Oslo Norway Mission, Called to Serve

Oslo Norway Mission, Called to Serve

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 22 - Arendal

Hey family and friends!

Thanks for your continual love and support. I'm now in the beautiful city of Arendal and I'm excited to be here!

It was really hard saying goodbye to Tromsø. I'm so grateful that I was able to serve in Tromsø and meet so many inspiring and loving people. It was an amazing experience that I won't ever forget. But thankfully, Arendal is looking like it is going to be just as good :) 

On Wednesday, I took a plane from Tromsø to Trondheim. It is like a 2 hour flight. I had a layover in Trondheim for another two hours and then took a plane from Trondheim to Kristiansand. It was like an hour long flight. Then the senior couple in K-sand picked me up at the airport and drove me into the city to meet the k-sand elders and my new companion Elder Dial. We stayed the night in Kristiansand because we were going to have district meeting the next morning. Our district consists of a companionship of elders, sisters, and a senior couple in Kristiansand and then us, a companionship of elders in Arendal. The landscape down here is so different than Tromsø! There are no mountains just hills, islands, and fjords everywhere. It is also very humid and tropical so it is very green with a lot of trees and plants. It is very beautiful. The weather is warmer and it has rained almost every day.  

My new companion is Elder Dial and he is a stud. He is hardworking and obedient! He is also really good with the language. I am so impressed. he has only been in norway 2 transfers so about 3 months and he is well on his way! He is from Idaho and is into cycling. He did a race with his friends and family that I think was from Seattle to Portland.

The branch down here is strong. There are about 30 -40 members in church and a lot of young families. 

So on Thursday after district meeting and lunch we took a bus from K-sand to Arendal. It is about an hour and a half bus ride. Upon arriving, we dropped off our bags and took a bus to meet with our investigator named Judy. She has been investigating for quite a long time and is friends with one of the recent converts here in the branch. I'll tell you more about our investigators next week when I get to know them better. 

On Friday, we went and did service for this woman named --. She was a referral from one of the members in the branch for us to go and do service. We go and mow her lawn. It's cool because she will ask us questions about the church when we come. We also went and tried back a potential. We stopped by and she was really friendly and open to our message. We gave her a book of mormon and she invited us to come by another time. Then we did a little banking in the area and met this older man working outside. He told us that he knew our branch president and learned about our family history program but wasn't interested. Later that day while on the street we talked to this woman from Taiwan named --  who said that she was very much involved with the church when she was younger. They new the missionaries because her parents were taking the discussions. She said that she has seen the missionaries before in Norway but they have never talked to her. We got her number and got an appointment for this week! 

On Saturday, we visited a less active member here who works at a haircutting store (frisør) who has just recently been coming back to church. She is hilarious, reminds me of Ms. Farr, the ap european teacher. after lunch, we went to this area called Fevik, to try back another potential and on the bus there was this couple speaking english so we asked them where they were from and they were from England. They were viisting some grandparents. They told us that they had just recently watched a documentary on mormon missionaries in England. We ended up having like a 20 minute conversation. It was awesome! We tried back this house and unfortunately they were busy but said we could come back. So we finished  by going banking in the area in the pouring rain :)

On Sunday, we had church. Stake leaders from Drammen were visiting. The stake young womens president spoke on Elder Hollands talk "Lord I believe" which is one of my favorites. Faith is a principle of power. We receive added strength in our life as we trust in the Lord and his timing. Joy is always guarrenteed to the faithful. It turns out the branch down here was in need of a piano player and so they were happy that I came. Thanks mom :) After church we went on a search for some inactive members on the list. We found 1 of the 3 who said we could come back another day, and we also banked into another potential that said we could come back. That evening we were out on the street contacting and there was almost no one out and we weren't having any success so we were debating whether we should do something else but we felt like we should keep going and I'm so glad we did! We talked to this man, whose daughter did an exchange in the US and stayed with amormon family and just had the best experience, We also talked to another man, name marcus. Long story short is that he was way friendly and cool, and we gave him a book of mormon. Later we saw him waiting for the bus and he was totally reading it! We got his number and should be meeting with him this week.

