Monday, October 27, 2014
We have been blessed with another solid week here in the Nordstrand area. Continuing to meet with some incredible people, having INCREDIBLE lessons packed with the spirit, and just loving every moment. I know I have said this before but seriously, being a missionary is an incredible experience.
Highlights for the week!
- Visited Anny Rødsand, a less active
- Wednesday- Powerful lessons with Svein, Øyvind, and Ivan
- Elisabeth: New Baptismal date!
- Dinner with the Carlsen family
- The Oslo Rap
- Church: Boguslaw and Elisabeth came!
- Light at the end of the tunnel: Ole Ander, new investigator
- Spiritual Thought: Become
We have visited Anny two times now and she is the sweetest thing. We always feeds us DELICIOUS food and she makes this incredible berry tea. Except for her and her daughter, her entire family has completely left the church. She does have a strong testimony and she always shares with us some powerful experiences about how she cannot deny that God has reached out to her to let her know what she has found is His true church and that she needs to stick with it. She also come to church this week! She is so great :)
Wednesday was an incredible teaching day. With each person we met, Sister House and I dove in and completely relied on the Lord to help us guide the lesson to what they needed to hear. Through the Spirit we helped Svein to recognize that God has been with him throughout his life, Øyvind to develop that desire that there is someone always looking out for him, and Ivan to realize that God's power is restored to bless his life. The Spirit truly does know the exact way that can reach people's hearts.
We met with Elisabeth on Friday and it was a powerful lesson about baptism. She began saying that she wanted to wait til the spring to be baptized because she feels she needs to be completely perfect and obedient to all of the commandments. Sister House and I then started sharing how much God knows what she is going through now and how the gift of the Holy Ghost is what helps us on your journey to become complete. While in the lesson, she picked the 11th of December. We then all got down on our knees to pray about it. After the prayer, each one of us had the biggest smile on our faces and felt so good.
We also got invited to have dinner with the Carlsen family. They are the sweetest and most hilarious people! As we talked, Brother Carlsen shared his conversion story and both he and Sister Carlsen shared some of their hardships from when they first got married. Oh my goodness, they are such incredible parents and powerful examples of being diligent in the gospel. I love them so much!
So Saturday we had a ward talent show. There were some really great talents with dancing, singing, magic tricks, and story telling! The relief society asked if we (all the missionaries) could do something and we put together a little rap.... Which went like this:
Oslo menighet dere må gjøre dere klar,
Idag skal vi fortelle dere hvordan det er,
Som misjonærer i Oslo vi har det så godt,
Vi vil gjerne dele noe av det vi har fått.
Chorus: Oslo misjonærer er de beste som finnes,
Vi gå ut på gaten og spør folk hva de synes,
Om Guds plan for Hans barn åpenbart på ny,
Vi kommer til å bringe sannheten til denne by.
(The elders had a verse here but I forgot the paper to write it....)
Så kom og bli med siden nå dere vet,
vi har det kjempe moro i vår menighet,
med klasser og Gudstjeneste - kvart på et,
Vi lover at du ikke vil angre på det.
Yup. So moving on now.
At church we had a potential named Boguslaw take us by surprise. He didn't come to an appoinment we had earlier in the week but we still invited him to church. So when I walked in and saw him standing there I was like, "WHAT???" But of course, I was happy to see him there. Elisabeth took a great leap of faith. After she and Are (the member that referred her to us) had their really bad break up, she's been really scared to see Are at church. She came to sacrament meeting at the end and we slipped in right before the service started. During the meeting, I saw both Boguslaw and Elisabeth smiling and enjoying the spirit of the meeting. Afterwards, Sister House and I tried to slip out with Elisabeth quick so we could talk before she had to go, but then a member came up and started asking about her and Are. That got awkward REALLY quick. Afterwards, we went into a classroom and Elisabeth got to vent a bit. She's still very hurt but despite that and all the other things going on in her life, she has seen how much this gospel is changing her life for the better. She is so strong.
