Oslo Norway Mission, Called to Serve

Oslo Norway Mission, Called to Serve

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tønsberg, Norway - 11th Week in Norway

Hey Family!

Thanks for all your love and support. My heart is full of love and gratitude for all of you. 

I had another great week in Tønsberg. Today is the start of my 6th week in Tønsberg and it is the last week of the transfer. On Sunday, Dec 6, we will have moves call. It is a huge conference call with all the missionaries where President Hill and the AP's tell us where we are serving for the next transfer. Wednesday, Dec 9 is transfer day, and that is where missionaries travel to their new areas. It is crazy how fast time is flying. I love being a missionary and I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be in Norway.

On Tuesday, we had district brunch and meeting. The sisters and elders from Porsgrun and Skien came up and we cooked bacon and eggs, and had a great breakfast. It was so fun to be with the district. After that we went over to --- and ---'s house. We helped --- with her Norwegian and --- cooked us dinner. He orignally comes from the Lofoten Islands in Norway so he has a crazy dialect but it is super cool. Lofoten Islands is known for being some of the most beautiful landscape in Norway. They are a really nice family. We invite them to Church every week and they say that they will come but they haven't been for a while. I believe in them and know that as we continue to visit them and serve them they will start to build that desire to come again. --- is not a member and we've talked to him a little about his beliefs but he is not super open and interested. He loves familes so we are giong to share with him the mormon message, Earthly father heavenly Father. It is one of my favorites. I hope it can help him realize his Divine nature. After that we visited a member named ---. We've visited him before and he is the one with the book of mormon with all the missnioaries signatures. He is the nicest guy. He wanted us to come over and sing hymns with him so we sang some christmas songs. It was really nice. After that we drove to the city Drammen for Splits. 

Wednesday, It is Elder Mckell, Beck and I. We are on splits in Drammen. Drammen is a much larger city than Tønsberg. We spent the day contacting in the city which was good. After that we went to a member dinner. It was with a member family and they gave us thanksgiving dinner. It was good. This family is really nice. They have family in America and they have lived there before. 

Thursday, We are back in Tønsberg. In the morning, we went over to ---'s house. We helped her cut onions, celery, smash potatoes, make pumpkin pie in preparation for dinner. She invited us and some other members over for Thanksgiving. Woohoo round two! We also visited --- and his wife ---. He is the professional magician. We read with them the Family Proclomation to the World, because she is about to have a baby. They are really nice. 

On Friday, we spent most of our day street contacting and then we drove to Sandefjord to have Dinner with the ---. I love the ---. They love the missionaries and are so good to us. We had pinna kjøtt which is lamb ribs (i believe). It is a traditional Norwegian dish. They wanted to make sure we liked it because we are going to have that on Christmas with them. it was really good. 

On Saturday, we did a street Stand in the City center. We had a big banner and table. We were able to talk to lots of people but no one who was super interested. Most people were interested in Family History so we are thinking of doing a street stand focusing mostly on Family History. That night a non-member friend we have invited us over to a big thanksgiving party. Woohoo round 3! Her name is ---. Elder Mckell and Elder Orr knocked her door before I came to Tønsberg. Her family is half American. It was awesome! There were about 60 people there at this party and all of them nonmembers. Missionary paridise! Several people came up to us just out of curiousity to learn more about missionaries and our church. It was great!

On Sunday, we had church and afterwards went tracting.  We met 3 potential investigators and set up an appoinment with one of them. It was awesome. After that we met with this guy ---. He is really interested in our message and we had a great lesson with him. Can't wait to meet with him again. 

Missionary work is hard but it is very rewarding. It is tough when those you are working with fail to keep commitments such as coming to church. It can be tough when it is really cold outside, and you are tired and you want to take a break. It is tough to be away from family and friends, but overall, at the end of the day, it is so worth it! I feel like my testimony, my conviction of the reality of God, our Heavenly Father, and the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ has grown so deep. I know they are real and that they love us and know us personally. I know that Christ's Church has been restored. It was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and it all started because of Joseph's sincere, prayer of faith.  

