and life is so good :) I don't fully understand why I have this feeling, but I do know there are at least a few reasons. Reason number one: the work is going so well right now. Literally Stavanger is doing amazing at the moment. Actually, my whole district is on fire and it is so much fun. All of the missionaries have so much energy and we see miracles every single day. I have never been in a better district and I have never seen the Lord pour out His mercy upon us to bless us like He is doing now. We have done a lot to try to work more completely with the ward and for weeks and weeks now I have prayed that we will be able to find people to baptize so that we can be obedient to the Lord's challenge to us through His prophet to work together as members and missionaries. There are so many prepared people in Stavanger and they are being led to us.

One of the biggest miracles we saw this week happened when we were at a place called Tau, visiting some of our recent converts. They are a family from Iceland and are absolutely wonderful. They have the cutest kids and are so nice and really fun to be around. While we were talking with them, the wife mentioned that she had been talking to one of her neighbors about the gospel and that she wanted to come to church next week. We were, of course, really excited to hear the good news and committed her to give the invitation and follow up so she actually came. When we left, we were running late to catch our boat, so I had kind of a "last chopper out of Vietnam" kind of feeling. We did not want to get stuck out on Tau, so we were rushing back when we heard a voice above us say (in Norwegian), "Hey, wait! Was it you who just visited my neighbor?" We answered yes and she asked, "Would you be able to teach me about your church as well?" My jaw dropped. She turned out to be that same neighbor who we had talked about earlier, and she is so positive. We arranged to visit her next time we were in Tau and then sprinted all the way back to the boat, but I didn't care, because the Lord had blessed us with yet another miracle.

Reason number two: exact obedience. I have a testimony that the power and peace that come into our lives through obedience to the commandments of God (and by extension His servants) cannot be matched by anything else we do. I am so blessed to be surrounded by missionaries right now who also want to be obedient. And not only just not do anything bad, but truly strive to keep every rule and meet and exceed every expectation the Lord has for us. And of course we don't always succeed, but I believe the power is found in the trying.

Reason number three: The Sun! It is so incredible. I have never truly appreciated the sun and the warmth in my life until I came to Norway and lived through 2 Norwegian winters. It isn't as much the cold that bites, but the darkness. The sun being gone all the time is really really hard. And the contrast between that and the sun now is incredible. I love to walk out of the apartment and feel the sun on my face and know that the world is alive and happy around me. People are more willing to talk, friendlier to each other and just all-around more pleasant with the change in seasons.

To close I would like to quote from a General Conference talk by Mark E. Peterson a long time ago. He expresses the wonder and miracle of spring in a beautiful and inspiring way.

"The spring of the year is a most welcome season. It is then that all life seems to renew itself, when the promise of the future appears brightest and hope rises to its zenith. Indeed it is a time of reawakened courage and confidence.
Spring! A time of renewal, a revival in nature of the life that is all about us, but especially a reaffirmation of the divine promise of life everlasting! It was spring when the Savior made it all possible by his atoning sacrifice and his resurrection. It was in the spring when Jesus gathered his disciples about him and instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as a constant reminder of his crucifixion. It was in the spring when he prayed so humbly in the garden as he set the divine example by saying, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). . . We [speak] of spring, that time of resurgence of life and hope and joy. It was on a beautiful spring day in 1820 when the Almighty shattered the seal which had closed the heavens for centuries. He descended to the earth in the state of New York and called a modern prophet, a youth as pure and unspoiled and as promising as the spring day itself. This boy became a modern spokesman for God. Through him were all things restored as Peter said. And who was he? Joseph Smith, Jr., the seer and revelator of modern times. He labored humbly and completely under the direction of the Savior himself."

I too know that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet of God on that glorious spring day in 1820. He restored all things to the earth, including the power which can seal our families together for eternity. And that is reason number four :) I love this gospel and there is nothing I would rather do than share it with God's children who do not yet have the blessings, comfort, and joy which the knowledge of the restoration brings. I will forever be grateful for my call as His servant in these latter days.

No comments:

Post a Comment