After church, Sister House and I went banking (Norwegian for tracting) for the first time together. What was really nice was all that day I was praying that the people we would talk with would be nice even if they wouldn't want to talk with us. And we met some really kind people. We had some good conversations with people about the Book of Mormon and living prophets. One thing that was really cool has on the last street we started going down, I see this insanely bright light at the end of the road. As we were getting closer to it, I was actually getting excited to try that house. When we finally got to it, we see these two 12 year old boys riding a lawnmower. It was priceless. One of them pointed that his dad was in the garage and we ended up talking with him for an hour about everything. His name is Ole Ander (Yup, very Norwegian name) and the short summary of our conversation was that he loves to learn and believes we need to be good to one another but he wonders what our actual purpose on earth is as people. He agreed to meet with us this Wednesday!
The two boys (Ruben, Ole's son, and Joakim) were a bit distracting while we chatted, but they were hilarious. It was a great way to end the day :)
Now for the spiritual thought: Sister House got a letter from her cousin who is also serving a mission. In the letter, he shared a something that his mission president shared with him after he had been called to be a district leader, "You have not been called to these positions for who you are, but rather for who you can become." The same goes for everyone. Whether you are a student, worker, parent, whatever role/position you are currently in, our Heavenly Father knows there's something that you need to learn from that in order to help you become the person you are meant to be.
Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you all know that I send love and prayers your way every day :)
Take care and remember you are wonderful to me!
the first two are from a fantastic hike we went on as a district two weeks
the last one is me with the new companion/missionary - Sister House :)
The place where we hiked - before
My name tag and the halfway point on the hike
Sister Chapman and I from our Drammen road trip!
And...more pictures of me and my companion!
Monday, October 20, 2014
Where on earth do I even begin? Oslo has been on FIRE with miracles. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!! But here are some highlights for the week:- Farewells :(
- The random call... on a Sunday night.- The 411 on Sister House
We found a new investigator named Andis who we met last week from the last street stand we did. He is from Latvia, works as a network marketer, has an adorable 8 year old daughter named Kate, and he is just awesome! We went through the restoration with him. He has a belief that there is a higher power but he doesn't know if it is God of why he needs a Savior. As we read from the Book of Mormon and discussed the scriptures, you could see the Spirit really working through him. Have I mentioned how much I love being a missionary? It is so incredible!
On Saturday, we had our "Meet the Mormons" street stand. We had a little tent roof which was lucky because it was down pouring rain. I love contacting people in the rain! People get more curious as to why we go out in the rain/bad weather no matter what. Sister House was a contacting companion! Just 4 days in the land and she just dominated! We met tons of great people. One was a man who was visiting from England. He stopped to look at the Plan of Salvation poster we drew. I went up to talk with him and just taught him the plan right there. He was SO COOL! His name is Sonny and he's been trying to figure out what the purpose of life is all his life. We were able to get his contact information so the missionaries in England can meet up with him. Ah! I really hope our paths will cross again someday in the future.
So... On Sunday night we had something unique happen. We get home and start doing our daily planning when my phone rings. I don't know the number so I answer saying its the missionaries. I ended up having a thirty minute conversation with this man named David about how God still works through prophets today and how he wants to stop doing all the bad things he's doing now. I remember telling him how I know that is was no coincidence that he called us and that the first thing he could do to begin quitting with his addiction was to meet with us. He agreed to meet. He also..................... kind of............ asked me to marry him. Awkward?? I did my best to keep cool and got him to agree to meet at the center in the city. So, we have an appointment with him this upcoming Tuesday. We shall see how that goes!
The 411 on Sister Syndey (Opera) House (Haha :P)!
Born in Houston, Texas and lived in Park City, Utah for the past 8 years. Her mom is from Texas and served a mission in Brazil, her dad is a convert from South Africa, and she has two little sisters (17 and 11). Her entire family loves playing volleyball and they are super tall!
Sister House went to BYU and Utah State studying business marketing. Loves fashion, pasta, and.... me :)
To close, I would like to share something that I learned from personal studies this morning. I was reading in 1 Nephi 17-18 about how Nephi builds the ship. Something that I never saw before was something from 1 Nephi 18:1 - "...And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship." For some reason, I had always assumed that Nephi got the revelation of how to build the ship all at once. When in reality, the Lord helped Nephi receive the knowledge little by little until he was ready to get all the knowledge. That is the same for us. Whether we are wanting instructions for what to do for investigators, students, co-workers, our future, whatever it may be, the instruction does come. The Lord truly is aware of each one of us and He knows what we can handle. Sometimes we feel like the Lord leaves us hanging, when in reality He is blessing us with an opportunity to use our agency to seek more knowledge. Our faith is tested by us having to find the answer to the five questions: Who? What? Where? Why? How? The Lord gives us just enough knowledge that we can still go forward to seek the remaining answers we need. I love the Lord and little by little I come to understand how much He loves each one of us.
