Monday, August 19, 2013

1st Transfer to Alta, Norway

Hello everyone!

Yesterday was our moves call, and I knew I would be moving for the first time in my mission experience!  I went to attend a couple training meetings on Wednesday.  We woke up at 4 AM to take a bus to the airport.  We flew into Oslo that morning and had about 5-6 hours of meetings.  It was great to see the Elders from my district in the MTC!  It was the first time I have seen them since being in the field!  I have missed them a ton, so it was so fun to see them again and share some experiences.

As for the moves call.... I will be training a missionary from Hawaii!  And we will be moving up to.... Alta, Norway!  Unreal.  When I was in the MTC, I said that that was not where I wanted to go, but I have been being prepared, because I'm actually really excited to go now!  It's a great new adventure.  Something pretty cool.... it is the furthest North a missionary serves in the entire world.  So, I will be serving in the furthest north area anyone can go.  I will be training a missionary from Hawaii and I can't wait!  Wednesday we will be flying up there for the move!  Just in time for the cold season to start approaching fast . . . we'll see how long I will stay up there!

This week seems to have been a bit long . . . due to knowing that I was going to move and approach a new area, new calling, new companion, training.  I'm not nervous at all about it, more so very anxious and excited to see what we've got ahead of us!  I've heard the branch there has about 15 solid people showing up weekly.  I would love to add to that!  I love challenges and cannot wait to get started working at another.

An awesome story that happened from this week - I have been serving in this area for 20+ weeks.  I have been visiting a less-active couple for nearly every week since I have been here, and have been inviting them to come to church with never any success.  Finally, the last talk... about 15 minutes left in sacrament meeting they came to the last talk at sacrament meeting!  Unreal!  What a blessing that was.... it was all worth it!  They mentioned that as they woke up in the morning that they had no energy and had to force themselves up saying they had made a promise to us and could not break it.  They came!  Then, the best part was that they asked us to send the next missionaries who would be in our area to meet them.  They told us we had made a great impact on their lives and really appreciated it.  That was so satisfying!  I am so grateful for that experience and the feeling of accomplishment of seeing them at church on Sunday!

I know the smallest progress towards following the Savior and His teachings bring the greatest satisfaction to Him.  I know the Gospel blesses every single person who gives ear to it.  It is the most fulfilling work to be a part of as a missionary for Christ.  I am grateful for the challenges that lay ahead of us.  I know many great things are about to come from this mission.  I just love to be the Lord's servant!

I hope everyone has an excellent week!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lots of Exciting Things to Share!

Hello everyone!!

I am so grateful this week! Tons of exciting updates!

First, my sister Stephanie is officially pregnant with TWINS!  After her IVF cycle, she is now pregnant with 2 little people!  I get to come home to amazing blessings after this great experience!

Second, I passed my driving test here in Norway!  This allows me to drive here throughout the mission.  It also means that I can drive anywhere in Europe!  I currently have dual-citizenship (US & French citizenship)!  So, now I will have a driver's license, and I'll get to take that just about everywhere I go!

Third, the work is so great!  We had many great teaches this week.  Great progress . . . people coming to church.  I taught a simple lesson at church on Sunday - glad that is over with (it was about work and personal responsibility)!  We also have a baptismal date with one of our investigators.  This man is an alcoholic.  A few weeks ago he told us, "I drink and drink and drink because I feel empty."  So, of course the gospel can fill that.  Just look up 3 Nephi 27:16 - "Whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled."  I know this gospel will fill his life, I just hope he continues to invite the Spirit into his life.

Fourth, I was told this past week that I will be transfered to a new area in the coming transfer.  I will be training a new missionary coming in and also assuming a leadership role.  I wish not to include the titles of my calling though.  I don't feel that it is something to post in a blog . . . but I am extremely excited for my new callings!  I continue to be prepared by the Lord.  He has helped me tremendously!

