Monday, January 20, 2014

Approaching My 1-Year Mark

What a week it was!!

It started off that we planned for a Zone Leader Training Meeting that we shared in Bergen and Stavanger.  The meeting in Bergen was on Wednesday, and we woke up at 4:15 to get ready and catch a plane.  The meeting was a success and we were able to go on splits in the city for the rest of the night.  It was quite a fun experience to be in Bergen and teach with the missionaries there!  One of the elders, Elder Clark, was with me in the MTC.  We are approaching our 1-year mark so it was quite fun to talk about how much we've grown in the past year!

The next morning we woke up at about 5:30 to catch another flight home.  We were to hold the same meeting in Stavanger the next day.  It's a crazy life as a missionary - taking flights really early, getting right on track with the schedule, and then giving some more meetings!  They were some long days and by the end of it, I was so exhausted!  But the Lord was with us the whole way.  The Spirit during the meetings was so present.  We were able to discuss how we are going to reach the goal of 157 baptisms in Norway.  We know that it's only going to come through miracles.  Sister Evans, the mission president's wife, shared a scripture Alma 26:12 with the missionaries in the MTC when they were there.  In order for us to reach our 157 baptisms, we're going to have to witness many mighty miracles.  I felt the Spirit every time I though about that - I am convinced that we are going to achieve difficult things in this country!

To add to that, we were able to teach some really awesome lessons this week!  I feel that the Lord has blessed me with the world's best investigators.  This week, I was able to meet a young man from Congo.  I was able to share an amazing story about the missionary work that has been occurring in my hometown Rockford, Illinois.  It all began with a man that had an impression that he needed to go to church.  So, he went outside and stopped the first people he saw who looked like they were going to church!  That's how the Lord furthers His work.  It is through spiritual promptings and impressions.  I know that they are real and that that story is one of the main reasons I am here as a missionary right now.

The best story from this past week came when my companion and I were knocking to find familes.  We know that the mighty miracles are going to have to come in the form of families if we are to reach such a goal!  So, we began knocking and finding potentials this way.  When we knocked on one door the woman said we could come back at 8 PM on any night.  On Saturday, we decided to try-back in the afternoon and she told us to come back at 8 PM that night.  So, as the night was approaching, I gave a baptismal interview at 6.  Just after (due to a Ward Conference) many stake leaders were present at the building.  Two of the leaders were in the basement looking to go out with the missionaries.  Knowing I did not have any solid appointments, just a try-back at 8, I jumped at the opportunity knowing the Lord would bless us.  We went walking towards the area with this man.  He was so solid and from the Skien area in Norway.  He served his mission in Scotland, and we took him knocking on doors.  He was very impressive when he actually jumped in on the fun!  After a few doors, we decided to head to the try-back's home.  This Filipino family let us in straightway and we sat down with 5 people total to hear our gospel message.  We began to teach about the gospel and the message of the Restoration of the Gospel through the prophet, Joseph Smith.  By the end of the teach, we ended up giving them a couple Book of Mormons and were able to get a return appointment.  Five investigators in one night!  All with the help of this incredible man from the stake!  It was an amazing experience to be part of this gospel discussion, the people were unbelievably spiritual and solid!

The next day was Ward Conference.  The last Ward Conference I had been to in Stavanger, was my first week in the land!!  Shows you how long I have been in this area!  I love this place like nothing else though.  It's a very special place to me!  This week I will be hitting my 1-year mark as a missionary.  Bittersweet but it's been the absolute best experience of my life!  I've never loved a place more than this place - Stavanger.  I've never grown more in a year than I have as a missionary.  To add to it, I know a different language!  I can't believe what can happen to someone when they put their trust and step forward in faith to follow the Lord!  I love everything about this experience!

I hope everyone has an excellent week!!

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