Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going to Skien

Dear All,

I spoke in church on Sunday and my talk went well. I
talked about setting goals for the new year and how we can take the
things we need to improve on to the Lord as a way to receive extra
help through the Atonement. It was kinda cool though since i'll be
leaving anyway so I got a chance to thank everyone and stuff.

It's kinda sad leaving after being here for so long. I've realized how
much this place has become home to me. I love all the members here.
I've been able to spend a lot of time with many of them, especially
over the holiday's. I'm excited for a new area but I will definitely
miss the Arendal branch.

So my new address is:

Eldste Farrer
Hans Houens gate 8
3715 Skien

Oh yeah here's some pics from Tobias' baptism a week or so ago :) Hope
you enjoy them.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tobias is getting baptized this week!

Dear All,

Well today most of our time ended up going to cleaning the old
apartment and getting some problems sorted out there. The old landlord
is kind of "hurt" that we're leaving so he's causing a lot of problems
both for us and the church. Ah, I don't know why people can't just be
easy going and helpful all the time haha.

I went to the dentist today to try on the mouth guard and guess what?
They had the wrong one delivered to them so they sent me on a wild
goose chase to the technician who had made the mouth guard originally
to try and find mine haha. I think I am one of the most unlucky people
around, but oh well it'll work out.
We won't be having pday next Monday because I'll be calling
on Christmas but I'll be able to send an email to talk more about
calling plans and such then. I would say if it's not too much of a
hassle, just get the international plan with Qwest cuz then I could
save some on buying a calling card but if it's too much then don't
worry about it :)

Tobias is getting baptized this week so I'm way excited. He's been
doing way awesome. There are so many things going on this week it's
crazy! There's a ton of meetings, baptisms and Christmas activities
all at once.

It's been pretty cold this past week but it was way nice for one day.
It was warm enough to rain haha. It's been crazy on the roads cuz
after it rained all the water froze on the roads so pretty much
everywhere we go we run and slide the whole way. It's really fun going
home cuz live at the bottom of a hill so we just slide down :)
Winter's cold but it makes things exciting.

Have a good week :)

Love you,


New Address

Hey I forgot to tell you what my new address is.. It's below:

Eldste Farrer
Revekroken 16
4844 Arendal

Monday, December 6, 2010

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Dear All,

Things are going much better :) We had a way big snow storm a few days
ago and now there is snow everywhere! Guess what?! We found an
apartment and we're moving tomorrow :) It was kinda cool how we found
it too. Last week we looked through the newspaper a few times but
didn't really find anything that great. We'd been looking other places
too with not much luck. Then one day I was flipping through my planner
and came across a page I had apparently written down a phone number
and price amount on but nothing more than that. I don't remember when
I wrote the number down but I called it anyway to see if we could come
see the apartment. So we saw it and it was very nice. The guy said
there were a few other people who had seen it but he said if we wanted
it he was willing to just give it to us haha. He agreed to let us take
a day to think about it. The next day he called us and said the other
people were asking about if they could have the apartment so he wanted
to see if we wanted it or not. I said we did, so now we have a new
apartment :) I'm pretty excited to move!

Yesterday was a busy day in church, no surprise there though :) We
taught a combined priesthood/relief society class about how the
members can be more involved with missionary work. It went pretty
good. Then we had testimony meeting and that was way sweet. Tobias,
our investigator who's getting baptized on the 16th, got up and bore
his testimony! The best part was that after he got up there, the first
thing he said was, "Okay when I say hallelujah you all say amen."
Haha.. Some of the members didn't quite know how to react but there
were many, myself included, who said, "Amen!" It was great :) After
that he just gave a very sincere, thankful testimony about God.

Oh yeah so we had the ward Christmas party last Friday. It was pretty
fun. Harald sang a lot of American Christmas songs that I knew. My
favorite one was "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley haha I just had to
sing along :) Judy Larsen, a member from America, made really good
stuffing for it too. No we didn't get to see the Christmas devotional.
I had forgotten they even had one haha.

I bore my testimony again on Sunday. I really enjoy baring my
testimony :) I'm so grateful that I have a testimony. I'm thankful to
know that God lives and He is our father. I am grateful to be able to
say that I know Christ is the Savior of the world and He lives. I know
revelation is real and I know we can receive it by the Holy Ghost.



Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Been Awhile:)

Dear All,

I haven't really noticed a difference since using the medication the doctor gave me but I don't really
think I have nerve allergies, whatever that is :S The stuff he gave me
is an anti-inflammatory. I've still been really stressed and I go to
bed stressed each night, plus having cars drive by all night doesn't
help any. Interestingly enough I decided when I woke up this morning
that I should go to a local gym and get some sort of a trial pass. I
ran for 20 minutes then did weight lifting afterwards and guess what?!
The pain was practically gone and I felt soo much better :) I release
stress by working out or running but I haven't been able to since it's
been so cold outside. Simply put I have not been able to find any
other ways of relieving stress so it has just remained in my muscles.
My body wants to get rid of the stress but doesn't know how so I
clench my teeth all night long and possibly keep my face muscles
tightened as well. So basically I'm not good at taking the stress of
the work and I don't know how to relieve the effects it has on my
body, except by working out.. There's no way I could get a pass for a
gym here cuz it'd be at least $100 a month which doesn't quite work.
This morning I felt good after working out but now I'm stressed out
again and it's right back to square one. I aways think about what I
can do to fix it cuz I don't want it to be like this for another whole
year ya know? Okay nuff bout that.

It sounds like you guys had a good Thanksgiving :)We had a good snow storm last night. I woke up early this morning to a ton of snowplow's cruisin down the street outside our window haha. Oh so we're having the ward Christmas party this Friday and I'm way excited!
So It looks way sweet in the city cuz they have all the trees covered
with Christmas lights, kinda like temple square :) Do they have the
lights up at temple square yet?

I hope you have a good week :)



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

All is Well...Almost?

Recent Update:
I received a call from Daniel this morning and he says he will be having surgery on his sinuses as soon as possible.  I will keep you all informed on when the surgery is to take place and would appreciate your prayers in his behalf so that all will go well during the surgery.  
Thanks so much,  Patty/Mom  

Dear All,
We still haven't found an apartment to move into. We looked at many but they were all.. well
yeah.. But there was one we saw that was pretty much a very nice one
so we're just waiting to see if we'll get it. The lady who's moving
had to show a few other people after us so I'm not sure if we'll get
it. Hopefully we get it so we can move in sometime next week :) My
sinuses have actually gotten a lot worse. I have this constant
pressure that just doesn't go away, and gets worse from time to time.
I'm going to a doctor in Oslo this Thursday to try and see what needs
to be done with it. I think there is some sort of blockage up there
but I can't seem to find anyone to look at it here. It's actually
quite the interesting story..

So a few days ago I started trying to find an ear, nose and throat
specialist. After much trial and tribulation I made the difficult
decision of calling the one specialist they have in the area ;) I
called them and they told me I have to be referred by a regular
doctor, after he sends the referral to them I have to wait until I get
a letter in the mail saying when my appointment will be with the
specialist. haha it was ridiculous. And so began my search for a
regular doctor.. First I had to find out which doctor has been
assigned to me, great healthcare system here haha.. not.. Not a single
city office could tell me who it was, they just gave me a website I'm
supposed to find it on. The problem was that the website required a
pincode that I didn't have and never got. So I was given a number to
call. I waited almost an entire day on hold until finally I called
back and they were closed. I decided to just go to the hospital and
see if either they would help me or just tell me who my doctor is.
They had no idea who it was and they would not help me, so ya know
what they did.? Gave me the same number to call haha. The next day I
went into a doctor's office with a group of about 10 doctor's. They
would NOT let me see a doctor until I found out who my assigned doctor
was. Of course they gave me, yet again, the same number to call. Oh
and they also told me that if I haven't been assigned a doctor I just
need to go to the hospital and they'll treat me there. What a joke. I
was sent in circles, multiple times. I finally got through to someone
on that number they gave me and they assigned me a doctor. As soon as
I did that I was admitted to see a doctor.