This week I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. It was my first talk in Norwegian. Woohoo! I decided to talk on Prayer. Elder Bednar gave a fabulous talk in General Conference several years ago called "Ask in Faith". He talked about how prayer has two parts. We must ask in faith believing that we will receive an answer but we must also ask with real intent. Faith without works is dead. We must be commited to act on the answer we receive. Having meaningful prayers is something I've been trying to work on lately. I'm defintely not perfect at them because it can be easy to get in a routine but I know how important and special prayer is. Prayer is the way by which we can talk to our Heavenly Father. It is a two-way conversation. We just need to listen and say what is in our heart.

I love being a missionary and I'm grateful for all of you and your support to me. 

Have a great week!

Elder Witt

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tønsberg, Norway - 10th Week in Norway

Hey family! I hope you all had a great week!

This last week was really good. 

On Tuesday, we went street contacting during the day. Recently, The mission leaders have introduced a new key indicator, (numbers we record each week that help us set goals and improve), it is gospel conversations. These are basic conversations where we teach a principle, testify, and extend a commitment. It has been reallly helpful because it encourages us to always be aware of unplanned opportunities to share the gospel. We can have basic gospel conversations with people that can grow to lessons, then to new investigators and so on.  After contacting, we drove to Sandefjord and visited the ---- Family. They are awesome. We read 2nd Nephi 32 with them. That night we dropped off Elder Orr at the train station again because he was leaving on companion exchanges in Sandvika.

On Wednesday, Elder Mckell and I spent most of our day finding. We were able to teach a lesson to this oldman out in the city and invite him to church and we had many other great teaching opportunities. It was a wonderful day! I love working with Elder Mckell and Elder Orr.

On Thursday, we went to ----'s house for lunch again. They live far out in the countryside on a beautiful field. They made us delicious lasagna and he showed us some magic tricks. He is soooo good. He does a lot of close card tricks. We read together Lehi's dream and talked about the different groups traveling towards the tree of life. The ones who continually held fast to the iron rod made it to the tree and partook of the fruit. They were filled with joy. It is so crucial that we continually hold fast to the rod or the word of God. After that we drove to the ---'s and had dinner with them. They are so great.

On Friday, we had zone conference in Oslo! We drove to the church in Oslo. It is about a hour and a half drive from Tønsberg. I love snow-covered Norway. In vestfold, there are rolling hills with farms and forests. It is beautiful. Zone conference was amazing! My zone, the Telemark zone, was combined with the østfold zone, (my last zone. Fredrikstad was in it.) I was able to see Elder Nelson adn Elder Tennant again. I have exciting news! ---- , who Elder Nelson and I were working with in Fredrikstad is getting baptized next month! It was great to talk to them. President Hill gave powerful and wise instruction on what it means to be a succesful missionary. He summed it up in 3 characteristic. 1) Unity with your companion, your district, and the Lord. 2) work, work work! and 3) Obedience. I love President and Sister Hill they are so full of love and goodness.

On Saturday, we had another day full of service. We went and helped --- finish moving all his wood into the basement for the winter. Then we went to help the Branch President clean the church. After that we went back to ---'s to finish moving wood. Then we went to a single sister who has some health challenges and continued cleaning her kitchen  again.. After that we went to a single sister in the branch for dinner. She is super nice and always gives us lots of chocolate to take home after church. She made us a delicious traditional Norwegian dish. Potatoes, vegetables, and meat in a gravy. 

On Sunday, it was branch conference so the Stake Presidency from the Drammen Stake came and spoke. There are two stakes in Norway. The drammen stake which covers west Norway and the Oslo stake which covers east Norway. After that we went and delivered the sacrament to our friend who we have been doing some service for her. She is the sweetest. We also cooked her dinner because she was feeling really crummy. After that we went back and had our own dinner and did weekly planning. We have a lot of good things planned this week and I'm really excited. Later today we have a lesson with one of our new investigators. I hope it goes well.

