Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Post Conference: April 2013

What a week it has been!  I am continuing to grow as an individual, a disciple of Christ, and as a missionary.  There is absolutely nothing more fulfilling than 5-sessions of General Conference as a missionary.  For those of you who don't know what General Conference is; every 6 months our Church's General Authorities (Prophet and Apostles) assemble in 5 different 2-hour sessions of conferences where they give us insight, instruction, and promised blessings.  Each General Conference-- leading up to this particular one, I have felt that I needed to serve a 2-year mission for my church.  Most importantly to Jesus Christ, because of the many blessings he has given me and my family over my short 22-year life.  I was so engaged, soaked in every word, and felt so inspired to be the best all-around person I can be.  For those of you wondering, we were able to listen to it in English.  We watched the First Session here in Stavanger at 6 PM - our time.  The next day, we started with Priesthood Session at 11.  Sunday Afternoon Session at 2, then the regular time Sunday Morning at 6 and Sunday Night at 10 (yes, we did stay up until 12 on our mission! Not rule breaking, just listening to the words of our prophets.)  I have never been more fulfilled in my life listening to the words of men who have truly been called of God to fulfill a role in an inconsistent society.  It's been a unique experience listening to General Conference as a missionary.  I wish that everyone were to have the same experience and experience the same joy as Jesus Christ's Gospel has to offer.

These types of feelings I was able to share with some of the investigators that we have been teaching.  It is so fulfilling to witness to strangers and investigators; I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and I know that this Gospel can bring peace during every trial that life puts us through.

We had some pretty solid door-knocking days.  Some nice conversations and experiences at people's doorsteps - some baptismal dates accepted and witnesses that Heavenly Father is looking over us.  I will share an example of this.  Today is our P-Day, we decided to help a family's daughter and husband move to a new house.  This family is one who I have spent some time with and have a great appreciation for, although there is my language barrier - I love them greatly.  We helped the daughter move, successfully - eventually they drove us to a nearby mountain (where most of my pictures are from) and we climbed to the top.  As we got to the top, there was an amazing view all around us - it is the highest point in the area we are serving. When we went down from the top, my companion and I had to run down - because it was getting close to the time that we had to get back to our apartment, shower, and head out to a dinner where a family from the ward was hosting one of our investigators for FHE (another blessing).  As we were running down the hill and came to a couple, they asked my companion where we were from.  When the couple found out I was from Chicago, IL we had a great conversation the rest of the way down.  He ended up being a Lutheran pastor - and he and his wife had lived in Chicago for 5.5 years.  As we got to the parking lot of where we were dropped off, my companion and I still had a long way to go.  The couple found this out, and offered to give us a ride to the bus station.  We got to the bus station quickly - got home quickly - showered quickly - left our apartment to head back to our appointment (ran into a couple we have been teaching as investigators, talked to them long enough to remind them to read the Book of Mormon) then we got to our FHE/dinner appointment at 5 o'clock, exactly the time we had planned for it.  I tell this story only to offer examples of how the Lord works.  It may be a confusing story, but read through it - and find how the Lord's work is not about oneself, but about how he wants us to be as successful as possible; as long as we are willing to put forth the work. 

Just this week I read the words of Ammon to his brothers in Alma 26.  These words mean more to me now than at any other time in my life:

Alma 26:11-12  11 ''...I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I look forward to the miracles that I will witness on my mission.  I look forward to the blessings my family will receive.  I look forward to changing the lives of many - because I desire to help bring others happiness.

I am grateful for this experience; to be a missionary and to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It is real, the blessings of Christ exist in it and I hope to bring the people of Norway nearer to it.  I hope everyone has an excellent week.  I thank you all for your support and I love you all very much!

Eldste Holden

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