Monday, January 26, 2015

The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning

Hei Dokker!

It's been a B-E-A-UTIFUL week here in Ålesund! Today, the sun is shining (which is good for you reptiles) and I'm just feeling like a... HAPPY SNOWMAN!! 
Ok all movie references aside, it really was a solid week with many little miracles :)

-Root Beer!
-New Investigators: Miloud, Åsman, and Paul
-Less Active Visits
-Spiritual thought: Psalms 56:3-4

Yes the root beer was random but it was still greatly appreciated! My sweet companion Søster Neilson asked her mom to send some root beer because I mentioned how much I miss it. Bless her sweet little heart!

We were blessed to find some new investigators this week! We met Miloud on the last Sunday, got an appointment with him on Tuesday, and he brought his friend Åsman with him. They both have a Muslim background and so we many talked to see how much they want to learn and if it would be safe for them to continue to meet with us which it is! They both have a lot of questions about what happens after we die and why so many people believe in Christ as someone more than a prophet. Excited to see where it goes from here!
Paul we met on the street and had a good street lesson with him about Jesus Christ. He's from the Congo originally and he's been in Norway for a couple of years now. We were able to meet with him again and teach him about the restoration. At first, you could see he was like, "Whoa! This is a lot to take it" but after we discussed about it he believes it is possible and wants to find out if it is really true! 

We are experiencing more and more less actives/inactives whose hearts are being softened and allowing us to come visit them! We were able to visit with Winnie again. She still is kind of hesitant around us but you can see that she's opening up herself a little more each time we visit :)

Liv was good but she is going through a hard time right now... her dad passed away two weeks ago and when we visited her on Wednesday, she told us that she found out her cousin died that morning. But then she was teaching US the importance of choosing to see things from a positive perspective and to rely on the Lord when we don't know the answers. She is so incredible!

We were able to visit a lady named Inger Aredall. She is super sweet and she fed us yummy soup because she saw it was super windy outside and thought we needed someting to warm us back up. Bless her sweet soul! She is still really positive and we'll be visiting her again! I feel that she's not letting us know about something... but that is what the spirit is for! Helping to discern people's needs!

We got to visit Simon who is a new convert on the less active side. He fed us some odd yet delicious food and he gave us food to go! People have been spoiling us with food! He doesn't come to church because it's not as high of a priority for him because he likes to hang out with his friends... but we had a really good discussion about how he can invite friends to come to church and who the Spirit helps us to know what to say :) 

We got contact with this one less active named Sara (back when Søster Heywood was still here) and she's back from her vacation! We saw her yesterday and are going to be meeting with her tomorrow! AND she's bringing a friend!!! WHAT!!!! So good!

So with Ingeborg:
She is Åse Marie's daughter and she hasn't been very positive about the church for a LONG time. We usually see her every Friday and say hi. This last Friday we got to have lunch together and she's opening up a lot more to us! Søster Neilson is just a sweetheart and Ingeborg gave us her number so we can text once in awhile! Åse Marie was so happy to hear how her daughter is starting to trust in us! The Lord is really helping to soften and prepare the hearts of people :)

Spiritual Thought!
This week I was reading about David in 1 Samuel. In Chapter 29, David and his fellow soliders learn that their people had been taken captive by their enemies. All of David's fellow soldiers begin to murmur and say it's hopeless. Inside of going with what his peers are doing, David motivates himself to turn to the Lord. Since I have began serving here in Ålesund, I've had to REALLY learn fast to do this myself because it is just my companion and I. We have other missionaries we can call for pump-ups but daily, it's just us. As I was thinking about this, I found this scripture in the cross references (Pslams 56:3-4): "In time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."
Fear is the absence of faith. With everything and anything that happens to us, we are presented with a choice- do we increase our faith or our fear?
When we choose to put out trust in God, despite our doubts, we will prevail because God ALWAYS prevails.

Love you all and I hope you have a super duper week!!

Take care,
Søster Buhler

We made snow angels. Couldn't resist!

Just another beautiful view here in Ålesund!

This is Peaches. She's our friendly neighborhood pet
About to open my eyes to the best surprise ever! (It was Eirik's first root beer!!)
This is Åse Marie. She's the best :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bergen Miracles

Yoohoo! Hei alle sammen!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I would love to begin by saying every crazy turn and twist of life as a purpose. Heavenly Father is super flink at having every single detail line up perfectly so the miracles that He wants us to see will happen. We had a zone conference this week with two of our mission zones (the West and the North zones) and HOLY GUACAMOLE incredible things happened.

