Monday, November 24, 2014

A Final Move to Oslo

Hello everyone!

Unfortunately, this upcoming week, Elder Skinner and I will be broken up again!  Last week, we prepared a moves game plan, purchased plane and train tickets.  After all of the administrative work, we finally were able to get to the streets!  It felt so good to be out!

At one point, we were out knocking on some doors in a particular area.  When Elder Skinner looked at an area of houses, we decided we were going to knock the doors - no success, but Elder Skinner just wanted to keep going!  We ended up walking across this busy street and walking to a highly unlikely area.  He was determined to keep going.  He found a neighborhood to keep knocking and we made our way up.  Along the way, we were laughing and thinking, "Where in the world are we?!"  Eventually, we knocked on the door of a family of Christians.  They wanted us to come back and help with some service!  It was quite cool!  As we were walking back to our car, we crossed paths with a man who told us that he was a member of the church . . . I experience instances like these time and time again, and I know that this work is Heavenly Father's - He just allows us to be part of it and witness that He really is real!

This week, I will be moving to Oslo to serve with Elder Parkinson.  He is formerly from Minnesota, so we get to be a solid Midwest connection!  I look forward to serving with him, he's an up-and-coming stud in the mission!  It'll be fun to spend some time in Oslo - the big city of Norway with plenty of people to talk to!!

I am quite content with the mission that I have been blessed with.  We still have some quality time left here, but I am constantly thinking about how blessed I have been to serve in this beautiful land - at this perfect time.  I keep learning more and more from my Mission President and I realize that I was sent to this mission to learn from him.  I admire his decisions to diligently serve in faith.  I have been so blessed here by a loving Heavenly Father - whom I have come to know and desire nothing more than to serve Him to the best of my abilities.  I know that we are all children of God - sent here to be tried and proven.  It's not always easy, but as long as we listen to the small promptings He blesses us with, we will succeed in this journey!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Elder SHANE Holden

Hello everyone!!

This week I'd just like to share something that has been incredible to me!  Since the beginning of my mission, I have been praying that my brother Shane would go on his own mission.  A few months ago, he received a call to serve in the Daejeon South Korea mission!  This past weekend he was set apart as a missionary and this week he will be entering the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT!  It has been a miracle to me!  Heavenly Father has answered my prayers.  The answers have been so distinct and so direct, that I know that my prayers are heard!

This past week Elder Skinner and I caught eye of an area where we felt we needed to knock on doors.  It was just off the highway (as we were driving home from dropping some of the missionaries off).  We decided to knock on doors that night.  We found some people who were interested and asked us to come back last night.  We did so and continued to knock in that area.  We found a family where the mother had been baptized into the church in the Philippines.  She let us into her home and we discovered that she has a family - her mother a member, and her children never having heard of the church.  Their son, Shane, told us that he believed in Christ because of the things he had heard about Him.  It was so special to see!  I was so excited to tell him that I had a brother named Shane too!  I love how the Lord works - He always seems to set us up in some unique situations. We'll be going back to visit this family later this week!

Yesterday, was Stake Conferece in the Oslo Stake.  One of the Area Seventies came from Germany.  He shared about the joy that the gospel brings.  He shared that the world is preoccupied with having 'fun', while the gospel on the other hand brings everlasting joy.  There is a huge difference in getting into a Ferari and driving it for 2 minutes.  When you get out you say, "That was fun" and then you look for the next car that you can drive.  The gospel on the other hand, gives us everlasting joy.  As one partakes in the joy of the gospel, it gives an everlasting sense of peace.  Such things, I have experienced in comparison, with the things that the world has to offer.

The gospel which is personified by the example of Jesus Christ has been the most rewarding thing I have learned in my life.  I spent time studying Finance in school, completed my degree, and began working afterwards.  These things were good - they helped me to progress and to gain experience.  The most rewarding thing I have learned, however; is that through learning of Christ and His example, an individual can reach heights that stretch him or her beyond his or her own capacity.  There is a joy that comes in becoming what the Lord sees us becoming.  Our experiences are not accurate enough to show who we can become.  Through application of the gospel, I have been able to transform into an individual whom I never thought I could become.  I never thought that I would be able to walk around Norway and testify that I know God lives and that Jesus Christ is our perfect example.  The truths that I have been able to share, have lead me to witness miracles.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Disciples of Christ

Hello everyone!

