Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monday, October 28th, 2013

This week has been another very interesting week. Goncalo was baptized and confirmed this weekend by a member in the ward with whom I have developed a really good relationship. He is from Portugal and was converted himself twelve years ago. Goncalo was baptized and confirmed in Portuguese. It was really cool because I felt like I understood quite a lot. It is really cool to see people come together regardless of differences, which in reality have no relevance. It was wonderful that Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian and English speaking people were all involved in the baptismal service. The Spanish and Portuguese people involved in the baptism are from Portugal, Ecuador, Brazil and Chile.

It was a tremendous joy for me to be able to be involved in the experience. I know that it was a wonderful time for Goncalo and his mother, who was baptized this past April. It really is difficult to describe the joy I felt, but it is just so incredible to know that you have been an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands and that you have really helped someone draw closer to Him. I know that I am in Oslo now in part because I am as far as I know the only missionary in the mission who could have communicated with Goncalo. That is undeniable evidence of the revelation President Evans (The Norway Mission President) receives on where we should be and of the undeniable presence of Heavenly Father in our lives. It has not snowed yet, but it has been getting noticeably darker every day.

I believe I have said this before, but there has to be a change in the frequency with which missionaries believe the people here will accept our message. I was supposed to hope for one baptism my whole mission if I am lucky, but I have a feeling that we will be blessed with far more. We must have the faith and act. Our faith should never be based upon the number of baptisms we receive nor can it be measured by that. However, we need to act and be willing to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do. I would urge all of you to remember what Heavenly Father has done for us and as you do act so that he can be even more abundantly present in your lives and the lives of those around you. I promise that I will do the same. We must all strive to develop that universal love for everyone. We are all loved, and that is the message we must share. The Norwegian word of the week is en grunn, which means a reason.

Elder Ankenman

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013

My daily schedule is not too exciting. We have studies in the morning and then lunch. We are out the door at one o'clock most days. From there we try to meet with investigators and members. When we do not have appointments with people we do what we can to arrange them and to find more people. We are out on the streets quite a lot trying to find people who will receive the gospel. We have an hour for dinner and then it is more of the same. Most of our appointments are in the evening. We are supposed to be back in our apartment by 9:00. We plan for the next day for a half hour and then have an hour before bed at 10:30. I do not think the schedule will change with the weather although the colder weather will be an added motivation to get appointments so we will not be able to be on the streets so much. We had stake conference this week and the stake presidency was reorganized. The area president presided at the meeting, and I got to meet him. He is from Portugal and is himself a convert.

I have really felt the influences on both sides trying to influence the work. There was one day in particular where I felt this contrast. We had had a rather hectic start to the day and went out contacting for a while after having a very small lunch. No one we talked to seemed to have any interest, and we just felt the adversary working on us. After that we had an appointment with a man who did not show up. The day had felt like a failure. After that we went to a members house and had dinner with him. He said that he had had a pretty rough day as well, but he was grateful to have us there with him and could feel himself being uplifted. After dinner he asked me to give him a blessing, which was a wonderful experience. We then went with him to institute and afterwards to visit a member who was very ill to give her a blessing. We also had a wonderful visit with her. At the end of the day, Elder Linge and I talked about the experience. We had had such highs and lows, but the truth was that the lows truly did not matter at the end of the day. No matter our difficulties I feel that we must always bear in mind that there is always a light, though it may be seem small, amidst the darkness of our lives. That light will always over take the darkness in the end.

Everything is on track for Goncalo to be baptized on Saturday, which is really exciting. We went over the baptismal questions with him yesterday, and it was really humbling for me to hear him express his testimony and knowledge of the truths of the gospel. I truly do feel like teaching Goncalo is one of the reasons I am in Oslo now because I do not think anyone else in the mission could have communicated with him nearly as much. I am so thankful for the tender mercies such as this that remind us that Heavenly Father is always watching over us. I am going to start studying Preach My Gospel in Spanish instead of English I think so that I can learn to communicate the gospel better in Spanish. Don't worry I will still work just as hard on Norwegian. The Norwegian word of the week is bekreftelsen, which means confirmation.

Elder Ankenman