The Highlights:
-Zone Conference with Elder Kopischke of the Europe Missionary Department
-Miracle of Splits: The Pinse man and Alexander
-When Two Lives Collide: Amanda and I (If you're short on time, read this one. This is the highlight of the highlights!)
-Spiritual Thought: Mosiah 23:20-22

We had the incredible opportunity to hear from Elder Kopischke. He was born and raised in Germany and has worked in the missionary department for many years. I don't quite know how to describe the experience I had at the conference... In preparing for this conference, I had not idea what to expect. When Elder Kopischke opened the conference though, he asked us to take a few minutes to write down a question or two we had. Tender Mercy from the Lord for me to have some last minute prep time. What followed after was such a mind-blowing experience! I filled up my note-taking notebook! I will be spending the first several weeks studying over the notes I took so "line upon line" or week after week, you will be able to hear about what we talked about at the conference!

The conference took place in Bergen and I was there for two and a half days which always ALWAYS means - GOING ON SPLITS! I was able to work help Sister Williams (who is serving in Trondheim, been out for about four months) and Sister Larsen (serving in Bergen and she's been out for almost two months). We had about an hour together before we needed to meet back up again to get situated for the night and so we went and "hit the pavement!"
We talked with this one old man who we later found out was a member of the Pinse church. He told us that he has met with many missionaries from all religions and så videre. To be honest, I had a REALLY hard time understanding his Bergen dialekt but Heavenly Father truly did bless each of us with the gift of tongues to keep the conversation going. By the end, he accepted to read the Book of Mormon and he gave us his address to visit him. So cool!
Later on we met this one kid named Alexander. He told us that he grew up Christian but struggles to believe in God now. We felt prompted to talk about prayer and how talking with God does help us develop an relationship. We asked if he would try praying right then and there and he said yes! You could tell he was nervous about it but it was so touching to hear his prayer! He didn't feel comfortable with giving us his number but we gave him a card and invited him to try praying again when he got home. He thanked us for the card and said he would coniute to practice saying prayers! 

When Two Lives Collide: Amanda and I
Quick backstory for this one: I have a pen pal named Amanda Fjell who lives in Bergen. We have been writing letters (like paper and stamp status) to each other for about six years now. In 2012, I got to visit her and meet her family, friends, and enjoy life as a Norwegian for about two weeks!
Before I left for Bergen, I got Amanda's number and I told her that I would be coming to Bergen for a few days! We were able to plan a time to meet up in the city center!
When we got off the light rail, the first person I see is Mona (one of Amanda's friends that was with us for pretty much the entire time I was staying with Amanda) and then I turn and see Amanda is walking up to her to give her a hug. I start walking up to them and was like, "Hey girls!" We all freaked out! It was so good to see them!! And Mona was just there and didn't know that I was here!! We found this one cafe that we could go in to get out of the wind and then we starting catching up with each other. We mainly focused on what I've been doing as a missionary which ended up leading into the first lesson (about the apostasy and restoration). Next thing I know, both Amanda and Mona want to get a Book of Mormon and they agreed to meet with the Bergen missionaries!! AND THEY BOTH SAID THEY'LL BRING FRIENDS NEXT TIME! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!! This happened four days ago and I am still so incredibly pumped about it!! It still is so incredibly to me how Heavenly Father really has arranged for everything to fall right into place so that 1) Amanda and I could meet in the first place, 2) I could introduce Amanda to the gospel through our letters, 3) Meet the people that mean the most to Amanda back in 2012, and just so many details! Just comes to show that there are no coincidences!

Spiritual Thought: Mosiah 23:20-22
"And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam. Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people."
I actually came across this scripture today during my personal studies. It was a personal reminder for me that yes, life is pretty good right now, but there's even greater things. Sometimes I struggle with pushing myself to see these great things happen so more often then less, Heavenly Father will give me a really good push in order to help my personal patience and faith to grow. Everything and anything we experience in this life is to push us in order to grow. This life is our olympic games afterall! 
Have a super duper week and remember - with great power comes great responsibility.
Take care!
Søster Buhler

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Dawn, New Day, New Light!

Hei alle sammen!!

It's been a wonderful solid week of seeing the work continue to move forward! Sad to say goodbye to Søster Heywood but I am still incredibly grateful for the time we could serve together here in Ålesund :) ANYHOO, before I start teary up I'll share what happened this week!