I love the miracles that I get to see.  I love sharing the gospel with others - helping them receive the message of the Restoration.  Joseph Smith was called to reestablish a perfect work.  I have the privilege to share that message with others and nothing has brought me more satisfaction than to invite others to build their relationship with a loving Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for my relationship with my Father in Heaven and I am so grateful for the work He has called me to perform.

I hope everyone has an excellent week!

Monday, August 5, 2013

There is Much Progress All Around

Today, is my brother Marc's Birthday!!  I just wanted to say I miss my family!  My brother Marc, will be turning 27 today and I am so grateful for him in my life!  He and his wife Kristen brought my little baby niece, Elise, into this world over a year ago.  I get to see the most amazing pictures of her every week.  I am so grateful for my brother and his family.  The example he is to me!  I am extremely blessed in every aspect of life!

This week was very rewarding!  It is such a blessing to be a missionary (it can be tough at times) but when you are blessed with miracles it makes it all worth.  We had only a few teaches this week, but what we did teach was great.  One teach was with a young Vietnamese woman.  We had not had contact with her in a while, but when we did reach her she was very positive.  She admires the work of the missionaries and enjoys learning about the gospel.  We encouraged her to continue to read from the Book of Mormon, so that she could come to find out that the church is true. We will be meeting with her this week.  As we got up from teaching her, we headed over to the 'gågate' (it is the city's main street where most of the shops are, so sort of like a strip mall down a main street, where we do most of our contacting).  As we were just walking up to the gågate, we stopped a woman to ask her if she's heard about the Book of Mormon.  I don't know exactly why, but my companion and I were especially smiling as we encountered this woman.  We usually smile, but this time it was so much she actually asked us why we were smiling so much.  We didn't really even know, but asked her if she had heard of the BoM.  She said she had the exact same book at her house!  We were definitely surprised, then she told us that she had found the book on a ledge while she was walking on the street.  She took the book home with her and it's now laying next to her Bible.  We were stunned!  Then we asked if we could meet her to explain the book, she said we could but not until September because she will be on vacation.  Amazing!  People are definitely being prepared to hear about this message.  Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to teach her, I could be leaving soon.

Another teach we had, we taught 3 elderly people that are around the age of 80.  We taught the Plan of Salvation to them and it was a well received lesson.  What a great experience!  One of the women had lived in the states, so I asked her where. She said, "a small city outside of Chicago - Dekalb, IL."  I was stunned. They even brought up Sycamore and I told them that that is where I had been set apart as a missionary!  It was pretty cool.  We will be teaching them again next week.

Another teach we had was with a mother and a daughter who had been on vacation for abot a month, so there was no time to meet!  The mother was actually the first person ever, where I had been present at a teach.  The daughter has more recently been involved in the lessons, but she seems to like what we share.  We started watching some of the Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration film, but only were able to get half-way through it.  We invited her to come to church and she accepted!  So she was at church with us yesterday!

Yesterday, church was pretty special as well.  Many of the youth went up to bear their testimonies about their experiences they have had going out with the missionaries on teaches.  The spirit was unique.  We have been striving to bring youth on teaches with us, even dedicated a Sunday to teach them a 'mini-MTC' and now they are all catching fire.  It's incredible to be a part of the work.  The best part, there is a girl, Mina, who will be going on a mission.  She will be putting her papers in today!  It's unbelievable to see how the Lord works.  She bore her testimony yesterday, and it is so apparent that the Lord prepares people to serve Him.  I know in my own experiences I was prepared in a special way.  Now, I get to be an instrument and see how He prepares others. I also had to get up and bear my testimony.  There is a possibility I could be moving from this area in a few weeks, so I had to get up and let the people know in this good ward - that I appreciated the examples that they were to me.  I also added that I am grateful to the missionaries who taught my mom, so that I can also be an instrument and a missionary to teach others who have been prepared as my mom.

This is a special experience to be here.  To be a part of miracles and to inspire others to receive their own as well.  I am grateful for my family, for the gospel, for scriptures, and for the many examples I have had throughout my life.  I am grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement.  I hope everyone has an excellent week!!