Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25

We hiked up Preikestolen today, so we don't have a ton of time, but I am doing so well :) 

Elisabeth committed to be baptized on the 21st of June this week, and committed to stop smoking by the 14th, so now it is time to rally the troops! Please keep her in her prayers, because she is going to need all the help she can get, but I believe that she can do it, and it is going to be awesome. We are just going to involve her tons with all of the members and meet with her lots and steal all of her cigarettes. We also moved Erlend's baptism to the 21st for convenience sake, so there will be two baptisms on my last Sunday. That will be nice :) 

Erlend is doing well. He is Norwegian, and has lived in Sandnes for his whole life. He is married and has two kids, but the government isn't allowing him to see them because they wanted to give him some kind of pills because they said he needed them and he refused to take them so they deemed him not able to be a father. Interesting story, but to make it short, he isn't very happy about it. He has always had some views that he hasn't found in any church and was able to find in talking with Daniel, his friend who is a member. He is also really struggling with the family situation and needs help, and he is finding it in God and Christ. It's awesome. He was in Kristiansand this week and he still went to church there. He is awesome.  

We haven't been able to meet with Hanna this week because everyone was really busy, but hopefully we will be able to next week.

Here are some pictures of our hike today:

These pictures look even more epic because of the fog and rain. Good times!  Preikestolen is the best thing ever :)

Chillin with my best buddy Elder Gunther. Isn't it incredible???

Linn Steffensen, one of the Steffensens, came with us on the hike. I love that family so much, and we are going over there tonight with Elisabeth. It is going to be the best :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18

What an awesome week. Always. I am starting to realize that I don't really get to write that very many more times, and that is a scary thought. But Norway is great and this week was especially good because we celebrated the country's birthday on the 17th! And if you remember from last year, that is a pretty big deal for Norwegians. The awkward part of the whole thing is that the holiday was on a Sunday this year, which made life a little bit interesting, but the Norwegians have a tenacious history when it comes to their national day celebrations and this year, true to form, church was shortened to an hour and moved to 6 pm, and we were all free to enjoy the parades, rain or shine. Turns out we had a little of both.

There was a children's parade, live music, a citizen's parade in which everyone was welcome to participate, the main parade, and a lot of street vendors. I am proud to say that we didn't spend a dime yesterday :) Or a crown... We were, however, able to enjoy the day thoroughly, and I am grateful to have been able to have the experience. There seemed to be a bit more happening here than there was last year in Narvik :) 

One other thing jumps out to me when I think of the highlights of the week, and that is the fact that we were able to get a baptismal date with a guy named Erlend. He is amazing and a lot of fun to talk to, and it is so fun to see the desire that he has to come closer to Christ and be baptized. It is amazing when we don't have to force things on people; when they are the driving force. I literally live to teach out here in Norway. When we are teaching life is amazing. I don't have a care in the world other than the investigator sitting in front of me and the Spirit. And quite frankly, that's the way I prefer it. I like being consecrated, and I am hooked on the feeling that comes when the Spirit flows through me as a tool in God's hands to touch the open heart of investigator. There is nothing like it.

Erlend has been to church three times already, and he is preparing to be baptized on the 19th of June. That is going to be a wonderful day for the church in Stavanger. 

On a slightly less spiritual note, there was a cruise ship in Stavanger today carrying tons of Nu Skin employees who are members from Utah, so if you know someone who is on that cruise to Norway, I probably met them today and they probably told me to tell you hello. So hello everybody! :) There's my mass shout-out. It was a lot of fun to see so many members in the city and to be able to be recognized by so many. I feel like I got a little taste of what it is like to be a missionary in Utah. 

Missions are so good and Christ is so good. Listen to his promises, because He never lies. Thanks for all the support and have an amazing week!

We had a lot of fun on the 17th!  This is me and a lot of Norwegians in their Bunads. It's the traditional dress of the country and I think it is really awesome :) 

Me and Elder Allen by the Flag.

Me and some Russ girls who somehow randomly knew who the Mormons were. I think one of them lived in Utah or something. I thought you would like to see what Russ is (Norwegian graduation celebration that is celebrated on and around the 17th of May).

Why Not?

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11

Hey everyone, I have the best family ever! If you don't know them, you should get to know them, because they are amazing :) It was wonderful talking to everyone and it's so good to know that they are all still real :) Still there in Utah, right where I left them. Sometimes out here on a mission I forget there is a life outside of Norway, so it is good to get a little reminder. I am not going to spend a lot of time emailing today, but I love being a missionary! There is nothing like it. There is nothing like being able to focus on helping other people 24/7; nothing like waking up every morning to change and improve yourself; and there is nothing to compare with the joy that comes with being a missionary. Helping other people is the best thing I've ever done and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do it.