Also, happy thanksgiving everyone. I'm sure grateful for all of you and the support you give me. I wouldn't be where I am today without your examples, love and guidance. 

Recently I finished the Book of Mormon. Everytime I read it it strengthens me and my witness of it grows. Joseph Smith is right when he says it is the most correct of any book and that a man may get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book. I feel in my heart and all my soul that it is true and I can't deny it. It is the word of God and we must always hold continually fast to it. 

Have a great week!!

Love Elder Witt

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tønsberg, Norway - 9th Week in Norway

Hey everyone!

Thank you for all your love and support. I love you all so much and I'm grateful for your examples to me!

It was another great week in Tønsberg with many great experiences. 

Last Monday Night, we drove to Porsgrunn to stay the night with the Porsgrunn elders because on Tuesday morning we were doing a huge church tour and presentation for the high school. It was awesome and I'm grateful we were able to help with it. There were about 200 highschool students, and they were all about my age. 17 or 18. We split them up into 4 groups that rotated. I was in the big presentation room with Elder Gurr from Porsgrunn. Several members from the Skien ward helped out. The members led the presentations in each of the rooms and the missionaries were here to help teach and answer questions. In my room we explained our basic beliefs and the origin of our church. So we pretty much taught a first lesson, the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a really neat experience. My part in the presentation was Christ's earthly ministry, emphasizing that while he was on the earth, He established His church. In the presentation the member asked me how long I have been here in Norway and when I answered about 2 months the audience gasped and then applauded. Haha it was really encouraging. People are always impressed when they find out how short we have been learning Norwegian and it is always humbling. The only reason I can speak and understand Norwegian is because of Heavenly Father. As we do our part in prayerfully studying and learning He blesses us and helps us. I still have a lot more Norwegian to learn but I know it will come over time. At the end of this big event we had free book of Mormons and Pamphlets for everyone that attended. Maybe about 20 people took Book of Mormons and almost all the pamphlets were gone so i think that it was a huge success. 

After that we had district meeting. In my district, we have the Elders from Porsgrunn and the sisters from Skien. We have district meetings once a week and we usually switch the location every other week. Sometimes it is in Tønsberg and other times in Skien. I love my district! They are awesome! For lunch, we went to a Kebob shop that was super good. Kebob is comparable to a greek gyro. It is super popular in Norway. That evening we went to a member's house and practiced teaching them a lesson. Elder Mckell and I did most of the teaching to practice our Norwegian. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was such a great experience.

On Wednesday, I got my Norwegian driving permit. In the next couple months I will need to go to a driving school and take a driving test to get my Norwegian License. Norwegians are safe drivers. There are roundabouts eveywhere and I'm starting to like them a lot. After that we went to a new couple that just moved into the branch. His name is ---, and he is from Brazil. He is a magician and is super talented. He showed us a video of him on Norwegians got talent, (a version of America's got talent.) His wife is not a member and she is about to have a baby. We are really excited to start working with them because they are a young couple that could really help the branch here in Tønsberg. We have planned a day to visit them this week. After that we called a man named ---. We found him while tracting several weeks ago. While we were planning Tuesday night for Wednesday, His name kept popping up in my thoughts so I told the other elders and we planned to call him the next day. We called him and we set up an appointment for later that evening. It was so awesome! God knew that --- would be able to meet Wednesday night so through the Holy Ghost we were inspired to call him. We went to his house and introduced him to the Book of Mormon and invited him to read. He said we could come by another day. 

On Thursday, we visited an older man, ---, who is a member. He currently lives in an assisted living complex. It was such a pleasant visit. He is a really nice man. After that we drove to Sandefjord to visit the --- family again but the mom wasn't home so we talked to the teenage boy for a little bit and then went to street contact in the city.