So a lot of cool things happened this week. It was a testimony to me of the Lord's hands in our lives and also in the lives of those around us.  We can share the gospel by being an example and a light to those around us. When Elder Kearon visited the mission he told us to BE the message, live the gospel, and they will see it in us and gain a desire. As we live the message we will help The lord in preparing his people to receive the gospel We will plant seeds and help those around us receive this message. It was really neat that we were able to meet so many people who are being prepared. It is always the best to meet someone who has had a positive experience with the church and its members.

I know the church is true. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Witt

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 15, 2016 - Tromsø, Norway

Hi everybody!

Thanks for all your love and support! I will be moving to the city of Arendal! My companion's name is Elder Dial. He came out in the same group as Elder Braunberger so it will be another young missionary. I'm excited for this new opportunity and for the many experiences that will come with it. Arendal is is close to the very southern tip of Norway. 

It is sad to be leaving Tromsø but I'm also excited for the change. I've reflected again and again on the many wonderful experiences I've had here. I love the members in Tromsø.  They are an example to me of being true to the faith.  Having so few in numbers shows the dedication of those who attend so faithfully and they do it because it is true. In just this last testimony meeting, we went overtime in church because people wanted to share their testimonies. 

On Tuesday, we went street contacting, did family history work and went banking. It was a normal day of finding. On Wednesday, we did what was called "get the work done day". Sister Hill initiated an apartment deep cleaning day. Every companionship got one day in the week to deep clean the apartment from 11 am to 6 pm. We cleaned the bathroom, oven, kitchen, stove,bedroom, living room, and went through everything and organized it. By the end of the day we had a pile of just plastic bags with trash and random things to throw away. It was a big success.  I'll send some pictures :) After the cleaning we went to the church because -- was having her baptismal interview. Everything went well there.

On Thursday, it was a beautiful day and the people were friendly! We went contacting and had good success. Able to give out a Book of Mormon and talk to a lot of really awesome people. We also had district meeting and did weekly planning and visited Lill's for dinner.

On Friday, we had a branch party. It was at a park and we grilled hamburgers, played volleyball and other games. It was a ton of fun and a huge success. --, -- and their daughter came and had a really good time.

Saturday was -- baptism! It was a very special experience. We had the service at a nearby swimming pool and auditorium. We had a small meeting in the auditorium before hand, and -- sister gave a talk on baptism and Sister Olsen gave a talk on The Holy Ghost. Then we walked to the pool and had the baptism ordinance. --  asked me to baptize her and I'm grateful I was able to be a part of the experience. She was just glowing the whole day.

On Sunday, at church I gave a talk as sort of a farewell to the branch. I based my talk off the one I gave at my missionary farewell. I translated it into Norwegian. -- also was confirmed a member of the church and received the holy ghost. Her brother in law, Arnt, performed the ordinance and it was his first time giving a blessing. He did a great job. It was a great day!

I would just like to close with my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon to be true. It is God's word. The same church which Jesus Christ established has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Christ leads his church today through living prophets and apostles. As we stand with the leaders of the church we will never fall away. and we will receive the needed direction in our lives to help us avoid the dangers of the world. We can rely on the Lord's promised blessings. I'm excited for general conference that will be happening in a couple months. I know the church is true. I love you all and I love being a missionary. 

Have a fantastic week!

Love Elder Witt

Hello again!

I can't believe I forgot to tell this story. So yesterday, we got on the bus and this man says "high-five elder" and it turned out to be some members from Seattle. It was a young married couple. We talked to them for a bit and they asked us if we had book of mormons in english on us and unfortunately we didn't but they were heading into the city and so were we so it would be really easy for us to grab one. So we grab a english book of mormon and a dutch one for them. It turns out this couple has befriended another couple from the Netherlands on their cruise ship. When they dock at a city they share a car together. And the members wanted to give them a book of mormon but forgot to bring one. It was so neat and awesome that we met and were able to give them the supplies they needed to share the gospel. It was a miracle. 

Love you all! The church is true!

Elder Witt

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 8, 2016 - Tromsø, Norway

Hey family!

Thanks for your love and support. It was a great week and I'm feeling much better. The 24/7 sun is officially gone. It is crazy to think that when I got to Tromsø everything was covered with 3 feet of snow and the northern lights were out at night and now we are beginning to lose the midnight sun. Time sure goes by fast! I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving in such a beautiful city with such amazing people. Transfer calls are this upcoming sunday and I will most likely be leaving Tromsø on the 18th of August

For more exciting news, -- is getting baptized this Saturday! She wants me to baptize her so she wanted to move the date from the 20th of August to the 13th. We are really excited for her and her decision to follow Jesus Christ in her life. Unfortunately, Her husband -- didn't show up to our stop smoking lesson. He wants more time to think about it. It was sad to find that out but I'm confident things will work out for them. 