-Got to be a tourist last Pday!
-Met with Per Magner, a former investigator
-Distict Meeting in Molde!
-Taught Uncle Martin!
-Last minute hurdles for church...
-Power of Unity with church leaders
-Companion 411: Søster Haylee Neilson!
-Spiritual Thought: Power of Light

Really random, but since it was Søster Heywood's last Pday, she wanted to be a tourist and hit all the tourist attractions. One of them was this lookout point called Aksla which was awesome!

We got in contac with Per Magner after going through our areabook. He is really intrigued finding out how religion and science are actually very much connected. Super cool right?? It was a unique lesson that I really don't know how to explain... Just that the Spirit was strongly present helping to guide what we should say in order to actually let Per Magner be taught by the spirit. He commited to read several chapters in the Book of Mormon and we're meeting with him again this week!

 Had our monthly district meeting in Molde and it was fun to meet the brand new elder, Eldste Rui! He's from Norway and will actually be here for training and then go out to serve in the Provo Utah Mission! We had a great meeting about the importance of Church and brainstorming together how we can help our investigators/less actives come to church.

We were able to meet up with Uncle Martin (not his real name, just the nickname we call him) and have a powerful lesson about the restoration. He's heard a lot about Joseph Smith from his family that are members and on the internet which he brought up, but he sincerely wanted to know truth from myth. It was so great to see him feeling the Spirit and realizing truth. I love missionary work! 

So on Sunday morning, we were blessed with some last minute service opportunities in church: Give a talk, sing a musical number, and teach the sunday school lesson. It was a bit hectic BUT where there's a will, there's a way! And praises unto the Lord, we found a way to get all those things accomplished! We ended up teaching about service and big or small, there are unforgettable. We sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth" på Norsk, and Søster Neilson gave a wonderful talk about the Book of Mormon!

After church, the branch president (Fred Olsen) and relief society president (Åse Marie Nedregård) came with us to visit a less active named Winnie. We visited her earlier in the week and she asked us to help her to recieve a blessing. She was able to not only receive a beautiful blessing but also a kjempe koslelig visit from her branch leaders. It felt incredible to feel how much love was in Winnie's home at that moment!

Companion 411: Søster Haylee Neilson!!
Been out on her mission for 4 months now and just finsihed her training! So in other words, I'm her mission papa! :D
Born and raised in California! Has 3 siblings (Older brother, Zach, an older sister, Aubrey, and a younger brother, Jared AKA Bear) and she's Swedish!! She LOVES Disneyland (Disney true love anyone? Yup!), going scuba diving, saw snow for the first time two weeks ago, loves Mexican food, and she's a wannabe Polynesian! :) We've already hitted it off (the Disney love connection was a HUGE part of it) and I am excited to get to know her better!

And for the Spiritual thought, I'm actually running out of time, but this one is brought to you by one of our FANTASTIC new converts: Isaiah 60:1-3. A few words with that: Never forget the light that is inside of you because "what's inside you is stronger than any spell."

Have a wonderful week and take care all you fantastic people!! :)

Søster Buhler

1. Christmas Gazebo!
2. Søster Heywood and I at midnight on New year's!
3. The beautiful sunrise of 2015

1. View from Askla!
2. Askla selfie!
3. Last time with Søster Heywood (på vei to the airport)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Baptism at the Baptist Church

Hei dokke!

It's a brand new year and it's a good life! Super short explaination about the tite- The Kristiansund elders told us how they were trying to find a place to baptize one of their investigators. They saw the Baptist church was open so they thought they'd try to ask. They got permission to use their baptismal font! So... there's gonna be a baptism at the Baptist church! Anyhoo, lots to talk about so I'll just cut to the chase:

-TRANSFERS: I'm getting a new ledsager!
-First Day of 2015: Miracle - Karlis og Antra
-Tender Mercy from the Lord: Omar
-Guess what? MORE MIRACLES! (Can't think of a short/cool way so sorry, buuut you'll have to read this section to find out why it's so miraculous!)
-Spiritual Thought from 1 Samuel

Yesterday was our moves call and Søster Heywood will be leaving to serve in Stavanger. We shed a few (Ok, more like a flood) of tears when we heard this. Mainly due to excitement for each other and sadness that they are breaking up a beautiful friendship. We've bonded so much over the last eight weeks together, but this friendship will be one to last for forever.
I will be serving with a Søster Haylee Nielsen. Don't know a whole lot about her but ou'll get the 411 next week!

