Monday, September 29, 2014

"Flecks of Gold"

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Splits Magic"

Hello everyone!

This past week was capped off by the report we receive every Monday morning.  We get to see the results from the prior week, and this past week our mission had some of the best results we've ever seen!  It's so satisfying to see that the missionaries are catching the fire and that they 'get it' earlier and earlier on their missions.  We have some of the greatest missionaries here in the Norway Oslo mission!  It's been so satisfying to serve here and work with all of them!

This past Tuesday, my companion Elder Jones and I, went on splits with the missionaries down in Drammen. Two of my favorites, Elders Skinner and Halverson are down there.  It was a beautiful day in Drammen - we planned for a packed day.  As we were done planning, we realized that we hadn't even planned for lunch or dinner!  Our focus was entirely on the work and what we could do that day as a team!  Instead of making time for it, I just wrote down 'dinner' in my daily things to accomplish.  I was able to grab some quick food, so it all worked out.

The results of that day were incredible!  As we came back together at the end of the night, we were all pumped to have served together!  We had found new families, new investigators, taught new converts, done service for members, taught investigators in members' homes.  It was a full day of straight missionary work at it's finest.  In total, we taught thirteen lessons between the two companionships, and found six new people to teach!  You can never expect anything less when you're in Drammen and with those two missionaries.

It was the highlight of my week - we like to call it "splits magic" when we go to an area and light it up together.  It really is what makes it all worth coming out here and giving it your all!  I know that this is the Lord's work and that He provides when we show our faith.

I'm so grateful for every opportunity to serve in any capacity!  This week, we'll be heading to Trondheim for some splits with those missionaries - onto another great week in the Norslo mission!

Monday, September 15, 2014

By Faith of a New Member

Hello everyone!!

I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life this past weekend - I was able to baptize a man who Elder Skinner and I worked with down in Drammen.  He asked that I come down and perform the ordinance, which I was so grateful to do!  It was certainly a miracle and a mercy from Heavenly Father.  I'll write a little about his story.

The first time I called him down in Drammen, he told me, "you don't know me bro" and hung up the phone on me.  Obviously, he was not very open to speak with us missionaries (common).  What eventually happened, was there was a member from the church in Drammen who told us about his friend he wanted us to meet.  We went to this man's home - the same man.  This member told him, "I brought them to you because I know how important their message is."  From then on we began to teach him.

He eventually came to church, wearing street clothes (the equivalent of training clothes).  He has one of the greatest smiles you can imagine, and loved the members at the church.  He came back several times.  A few weeks after the initial time he came to church, he came wearing a suit.

We eventually began bringing members to the teaches with him.  He was not desirous to be baptized. As he continued to meet with us and the members, even eat dinners in members' homes, he became more and more open to learning about the Gospel.  The last week I was in Drammen, he was sad that I was leaving.  He told me "vi er sammen"... "we are together" I assured him that we are together.  During last teach, he accepted a date to be baptized - September 13th.

In accepting the invitation to be baptized, he had problems with paying rent.  He wasn't receiving help to pay for his situation.  He was struggling and was stressed.  We assured him that as he showed his faith, everything would work out.  This lasted for several months.  The day came for his baptism and still, nothing had been resolved.  I baptized him on September 13th, that very day he went home and found in his mailbox, a check to help him pay for his rent.  He shared his testimony immediately after receiving the Holy Ghost during Sacrament meeting.

When he was taught about the Word of Wisdom, he told me that he knew that our church was the true church of God.  It was through the Spirit and the light of the members that helped open him to this understanding.  He is completely a changed man.

I shared with him also the testimony of a humble member from my home ward in Rockford.  He is originally from the Congo and wrote a powerful testimony in Swahili for me to share with the people here.  I shared that testimony and this man said, "hilse på mannen som ga deg vitnesbyrdet." - "Say hi to the man who gave you the testimony."

This church is The Church of Jesus Christ.  I continue to learn that for myself.  I continue to see that the Lord's blessings are poured out unto His children so that we may know that He lives and knows us individually.  He loves us and He wants the best for us. It all occurs "one by one".

Monday, September 8, 2014

"The End is Near"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Anticipating Elder Bednar's Arrival

This week was absolutely insane!!!

We traveled out to Stavanger to give some training to the missionaries in the West Zone.  The missionaries there had such a good spirit and were so engaged, it made for a great meeting!  After the meeting, we were able to go up Preikestolen with all of the missionaries!  Luckily, I survived the trip again!  That night, I was able to be on a teach with a woman I've been teaching for nearly a year!  She has a baptismal date scheduled for October and we had an incredible lesson with her!  She was concerned about her son being prepared for the baptism.  We knelt in prayer and she explained that she felt that she needed to prepare her son.  The thought came to me that I would invite her to invite her son, as I was getting the words out to her, she immediately said, "I need to invite him!"  I had no doubt that the Spirit was present and that it led her to the same conclusion.  She immediately became overwhelmed by the Spirit.  It was such a powerful moment and we knelt in prayer again to give thanks for the experience we had.  The Lord is incredible!

We then went to Trondheim the next morning to give a training meeting for the missionaries in the North Zone.  Our training has been on our effectiveness of planning, and the missionaries have felt that it has been extremely beneficial to focus on this.  The results from this past week have shown that our mission is on the rise - it becomes better and better with every turn.  The most exciting opportunity we have, is that Elder Bednar will be visiting this country for a special Stake Conference.  He'll then give our mission a special training meeting!  Speaking for the missionaries, "We can hardly wait for him to get here!"

Elder Jones and I have had to prepare many flights, sleeping arrangements, travel plans to and from various locations.  It's been extremely busy, but we've got it all done!  Now we're just hoping that it gets executed correctly!

This work is real.  We all have a Heavenly Father who knows us and loves each and every one of us.  It's up to us to work towards accomplishing His goals.  He wants all of His children to live with Him again, and so, we need to help Him with that work.  I have done everything I can to make that happen here in this country, and I've never been more satisfied with anything in my life.  I hope that everyone can come to experience this happiness!