I hope you each remember how incredible you are. Have a great week :)
Monday, October 13, 2014
-Twinkle and her daughter Nina
We had Zone Leader Training about being powerful teachers. Elder Bednar is the mission's personal favorite so we watched lots of videos of Elder Bednar talking about how we can be teachers that help students to be agents. It was a strong focus of chapter 10 in Preach My Gospel about Teaching Skills which is always nice to get a refresh. Seriously, no matter how many times I read from PMG, I find something new and just when I thought I loved it - I learn to love it more.
Running out of time, but I hope we all will remember to keep our heads up. Really, when you take a step back and look at life, you'll realize that the Lord has been helping you in your life more often than you realize.
We were blessed with another solid week. We had something huge almost everyday this week which made it a bit more special. It is super weird to think that Sister Chapman will be going home this week but I am grateful for the time that I have had to serve together with her. She's helped me learn a lot about the possibilty of miracles and she has helped to prep me for my training days that are soon to begin. Fun stuff! Well, here are the highlights of the week:
-Twinkle and her daughter Nina
-Zone Leader Training
-Train the trainer meeting
-Day Trip: Drammen!
On Monday night, since we have been out of contact with Twinkle for a bit we decided to try stopping by. Luckily she was home and invited us in! She's been preparing to go on a trip with her great aunt that they've been wanting to do for years and she finally got the plane ticket. While she's been busying with that, she feels like lots of things are working against her and her family. We ended up sharing the story about Alma and his people when they were in bondage and how the Lord didn't take away their burdens, but He blessed them with strength to bear them. We had a wonderful discussion about how the hard things in life are really what shape us. After we taught Twinkle, she asked us if we could talk with her daughter Nina. We were surprised but of course said we'd love to. Twinkle wants to help Nina to develop faith in God. While we chatted with Nina, she talked about how she does believe there is a higher power but she doesn't know exactly if it's God. We talked about how God is our Heavenly Father and like any relationship, in order to get to know someone you have to talk with them. It was really cool to see how things were clicking in her head and she commited to read Alma 32 and to try praying! Way cool experience!
With Elisabeth... WE FINALLY GOT CONTACT WITH HER!! The hospital got medicine for her and she's feeling so much better now. She wasn't able to come to church due to work, but we will be meeting with her this week and she is still eager to work towards her baptismal date!
I had a meeting with the other trainers to help prepare for the next chapter of our mission lives. President Evans opened the floor by asking what helped us most when we were being trained and then we discussed about what we hope to accomplish as trainers. It was really cool to see Sister Robbins, one of my MTC companions there at the meeting. We've made it this far and now, a year later, we'll be training!
Sister Chapman got permission from president to visit one of her converts in Drammen and we went on a road trip to Drammen with the sister training leaders! It ended up being.... a bit crazy. Sister Chapman left with one of the Drammen sisters to go meet with Debby (the convert) while I was with Sister Aasen one of the sister training leaders and the other sisters took the car to drive the sisters to their appointment. Sister Aasen and I.... were kind of stranded at the train station so we made some calls to investigators and members to get the week set up. When the other sisters came, we learned that Debby had not shown up to the appointment. We later went and saw other members that Sister Chapman loves, but she was still heartbroken about Debby... But people are people and sometimes they decide to do things that don't make sense. Does it hurt? Oh yes. But it's moments like this where I am eternally grateful for the Savior and His Atonement. He has felt all the hurt we feel and conquered it. Because He did that, we'll be able to heal from and conquer all the pains of this life as well.
Have a super duper fantastic week!
