Saturday, October 19, 2013

Monday, October 14th, 2013

We have been very blessed this past week. It is funny that on the one hand I feel that there is always so much room for me to improve and so many things I could be doing better while on the other hand I feel so blessed for the strengths and blessings I have received in order to accomplish what I have. The ten-year-old boy from Portugal will not be baptized this week, but we have a goal for him for the 26th of October. We were finally able to have a lesson with the Swedish twins yesterday, and it was really cool. They expressed that they would like to get baptized as soon as they could. They essentially grew up in the church, but their father would not allow them to get baptized. Now that they are living on their own in Norway nothing can stop them. We are not sure what the date will be yet because they have to talk to their Mom and they need to check their work schedules, but it should be no later than the beginning of November. It is incredible to think that there are three baptisms that will happen in Oslo. We also have some other investigators whom I feel very strongly about.

I do not attend the Spanish gospel principles class right now because we do not have investigators there anymore. I still do have quite a few opportunities to speak Spanish with the members though. I have even been able to participate in priesthood blessings in Spanish, which has been really cool.

It is key for us to have strong testimonies of the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. If we know that the restoration happened then any other concerns or questions we have are resolved. The only question any investigator needs to ask her-himself is if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Anyone who actually wants to know, and seeks sincerely will come to know that he was indeed a prophet.

It is a comfort and blessing to me to know how universal the message of the gospel is. When we have knowledge of the restoration, those other differences that might divide us really become so insignificant. Political views, nationality, culture, language and so forth really do not make a difference. I think that it is so essential for people to get over the boundaries that we create to separate ourselves from one another. We are all children of Heavenly Father, so we all have divine potentials and he loves us all perfectly. One thing that I have been contemplating recently is unity. It is so essential that we be united. Members of the church in particular should not let our differences separate us. Rather they should bring us together in the cause of helping others to come to the light of the gospel. We must always demonstrate love for our brothers and sisters regardless of what happens. We are indeed nothing without charity, for without charity our actions are hollow. I hope we may all be filled with that pure love.

Elder Linge and I live with Elder Bitner and Elder Wineager who are the AP¨s (assistants to the president), so there are four of us sharing the apartment. It is fine in terms of space. The only issue is that we are not there very often since it is not in Oslo (where Elder Linge and I are assigned to work) and the assistants hardly spend any time at home to begin with.

I feel like there is so much potential for Oslo and all of Norway. It is truly wonderful to be able to serve here. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us all. There is no question that His hand is manifest in all of our lives. The key is to learn to get rid of the pavilions that appear to separate us from Him. When I think about how blessed I am to be able to help others come unto Christ and return to Heavenly Father, I cannot help but smile and be grateful. The Norwegian word of the week is forsoningen, which means the atonement.

Elder Ankenman

Monday, October 7th, 2013

It has been a good week. I have a new companion Elder Linge who is from Utah, but was born in Norway. He is a really nice guy. General Conference was really great. We had an investigator named Dan come to two sessions. I do not think I have ever wanted someone to feel the spirit more than I wanted him to then. I think I was so focused on hoping he would learn a lot from conference that I neglected to a point all I could learn. I have gotten so attached to him. When we have the gospel and know of the happiness it brings it is only natural that we will want to share it. One thing that I have really enjoyed these past two conferences is watching or reading all of the talks again.

I loved how much of a topic member missionary work was. It is true that the church has reached only a small part of its potential. As members and missionaries we must join with Heavenly Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost and make our work and glory to help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We can and should all do a better job at this. The need is far more urgent than I believe we realize. I know Heavenly Father will strengthen us as we do his work. The Norwegian word of the week is en for hold, which means a relationship.

Elder Ankenman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monday, September 30th, 2013

I am staying in Oslo, but I am getting a new companion because Elder Bitner is going to be a new assistant to the mission president. My new companion will also be a zone leader, and his name is Elder Linge. Oslo will have ten missionaries because they are adding two more, so we are really lucky to be close since we are often together doing things at the institute center in Oslo. We have had some difficulties together, but we have also always been there to support each other, which has been wonderful. I am still very shy, which I need to work on. Although I have not spoken up as much, I do feel their support, and it has blessed me. The relationships I have been blessed to develop with Heavenly Father, Christ, the Holy Ghost and my district have helped a lot.

I do not believe faith and reason never contradict. When they appear to, it is due to a lack of knowledge or faith. Still, we cannot comprehend all things, so there are things that we must believe and come to know by faith and the whisperings of the spirit. One becomes converted to the gospel through the Holy Ghost. Spiritual truths can only be known through spiritual experiences. The spirit, the power and the truthfulness of the message of the gospel truly defy my understanding. We need both faith and reason. That is why we have them both. The gospel really is so simple when it gets down to it. I am trying to remember this more and more. I am trying to serve all I can and to do so with love. The Norwegian word of the week is å vise, which means to show.

Elder Ankenman

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

This week has been a good week. We have been incredibly blessed. We had a miracle last p-day. A member here in Oslo, who is originally from Portugal, called us and told us that a recent convert, who is also Portuguese, wanted us to come and teach her son. We did, and it was wonderful. We taught them and a number of other members who were at their home, and then we taught them again on Saturday. He is ten years old and is really awesome.

Yesterday, we also had a miracle. A long-time investigator, who has not been to church since last General Conference, came to church and really enjoyed it. He is incredible. He studies the scriptures every day and has done a tremendous amount of research. Elder Bitner and I both feel that he will be baptized and will be an incredibly strong member. Yesterday, we also had a high school class attend church, which was quite cool. We answered some questions for them, and we feel that they felt the spirit. Some of them said that they would like to come back.

I am just so amazed at the miracles that happen every day. It has helped me to be more grateful to my Heavenly Father because it reminds me how reliant upon him we truly are. We are teaching that man from the Congo again tomorrow. I know that serving others is the way we can feel closest to Heavenly Father. The opportunities I have had to serve others on my mission have undoubtedly been the happiest times. We are so blessed to know our Heavenly Father and to recognize his love for us, which goes far beyond our comprehension. A member told us yesterday that he believes that the strongest Norwegian members of the church have yet to be baptized. I believe that is true also, and it is my job to help go out and find them and help them to know of Heavenly Father's love. The Norwegian word of the week is å lære, which means to learn.

Elder Ankenman