I am so grateful for the letters I have received this week! Excellent miracles from home, my mom had a hip replacement over a month ago - she is doing a lot better. My sister is currently going through IVF cycles (ironically, my dad is an Infertility Specialist) - and she has absolutely highlighted my week. I am so grateful for the Lord's blessings during my time of serving Him. I also received letters of encouragement. I just want to thank everyone for those, it is not always easy to be a missionary - and to be reminded and supported by loved ones back home is an absolute blessing to me. Like my mom said in her letter this past week, "You are living in a postcard . . . not that everything is always easy going inside it, I'm sure." That is a truth, but the real truth is that as I spend this time serving the Lord and His children here in Norway, my family is directly blessed - I know they are being taken care of.
This past week we had very exciting teaches. We were able to teach the second half of the Plan of Salvation to a man whom we met on the street contacting. The Plan of Salvation encompasses where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after this life. If you have never had the chance to learn about this plan, please contact the missionaries, it gives purpose and meaning to this life. It has helped me to understand who I am and why it is important for me to share this gospel with others. Back to the story . . . We shared this plan with a man who was raised in another faith, and attended a religious boarding school. We shared many scriptures from the Bible and the Book of Mormon with him, to help him to see the truthfulness of this plan. As we concluded the teach, you can tell the light that we are able to share with this man. He is very receptive, laid back and relaxed. As soon as we parted ways he gives me a very strong handshake, almost felt like he was going to break my wrist. I know that he had felt the influence of the Spirit, and it brings me great joy to help others on their path through this life.
We met another man on the street contacting. His story blew my mind. Missionaries will often talk about 'there are people out there, prepared to hear this message.' I had not quite found someone like that, until we met with this man yesterday. He sat down with us in the harbor of Sandnes, right next to the Kulturhus (if you can imagine huge mountains in the background, the ocean next to us and many people out walking around, birds flying around - such a beautiful place this is). We sat down with this man, introduced ourselves, then we asked about him. He tells us that he was born in Africa, raised one faith - converted to Christianity after he joined the army. Then, by his own government, was thrown in jail for 3 years because he was baptized. He met a man in the jail who helped him flee the jail, and the country. He has eventually found himself here in Norway. We met him on the street, just as he was on the way to the hospital to be with his sister who had just birthed a baby. We shared the Book of Mormon with this man, told him we have a living prophet and living apostles here on the Earth . . . just like the original church that Christ established. He said that he felt like one of the Disciples of Christ who were persecuted. He was and they were too. The authority that once led Christ's church had been taken from the Earth. It is now reestablished through Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is evidence of that. At the conclusion of this teach, the man said that all he knew about Christ, was taught to him from one of his friends in Africa. That has since led him here. Now we are telling him more . . . and there is more to share! He said he needed to hear all about it. He needs to know, and he needs us to teach him. So we will, it is our job, and it is a great joy to be a part of this work.
I know that this work is real. The Plan of Salvation is for all of us on this Earth. I know that God really has called a living prophet for our time, his name is President Thomas S. Monson. He has 12 Apostles who help lead and guide His church. Christ is the center of our church, and I am grateful for the Atonement that He performed for me and every inhabitant on this Earth. If it weren't for that Atonement, I know that I would not be able to serve a mission, or even be His missionary. However, for some reason, he sees me fit to perform His work here on the Earth. I am grateful to know that we are all children of God, and that we are individually loved by Him.