Monday, October 6, 2014
Welcome to the month of October! Fall continues to grace us with beautiful colors, the weather's been cooling down, and yes even some good pumpkin spice is beginning to fill the air (at least whenever the senior couple is baking at the institute center). Also, just to mix things up a bit - as you read this email, imagine that batman is reading it to you. Why? Well at the moment I sound like batman... With the lovely transition to fall we sometimes get sick and well... I got sick. But hey, Batman is cool so that just adds a special element of cool to this update. Anyhoo, here's the highlights from last week:
-A prompting that was followed
-Pillows have great calming effects
-Straight up form a movie
-Members. They're the best
That's right, over a year ago I went into the Missionary Training Center. Seriously, where on earth does the time go by? To celebrate, Sister Chapman and I got a kebab pizza. And it came to pass that it was a rather curious looking pizza, nevertheless, it was delicious and a great way to celebrate the occasion.
So one beautiful morning we had some time and felt the need to bank on some doors. After saying a prayer, I get the idea to try this one neighborhood. It was early in the morning and I was thinking, "Wait, everyone's at work right now, you're wasting your time" but I had got the idea to try this neighborhood and went with it. As we were walking, we pass by the home of on of our investigators who we haven't contact with for months. As we approach his house, we see his kids playing football (aka soccer) and see him getting the post! He actually beamed when he saw us walking towards him, HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT?! He will be gone for the next week in Denmark for vacation but it was so cool that we were able to meet with him. Sure it was a little thing, but it felt super good to know that the Lord trusted me with a prompting and I was blessed to see an immediate result of that.
Pillows. They are not only great for sleeping and getting comfy to watch movies, but they have great therapeutic effects to. After a long frustrating day, sometimes you need to scream. But if you scream, some people might get the wrong impression and think the worst. That's where your handy dandy pillow comes in! Just scream into it and your scream will be muffled.
Quick explanation for this random bit - we had a rough start to this week and after we had booked our days with appointments, they had all fallen through. By the end of the third day, I was getting frustrated and felt a need to scream. There was a pillow by me and I remembered how in Lilo and Stitch, Lilo and her sister Nani would scream into pillows. I was like, "Does that really help? Well, only way to know is to try." And I did. Sister Chapman walked in and saw me do this. She grabbed another pillow and joined with me. Afterwards, we both felt much better. So yes, pillows. I recommended them.
Movie moment: In the movies about the Prophet Joesph Smith and it shows him and missionaries preaching and people stop to listen. Something similar to this happened while we were at a bus stop. We met with an investigator named Tony and he brought a friend named Nino with him. We found a place to sit down and we began to go through God's plan for us. As we were talking, I noticed people who walked by us were slowing down and, one by one, started walking back to listen to what we were saying. We started with two and ended up teaching five! It was so cool to see that the gospel really does have a familiar ring to them and it does draw people because it is truth.
This week our appointments with members luckily did not fall through. Each was a tender mercy from the Lord to give us that extra energy to keep going forward with the week. The members here just win my heart. They all come from such diverse backgrounds and have been so loving to me. I love them so much and am seriously going to treasure the friendships I have found here.
Conference. OH MY GOODNESS I LOVED CONFERENCE. I needed it so bad. As this week went by, I could actually feel myself, both body and spirit, aching for conference to come. And the wait was worth it. It went by way to fast but I loved every minute of it. Where on earth do I even begin? Seriously, I loved it all. I loved how the focus (to me) was the basics: remembering what they are and making the decision to do them. As I was listening, I felt this overwhelming gratitude to my family and friends for teaching me how important the basics of reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, going to the temple, and doing family history work really are and being incredible examples of DOING them. Thank you each and every one of you. I was blessed to have the family I have and met the friends I have to help me learn these fundamentals. You all have been my angels and I will forever be grateful to you.
As the weeks will continue on, I will be continuing to ponder on the messages that I've heard and the impressions that I received. What a blessing to have a living prophet and to have so many general authorities who help guide us as we press forward on our voyage. We may be tossed and turned by the waves of the sea or the white rapids on the river, but the Lord has promised He will help us to stay on. We just have to do our part and listen to the rules He has given us through His servants the prophets.
I hope you have a wonderful week and got to enjoy the Batman-like email. I'll work on getting back to my normal voice som snart som mulig. But in the meantime, remember you are fantastic and that you make all the difference.
Take care and lots of love,