Monday, June 10, 2013

Growing Norway

Hello everyone!!

Another great week in Norway!  We were able to make great progress with investigators this week and to teach some effective lessons.  This week we taught the young man from last week who bore his testimony in church.  Great guy - we were accompanied by two sisters who are a couple of my most favorite people here in Norway.  It was great because I got to sit back and they basically taught him the lessons.  It's so nice to see the testimonies of the Norwegians, this is not an easy place to grow up - but they understand the doctrines of truth - and you just know that it has blessed their lives.  They are special people.

To add to that, yesterday at church there was a broadcast from Sweden.  It was a broadcast for all the Scandinavian countries with speakers (Bishop Causse, Elder Teixiera of the 70, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the 12 Apostles).  When I was in the MTC, M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us.  That was a special moment for me because his presence in the room brought a spirit that was undeniable. You just know that the 12 Apostles called to lead and guide The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are Apostles of Christ and that they really are prepared and called for this work.

Elder Ballard spoke on 'What Will Your Country Look Like in 20 Years'.  Norway has 4,000+ members here and I want to be fully engaged in the cause to help grow this place.  I instantly fell in love with everything here - the stubborn people - the infancy of the church.  Many things I can directly relate to - it also helps I have a special spot for Europe (my mother being from France) and my ancestors coming from Norway.  I know I was called to this exact place for many reasons, and I am enjoying seeing all of those reasons unfold.

Just this morning, I was reading a talk from Elder Andersen from October 2012 (I believe) called Trial of Your Faith.  It was not after my faith had been tested that I have received answers of why the Lord always desired me to serve a mission, but for many personal reasons it had to be 'at the appropriate time'.  I had never felt that appropriate time until about 10 months ago.  I was always told by members of the church 'you should serve a mission' or even asked the question, 'why haven't you served a mission?'.  I did not know why - I had a slight desire - but not the conviction I expected to have.  I know that when I want to do something it usually comes back with a determination and motivation.  That didn't come until 10 months ago - it really turned into the appropriate time.  So many blessings have come for me - a happiness I've never felt before.  A love for complete strangers that I never knew I could have.  A confidence in the Lord that through Him, I can accomplish unbelievable things.  It really has been my faith that has been strengthened.  It's been through diligent study of the scriptures - several prayers throughout the day - and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, which has lead me to where I am.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, we have a living prophet today.  He receives revelation to lead and guide our church for our happiness and prosperity of God's church.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true - it relates to my life every day I read it and helps me learn to be a better person.  I know commandments are not restrictions, but guidance for our lives to help us receive a fulness of happiness.  I know Jesus is The Christ, and that through Him we can all find redemption.  I know that God loves us each individually and I hope for the world to have the same kind of assurance that can be found as a servant for this work.

I hope that everyone has an excellent week and I appreciate all the many prayers for missionary work!  It is well felt!

Eldste Holden

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