On Friday, Elder Orr left to Porsgrunn for splits so it was just Elder Mckell and I. We had a lesson with a man named ---. He is a former investigator. We taught him about the Restoration. He accepted our invitation to read Alma 32. Hopefully we can continue to meet with him. That evening we visited a member and Elder Mckell and I practiced our teaching again and taught the Lesson, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

On Saturday we were able to do a lot of service. It was awesome! --- called us up and asked us if we could help him move wood for winter. It was so great that --- felt comfortable to call us and ask for help. We spent a couple hours carrying a ton of wood into his storage for the winter. In Norway, a lot of people to wood to heat their homes. After ---, we visited ---. She is a member who has some health Challenges. We helped her clean and organize her kitcken. She is awesome. She has so much faith and never complains. She told us how she has had health challenges since she was a baby and believes that it is all part of God's plan for her. She is inspiring. She invited us over for a Salmon dinner in a week or two which I'm really excited for.

On Sunday we had church. Unfortunately, ---, --- and --- didn't come. --- has been sick so we weren't able to meet with her this week, just service for ---. After church we had planned to visit --- and them because they said they would come to church and that after we could visit them. We called them and said that --- still wasn't feeling well. We prayed about what we should do and decided to go tracting in Barkåker. While tracting we came across a house that is separated into to apartments. We knocked on both doors and both doors said to come back on Wednesday. It was a miracle. One lady said she had met the missionaries several years ago and she even told us there names. That means something. We are going back on wednesday. 

I know that God answers our prayers. He is our loving Heavenly Father and we can communicate with him through prayer. Prayer is two-way communication and so we must take the time to listen. That is something I'm going to focus on more. I encourage all of you to evaluate your prayers and ask yourself if you are just going through the motions? Prayer is a gift from Our Father in Heaven. It is a source of peace and strength. It invites the spirit into our lives. Prayer is also an important aspect of making decisions. Seek the Lord's guidance through prayer. Because when we do the Lord's will everything will work out for the best, guarenteed.

I love you all! Thanks for your prayers. I know the Church is true. Have a great week

Elder Witt

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tønsberg, Norway - 8th Week in Norway

Hey family!

Thank you for your emails and all your love and support. It's so good to hear from you. I always look forward to see how all of you are doing. This last week was a great one and I learned so much! 

On Tuesday, we went to Skien for district meeting. Skien is about an hour drive southwest from Tønsberg. It is a gorgeous drive. It goes through the fall-colored mountains and through large tunnels. After our district meeting we had lunch with the district. The sisters made homemade pizza to celebrate Elder Bjornn's birthday. That was really fun. That evening we drove to Sandefjord to visit the --- Family. they are a less active family and we were able to share with them the scripture, 2nd Nephi 32: 3. "...wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ, for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." It is so importance that we feast upon the words of Christ daily. The scriptures are a gift to us and can truly bring peace, guidance, and joy into our life and that is because they invite the spirit to more fully be with us. The Holy Ghost gives us peace, guidance and joy. After the visit with the --- we went to the ---'s house for dinner. The ---'s are the best. They love the missionaries.

On Wednesday, Elder Orr went to the Mission Home for a Zone leader meeting so it was just Elder Mckell and I in Tønsberg. Unfortunately, we had two lessons fall through. We would try confirming our appointments and were never able to contact them. We had a lot of trouble this week contacting those we were going to teach. It was sad, but it happens. Instead we went contacting in the city sentrum and banking on doors. It was a good experience. since Elder Mckell and I are both so young it can be challenging with the Norwegian but it helps us grow and learn more. We were able to meet two former investigators in the city which was awesome so hopefully we will obtain contact with them in the future. That went to the church to help set up for a Kulturaften or a culture night or talent night for the next day.

On Thursday, we visited a less active, ---. She has two daughters. We helped clean out and organize her garage. After that we went to this Older couple's house for lunch/dinner. Her name is --- and His name is ---. They are so nice! Neither of them are a member of the church. ---'s cousin is a member. We got her number as a referal and she was so happy to hear from us. She loves cooking so she invited us over for a big meal. They gave us a tour of their house and we were able to help them organize their basement and move some heavy things. --- showed us his collection of Whale Teeth. They were so cool! One had engravings on it. They were so nice and they are going to have us over again soon and this time they told us that they wanted us to teach them about our church. So that worked out really well and I can't wait to go back. After that we visited, --- again to help her with Norwegian and share a spiritual thought. She is making good progress. 