On Tuesday, the Alta elders came for splits. As always it was way fun to be with them and gå skinke! We had district meeting all together and talked about the Book of Mormon. We went around in a circle and shared with each other our favorite verses. Elder Mitchell made a connection that all of our verses testified of Jesus Christ. They testified of his delivering power, his power to comfort, to lift, to change us, and strengthen us and I thought that was way cool! I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon. It is the keystone of our religion and evidence that the church of Jesus Christ as been restored. It testifies of our Savior and teaches us the plan of Happiness. It shows the path to having joy and peace in this life and in the life to come. After that we went contacting together. Elder Mitchell and I talked to this woman from Brazil. She told us that she just recently regained her faith from experiences she has been having. She gave us her Brazilian telephone number and name so we could give it to the missionaries in Brazil. She was way cool!

On Wednesday, The Alta elders flew home in the morning. After that we met with a man named Thomas. Thomas's story is a neat one. We met --- about 2 months ago while we were on splits with the Alta elders. Elder Beck and I contacted him. He is from Canada and a really friendly guy. He is also a super talker and will just go on about any subject, like politics, religion, and all the topics in the media today. He told us that he would be willing to meet but that he would just be pain to us and that we wouldn't be able to convince him of anything. He told us he was going out of town but we could call him in a month or two and we could meet. So a month goes by and we call him and he is super friendly. He tells us to call him in two weeks and that he would love to meet. So we call him in two weeks and have a long conversation on the phone. He tells us that he would love to learn more about the Mormons and would be interested in coming to church. We invite him and he says he will come but he doesn't show. That was the Sunday a week ago. Now while the Alta elders are on splits, guess who we meet again on the street, this time Elders Beck and Braunberger meet him. He apologized for how he was when we first met him two months ago and wanted to meet. So we invited him to the church and felt like we should watch meet the Mormons with him. We watch meet the Mormons and he really likes it. After that we talk about the plan of salvation. He pretty much taught us about the natural man or human nature and how we need to become better people and be more forgiving patient and loving. We testified that it is through Christ how we can do that. Anyways, it went really well and he wants to meet more and we got an appointment tomorrow with him. As he was leaving he told us an experience he had a long long time ago. He was driving and couldn't get his car to start. He did absolutely everything he could to get the car to start but it wouldn't so he said a prayer and the minute he finished his pray his car worked and started. He told us that he felt a little shame that he didn't after that moment commit his life to God.He told us that our meeting reminded him of that experience. It was sooooo cool!! The Holy Ghost is real.

We also on Wednesday met with --. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions and set the official baptismal date for August 13. She talked about how the gospel has helped her in her life. Before she started coming to church she said her life was going in a bunch of different directions but since coming to church everything seems to be falling in place and now she has one path in front of her. She also explained how her daughter came home from primary one day saying "Mom I know how to pray in Norwegian now!"  It is truly a blessing to see the gospel bless the lives of other people.

On Thursday, we went to the police station so I could renew my visa. They have a bunch of paperwork you have to fill out and appointments you have to make and everything went smoothly! After that we were out on the street and talked to this man for about an hour. He is a member of a protestant church and just asked us question after question about our beliefs. It was cool. Then we did some weekly planning.

On Friday, It was my year mark! It has been one of the most happy, challenging, and growing years of my life and I'm so grateful for it. We had another interesting experience while we were out on the street. A woman from France stopped us and said, hey are you Mormons? You guys know a lot about family history. Can you help me learn more about mine? We were like yes of course! Haha it's not very often that people approach us. We went to the library and began to set up and account on family search for her. Unfortunately, her phone doesn't work in Norway and we weren't able to get the code for her email to work so we could activate her account on family search, but we did fill out a referral with her on  Mormon.org so that when she goes home to France the missionaries there can help her with family history work. Later in the day we visited -- , and taught -- again. Then we taught just -- with -- . -- was out of town. It was an intense lesson. -- really wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. She says either it's true and I need to change or it is false and I've got to get away from it. She now recognizes the need to find out which is really good. We'll see where it goes.