I walk into this doctor's office and he just says, "What can I do for
you?" He sits down in his chair and stairs at his computer screen
while I'm just standing in the middle of this room, quite confused at
what he wants me to do in there haha. The moment I said something
about sinus problems he begins typing on his computer and stops
listening to any other explanation I had. He prints something out with
a prescription on it, signs it, stamps it and passes it over to me. I
read the name of the medicine and it was some sort of penicillan. I
just told him that I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to that stuff. He
says, "Oh well then you shouldn't take that one then." Types some more
on his computer then prints out another paper, says "Hope that helps."
And then I walked out. Anyway if anyone ever says that socialist
healthcare or Norways healthcare is so great cuz it helps everyone is
nuts. I have to say it's a miracle that I was even able to talk to a
doctor. That I am grateful for :)

Yeah so that was an excting few days this past week haha but even with
all that craziness going on it was still a really good week :) Sunday
was just awesome! It's so great to feel the difference in Spirit
that's in the meetings each week. Karl Fredrik got his call on Sunday
and he's the new Young Men's President, which is perfect for him.

I'm actually in Kristiansand today with the rest of our district,
playing ping pong haha it's great. Have a good week:)



Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Great Week:)

So we had a conference in Stavanger this last Thursday and it was
fabulous as usual :) They had a big focus on making sure that
everything we do gets done by the Spirit. That having the Spirit guide
in every aspect of the work is a tough thing to accomplish but it is
such a great thing. It was cool too cuz President Johansen talked
about how much progress Norway has made in the last year. He said that
he looked back into the last 30 years of Norway's history and its
amount of baptisms has never exceeded 86 total baptisms in any one
year. Each year they got 86 or less. What's great about that is that
we aren't even threw with the year and we've already gotten 96
baptisms! The Lord has blessed Norway so much and it's wonderful :)
It's amazing how well the work is progressing all around the world. I
just heard a few days ago that negotiations are going on with China in
trying to allow missionaries to be sent there and it's going very
well. It's so cool what can happen with the power of faith.

Things have been going great here as well. I can't remember if I told
you but Tor Åge has been called as the Branch mission leader. He's
been on fire with it too! He's already got two meetings/activities set
up that are geared towards missionary work. It's so exciting :)
Yesterday we had even more members show up to church. The fire is
spreading and it can't be put out :-) I'm so glad I ended up staying
here for another transfer. I've gotten to know all the members so well
and I just love them.

Yesterday I taught the lesson in priesthood, which was way fun! We
taught about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and it went really well.
Usually I get pretty nervous before giving lessons like that,
especially when it's in Norsk but this time i just enjoyed it :)

Anyway I gotta get to finding an apartment.



Monday, November 8, 2010

Norway doesn't have Thanksgiving..? Well then, Christmas is coming soon!

In the Heart of Arendal and Sunrise

Helping Dagfinn move a bunch of trees...................................Elder Vaughan

Dear Mom,

Guess what? It's snowing! I don't think it will last very long this
time but it has been way cold this week so I think winter is finally
here for sure. These pictures are from last week, when it was still
fairly nice weather.
I think Satan is really working hard to stop the work from pressing
forward in all ways possible. A few days ago we had an activity in the
church where I ate plenty of delicious goodies :) The unfortunate part
about it was that the next day I had a terrible sinus infection that
left me almost completely useless. I was way tired from the infection
and I could not even think straight. I am so sick of it cuz I honestly
almost cannot eat any form of dessert due to the effect the sugar has
on my sinuses. That mixed with stress, my sinuses have become my
achilles heal.. If I eat sweets later on I can't even function in the
work, it's not good. So I decided on fast Sunday that I would go on a
"desserts fast." I told the Lord that I'm going to do everything
within my power to be as healthy as possible and He needs to make up
for the rest, and so far He has :)

Yesterday was a day of miracles! The Spirit was so strong in fast and
testimony meeting that I think if you were outside of the building you
could've seen that the building was floating in the air haha. I got up
and bore my testimony, I love bearing my testimony :) As I was sitting
in the congregation, listening to all the other testimonies, my heart
started to beat so fast and hard that I truly could not sit any
longer! The branch president talked about how much the branch has
changed in the last little while; how much more the Spirit has been
present and how it has effected everyone.

After church we went over to an area to knock on people's doors for a
while. We went down about one block with not a single positive
response, but I didn't care. As we were going from house to house I
really felt like somebody there needed our message, and that they
would let us in. A few more houses went by; still nothing. Finally we
knocked on the door of a small, red house at the end of the block. I
saw an older lady through a small window in the door. She opened the
door and I told her we were out to talk with people about Jesus
Christ. She smiled and said, "I've met with some of your colleagues
awhile back." We talked for a while and after which she told us, "I am
pretty firm in my own faith, but you boys are more than welcome to
come in and share what you've got." I quickly accepted the invitation
and went inside. She told us about a spiritual experience she had had
with the missionaries many years ago. She explained that she prayed
about something, the way the missionaries had told her to, and
afterwards she felt a strong, calm, peaceful feeling that overcame
her. I told her that was the Spirit confirming truth to her and I
asked if she would like to feel that more often. She said yes. It was
such an amazing teach! So her name is Marit and we're teaching her on
Tuesday :)

Once we came out of her house I felt great! We had originally planned
to go home and eat dinner but I just didn't want to stop. So we
knocked on two more doors but got nothing. The third door we tried the
guy asked us if we drank coffee. My companion told him we don't. Then
he looked around and asked if it was cold outside. We realized that
after I had asked him if we could come in and share our message he
wasn't really sure if he wanted to let us in. But he was sort of
trying to justify letting us in because it was cold or what not. I
wasn't too cold but I immediately told him, "Yes sir it's quite cold
out here!" He thought for a second and said, "Alright then why don't
you guys come in warm yourselves up?" It was amazing :) I don't think
I've ever been let in by so many people in so short of time. I know
the Lord blessed us because we fasted for the work and because we had
faith that the miracle would happen, it happened :)

Something changed inside of me yesterday and I feel like my
testimony has grown incredibly. I've had a desire to be here before to
serve as a missionary. I have had a testimony of this gospel. But
yesterday I truly felt such a burning desire to share the gospel that
I wanted to shout it off the rooftops to everyone I could see! The
truth has become a part of me and I absolutely love it :) I am so grateful for the
testimony I have been blessed with and I know it's true. I love you



Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

The picture was taken from the window of the church. It was just a normal, "rainin' cats and dogs" day in Arendal :)

Dear All,

So we didn't do anything special for Halloween.. When I first woke up
Sunday morning I said to my comp in a half asleep voice, "Happy
Halloween." :) Later on that day I had actually forgotten that it was
Halloween until we saw some kids walking around in costumes :) It's
not a real big holiday here so there were only a few people out for it
but I think it's becoming bigger. Norway just loves America :)

Well I got my new companion last Wednesday. I stay over night in
Kristiansand with the other Elders in our district and sent Elder
Passey off on a plane ride to Oslo. It was a crazy morning with a
bunch of driving back and forth from the airport, apartment and train
station. When Elder Vaughan (my new comp) finally came in with two
other new elders. My first words to him were, "Hey man, how ya doin?
Wanna boller?" It was great :) Though I was slightly disappointed cuz
he's from a town right around New Orleans but he doesn't have any
accent. Oh well it'll just have to do ;)

We taught Tobi this past week and he's way fun to teach. He always
ask's the best questions and is just really sincere about learning. At
the end of our last teach with him he said, "Before I pray, can I ask
one more question?" We agreed and then he asked, "What was it like
before you found out the Book of Mormon was true?" It was a perfect
opportunity to bare testimony and allow the spirit to witness of the
truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

On Saturday we helped Dagfinn build two nightstands he had gotten from
Ikea. That was fun! I must say I really do love working with my hands
:) I think I want to build a house when I get home ;-) Maybe I'll
start with a shed and then a house after that just to get in some good
practice first.

