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.

Love,

Daniel

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 :)

Love,

Daniel

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 :)

Love,

Daniel