I am sorry that this week will have a shortage of responses to my e-mails, but we just got done hiking Preikestolen again here in Stavanger! What a beautiful country I serve in . . . it is completely unbelievable to be here! Today was an unbelievable day and it was so perfect to hike to the top. Hopefully, the pictures do a little justice to what we just experienced. We were able to hike with the youth in the ward which is so great. I love the relationships we have built with the youth here in Stavanger. The youth are so important - so unique and amazing. I feel like they are the younger siblings that I have never had. I get to serve them, encourage them, and sometimes teach. Yesterday at church, we held a 'mini-MTC' for the first 2 hours of church. We got to explain to the youth that they are highly valued by us when they come on splits. Something that the mission is trying to encourage very much is having the youth on teaches. This builds relationships, the Spirit, and our teacher skills as missionaries. It is a complete win-win-win. The experience that we had was special. We got to ask the youth to share their simple testimony on prayer. They did so, which brought about a special spirit in the gym. It was then followed up by a fast-and-testimony meeting which made for an excellent Sunday.
This past week, we had some great teaches. There was a man that we taught whose home was filthy. We walked in and you could just sense the disconnect this man was experiencing. One of the first things he told us was, "I drink, and drink, and drink because there is an emptiness that I have." The gospel fills that. I know it. It was such a great privilege to sit and talk with this man who you could just envision experiencing a change in his life that would allow him to fill that void. The gospel does that. The Book of Mormon does that. We left him with that book and our testimonies. He said, "I know you guys don't just go around and tell about a fairy tale and Joseph Smith." He is right. It isn't a fairy tale. It happened. Joseph Smith really did pray to Heavenly Father to find out truth, and because Heavenly Father loves him - He visited Joseph. He answered his question and gave him truth that we can share with the world. The experience that we have as missionaries, to share this gospel and to build up wards - is unbelievable! I am grateful every day to be a missionary and I hope that everyone shares in the experience to share this gospel with their friends in order to further the work.
I thank you all for the support you have given me thus far. I have needed it and I am so grateful to wear the badge that I do, and represent who I do. This work is real and it can touch the lives of many if we open our mouths.