Sunday was great, as usual. We had a woppin 10 men in Priesthood
meeting which was great! Oh and Karl Fredrik (our recent convert)
brought his brother, a non-member, with to all of the meetings. It has
been cool to see how far this branch has come. Priesthood meeting is
usually so empty with very few members there but even though 10 isn't
a whole lot it was great to have more around to help build the church



Monday, October 25, 2010

Two months more in... Arendal?

Dear All,

So we had the call for transfers on Sunday and I found out that
> I am still not going to be moving anywhere for at least another
> transfer but I will be getting a new companion so that's cool. Welcome
> to Arendal! haha. When I first heard that I wouldn't be moving I was
> quite confused since President had told me before that I would be
> moving and I have been here so long I figured it was about time for me
> to move on. I guess the Lord has something else in mind :)
> Guess what?! We had our first snow fall this last week! It was the
> coolest thin I have ever seen and I would almost go so far as to say
> that it beat a Utah snowfall but there's just no place like home ;)
> The flakes were so big it looked like a ton of golf ball sized cotton
> balls were fallin from the sky! Oh and it was finished snowing after
> about a half an hour but it was just as much snow as we would normally
> get back home from a snowfall that lasts through the entire night. As
> a Norwegian would say when speaking English, "It was much snow" :)
> Hopefully the picture doesn't hurt your eyes too much, it's kinda
> blurry but it's the best one I got haha.
> So a little about the next picture.. We went to Stavanger this weekend
> for the organizing of the new district and it was awesome! We took a
> train there and back. On the train ride back this older couple sat
> right across from us so we started a bit of "small-talk" with them. He
> was actually quite interested in us as missionaries and wanted to know
> more about what we do. I gladly explained what we do and started
> talking to him about the Book of Mormon. After that he asked me how
> much the book costs. I told him it was free and he could have one but
> only if he promised to read it. He agreed so we gave him one. We
> continued talking about the plan of salvation as well as Joseph Smith.
> He and his wife live in Drammen (a city outside of Oslo) but who
> know's, maybe the Elders up that way will come across them one day. It
> was a cool experience and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to
> bear my testimony to these people who did not even know for sure if
> God even exists.
> Things are going good with Tobi. He wants to be baptized on the 20th
> of November and we're all for it :) I know how much power the Book of
> Mormon has and I am so excited for when he really reads it sincerely
> and gets his own, personal confirmation that it is true. I'm so
> grateful that I've been able to gain that conviction so that I can
> know, for myself, that it is completely true!
> Love,
> Daniel

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mats got baptized on the 14th.. great way to celebrate a one year mark :)

Dear All,

Well before we left to Stavanger last Sunday the weather wasn't too bad and actually quite pleasant. Once we got back on Wednesday it was freezing cold and almost all the fall leaves have fallen! So we only got a hand full of pictures taken before everything went dark and dreary haha. We had some really cool, foggy weather for a few days that made it pretty eerie to walk down by the water at night time :) I've been doing fine with the colder weather but I think I may be getting something cuz my voice has kinda been giving out lately. I think I may have to buy a bigger coat cuz mine is plenty warm but we are supposed to wear our suitcoats all the time and mine doesn't fit under my coat if I have the liner in.. Which is lame.. But I've been plenty warm now since it hasn't been cold enough and if I need to I have a sweater to wear underneath until I can find another coat; we'll see :) Oh so I bought a new, way awesome, European suit today for a birthday gift haha and I'm way excited about it! It is black with pinstripes and I must say that it fits very nicely :) So thank you to you and Brent, Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandma Langlois for putting money in my account :)

It's interesting, I've noticed how important it has become to focus my thoughts and efforts on everything that is happening now and not getting too caught up on things coming in the future. I've noticed how my mission is a lot like how I would be with playing a sport back home, tennis for example.. No matter how hard I tried I would not play nearly as good unless I was completely relaxed and let my game come out in a natural way. The same thing goes for how well I work each day as a missionary. If I get thinking about when I get home then I get stressed out about other things and nothing works. That's where I think the gift of the spirit comes in. You can work 100 times better if you are feeling at peace both inside and out. As you feel that peace everything just flows nicely and things work out :) It makes it easier for the "real" you to come out. Just a thought I just had and thought I'd share haha :)

So Mats got baptized on Thursday and it was great! As you see in the picture I included, Mats is the only one without a tie, standing next to me. I'm so happy for him and his family cuz now it's not just his mom as a member but both her and him. Now they said they're gonna work on getting his two younger brothers baptized so we're of course going to be helping with that :) I can't believe how much the Lord has blessed us here in Arendal, it makes me so happy! I sat in the back in church on Sunday and it was wonderful to look around at all our new converts and their families with them. Everyone that we have baptized here has had another person in their family who was already a member of the church so it felt good to see these families come closer together as they are able to come to church together each Sunday :)

This weekend we're going to Stavanger again cuz they'll be organizing the district so we'll find out who will be the new presidency and everything else. Oh btw we met with this guy named Tobi about a week ago and the second time we taught him we challenged him to pray about getting baptized on the 13th of November. He thought about it for a little bit and then asked, "Okay, but actually I want to get baptized on the 1st of November instead. Is that okay?" After I was done scooping my jaw off the floor I responded, "Ya, I think we can do that." Elder Passey and I came out of that teach and just looked at each other and I said, "I am not exactly sure what just happened in there, but that good man is gonna get baptized on the 1st!" I don't think I've ever had a teach go so well with somebody before. I am sure it was the Lord who guided us through each and every step. It was a sweet experience to be used as a tool in His hands :) So the next Elder who takes my place is gonna have a great guy to baptize haha.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well it's been a year..and I'm in Stavanger!‏‏

Dear All,

I ended up using some rubberbands to fix up my camera and it's working all-right-now :) Elder Passey and I were planning on taking a bunch of pictures today of all the colors and everything but we're having a conference tomorrow so we flew over to Stavanger early this morning. So hello from Stavanger!!

When we went in to teach Mats on Sunday it turned out so well that afterward it took me quite a while to register what exactly had just happened. Long story short, Mats is getting baptized this coming Thursday!! Okay to explain a little bit about that.. Last Thursday he sent us a text message saying he wanted to cancel our appointment so he could take some time to think about the whole baptism thing before church on Sunday. First is Priesthood meeting, I'll tell that story in just a minute.. So Sunday school comes around and we go into another room with Mats and Jon (a member who is going to Utah for his mission in beginning of November). We opened with a prayer and I just turned to him and said "Well, let's talk about your baptism." The spirit was so strong during the teach and afterward there was such a sweet feeling in the room. It went so well and I along with the entire branch are so excited for him to be baptized :)

So about Priesthood, it was quite funny.. It started off as usual with the branch president giving announcements and such before moving on to the lesson. When he goes to turn the time over to one of the counselors of the quorum presidency he just looks at him with a blank stare and says, "Hmm.. I'm a little surprised by that statement." Apparently he didn't know it was his turn to teach the lesson. Meanwhile I was sitting on the front row with all the young men.. The branch president then turns to me and says "Okay, can you go with all of them and teach a lesson today?" Of course I answered the call of duty, "Uh.. yeah sure." Haha the moment became greatest as I walked down the hallway thinking to myself, "Hmm.. I have really no idea what I'm going to teach these guys right now.." It reminded me of what it says in the D&C about how each meeting should be led in the church by the Spirit.. This lesson was definitely led by the Spirit. We started off by reading in 3 Nephi 11 and as we were reading thoughts and ideas began coming to mind. It was probably one of the better lesson's i've been a part of and I know it was because the master teacher, the spirit, was at the head of it all :) It was a great blessing and learning experience that i'm very grateful for. Oh and testimony meeting was so awesome!
I had one of those moments where I just couldn't sit still any longer and had to get up. Once I got up there I just couldn't hardly put any words together but I loved it cuz I truly felt what is described in the hymn, "The Spirit of God like a fire is burning." I couldn't hold back the tears and it made me so happy :) I know that He lives!

