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

" 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 :)