On Friday, we visited an Elderly couple in the ward, --- and ---. We did some service for them and trimmed their bushes, and as a result we brought home two small branches for christmas trees. I'll send pictures :) They are the sweetest. They both have some health challenges but they are so faithful. After that we visited ---. She is from Chile where she was baptized but after she moved here to Norway she has been inactive. We met with her and were able to see where she is at and teach her about the Book of Mormon. She just barely moved to the Tønsberg area so we found her as a referall. She is super nice and we are planning to meet with her again soon. That night we had the talent evening at the church. It was way fun. ---, ---, and --- came. and a bunch of members. Elder Orr, Mckell and I did a musical number. I playyed the piano, Elder Orr played the harmonica, and Elder Mckell sang. We did a spoof on Let it Be by the Beatles and changed the lyrics. It was a big hit.

On Saturday, I finished the book, "Our search for Happiness" by the Elder Ballard. It was a great book. As I read his powerful testimony on the truthfulness of the Restoration, and how the Christ's church has been restored I was filled with Joy. It was amazing. I had such a strong desire to share it with people. How could our message not be true? Our message of Jesus Christ is full of goodness and hope. I'm grateful for the knowledge I have the of the Restoration and to be a member of Christ's Church on the earth today. Today, we visited ---. She is a single lady in the branch who has some health challenges so she can't make it to church but she is super nice. We are going back this week to do service for her. After her we visited ---, (a different ---). He is single man who is so good. He is a convert and has a book of mormon, full of missionarys' signatures. I saw Elder Jacob Knudson's signature from two years ago. That was neat. --- is so kind. He gives us soup everytime we visit him to take home. He shakes everyone's hand at church and is always helping. One of the ladies in the branch gave us a big slab of bacon so for dinner we made bacon wrapped pork chops. Yum yum yum!

On Sunday, After church, we visited ---, --- and ---. We helped --- with Norwegian. We had pizza with them. She even made some Brazilian pizza for us. It had peas, green olives, eggs, and other stuff on it. It wouldn't be my first choice of pizza but it wasn't bad. We were able to watch the restoration video with them and invited them to read the book of mormon together. We were able to find out more about --- and his belief. He loves family history which is cool. We are hoping to continue to involve --- more and get to know him better. After the visit with them we drove to Sandefjord to give Brother --- a blessing. He fainted Saturday Night really late and he invited us over to give him a blessing. It was nice to be with them.

Anyway, it was a great week. It was sad that we had several teaching appointments fall through but it was good to visit so many members and less actives. This upcoming week looks really good as well. 

The weekend started off hard for me. I found myself  focusing on me and trying everything to be the best I could be and during all this I found myself still making mistakes. The problem was I was focused on myself. The Savior says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosover will lose his life for my sake shall find it." When we are focused on following the Savior and serving others we find ourselves. But our motive to serving others can't be just to find ourselves because then we our focused on ourselves again. It can be really challenging to do this and It is something I work at every day. Our motive needs to be charity. We must pray with all the energy of our heart for charity and to love those around us.   This is a lesson I keep relearning on my mission. Humility and Charity are so important. Thankfully, we have our Savior Jesus Christ who is always there to pick us back up and help us. Use the Atonement and it can enable you to be better each day.

I know the church is true! Thanks for your love and support. I hope you have a great week. I'm praying for you.

Elder Witt

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tønsberg, Norway - 7th Week in Norway

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you had a great week. In Norway, Halloween is a new concept and every year more and more people celebrate it. There are a few kids out trick or treating but not very much compared to the states. It was still fun to see all the costumes. We stopped by a grocery store this week that had candy on sell and bought some for us. It was yummy!

I am loving Tønsberg already. My companions are Elder Orr and Elder Mckell. Elder Orr has been out on the mission for a year and a half. He is from California and attended Utah State for a year before he went on his mission. He is a great guy and I'm excited to learn from him. Elder Mckell was in my same MTC group. He is really nice and really smart. I'm excited for this experience I have to serve with them and I hope I can learn as much as I can.