Next moves with be on the 27th of this month and I do not have the slightest idea of where I'll go haha. I really want to go somewhere more north so I can see different areas but it is a lot colder up there so I dunno :) I think it would be before but I think it will be kinda hard to move in a few weeks. Having been here for so long I've really gotten to know people so well. But it'll be nice to have a change too.

I really needed the testimony meeting we had this last Sunday. I had been wondering a lot about if the Lord is satisfied with my efforts or not. I got my answer in church :) I'm grateful to be on a mission, serving my Savior. I feel like I have grown so much closer to Him and no matter how hard it's been, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am so thankful for the Atonement He made for me. I am grateful that I can say, for myself, that I know Heavenly Father is there and He loves us. I love you mom, thank you for leading me along the path of truth and light :)



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conference was great!

Dear All,
Conference was just awesome! I made sure to take any questions I had had on my mind from the past few months and really listen for the answers. I did indeed receive an answer to each and every one of my questions plus answers to other questions I did not realize I had :) I really liked President Monson's talk about being grateful for everything that comes way, always. I don't know if it's just that I don't remember far enough back about things that happened in the week but Sunday's always seem to be the best haha. Saturday was great too though because of conference.
Yesterday after we finished watching the Sunday Morning session (which ended at 8pm) we went over to visit Tor Åge and Evy. Once we got there we found out that they have both been having a hard time. We hadn't planned on teaching them anything too much since Tor Åge had forgotten his keys at the church and we had them for him. After we opened with a prayer we just sat there and let the Spirit work for what felt like an eternity.. I could tell that something was a little off with Evy but I wasn't quite sure what it was. It wasn't until after we left their house when I realized that almost that entire teach was not me talking to either of them. Most of the time I didn't even know what I was saying and then Evy was just saying things like, "Yeah exactly." "What you are saying is exactly right, that's how it's been." I barely remember what we talked about but it was such a great experience. That is one time for sure that I can say I know the Spirit was guiding me for both of there needs. I did not know all the details of what they were going through but Heavenly Father did.
Also yesterday we had a crazy huge rainstorm that lasted for about half of the day. It was coming down by bucket loads and it came down from all sides haha it reminded me alot of the movie "Forest Gump" we he says the rain sometimes even came from the ground up. The colors on the trees have been changing as well. It looks cool to look out at the island now. I'll have to get a picture of that and of it at night cuz that is nice too :)
Thanks for all your support! I've been feeling a lot better lately, especially after conference :) Thanks for canning some peaches for me, I look forward to them :)



Monday, September 27, 2010

Evy Got Baptized:)

Dear All,

Yes I got the package! :) Thank you! It really made my day :) Anyway it all turned out good cuz about five days after my birthday Tor Åge and Evy remembered that it was my birthday so they surprised us when we came over for a teach. They made me a cake and sang happy birthday haha in English even :)

So this last week was pretty good and very busy; I am quite tired today haha. Evy's baptism was great and there was a really strong Spirit as usual with baptisms. It has been so awesome to be able to see how much she has changed since we first met her months ago. After she quit smoking, drinking and everything else bad it was like this new light and life came back into her. We've been over to their house a time or two since the baptism and there is such a special spirit at their house now it's great :) Her and Tor Åge are so happy now and he's so happy that she's a member of the church.

Another one of our investigators, Mats, is going to get baptized on the 16th of October! He came to Evy's baptism on Saturday and said that that was the third baptism that he's been to and he really enjoyed it. He's been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon everyday for the past week it's awesome :) We have been so blessed here in Arendal and it's brought such an awesome spirit into the meetings each Sunday.

All and all it was a pretty good week.



Monday, September 20, 2010

I Stand All Amazed!

Picture of a "Morning in Kristiansand"

Dear All,

First of all I just want to say thank you for the wonderful Birthday wishes!

So yesterday I finally gave my talk that I was asked to give the week before. It was looking to be a pretty busy day at church since the Elders quorum president had asked us to give the lesson in priesthood, then we were going to be teaching the investigator class, and of course I would then give my talk in sacrament. Well when it came to priesthood the branch president wanted to take a little bit of time at the beginning which actually turned into a really good discussion about priesthood blessings. Long story short he took the entire time so we didn't end up teaching at all during that block time haha. But the next hour I did end up teaching which went fairly well and I was able to give my whole talk this time which went well :)

It just turned out to be such a good. I started fasting Saturday night to get a little extra spiritual boost. Once we got home from church I told Elder Passey, "Ya know, I really want to help somebody who need's us today." I didn't think too much on the thought until later that night when Tor Åge called and asked if we could come and give him and Evy Priesthood blessings. We gave them each a blessing and it felt so awesome to just be in that house! The Spirit was so strong and I felt soo good :) It wasn't after we had left that I realized the Lord had blessed me with what I wanted, to help someone in need that day. It was an incredible experience!

So then during studies this morning I thought a bit about yesterday and thought again, "Ya know that was really cool, I want to help somebody else in need again today." Not even five minutes after I had thought that the phone rang with one of the member's on the other side. She said she was in the hospital and wondered if we could come give her a blessing. I was able to give the blessing and it felt so wonderful. I wish there were better words to describe it then "it was great" but it truly was. I've never given so many blessings having them be so near each other, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so :) Both times after giving the blessing I felt like I was on top of the world. I love feeling the Spirit :)

The wedding went well with Tor Åge and Evy. Harald sang the song "Jesus it's me again" once again but this time I got a lot of it on video. They had so much food there! One of the member's made a bunch of Iraqi type food, which was interesting but quite good. Then of course they had plenty of dessert's to go around :) We had to leave right as they started dancing so we could get home on time but that was okay since we can't exactly dance with anyone anyway haha. It's exciting cuz their goal is to go to the temple in one year to be sealed and she'll be getting baptized this Saturday :) I think it'll be a good week!

Hope you have a good week!



Monday, September 13, 2010

Tender Mercies of the Lord‏

Dear All,

We went to the zoo today (2nd time for me) since Elder Passey hadn't been before. Well all the animals are still there and living :) I dropped my camera and the battery holder thing broke so now if I want to turn it on I have to hold it shut otherwise it just turns right off again.. Makes for an exciting time to take pictures :) haha

So this last Sunday both me and Elder Passey were asked to give talks (once again haha). As it turned out the first speaker took a lot longer than was expected. Then Elder Passey took quite a long time so by the time it came around to me I just stood up, bore my testimony and then sat back down again haha.. It was actually kinda nice since I didn't have too much time to prepare so it would have been a surprise for both sides on how it would've turned out :) Anyway it was great to be able to bare my testimony, that's never a problem haha.

Things are starting to really pick up around here, it's great! On Sunday Tor Åge and Evy brought two of their friends to church with them. Our branch president talked to them and committed them to meet with us at least three times a week for the next month! And this was before we had even gotten a chance to talk to them. Then later that day Karl Fredrik's daughter told us that he has two people that are interested in being taught as well! I don't think I've ever had so many people come to me with friend's they have who want to be taught, it's a little different but I love it :) Things have been moving so well in this branch and it's very exciting to be a part of it.

