Tuesday, May 28, 2013

True Happiness

Hi everyone!!

This week has been great!  I am so glad to hear responses from many different people!  It really is so satisfying to be a missionary.  In all honestly, we get "Nei takk" (no thank you) all day.  Norwegians are not the most receptive to our message, but that is not what it is about.  It's about finding the one person in this area who has been prepared by the Lord to listen to our message.  It really requires a humble person with great faith to want to listen to a message about a boy, Joseph Smith, being called of God to be a modern-day prophet.  As one's heart is opened to listen to the message, it brings so much happiness.

I have the faith that the Lord can do all things.  This past week, I have begun to feel confident in speaking to people on the street and confidence while knocking on doors.  I know what kind of happiness this message brings, I see it in my family - I feel it in my life.  I once thought that if someone wanted to talk about religion - I have the badge on, so they can come talk to me.  That's not really what being a true missionary is about.  There is a famous quote that has always rang true to me, "your playing small doesn't serve the world, there is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you". (Maybe a little different verbiage).  The point of it is, as we let our light shine, we serve the world.  We always want for others to see that the happiness they can achieve, stretches far beyond the sadness of this world.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to be the most happiest beings on this Earth.  We have a choice to be happy, and He will provide us with every tool we need to accomplish that limitless happiness.

As I serve a mission, I am being geared with so many aspects of happiness that I really don't know how to put it into words.  You can deny me all day, tell me "Nei takk" - but as I learn to trust in the Lord more to build me up, I will never deny my faith and I will do all that I can so that others will find the same confidence in our Lord.

The scenery is absoutely beautiful here.  It gets better and better with the weather.  It literally is 'Heaven on Earth', but as you go around and witness the sadness that exists amongst people here, I know Heaven will be an even better place.  I love to be an instrument in the hands of our Lord.  I love to work hard to try and accomplish tough things.

I hope everyone has a great week!  Thank you so much for all your prayers and support.  This is an absolute privilege to be a part of.

Eldste Holden

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Love This Country!

Hello everyone!!

I am so excited to write this week.  I have very little time to write because Norway has been in full swing as of late.  Last Monday, I was unable to write an update because we had our P-Day on May 17th.  Here in Norway, May 17th is like the 4th of July, but in my opinion even better!  The Norwegians dress up in bunads, along with dressing their children up, and there are awesome parades.  I am completely in love with this country!  They had parades where the children in schools were going down the streets, a parade for graduating seniors, and a parade for various clubs that are offered here in Norway.  It was so amazing to see and even more fun to do our cheer!  We met up with the members here and did a lot of yelling (I ended up losing my voice a little bit).  I was having way too much fun that day - then we headed out to a dinner with a family from the ward.  So many great people here who live in Stavanger, Norway.  I love this place very much and wish I could stay forever.  The work was hard for the week and a half we were doing straight, but the past several days have more than made up for it.

Today, we hiked Prekestolen.  The pictures will explain how amazing that was.  We had a large group of missionaries and ward members (about 16 of us) that went up to the top.  It was quite a hike, it took about an hour and a half to get up.  There was a nice rain going through, so it felt so good and refreshing.  We got to the top, about a 600+ meter drop and I hung my feet off the side!  I was so scared!! However, it was by far the best day I've had here in Norway.  To add to it, we drove back through the country (as the sun was shining) and the pictures are the product of this amazing day.  I love this place, I love the people (I was so happy watching all the Norwegians show their pride for their country), and I love being a missionary here.  I have had many amazing experiences, many different thoughts as to where I want to take my life.  Lately, I have been considering living out here in Europe and being an active participant in helping the church grow.  Especially - as there are new temples underway (Rome, Paris) - some of my favorite places.  My ultimate goal here as a missionary is to get a temple here in Norway.  That will be my most favorite accomplishment!

I hope everyone is doing well! I am sorry that I will not be able to respond to many this week, I have printed off your letters and will be reading them! I love you all and am very grateful for this opportunity! I hope everyone is doing well!

Eldste Holden

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good Week for a Missionary in Norway

Hello everyone!

It's been a great week.  I am feeling so much more adjusted and comfortable than I did before.  The new group of missionaries come from the MTC in 4 weeks, so I won't be the youngest group in the mission.  I am understanding more of the language at church, especially.  I love that part, because I'm not as lost as I once was.  I love the people here - amazing, amazing people.  I love Norwegians - they remind me a lot of myself.  The investigators that we have are stubborn.  They know what is good and what is right.  They are just stubborn.  I have to say, I completely draw a 100% relation with them.  Let's be honest, I am a 22-year old missionary.  I always knew that this is what I needed to do to become who I wanted to be, but I fought it and now I'm here.  Obviously, the Lord knows best because I absolutely love this place, but I am so much more converted because I did fight it.  I know what's best for me.  There is no other way to find the purest form of happiness.

This week we had a great investigator at church.  A man (and his wife) from Uganda, has been in Norway as long as I have.  My Norwegian might be better though, afterall - I do walk up to strangers on the street and knock on strangers' doors to tell them about our message.  What an experience it is.  We had a good knocking session one day, handed out about 3 BoM's, 3 return appointments, 2 try-backs.  It's great to have the feeling that people actually want to receive the message.  It's not very common that this happens.  We even met an American family from Texas yesterday.  So cool to share the message of the Restoration and to encourage people to better their lives.  We all can improve our lives in some aspect; that is why I am here.  My life becomes better every day.  Some days are tough but it is so fulfilling.

The weather here was beautiful, yesterday.  It's starting to get warm.  Of course, the rain comes in and sneaks up on us, but the scenery is unbelievable!  So much greenery and beauty.  I love Europe and Scandinavia very much.  So proud to have Norwegian heritage and so proud to be a missionary for the Lord.  It is such a unique and amazing experience to be a missionary.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

I love you all!!

Eldste Holden