On Saturday, we met with -- and --. In the evening we taught --, he was our new investigator from last week. There is a big language barrier but we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave him a pamphlet in Arabic and he loved it. He asked us if he could take it him and read it. He is a good guy. While we were waiting for -- a Norwegian guy asked us why we were here in Tromsø and we told him we are missionaries. WE had a nice conversation and he gave us his number! Wow as I'm typing I'm realizing how many sweet miracles we experienced. It was a great week!

We had great church meetings on Sunday. I don't know if I told you but a recent return missionary from Sweden moved to Tromsø to work for the next 6 months. He now is one of the Sunday school teachers. He is awesome and is always willing to go on teaches with us. Testimony meeting was really powerful. A family from Bodø was visiting. -- came to church. Bianca her sister is out of town and so It was awesome to see -- coming on her own. We also visited with Alexander and Linda. Great Sabbath day!

Updates on -- . He is out of town still. We will call him today. Kurt is also out of town and comes back on Thursday or Friday. Good things are happening in Tromsø!

I'm grateful for the Church. I'm grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ, whose grace is sufficient to help us, to heal us, and change us. His atonement makes it possible for us to return to Heavenly Father. I hope you all have a great week. I love you all. I know the church is true!

Eldste Witt

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016 - Tromsø, Norway

Hey Everyone!

Sure love you all and am grateful for you. This past week was a busy one and challenging one for me personally but it also taught me the reality of God's hand in our lives. I started the week mentally and physically tired. But as the week went on I was able to see tender mercies in my life and felt God's love and awareness for me.

One tender mercy happened on Wednesday. The Zone leaders flew into Tromsø for the day because the next day we were going to have training in Tromsø for the missionaries in northern Norway. Being with the zone leaders was a blast. I was with Elder Abril and we went contacting, ate at the -- shop and also visited --. While out and this time I was with my companion, we met a young woman from Denmark. She turned out to know a little about Mormons and was very complimentary about us. We had a great conversation and were able to share some scriptures. It was a tender mercy. as we said goodbye and walked away you could feel the spirit. There was a feeling of just awesomeness! Even though she was not interested in investigating our message we were able to help answer some questions and know that she left with a better understanding of us as a church and people.

On Thursday, we had the zone conference. The missionaries from Bodø, Narvik, and Alta came. It was on the spirit in missionary work and just what I needed for the week! I was able to see an elder that I shared an apartment with in Fredrikstad for the first time in a long while. It was great to be with all the other missionaries. The Olsens as always made a delicious lunch for us to have. 

On Friday, we did much preparation for a stop smoking lesson with --. It has 15 steps that if you follow exactly guarantee that you will quit smoking in 7 days. It is way cool. We are going to teach it later tonight. Also on Friday we met with -- and --. It went really well! They admitted that they believe the story of Joseph Smith. We're making progress!

On Saturday, we had our usual Norwegian class with --. She has helped me so much with my Norwegian. She is also the nicest person ever. So grateful for the members here in Tromsø! We also went contacting, and had dinner at --.

On Sunday, Elder Braunberger and I taught Sunday school. It was from the teachings of President Howard W. Hunter. We were able to experience another tender mercy. We were banking and had a lesson with the first door that answered! It was a woman and she took a Book of Mormon and said she would start reading. It was another uplifting experience, where you can know that God is aware of you and places people in your path to bless you. 

Those were some of the highlights of the week in a nut shell. We weren't able to meet with -- and -- because they were both out of town. 

My spiritual thought for the week is about God's plan for us. I know that he loves us and is aware of us in our lives. As we look for the good in life, we will surely find it. "seek and ye shall find" It goes the same for the bad. Keeping a positive attitude will help us focus on the good and we will be able to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Life was meant to have struggles but they are for our learning and they are an opportunity to apply the gospel. Every trial we have gives us an opportunity to work for and develop a Christ like attribute. Isn't that the goal? The goal is to become like him, to change our hearts, desires and natures to be like the savior. Let us use every opportunity we are given to become something better. I know that as we do that we will have more meaning and purpose in our life and we will find greater satisfaction and joy. 

I love you all. I love Norway and I love missionary work.

Haev a great week!

Elder Witt