On Wednesday I took a trip to Kristiansand for splits until Thursday and that was fairly exciting. Kristiansand is a lot bigger city and it reminds me a lot of Oslo. It was pretty cool though cuz when we went out to contact people in the city the first lady I started talking to stopped! I was kinda surprised cuz usually it takes a few before you start getting into the groove of things. Anyway she ended up being really interested and wanted to meet later on. Then, yesterday the Elder I was with that day asked me if I remembered her. He said that she is still interested in meeting but actually lives in Grimstad, which is mine and Elder Passey's area. So basically I didn't even know it then but I was talking to someone that I was going to be teaching later on :) It was awesome, I love the tender mercies of the Lord!

I started noticing all the tender mercies I've been given this last week. I think it makes life a lot more enjoyable when your looking for the small things that the Lord does to help you. Sometimes I've just felt like there is so much more I can do or more people I could be talking with but whenever I'm doing my best He really does provide for the rest. Something else that was interesting about church yesterday.. You don't get assigned a specific topic to talk about so you just choose your own. It was great to be sitting there during sacrament meeting and see how well all the talks tied together even though nobody had told the other what they had prayed about then chosen. The Spirit is so great :)

We had an interesting teach last Monday that afterwards I couldn't help but laugh. We had knocked on this guys door a few weeks before and he said come back another time. So we knocked on his door another time. He answered and before I could even get a few words out he just invited us in. I thought, "Hmm.. That went well. He must really be elect!" After we sat down he started to ask us question about where we are from and how long we've been in Arendal. It was really strange and not usual. By the way he was talking it sounded to me like he was a member of the church already. I kept wanting to just ask him straight out but I thought I'd ask some other questions as to not look to clueless ;) Finally I came to the conclusion that he is a member. We both headed for the door to leave when I shook his hand and asked him what his last name was. He said, "Hinkle." It all made sense! Long story short what we thought was a really positive guy who was so ready to be baptized is actually a member of the church and he is an american from Oregon :) I must say though it wouldn't have been so difficult to tell if he was a member if he had been coming to church haha. It was definitely something to laugh about in the end and now we're going to meet with him more to get him back to church :)

I'm so grateful for the incredible power the Spirit has on us all. It's so great to know that it really isn't me that's converting anyone but the Spirit. (which is good cuz I don't think I am that convincing :) I know it's all true!



PS ...I realized after I was done emailing last week that I had forgotten to send a picture of the baptism haha so here it is now :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Arendal now has a new member! That's one point for the good guys :)‏

Dear All,

So the baptism on Saturday went great, it was amazing! The spirit was there so strong and it was such a sweet experience :) What made it especially sweet was that Karl Fredrik (the one who got baptized) has always had a testimony of the church for so long and all the member's of the branch have looked forward to this day for a very long time. He had his family there, of which only his youngest daughter is a member. Brother Thommesen played a church country song on the guitar and sang. He chose a particular song called "Jesus it's me again" that pretty much described Karl Fredrik's "journey" to getting baptized. If you get a chance, look up that song cuz it has a really good message. Though I don't know if it would be quite the same haha Brother Thommesen has a really good voice. Anyway after he had finished singing the spirit really was there and it felt so good :)

Our fast and testimony was one of the better one's I have been to in a long time haha. Not to say the other's are bad but this one was truly special since Karl Fredrik got confirmed. Something about a baptism brings the spirit so strongly and then it just carried over even more into the meeting :) I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of it.

Things are going well with Tor Åge and Evy. They're actually getting married on the 18th now but this time it's for sure :) I'm not so sure now if i'll be playing any music for the wedding but I think photographer would definitely be fun. I've never been very good at taking pics of myself but I do like taking pictures :) So they came to the baptism on Saturday and then on Sunday Evy asked if she could have "How Great Thou Art" as one of the hymns at her baptism cuz she liked it from Karl Fredrik's. It was so cool too cuz after she came out from Relief Society we asked how it was and she said she loved it and she just loves coming every time! Last week was way fun with them since they just barely moved to Arendal they've invited us to come over almost every day haha. Tor Åge wanted us to eat dinner with them every time and when we protested he said, "Why won't you? We are going to be eating anyway." Something else we've been working on is trying to get a new ward mission leader cuz our last one was released a few months ago and there hasn't been another one called due to lack of able priesthood holders. As we were talking with Tor Åge last night he mentioned something about how we don't have one and then trailed off with, "Oh so that's why..." I got to thinking maybe he'll be the next one once he's fully active and that would be so cool :) It makes me so happy to see this branch growing so well! Heavenly Father has truly blessed the member's and missionary work here.



ps. As you can see from the pic Brother Berg took us to the driving range today. He gave me some really good pointers and I really enjoyed it. We'll have to go golfing again with Grandpa when I get back :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Baptism on for Saturday:)

Dear All,

So we're still on for the baptism this coming Saturday and I am way excited for it! No he isn't someone we've been teaching. He's been around/investigating the church for about thirty years or so and he has decided that now is the time to go for it. We've been teaching and working with him for the past two weeks to help him get to the finish line :) It's interesting how fast you can grow close to someone in such a short period of time. We have shared some really good, spiritual experiences with him and I feel like I've known him for a lot longer than two weeks :)

Tor Åge and Evy are moving into the city! They're going to be living about 15 minutes walking distance from our place in sentrum. Tor Åge's a way awesome guy and is going to be such an awesome member for the branch here. He always invites us to do different things like go and see a movie with them or come to their place to just hang out and listen to some music or whatever haha. Instead of just saying no it's against the rules we've just started to say, "Sounds good! How bout in a year or so :)" Oh that reminds me, he said if I come back with you and Brent then we should all stay with them. So maybe keep that in mind later on haha..

They're getting married on September 11th (quite the memorable day :). It's going to be a somewhat small wedding I think. Elder Passey and I are thinking about playing some music for it if we can cook something up before then. He plays the piano really well but I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do haha. I'm thinking I'll borrow a guitar from one of the member's so I can try and learn a thing or two. We'll see what happens :)

We went fishing with one of the member's a few days ago out on Tromøy. (IMG_0007) It was way fun this time cuz I caught a fish! It was a way long and skinny one that kinda looked like a swordfish. Anyway we hadn't really planned on keeping any, just catch and release, so right after I reeled it in and saw it it fell off :( It was too bad cuz I wanted to get a picture with it for proof haha. Oh and I caught a giant jellyfish too but I didn't have my camera around for that one. I was slightly disappointed once I reeled it in cuz it was super heavy so I thought it must've been a big fish, not quite haha but it was still cool.

Sometime this last week I picked up a cold that's made me way tired for the past couple of days. As soon as we were done with studies this morning I went right back to my bed, it was real good :) I felt better afterwards but my cold is still here. Go figure, you'd think Norway was a cold place or something haha.


Eldste Farrer

Monday, August 23, 2010

Transfer call received. No changes made :)

Dear All,

We found out on Sunday who was going to be moving and to both mine and Elder Passey's surprise neither of us will be moving. That isn't all too common but I guess the Lord has something special that He wants us both here for, not too many complaints there haha.