This past week was pretty nice!  We were able to do our final Zone Conference in Oslo on Tuesday, had a Mission Leadership Council (my last one!), and had to arrange travel and coordinate moves for some of the missionaries.  To top it all off, we are trying to keep our area moving forward - it's not always easy, but it's what we are here for!

Last night, we had an experience where Elder Skinner and I needed to finalize some of the moves details.  Instead of working on it, we decided that we needed to put in some work for our area.  As we prayed, we promised Heavenly Father that we weren't going to be coming home until we find someone to teach.  We went out to an area, where earlier, we felt we should knock.  To our surprise, the second door we knocked, a woman let us in!

The woman worked for Nu Skin - a company based out of Provo, Utah.  She told us that she had been to Salt Lake City before and had seen the temple there.  She talked about the choir and the tabernacle and how it was such a beautiful place!  She was telling us how great the values are for Nu Skin.  It was pretty cool because one of the men who is in management for the company is currently serving as the mission president in France!  She knew all about it and how he sacrificed a few years to focus on the missionary work.  We ended up watching The Restoration movie with her and talking a little bit more about why it was important that a restoration would occur.  It was a good experience and we will be going back to visit with her again!

It was a cool experience to see that the Lord had provided for us when we needed it most.  It is a blessing to know that Heavenly Father does care about us and our concerns.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, a professor I had at the university I attended before coming on a mission - played a big role in helping me understand that Heavenly Father knew exactly where I was and that He knew my situation.

I emailed that teacher a week ago.  That man is a member of the church and invited me to come to church at a time where I needed it most.  When I wrote him, I thanked him for his faith and, to me, he represented a true Disciple of Christ.  I shared with him some stories from my mission and a picture of the woman that I had the opportunity of baptizing.  It gave me the best happiness that I could share these things with my former professor.

Because of his influence and the other many experiences I have had since then, I know that God knows His children.  I have since become an instrument in giving the same hand of fellowship to several of Heavenly Father's children here on a mission in Norway.  I know without a doubt that He needs each and every one of His children to make a positive impact on others' lives.  It is up to us as individuals to make the correct decisions in bringing many to know of His love.  These are the most important decisions I have made in my life!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Small and Simple Things

Hello everyone!!

So grateful to be able to write this week - we had some amazing experiences!  We did a lot of traveling, but it was so rewarding!  On Wednesday, we were in Stavanger for a Zone Conference and that night, we were able to be at a baptismal meeting for the woman whom I have been teaching for over a year!  I have stayed in contact with her, and her special baptism came!  It was an absolutely incredible experience!  I was able to be part of the baptism and it was such a special moment!

We then went up to Trondheim to have another Zone Conference and it was another great meeting.  We are realizing more and more just how special the missionaries are who serve in this Norway Oslo mission!  On one of the nights we were in Trondheim, I had a pretty special experience that I'd like to share:

I was sitting on the bus to drive back to the apartment in Trondheim, when I was wishing that I could talk to someone on the bus about the gospel.  I said a little prayer and asked God if He would set someone next to me and I promised that I would talk to them about the gospel.  About a minute later a girl sat down next to me and I started talking to her right away.  She immediately told me her name and told me that she was in Norway on exchange from Kenya to teach a Bible Study class.  It was very special to be able to share with her about the Book of Mormon.  We use the book along with the Bible because they were both written to strengthen our faith and understanding of Christ.  I asked her if she would be willing to learn more about it - she told me that it was new to her, so I gave her a pass along card and she walked away looking over the card.

It was such a simple but special experience for me to know that God answered my prayer!  I know that He does so by small and simple things.  I am really grateful for my opportunity to grow and to share the gospel with others because I know that special experiences such as baptism lead us back to God.  It was so special to be part of the teaching process, but most of all, baptism!  I really love this work and I know that it's Heavenly Father's work!

Hope everyone has a great week!