Friday, September 13, 2013

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

There is only one Oslo Ward (150+200 active members and 650 members in total) One incredible thing is that there are 52 different nationalities in the ward membership. Take that anyone who says we are just an American church. To have a group like that in one of the most secular places in the world is indeed a miracle. The people in the ward are remarkable. I spent more time speaking Spanish than Norwegian on Sunday. I went to Spanish speaking family home evening on Friday and Spanish speaking Sunday school. There was also a Spanish-speaking woman who has asked us to help her son. She only speaks Spanish, and I just know that I am here in Oslo now to help her since none of the other missionaries would have been able to communicate with her. Heavenly Father just puts us in the right place at the right time, as we are faithful. Unfortunately, our investigator from the Congo did not come to his return appointment and has not responded. There is a Kenyan woman who is a recent convert who we went and visited last night who has an amazingly strong testimony in Christ. We are really trying to push hard for member missionary work, which is in every way the best way. Despite what some say about missionaries, never forget that ours is a message of eternal happiness and peace for all. No matter what happens, remember Heavenly Father is ALWAYS there for us.

It is really sad to me what some people think about religion. There was a man we talked to who was really quite hostile towards us telling us that less than 1% of people in Norway go to church and that all of the wars in the world are because of religion. He was very mean and quite condescending, but the sad part is that that was really how he felt. It is completely ridiculous and naive to claim that the wars in the Middle East are really over religion, and it makes me sick to think about the ways people distort and manipulate the truth. That is one of Satan’s most sickening tricks. He is trying to get people to turn on religion. Christ died for us and suffered every bit of pain, sadness, weakness, inadequacy and loneliness that any of us have had, have and will have. Heavenly Father allowed this to happen for our happiness. You can feel the power of the atonement in your life. It really changes us. Before my mission, I did not really have a testimony of that, but I have a very powerful one now. Through the atonement, we can overcome everything that is not right in the world and eventually become perfected like Heavenly Father and Christ. I have felt this power, and I know that it is true. Through Christ we have marvelous opportunities, so we should be the happiest people in the world. As Christ said, we will have tribulation, but we need not fear. He has overcome the world.

We have had two member dinners so far and will have some more this week. In all honesty, the food has not been too exciting (tacos, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, cereal, chicken, pasta and such). The weather has been absolutely beautiful so far. The Norwegian word of the week is et skjlips´a tie. Thank you for all of your prayers and your emails.

Elder Ankenman

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