This last week has been so great and so rewarding! First, we're having a baptism on September 4th! :) Karl Fredrik decided he wants to get baptized and we'll be meeting with him over the next two weeks to help him get there. I feel like now all our hard work is finally starting to pay off and it feels pretty good :)

So a few things that happened last week. On Saturday we had a fireside where President Johansen came down and had a really good topic. We had a way fun activity with a delicious dinner and so much cake afterward :) Something even better about it was that Tor Åge and Evy were able to come to both that and church the next day. The dinner/fireside was so much fun. I realized as I was going around talking to everybody in the branch that I really do love these people here :) The best part about it was that I was not at all worried about the language. I felt like I could just go up, be myself and talk with them. It felt really good to be a part of something and feel like I was maybe making a little bit of difference. Then President talked about how they're organizing a district in preparation for building a second stake in which Arendal will be a part of. The plan is to make Arendal into a ward which would be so great :)

On Sunday we there were 40 people in sacrament meeting. The average has been around 25 so that was a good increase and it looked so good to have that room more filled with members :) I had one experience on Sunday that I am so grateful for. I was sitting with Tor Åge and Evy at the beginning of Sacrament meeting. After the sacrament was finished they waited a minute then got up and left. As they did I vaguely remembered them saying something about that they were going to leave after the sacrament but I had thought they meant after the meeting. I went out into the hallway and found that they had already left the building. I stood there and thought to myself, "Okay, you can't leave the building cuz your comp is still sitting in the chapel. What next?" I turned around and feeling somewhat defeated, began walking back to find my seat when I suddenly heard footsteps down the hall and around the corner. I turned around, once again, and saw Tor Åge walking towards me. He then walked into another room. By this point I was quite confused but I followed him in there to realize he had just come back to get a jacket. I asked him to come back inside and stay for the rest of the meeting. We continued to talk back and forth after which he just said, "We can't go back in there after we've already left." and he proceeded to go out the door. I stood there, looking at him and thought about what more I could say. The Spirit filled the room and I just said simply, "Ya know, this isn't just me standing here and telling you this. It is as if Christ himself is asking you to come back. He wants you there even more than I do." He stopped; thought for a minute and said he'd ask Evy about it but wouldn't promise anything.

I waited for about five minutes or so and they did come back :) I was so happy to see them again! At the end of the meeting he thanked me for coming after them. I knew so strongly as I do now that the Lord watches out for each one of us. I know the Spirit leads us and guides if we head it's promptings. I am so grateful for that experience I had :) I have always felt like I've never been very good at following promptings or even being able to recognize them. I am very glad that I followed cuz otherwise two souls could've been lost and I would not have been able to have such a sweet experience in being led by Him. Things are going much better with Tor Åge and Evy. They're getting married in a few weeks and she'll be baptized soon after that!

It really is true that no matter how hard things get or how often you have difficulties, the good things always outweigh the bad. Though they may be few, they are always so much more sweet. I know that God lives! I know He cares and even though it is hard to realize at times, He really does know what's best for us. A lot of times it is hard for me to see or understand it when people have said "A mission is hard but it's worth it." I had definitely seen the hard but the worth it took a little bit more time :) Even if it was just that one experience amongst a whole lot of adversity I would still say it was worth it! And that it how I can say that I know this is His gospel and His truth.

Thanks for praying for me.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Good day for a boat tour :)‏

Dear All,

Well I wish I could say things are going great with Tor Åge and Evy but they are not exactly.. We were only able to meet with them last Monday and then they just disappeared off the face of the Earth once again but "sånn er det noenganger." I'm sure we'll be talking with them sometime later on. But until then we'll just have to find another prepared family who is seeking the truth :) We recently saw the "Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ" dvd that the church has put out and it was so awesome! It was so powerful to hear all of the Apostles testify of Christ.

Zone Conference was last Wednesday in Stavanger. It was my first time going there so that was a cool experience. It reminded me so much of Oslo and I kinda started to miss it. I remember when I first arrived in Oslo and I almost didn't even like it cuz it was all so new to me. I don't think I had ever been one for "city life" and Oslo was definitely right in the central parts haha. By the time I was going to leave I had come to really love the area. It's interesting how you can go through many rough times and some good times that, in the end, bring you closer to the people around you and the area you live. Anyway back to zone conference haha. It was such a great conference! It seems like every time I feel like I've hit a plateau then comes the conference in which all my question's have been answered and I have something new to tackle. It was kinda weird though cuz one of the assistants to the president is going home after this transfer. It seems like just the other day when he first became an assistant and I was just a new man in this great land :) I just keep saying to myself, every time a missionary stands up to give his final testimony, "Wow he's so old! Ah well that'll never be me :)" Which is kinda funny too cuz they always seem to say that they would say the same thing when older missionaries got up for their final testimony haha.

I had a pretty cool/interesting experience on Thursday. As I was sitting on a bus on the way back to the center of Arendal I felt like I should talk to this kid who was sitting across from me. I think he was about 17 or so years old. I wanted to talk to him but I wasn't exactly sure how to begin the conversation. It can sometimes be a little intimidating to just up and talk to someone on a bus, especially in another language and even more so it can be difficult to tie things back to a gospel topic. I offered a silent prayer to my Father in Heaven that he would help me think of something that could maybe interest this guy. Right after I had prayed my eye caught sight of the watch he was wearing. I noticed that it looked just like mine. Possibly a strange way to begin a conversation but I decided to take it simply so I said, "Hey, that's a fine watch you have." haha. It wasn't until he raised it up slightly as I kind of motioned towards mine to imply that they were the same, I realized that they were, in fact, almost nothing alike :) He chuckled softly and said, "Yeah thanks." Hmph, I had expected something a little bit more than that haha. After a few random question we started talking a little bit more. He ended up getting off at the same place as us so we continued talking and got around to his belief in God. He said he was actually in the process of looking around into different churches' beliefs. It was almost too good to be true! Suddenly as we were talking his pupils got way huge and he said, "I can't see!" He began to sway a little bit back and forth so we moved towards him in case he fell. He pretty much collapsed and we laid him down on the sidewalk while somebody nearby called a ambulance. Unfortunately throughout all this excitement we never exchanged numbers so now we don't really have a way of getting in contact. But I did learn a few things during it and I received a very distinct answer to my short and simple prayer :)

The next day we taught a girl named Signe Kristine and asked her to be baptized if she found out the Book of Mormon is true. She said yes, if she found out it was true. The teach even began so well. I asked her how God had helped her in her life and talked about some of her beliefs. She mentioned how she pray's every morning and night so I asked her if she had ever gotten an answer to any prayer's. She looked kind of confused and said, "No, have you?" I just smiled and said, "Let me share with you the an experience I had when praying to know about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon." I always love a good teach when the person asks you all the right questions open up opportunity for the spirit to be present :)

Thank you for praying for me, it mean so much! Last night while I was lying in bed I thought back on this last transfer period and what has happened. There have been a lot of week's where I've felt like I don't really know who I am or what kind of person I am. I felt so confused and I didn't even know what any of my questions were so I couldn't even ask them haha. I had many moments yesterday during church and later on that day that helped me see more of who I am. I don't know how to explain it but I felt like I became more comfortable or more steadfast in a way. Anyway I learned something more about the person I want to be and it was such a sweet experience. Sometimes it can be so hard for me to see how close I've come to my Savior when it seems like there are only crashing waves and thunderstorms around me all the time. But even through the strongest storms, the Lord's shining spirit shine's through the darkened clouds and he's brought me a little bit closer. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and am grateful for him.



Monday, August 2, 2010

"...how great shall be your joy..." D&C 18:15-16‏

Dear all,

The result with Anis is very short and simple. He told us that he is still interested in learning more but his wife controls how big of steps he takes with it and at the moment she won't let him try anymore. On the other hand we had such an incredible experience with Tor Åge and Evy on Saturday. After we all sat down Tor Åge began by saying "Alright, it's time that we all be completely honest with each other." They had kept a lot of things from us and weren't too open about what they wanted to do. They both explained to us a lot of things that made me realize how difficult their life had been and that it still was. It was one of the most incredible teaches I have ever had with someone before. As he was talking to us I started to feel how much Heavenly Father really did love them. The Spirit began to feel the room and it came time for us to teach what we had prepared before hand. I threw those plans out the window as I felt like we should read 2 Nephi 4 together and talk about it. I asked Elder Passey and he agreed so we opened up to that great chapter. As Tor Åge read the Spirit continued to get stronger and stronger. About half way through the chapter, as he was reading aloud, tears began to fill his eyes and he paused. No one said a word; no one needed to. Once we had completed the chapter there wasn't a single dry eye in that room.

