Sunday, February 23, 2014

Monday, February 17th, 2014

First, I would like to thank you all so much for your individual and collective love and support. I receive so much strength from it. We have been teaching a Norwegian couple since a little bit before I came here. The woman is having a much easier time understanding and growing in the gospel. We will be meeting with her later today. We are also teaching a graduate student from Nepal, a man from the Ukraine who is practically a member, another Norwegian woman who we met contacting on the street, who was incredibly excited to talk about families and some others. One difficulty I have had a lot more here than in Oslo is meeting with people consistently, which is really key in order to help people develop their relationship with Heavenly Father and receive that confirmation from the Holy Ghost that our message is true and that coming unto Christ is the way to come back to Heavenly Father. If we do not have consistent contact, it is very easy for them to not progress as they could. We still study in the morning and then begin our proselyting. Contacting on the street here is a lot less productive than it is in Oslo, so we do not do it nearly as much. We knock on doors a lot, and have a lot of potential investigators we have been trying to work with as well as members we try to visit.

We had a really cool experience on Saturday with the Nepali family whose kids have a hard time being motivated to come to church. For the first time all three of them were present when we came to share a spiritual thought with them. We showed them a video and talked about what it means to be a child of God and focused on the importance of prayer individually and as a family in order to help us come to know our Heavenly Father and receive love and guidance from Him. Then we gave them the door hangers my mom made to remind them to pray every day, and they loved them and asked where we bought them. They were really touched when they heard that my mom took the time to make them for them. We had prayed that we would be able to teach them all and really help them come closer to Heavenly Father, and that prayer was definitely answered.

We had an investigator who does not understand how there can be a God when there is so much evil in the world and how Christians can be doing such bad things sometimes. We tried to explain, that it is through Christ that peace will come to the world and that personal peace is available to each of us through Christ because of the Atonement. He said, not at all trying to be mean, that we would do more good in two days in an underdeveloped country helping people meet their basic needs than two years in Norway preaching the gospel. It is difficult to articulate at times and difficult sometimes to see in the moment, but I know that it is Christ that is the light of this world. When we serve others, we serve our God. I know that I am here for a reason and that there is no other work more important than this.

One thing I am trying very hard to do is to increase my faith and my vision of what not only can but will be accomplished and not only by Heavenly Father working through someone but Him working through me. I read an article in the Ensign about the growth the church has experienced in Russia, and it gave me tremendous hope and faith for what will also come to pass here in Norway. I feel that Family History and focusing on families will be a large part of that growth. Our ward mission leader, Knut Åge told us that we could plan to go ahead and begin in a week and a half to start our family history course. That leaves us with a lot to do and a lot of exciting potential. It will give the members the opportunity to learn to be able to provide service and teach others how to do the same.

It is still really weird sometimes to realize where I am. At times it is easy to feel inadequate, but I have always felt the peace and reassurance of Heavenly Father to overcome those feelings. A mission is a very incredible experience. I feel that my love and appreciation for my family and friends has grown and yet I simultaneously do not want to leave what I am doing at all. It is truly a blessing to be able to be involved in this work, and we are indeed all enlisted. The Norwegian word of the week is slekts forsining, which means family history research.

Elder Ankenman

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