New Year's day was a dead day. We were out by noon and...... nobody was out. We ended up walking outside of the city and finding more people out there and had a good faith walk to find people. As we were coming back, I thought we should try visiting some formers (Karlis and Antra who I met with when the Sister Training Leaders came). They were home! Both of them were super tired from the night before but they were so kind and welcoming. We were not there for too long (they REALLY needed to sleep, they kept dosing off. Poor things) but we were able to follow up with their Book of Mormon reading and they are in 1 Nephi 5! I was so happy that they are putting in the effort desite their crazy chef lives! We got an apointment with them for next week and I'm just so excited!

The little tender mercy: I called Trondheim to get a number for a member to help with translation and the sister was like, "Hey Omar was your convert right?"
"Yeah... Why do you ask?"
"Oh, he's right here. Do you want to talk with him?"
"Wait, what? Of course!"
Oh my goodness it was so fun to hear from Omar! He's doing good and he's just so happy. I love how happy he is now! My heart can't take the joy! They were having a ward activity which was why they were all together. Oh, It was just so good to hear how happy Omar is from himself!

Big Miracle day on Saturday!
Åse Marie planned to help us out the entire day and so we booked appointments back to back to back. The first one was with a former wwe found in the area book named Jean Claude. As he walks up to us, we see another man with him. Jean Claude tells us this is Daniel his roommate and he had invited him to come along. Uh, Ok! We did a how to begin teaching with them to find out about their beliefs and get to know them. Jean Claude grew up Catholic but is not active. Thinks that everyone is good as long as they are good. Daniel doesn't speak much English or Norwegian so Jean Claude did the translating for us. Daniel is from Congo and is a very strong Christian. We gave a short lesson about the Book of Mormon and gave them one to prepare for the next time when we talk about why we have it. Daniel was super excited and because he is Jean Claude's roommate, I think he'll help him get excited about it too.
We then met with this inactive member named Harold Hågensen who no one knew about. It was a miracle he had even showed up because apparently no one met with him before because he would never show up to appointments. He is such a sweet old man! He hasnt come to church for over 30 years and because of that, he's forgotten a lot. We ended up going through the Restoration with him because he expressed how concerned he was about not knowing which church is true. He has a questioning soul and just the look in his eyes were priceless. It was powerful to see in his eyes that he had found the truth. We invited him to read Moroni 10 and to pray and God if this church is true to which he promised he would.
That apointment ran late so we were hurrying to get going to the next one when someone knocks on the church door. I opened the door and this man comes in. Uh, what? We tell hi to make himself comfortable thinking it was our next appointment. Turns out, it was a potential that Søster Heywood and I talked to weeks ago. He saw the lights were on and thought why not? I went into the other room to call our next apointment to let him know we're running late. Søster Heywood and Åse Marie get to know him and this is what they told me what happened:
Åse Marie: Do you have a personal faith?
Chol (the potential): Yeah I grew up Christian but I'm not really attached to that. I'm kind of exploring other religions now.
Søster Heywood: So you're searching if there is a true church then?
Chol: Yeah, you could say that.
WHOA. Since we had to run to the other appointment, it was a short lesson with the Book of Mormon. We exchanged numbers and he said he's come to church! DOUBLE WHOA!
By the end of the day we had 3 new investigators (that last appointment ended up not coming, but hey the other appointments came through!) and 2 referrals contacted (Mo i Rana, another area gave us a referral). I love being a missionary!!!

To close, I would like to share what I learned from 1 Samuel during the week. In 1 Samuel 14-15 the Lord tells Samuel the prophet that Saul is no longer meant to be king. This was heartbreaking for Samuel to hear and throughout these chapters, he's mourning for Saul and how he didn't fulfill his potential. In chapter 16 the Lord comes to Samuel and says, "How ong wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons (1 Sam 16:1)."
When I first read that I had this thought come to my head, "Why do you cry about the past when the Lord has already planned and set things in motion for even better things to come?"
It was a subtle but powerful lesson for me as I begin this new year. 2014 was a great one and I'll admit I was sad that a lot of those good memories came to an end, BUT that doens't mean the good times are over. "Just when I start thinking it's as good as it can get, this crazy life does smething just to let me know I haven't seen anything yet." 
I hope we all are excited for the great times that await us in 2015. I don't know what will happen but I do know that my Heavenly Father has helped me get this far and He will help me to go even further.

Love you all and have a superb week!

Take care,
Søster Buhler