I looked back on that whole situation and saw how much difficulty we had just getting out to there house. I ended up changing a bike tire right before the bus came to take us out there. Then the bikes wouldn't fit under the bus. Once we arrived (an hour bus ride later) I had to pump up the the flat tire only to realize that the valve on it was not the best one so after a few pumps it would begin to just let out air. Basically it took a lot to pump it up haha. It took us almost two and a half hours to get there with us almost getting lost a few times along the way. At one point I was going up a deathly steep mountain when I came to a fork in the road. I instinctively started to go to the right when I heard someone say "No, wrong way! You can't go that way!" I looked up and a lady was gardening in her front yard. She asked "Where are you going?" At this moment I was out of breath and just thought "Oh great. Someone else who doesn't like 'the Mormons'." I responded "We're headed towards Søndeled." "Well then you need to go up the other road." she directed. I said thanks and continued on the right path. If she hadn't been there we would have gone up an entirely wrong way and would've lost time, energy and faith in my natural sense of direction :)

I am so grateful for how much the Lord watches out for us and helps us along the way. I had no idea how important that teach was going to be with them until afterwards. The next day Tor Åge even called me just to say thank you. It was a confirmation to me of how important this work is to the Savior. I know he is in every aspect of it and I'm thankful to be a part of it. I know He lives! I know it's true :)

We're going to go hiking with them today so I've got to get going really soon. So many times I cannot believe how incredibly hard it is and why it is that way. But after just a moment like that one it makes it all worth it :) It took some time but I have received more than enough thus far in return. I will never forget that experience I had with them and how incredibly strong the Spirit was. It felt as though the truth was being written on my soul with a permanent and eternal flame. I love it :)



Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Pioneer Day!

Hello Everyone,

We had a way cool thunderstorm last Tuesday that really put some meaning to the term "It's raining cats and dogs." You can see in the picture (Calm before the storm) of what it looked like before the sudden downpour came. We were on our way home after a long day at work when I snapped this picture. Maybe three minutes after it started to come down, slightly. Two seconds later it rained to hard I could've been dryer had I jumped in the sea for a quick dip :) By the time we made it home I was drenched from the inside out. It definitely made for a very exciting end to the day.

Oh I almost forgot, yesterday in church we had come to the final meeting of the day (Sacrament) when the branch president came over to his son, who was sitting by me, and asked him "where are all the people that are supposed to speak?" As he somewhat glanced down at me. There were three who had been assigned to talk and not a single one showed up to do it! I ended up giving a talk on the spot that hopefully turned out not too shabby haha. It was one of my more busier Sunday's what with blessing the sacrament and trying to gather a few thoughts to share for fifteen or so minutes :)

On Saturday we taught a really cool guy for the first time, Anis. It went so well and the spirit was there so strong :) After we introduced the Book of Mormon to him he was very interested in trying to read and pray about it. I then asked him "If you find out the Book of Mormon is true, will you be baptized?" He paused for a moment and then said "Yes, if I found out it was true." I hope it continues to go as well as that cuz he is so willing to get an answer. I absolutely love coming out of a teach that went well after feeling the spirit so strongly :)

I don't have too much time to write today cuz we went to a member's house. He has a recording studio in his garage so we went and played around for a while, it was way fun! I've included a picture above.



Monday, July 19, 2010

How Long Have I Been Gone

Dear All,

We've been doing a lot of contacting and knocking on doors and the Lord is starting to bless us for our efforts. A pretty cool miracle happened on Friday. So we set out to go and try this guy who had told us multiple times that he was going to come to church but still hasn't come. When we got his apartment door and knocked nobody answered, what a bummer.. My companion and I thought to try the door on the next level, so we did. We knocked on the door and a younger boy answered the door. I began by saying that we were out to share a message about Jesus Christ. Before I could even finish he opened the door wide open and said, "Yes, come in!" His mom was sitting on the coach and told us to sit down. Her two young kids sat down next to her and they all three looked at us with expressions on their faces of "Alright, go ahead, we're all ears." I was so blown away at how easy and quick things went that by this time I was practically speechless! I just kept thinking, "What is this? What in the world is happening?!"

After regaining my composure I asked if it was alright that we begin with a prayer before teaching. She said, "Of course!" So I prayed. Afterward she told some interesting experiences she'd had through her life and how God had helped her with everything. We told her about the Book of Mormon and she said she'd like one for her and for her son to read (so he can learn about Christ). Once we were finished with the lesson we asked if we could come back tomorrow, she said yes :) We came back on Saturday and asked if she'd like to come to church. She was going out of town for a few days but said she'd come next week and we'll be meeting with them tonight to teach them more! It has been so amazing.

One other good story. Yesterday morning we had just arrived to church. Suddenly the cell phone began to ring, so I answered it and recognized the person on the other end, who was speaking very broken English, as Boris. We had met Boris on the street the weekend before last and could hardly communicate with him cuz of the language barrier. No Norwegian and very little English, very tough. He's from Lithuania and is here working almost all day, every day. So he calls and all he said was, "Hi...Boris... I coming church today... What clock starts?" I told him when it started in about ten minutes. He said "Okay bye." Next thing I knew he showed up in the church hallway, drenched from head to toe (it was raining a lot). It just amazed me! Here was a man who doesn't speak any languages that they speak here but felt like it was important to come to church, so he did. I really want to try and figure out a way to teach him better English but I'm not quite sure how yet. I may try and use the Book of Mormon in both languages and just see how far we could get haha. We'll see.

Next week is the Norwegian Grand Prix so we're only having Sacrament meeting. There will be boats racing around all throughout the harbor area so it supposedly gets pretty noisy during church hours.

Here's a few pictures. Norway is very green now. We're going for a bike ride after this so I'm hoping to get some good pictures of different areas. The next pictures is of me and some of the recycling can robots that were in an area we were knocking in one day :)

I hope you have a good week!



Yes, I Floss Every Night :)

Hello All,

Well this past week has gone pretty good. I still haven't been able to get in contact with a dentist to take care of my cavities.. It seems like every one I call either doesn't answer the phone or is on vacation for the summer. I got some Calcium and Vitamin D3 today as well as mouthwash. I'm gonna hit these cavities hard and hopefully prevent any other's from coming in the future. It's interesting how big of a deal it can be to have two cavities when on a mission. Had they come at any other time it would've been almost no big deal haha. Oh well, best work through it anyway.

Tuesday was a very full and entertaining day. We had splits so Elder Craft came from Kristiansand and Elder Passey went there. The first person we taught was Kristiane. She had tried to pray once before but didn't feel like she got an answer. This was the second time teaching her and it was kind of depressing.. Right after we opened with a prayer I asked her how the reading and praying went. She said she had read and prayed and didn't feel anything. We talked about what she expected for her answer and she said "It would have to be a fairly big sign." Hmm.. After that she said she didn't want to want to try anymore and didn't want to meet again. We tried to explain to her that it takes some time and that you have to be a little bit more willing to do something about it when you do get an answer. I asked her if she would be interested to hear what we had prepared to teach her and she said "No, I don't think so." Silver bullet right to the heart haha. Strange thing about it was that she didn't get up and leave so I just said, "Well, Elder Craft and I are going to watch "Finding Faith in Christ" so you can leave if you want or you are more than welcome to stay and watch." (I was going to be absolutely certain that she was not an "elect" person at that time.)

I felt the spirit so strongly after the movie was finished and I knew she had to have felt something too. We bore some good testimony and even had a kneeling prayer at the very end. Even after all that she still went on her way and said "Maybe one day." It was so sad but at the same time it was a major testimony builder for me. I am so grateful for the restored truth that we have.

