What a crazy week it has been! If you wonder about the weather here, I will start with that. We live in the West, so it is the warmest spot in Norway. There is rarely too much snow - it still comes - but there no snow today. We usually have to wear our raincoats - it rains quite a bit here, but it's not unbearable. I can't tell you exactly what the weather is because it is in Celsius - so I'm still getting used to that.
I am getting better at the language, it's still coming along - not sounding so foreign, but I still have loads to learn. I have been here in the land almost 2 full months - but I am grateful for progress I've made and where I am today. I came with a strong testimony of the things that I teach - so at least I did not have to gain a testimony as well as learn the language. Fact is, I love the Gospel and everything that I have learned in life through it. I know that there is no other way that I could have gained more wisdom and learned of myself, but through Christ and His example for me.
So this past week, we had a few splits days (we go with different companions from different areas). It was the last full week that we are still in a 3-some companionship. I like to nickname us the 'tri-fecta'. Although I am 22 and one of the 'older missionaries', I still love to have fun and keep the spirits up. The 'tri-fecta' was supposed to have a baptismal date - unfortunately our investigator ran into some adversity. Her faith is not strong enough to overcome some of her past baggage, which has seemed to creep back into her life . . . if you catch my drift. It's a sad thing to see the Adversary's grasp on some people. We will see in the weeks to come what will happen. However, in the same area this investigator lives - we had a try-back on an apartment we have knocked on before. What was supposed to be a 10-minute teach, turned into an hour long teach. The woman we taught was excellent - she ended up telling us that for the past 15 years, she has been trusting in God in all that she does. Her question, "why is it that I need a book (Book of Mormon) to help me?" - I was completely overtaken by the Spirit - because I had once been in a similar situation. I just relied on the fact that God would provide for me, and I didn't necessarily need to actually read my scriptures in order to find guidance. I then gave her recognition that where she is, is where we need to begin. We must first acknowledge that God really does want to teach us and that He hopes to bring us happiness - and teach us a lot. I testified that the Book of Mormon is another tool that we are offering her, because through that book we are able to learn more about God, His nature, and the love that He has for each and every one of us. The Spirit was strong - brought my voice to show some emotion, and she ended up just concluding with 'thank you'. No more additional questions. I am just grateful that the Lord provided me with such a sweet and simple experience.
The second great experience I had this week was on splits around Stavanger. I ran into a man who was sitting around the pond in the Sentrum of Stavanger. He turned out to be a Commercial Lawyer from Sweden, now working in Stavanger. We talked with him for a whole hour. Because of my background in Finance, I was able to share with him my perspectives and some doctrines of our church. His heart was opened as we discussed the Plan of Salvation next to the pond in Sentrum. He went from having absolutely no desire - to giving me his name. I hope to someday come in contact with this man again - young guy, reminds me a lot of one of my best friends, Josh Beck.
It was not our best week teaching-wise. It was a little unfortunate, the realization that faith needs to be something built upon and trusted in, rather than just shattered by the first swipe of the Adversary. I know that the Book of Mormon is a tool to help us build our faith, so that when the Adversary does come - we can trust in the Lord to provide for us.
I am grateful for this experience. I love the people I am serving here in Sandnes and Stavanger. These are some of the best people I've ever met. They remind me a lot of myself and my home ward - many similar struggles because the numbers aren't the most solid, but we do what we can and we work as hard as we can. I am grateful for Norway, the Lord, and the opportunity to learn from Him.
I miss my family and my friends, but this is the greatest experience an individual could ever experience. Glad to be 22 and serving a mission!