On Tuesday, my last day in Fredrikstad, we were able to teach --- in Brother ---'s home. It was a sweet blessing to be able to teach her one last time before I left. I believe she will continue to progress.

On Wednesday, we left early to the train station and I rode the First train with Elder Phipps to Oslo. He got off to go to the airport so he could fly to Trondheim. I stayed on until Oslo and switched trains and rode to Tønsberg. That afternoon we had an appointment with a man named ---. His father is Italian and they live in Norway. he is 18 or 19. It was amazing to teach him. It was his first lesson with the missionaries. We taught him bits and pieces from the restoration, to the plan of salvation, and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read and pray with real intent to know if it is true. He is searching for the truth and I know he will find it if he acts on faith. This week I learned more about how important the Book of Mormon really is in our conversion and how important it is to pray with real intent, to have a sincere  and open heart. Praying with real intent means that we will act on whatever answer we receive. --- kept saying over and over, "this makes sense". I loved that because that is how the Gospel is for me. We might not know the answer to every question but when we look at the core of the Gospel, the simple truths such as we have a living God who is our Heavenly Father. His work and glory is for us to be happy and to live with Him again. He created a plan for us to help us grow, overcome trials and challenges and ultimately feel joy. I'm so grateful for my testimony of the Gospel. I know it is true! We were able set up another appointment with him on Wednesday.

On Thursday, we had district meeting. I love my new district. It was fun meeting 6 new missionaries. The district consists of 2 elders in Porsgrunn, and 2 sisters in skien and then us 3 elders in Tønsberg. Elder Orr is our District leader. I've excited to get to know them. Thursday night we tried visiting some potential investigators we have and ended up banking or knocking on doors in the area. One guy let us in and we were able to share our message with him and say a prayer. It was way awesome. He gave us coca cola and chocolate. We are going to try and stop by his house again another time.

On Friday, we visited the --- family. They fed us dinner and we ready Ether 12 with them. They are a recent convert family. they love missionaries and already invited us over for Christmas if we are still in the area. They made us tacos in pita bread and it was way good. They live in Sandefjord. Sandefjord use to have missionaries but there are none there at the moment. We have a car in Tønsberg so I drove for my first time in Norway! This next transfer I will try to get my Norwegian license so I can drive throughout my mission. In Norway the US license only works for your first 3 months here. 

On Saturday, We visited ---, --- and ---. They are a part member family. ---, the mom, and ---, the son, are both members but are inactive. --- is Brazilian. --- is Norwegian and he is not a member. We are helping --- learn Norwegian. The amazing thing is that ---, --- and --- have started coming to Church. They have been for the last several weeks. --- loves church and our goal is to start teaching him. 

On Sunday, we went to church. Tønsberg is a branch and has about 20-25 members every week. It is small but they are strong. I bore my testimony and introduced myself to them. Testimony meeting was wonderful! Atlanta got up and bore her testimony. She said how she loves the church and believes it is the right way for her family. She testified that Jospeph smith was a prophet and that the church is true. It made me so happy to see her faith and act on it by sharing her testimony.

Today, we are going to try to go to a museum here in Tønsberg. There is a lot of History here and it should be fun. I love it here in Tønsberg already and there is a lot of good work going on. Our next week is almost booked with appointments which is incredible. I pray that we may be able to help and strengthen those we visit. 

My ponderizing scripture for the week is Proverbs 3: 5-6. 
5)"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
I've been thinking a lot about the plan of salvation and our divine nature. I know that God has a plan for us. He knows us personally and He love us. We are all Children of God. Think about that. That is amazing and we all have the potential to be like him. Our Decisions determine our destiny so it is our job to live the Gospel and keep the commandments. We should strive to do God's will. The best way to do that is to Trust in Him. Go to Heavenly Father in Prayer and pray for guidance. I know he will bless those who seek him.

I love you all! Thanks for all your support and prayers. Have a Fabulous week!

Elder Witt

Fortress in Halden