I am moving into my last transfer now, and that is a weird feeling and I have a lot of mixed emotions about it. The dominant one for now, however, is an overwhelming desire to keep the focus and work harder than ever. I want to run to the finishline, finish strong, and return with honor. Despite everything that has happened over the course of the last two years and all the growth I have seen, I still feeling like I am climbing frantically to the climax of my mission. I feel like the peak is just on the horizon and that if I could only climb faster, jump higher, I could reach the top. There is so much to do and not enough time, so I am going to give it everything I've got. I'm committed to that :) It reminds me of the scripture in Alma 34:33:

"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had somany witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; forafter this day of life, which is given us to prepare foreternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while inthis life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein therecan be no labor performed."

And that's not to say that I feel like I have any great repenting to do, but we are given this time to improve ourselves, ot prepare and to constantly grow. I am not going to waste it now or ever. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have each day to be a better person than we were yesterday. To stand a little taller and smile a little bigger. To reach out to one more person and to think about ourselves a little less. The gospel is amazing. If we live it, we become the product of day after day, year after year, of being put through the refiner's fire, and we come out on the other side as perfect, glorified individuals. I think that's amazing.

I love you all, and to all you mothers, Happy Mother's Day!

Elder Nielson came to visit and it was great fun :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 4

I guess you could say it's been the week of splits this week. We had splits with the ward on Tuesday, I went to Haugesund on Wednesday and Thursday, and we had Elder Stookey from Bergen visiting on Friday. So it's been pretty crazy,a but we survived and it was a really great week. Here are some highlights:

  • On Monday we went to lake a ways away from the city to hang out and grill hot dogs and I was able to pet a swan. I literally thought it was going to try to kill me for a minute there, but it turns out he was nice and we became really good friends :) In Stavanger there are swans, ducks, and pidgeons all over the place, and the city always feels really alive because of it. Except for not the pidgeons. Pidgeons are basically just like rats here. Sometimes people, usually foreigners, will walk over to the pond and dump a loaf of bread or something in the water, and the seagulls go crazy. They all rush on that bread and become savages. At times like those I usually wish that I had an umbrella for fear of getting a nice present from a bird flying overhead... but now I am side-tracked
  • On Friday we went out to Hanna's house at Tau with the Icelandice family and she made us really delicious food then we were able to talk about the scriptures and the gospel. She is so nice and so sincere and I know she is going to love our church. Unfortunately she wasn't able to come this week, but we will get her there next week.
  • Elisabeth (updated spelling) came to Family History Night this week at the church, and she LOVED it. They took such great care of her there. She was able to find one of her great-grandmothers who was a member and went really far back on her line. The spirit of Elijah is real and Elisabeth is feeling it. She is also going to come to church and it is going to be amazing.
  • I took a 2 hour bus trip to Haugesund and it was a lot of fun. That was one of the areas that I hadn't been to yet, so it was exciting to see new places and have some miracles over there. It's a beautiful city, and for those of you who are into heavy metal, they had a huuuge concert while we were there. That made missionary work a bit interesting :) 
The work is going really well in Stavanger and we see miracles every single day. We are having so much success setting goals and working to reach them, and I am convinced of the power of goals and planning. So many times this week we have gone out with the intent of reaching our goals and we have felt specific promptings from the spirit, leading us to that one person who was prepared to be a new investigator. I have been thinking a lot about the scripture in Alma 37:6-7 6: 

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

I suppose at this late stage in my mission I could be considered "wise," but day after day I continue to be amazed at the way the Lord works for the blessing of His children here in Norway. Sometimes I even get promptings which lead to absolutely nothing and it turns out that was only timing. But I have to follow them or the miracles that happened later could never have happened. That probably doesn't make any sense, but there is no way for us to know what God's plan is in our life, and I don't think that is an accident. It is a part of the process by which we develop faith, and I know that as soon as we realize and trust that God has a good plan for us in our lives, we will be able to meet the challenges that come our way and follow our own personal promptings with fearlessness - something we should all strive to do. I know that God loves us and will not forsake us as we go through this life, so please: come unto Him. There is nothing that has blessed me more than putting God first in my life.

Thank you for all your support and we will talk next week!

Elder Stookey came to visit this week and we made a cake for Elder Nilsson's bday :)

A swan because why not?

we made steak this week in our matching aprons :)