I've got some big news! My first transfer in the field just ended and I'm moving areas. I'm leaving Fredrikstad and going to Tønsberg! Tønsberg is the Oldest City in Norway and I have heard it is beautiful. It is across the Oslo Fjord from Fredrikstad. I'm taking two trains to get there. It came as a total surprise to me because usually you stay with your trainer and in your first area for 12 weeks. My current companion Elder Nelson is going to be the new district leader and actually start training another Brand new missionary from the MTC. I will be going to Tønsberg to be in a trio. I will be serving with Elder Mckell and Elder Orr. Elder Mckell is one of my friends from the MTC and Elder Orr is an older missionary who has been out over a year. The news made me both sad and excited, a mix of emotions. I have really enjoyed working with Elder Nelson. He taught me many things and he is a great guy. I have come to love Fredrikstad. The ward in Fredrikstad is amazing. It feels like one big happy family. Also this last week was one of my most encouraging and best weeks of the mission. I felt like I was really getting the hangs of things and starting to connect with the ward. However, I know that Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, are in charge. They are leading the Old Ship Zion and they direct the Building of the Kingdom of God on the earth. One verse of scripture that has really come alive for me is Proverbs 3: 5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all thing heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths." I don't know why I'm now on my way to Tønsberg especially when the work was picking up and things were going great in Fredrikstad but I know there is a greater reason and plan for me. God has a plan for each of us that is magnificent and greater than our understanding. We must trust in him and then will things work out for our good. I'm excited to go to Tønsberg. It will be a great opportunity to learn more, meet more people, and serve others!
Here is just a little more information about the Norway mission. There are 4 zones. 1) North 2) West 3) Telemark and 4)East. Fredrikstad was in the East zone. It included Oslo and all the cities on the east. Tønsberg is in the Telemark zone. It will be fun going to a new zone. I will meet a whole new group of missionaries.
As I said earlier, this last week was Fantastic. We had companion exchanges with the Zone leaders on Tuesday. Elder Jacobs and Elder Skøien came down from Oslo to work with Elder Nelson and I. My companion for the day was Elder Jacobs. He is a stud. Before he came down I was in charge of deciding a "splits focus". Something we would focus on during the day to practice or improve. I chose "Talk with everyone" or opening your mouth. It is amazing. We set a goal to have 10 gospel conversations with people which means we share our testimonies and extend an invitation to someone. We were on the way to the church and we decided to do some Bus contacting. I sat down and said to the guy next to me, "Is it okay if I practice my Norwegian with you. I'm learning Norwegian and it helps talking to people from Norway." Anyway I was able to talk to this guy and then eventually several ladies sitting near joined the conversation. So it was like me and all these Norwegians speaking Norwegian. It came up in the conversation, why am I learning Norwegian, and I was able to tell them that I'm serving a mission for my church and then i was able to bear my testimony. it was so cool and such a confidence booster to me! I know the Lord will put words into our mouth if we just open them and try to share the gospel. It was so fun having the Zone leaders down in Fredrikstad with us. We had 6 elders in that tiny apartment. It was a blast.
We also had Zoneleader training this week. It was Friday in Oslo. The focus of the training was on finding people to teach. It was really great and really fun! The biggest thing I took from it is just how important it is that we "find on the way" and open our mouths. Always be looking for those who are prepared to receive the gospel and the Lord will put them in your path. While traveling home from Oslo, we were able to have two more awesome experiences. The first was right after our training. We were waiting outside the church, ready to go, when one of the sisters said, "Elders go talk to that woman, she needs the gospel." We turned around and went and talked to her. She was super nice and she had her son with her. We told her that the gospel blesses families. She said she was interested in coming to church. We got her number and were able to give it as a referral to the Oslo Elders. The second experience we had was on the train from Oslo to Fredrikstad. Elder Nelson and I talked to this really cool guy who is studying music. He plays a ton of instruments and is studying to be a musician composer or conductor. He was interested in receiving a Book of Mormon. WE got his number and give it to another set of Oslo Elders and told him that they could get him a copy of the Book of Mormon. All these experiences remind me of the many tender mercies of the Lord. If we show faith and act on it, He will bless us.
We weren't able to meet with Nancy this week but we have an appointment with her tomorrow. It is with our ward mission leader and his wife. It is actually a miracle. Because we found out that our Ward mission leader knows nancy from school when he was in high school. It is going to be perfect because him and his wife will be able to welcome nancy into the ward and help her come to church. Nancy is really positive and we have a goal for her to be baptized on December 5th.
I apologize that my email is so scrambled today. It will be better next week when I get things figured out in Tønsberg. I leave to Tønsberg Wednesday morning.
My ponderizing scripture for this last week was D&C 28:16. It says, "And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen." The reason I chose this scripture is the last phrase. "with the sound of rejoicing" We have a loving Heavenly father and a Savior in Jesus Christ and that is something to rejoice in.
I love you all and I'm grateful for your prayers and support. I know I could not be doing this without you all. I want you all to know that Heavenly Father loves you and he knows you. Sometimes in life we don't know why certain things happen or why we have trials but our Heavenly father does. When we turn to God in prayer and come unto Christ by following him I know we will be blessed. I know things will work out in the end if we put our trust it them. As it is said in the Scriptures many times, Christ's arms are always open and full of mercy and love.
Have a great week!
Some ancient viking carvings. They add the red coloring so you can see it.
Some of the people in the Ward. I bore my farewell testimony in Sacrament meeting.
Me playing a really old piano in a members home. Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys served his mission in Norway and he served in Fredrikstad. He has played on this piano that I'm playing on.