Overall I'd say my prayers and level of communication with our Heavenly Father have been a lot better. I just feel like I take a ride on a spiritual roller coaster every week. I definitely feel closer to Him because of having better prayers and I have seen the difference looking back on the week now. I don't know why but I've been feeling slightly homesick recently. I don't know if it has to do with the summer weather gets my thoughts thinking about all sorts of things or what. I've noticed though that one of the biggest factors that effect my spirituality levels and later on homesickness level is how I manage the stress. If I start feeling overwhelmed or not the greatest my mind wanders on other things, not good haha. It's just funny cuz I feel like every week I've got it all figured out. I get to Monday and say "Alright, I made those mistakes and learned from them. Now I can be a perfect Missionary this week and baptize multitudes :) Guess at one point you just have to really live in the present, find the joy in it and keep pressing forward. I think that's one of my biggest challenges; being too much of a future dreamer and not looking at the now so much haha. What can I say? I really like to dream :)

Your hiking experience does sound like it came right out of a movie! Pretty exciting haha. I want to go on that hike one day. I don't know why I never went before (guess I was just too much of a sissy ;-) I've been trying to find some good hiking areas but the only outdoor hiking area's are either too far or we've already been there. I did get a really cool picture from when we knocked an area on top of one of the many mountains the other day. It's the one picture with all the boat's in a big group (img_0046). The Norwegian Grand Prix boat races were here over the weekend so we got to see a few race's while we were out in the city.

We finally got to teach Tor Åge and Evy again. It went fairly well but we kind of found out that he just wants to take his time getting back into the church and she isn't exactly gung-ho about being baptized real soon. I took a picture of the yard they're working on cleaning up and it's attached (img_0029. Elder Passey and I went in and cleaned out a ton of fallen tree's. I chainsawed them all up and he hauled them out, it was great fun :) We took the tree's out of the area to the left of the shed.

After we finished teaching them we had already missed our bus but needed to ride our bike's quite a ways to the bus station (up hill) it was pretty intense, but the reward was very nice. We had to wait an hour or so before the bus finally came. Luckily, the bus stop was right next to a lake (img_0035) so I just stood by it and thought. Nature is so beautiful and so peaceful to be out in I love it! It's so much easier for me to feel closer to my Heavenly Father when I am out in the natural things he has created. Isn't it amazing that he created all of this by Priesthood power? :)

I'd say this past week has been a pretty rewarding one now that I look back at it. I must admit it had its moments, both high and low, but it's all good :) Thank you for putting my name in the temple! Oh btw I just got a hold of a dentist and the soonest I can get in is the 30th of July haha we'll see if I can find someone else to get it done before then.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 4th of July! Yesterday

Dear All,

So it has been somewhat of a "blue" day for me today. I think I keep looking too hard for that "perfect day" to come and I haven't been able to find it just yet.. Then again it all depends on your attitude towards things right? :)

Almost everyday last week I had a pretty big headache that got in the way of a lot of things that needed to be done. I think I have a giant knot in my neck that has been causing it. Plus that and a little bit of stress wasn't exactly a reliever for it either haha. I think I hadn't been managing my stress levels very well and all the "weight" was piling up on my shoulders/neck. I was really worried cuz at the beginning of the week we had a lot of teaches planned out that slowly started to disappear as the days went on. Sometimes it really get's to me cuz I hear about working to achieve goals that have been set and if it doesn't look like your going to make them you need to go to the Lord and He will provide. I have no doubt that He can provide a way to accomplish those things but I do wonder if that is His will every time. No matter how many teaches we do or don't have I always come out in the end having learned something new.

As my head was aching pretty bad everyday I had tried almost everything from Ibuprophen to taking short naps during meal breaks and nothing worked! You know what I finally did? One day after finishing up early with dinner I thought I would take a quick nap to be ready for the rest of the night's labors. Suddenly I had the thought to read in the Book of Mormon instead. I had been having trouble even focuses on reading things due to this headache but I tried it anyway. After reading a chapter I felt significantly calmer and the headache lessened. I was somewhat surprised (though I probably shouldn't have been). Since then I have read as often as possible in it. The book has an incredible spiritual attached to it and it surpassed all other probable solutions.

The power of the spirit is so significantly strong and It is such a blessing to me. We recently visited an inactive member and he would pretty much not stop talking the entire time. I kept trying to figure out why he had stopped coming cuz he was so interested in how many people were attending and if we had any baptisms recently. After I had asked him why he doesn't come to church anymore he continued to talk more about some things. Then I had this distinct impression that had to do with a talk I had read while I was in Oslo. I waited until he had to take a breath and said, "You've told us all about how much you love to study in the scriptures and learn more about Christ yet you still don't come to church. Why are denying yourself of one of the most important parts of church, namely sacrament, because of such small details?" He thought about it for a while and then replied, "Hmm; that's a good point." And that was that haha. How grateful I was to have been led by the Spirit. We had prepared something to teach him beforehand but it didn't exactly have that as a part of it!

So it sounds like you all had a good 4th of July. It was way weird here cuz I had forgotten it was even a holiday until someone wished a happy 4th of July haha. I loved seeing the pictures, thank you! It's so crazy how everyone in the ward is getting their calls. Time seems to fly occasionally when looking back at it but other days it just couldn't go any slower. Either way I'm where I want to be at this time and of course I always look forward to the good times now and into the eternities :) Eternal happiness and joy, what a great thought!



Monday, June 14, 2010

Last Week of the Transfer

Dear All,

Guess what?! The other night I made ham fried rice for dinner, and it was delicious :) I took a picture so you can see the good looking salad that we had with it. Oh and last night we made chocolate boller, they didn't exactly turn out the way they should have haha. They are a very delicious, common pastry made here but they do add some pounds haha.

We had another mission conference on Thursday and Elder Kopichke of the Seventy taught us so many awesome things about missionary work. He began with an "experiment." He told us to take some time and write down any questions we had and wanted answer's to from the conference. Then to pay close attention to any thoughts or feelings of the spirit prompting you to do something. He said that he didn't have the days' activities planned out and that it was entirely up to us and the spirit for what we were going to talk about. Every one of my questions were answered. I learned a ton about listening and following the spirit, it was really a great conference!

So Thor Åge and Evy are doin pretty good. We finally got a date set for them to get married and we're hoping for the baptismal date to come shortly after :) It has been interesting to teach them because they both have way crazy dialects that are very hard to understand. Luckily Thor Åge likes to talk to us in English so he can practice.

The Norwegian has been coming along really well. Elder Grover and I have been trying to speak it more with each other almost all the time and that has helped it be more natural in talking with native speakers. It's kinda funny cuz there are a lot of Norwegians who don't understand other Norwegians who are natives. With the different dialects they have trouble communicating somewhat often. After seeing that I don't feel so bad about not being able to understand everything :)

This morning I had a way good personal study. I started off by reading in The Book of Mormon (not a bad way to begin haha) then I decided to read my patriarchal blessing, only this time I wanted to read it more carefully. I only made it through a paragraph and a half but I got a ton out of it that I hadn't noticed before. It was great cuz most of the time I don't have trouble working on reaching my goals it's just the deciding on what my goal is that's tough. I noticed more promised blessing if I did certain things so now I have something to work towards :) I really felt like I had been taught by the spirit as I studied and those are always the best studies!

I guess you could say that the best thing about my week was how much I felt and learned from the spirit. I'm surprised at how much I didn't know before now and how much I still don't even understand now haha. No matter how much I do or don't know I do know that it is all from our Father in Heaven. I have been blessed with so much and I'm am grateful for it all. I don't know why I get feeling down sometimes because there is so much to be happy about!

Thanks for your support :)