Monday, September 2, 2013

Travels and Life in Alta, Norway

This week was very solid!  A lot of good experience, tons of flights, and a lot of exhaustion!  On Monday morning, we flew to Trondheim for a Mission Conference with Elder Kearon.  He was extremely funny and the spirit was absolutely powerful.  I don't think I've ever felt the spirit for such an extended period of time in my life.  It was very much needed and very much appreciated.  During the meeting, it was pretty crazy because he brought up a topic of discussion with us about 'being real' as a missionary . . . not as a robotic person going around and not speaking from the heart about the conviction you have about the message.  The interesting part was when he pointed to me and said something to the effect that "you have something to say about this."  To which I stood up and the many feelings and thoughts I have had about 'being real' came rushing to me.  I was pretty overcome, as 'being real' is what I have pondered on my whole life.  I couldn't hold back my emotion, but only to say that I knew that we need to be real.  As I have grown up in an area where I was one of few members of the church, the most real thing that existed was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To be a light in a dark world is something that is empowering . . . especially in a country such as Norway - one of the most prominent 'atheist' countries.  It is a blessing to be a missionary bearing truth of the love our Heavenly Father has for us as His children.  He wants us to be happy and successful.  He just asks us to exercise a portion of faith to bring about blessings and often miracles.  I know that miracles do not cease to exist, and that there is a God who loves each and every one of us.  I am grateful to bear this message of truth.

Another experience I had this week, is when I went on splits with another missionary.  I flew to Tromsø early on Thursday meeting to conduct an interview for a baptism.  The young man was so full of faith and understanding, it was an excellent privilege to be part of.  This young man is from the Congo, he has been living in Norway for about 5 years and the stories I have heard about him are incredible.  He was told as a young man that one day he would find that truth and was advised to take it.  He believes he found the truth, and it brought the two of us together.  I shared with him experiences of the missionary work my family has had the opportunity of being part of in a tribe in Congo.  Many people are hearing the message of the Restoration of the Gospel from connections which were made over the past few years.  As I began telling him the story of the tribe, it brought a spirit which was very unique.  He was baptised this past Sunday in Tromsø.  He in fact did find the truth.

Here in Alta, the branch is small.  About 15 are in attendance each week (including the missionaries).  We have some investigators - the area was white-washed, so it's been difficult to get to know the investigators initially.  The people here are so nice when we knock on their doors.  We have had some positive success here in Alta.  Last night, we met with a man from Iceland who admires Mormons for their good work ethic and family values.  We were able to share with him the message of the Restoration and why our families are so important.  We scheduled to teach him the Plan of Salvation (my favorite teach) in a couple weeks, so we look forward to that.

A little bit about Alta . . . We are living on a farm with a family - a woman and her son, from the branch.  The son has a form of autism - but also has a perfect pitch in his musical abilities.  My trainee is pretty amazing at the piano, so they love to play the song 'Entertainer' at every chance they get!  It definitely makes for great experiences living here.  In the MTC, I'll be honest. . . I said specifically that I did not want to serve in Alta.  Of course, the Lord sends me up here!  But it's been an amazing experience thus far.  I am very grateful for it and it is a beautiful place!  I just did not want to be in the dark and cold at the time, but I am growing into my new calling!  It's the North!

I hope everyone has a great week!

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