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.

Love,

Daniel




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!

Love,

Daniel

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.

Love,

Daniel



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!

Love,

Daniel