Sunday, March 30, 2014

Monday, March 24th, 2014

We began our family history course yesterday with the members and talked about the doctrine behind family history work and gave out the Norwegian family history packets. I think we are going to wait until after General Conference to continue it because our schedule will be a little altered between now and then, but I know it will be wonderful. We will be having a conference with all of the missionaries in Northern Norway this week in Trondheim, which I am really excited about. The assistants will be there, so it will be the last time I see Eldste Linge before he goes home. I feel like I am learning an incredible amount about the Savior and his unconditional and infinite love for us all. I want to implement that love better in my service as a missionary and all aspects of my life. I know that we are all able to be successful and to be sanctified through the Atonement.

We have been listening to last General Conference a lot in the car, and it is awesome! I really love in President Uchtdorf¨s talk in the priesthood session called You Can Do It Now! I know that through the Atonement we can all receive the strength we need to overcome our mistakes, weaknesses, heartaches, sins and all else that keeps us down. We all fall, so the Savior reaches out His hand so that we can get up and keep walking towards Him. We must always get up and be assured of Heavenly Father and Christ’s love. As the apostle Paul says if God before us who can prevail against us? The answer is of course no one.

We have been trying to focus a lot on improving our finding skills. Preach My Gospel is such an incredible blessing, and it has been an incredible help and strength to me in knowing what kind of missionary I must be. One thing that it emphasizes is the need to teach when you find and find when you teach. One thing we have really been focusing on is beginning immediately to teach people about the gospel and how it will bless them instead of waiting for them to tell us that they are interested. The overwhelming majority of people truly do not understand what it is they are saying no to when they decline the offer to receive the missionary lessons. One important way we can fix that is by testifying of and teaching our message so that the Spirit can confirm to them that it is something that will be a blessing to them. It is so important that we do that. We have been out knocking on doors a lot still and been able to teach a bit.

One thing I have also been assured of by the Spirit is the importance music has for me and that I must continue to use it to bless and help others and myself. While I cannot do that in the same ways right now as I did before, I know I will continue to have music as an incredibly important part of my life. I have been remembering a lot of the spirituals and other gospel choir songs as I have been on my mission to. A lot of them teach really cool doctrine in an awesome way. I am grateful I was able to have that experience. Oh how wonderful it is that Jesus promised he will take care of us. I know he keeps his promise. I know that He lives and loves us. The Norwegian word of the week is å trives, which means to enjoy or to thrive.

Elder Ankenman

Monday, March 17th, 2014

We had a really awesome experience with an investigator on Saturday. We had a chapter that we had planned to read with him from the Book of Mormon, but Elder Reber got the feeling that we should ask him if he had any questions or anything he would like to read about. He did not have anything in mind, but he just started sticking a contacting card we gave him into his Book of Mormon and found some different chapters and said that does not feel right. He eventually got to Ether 3 and said this feels right. The chapter felt really personal for him and it was the first time he felt that the scriptures were really for him in particular. It was so wonderful to see the Spirit guide him to what it was he needed to read. I know that Heavenly Father loves and is mindful of each of us, and I hope and pray that each of you can feel how much He loves you and wants to help each of us. We need to remember that that love never changes. It is always there. We need to find the pavilion that conceals His hiding place and find Him. I know that doing so will bring each of us such joy and strength, especially as we rely on the power of Christ’s atonement to help us to grow and improve.

We went to have a training conference and splits in Tromsø, so we were there all day Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Tromsø is a really awesome place. It is a lot different than Alta. There is much more of a downtown, so it is a lot easier and more effective to go and contact people. It was nice to be able to do that more again. I have done it some here, but I would usually do it for a couple hours at least every day in Oslo. I have been let in to teach lessons to people two times this week while being out knocking on doors. I think I had been let in while knocking on doors two times before that my whole mission, so it has been a really wonderful week.

I found out that I will be staying in Alta with Elder Reber, which will be great. I know a lot of good things are happening and will continue to happen. It is crazy how fast the sun has come back. It is now out most of the day every day, but when I came it never came up at all. It has also gone back to being a little bit colder this week, but it still is not too cold. We also got some new snow, which is nice. I know that Heavenly Father is guiding us and that there are people who are prepared to receive the gospel. We were going to begin our family history course yesterday, but only one member had come and we have not invited to many people yet because we want to be sure that it will be a secure thing that people can come to. We are still trying to figure out all the details, but it will definitely happen and begin soon, possibly this Sunday. Our ward mission leader is really excited about it and has been a wonderful help. The Norwegian word of the week is snø, which means snow.

Elder Ankenman

Monday, March 10th, 2014

We have the go ahead to begin our family history course. We really do feel like it will be a wonderful opportunity to help and reactivate members and to find investigators. I am really excited about that. We have been out a lot again this week trying to find people to teach, and it has been really warm still, which has been nice. It is so wonderful to feel the Spirit testify to us of the truthfulness of the gospel and its restoration as we teach and testify.

We had a particularly cool experience with a man we taught this week who really was not open to change. Even though he was not and still is not willing to sincerely consider our message, I felt an incredible sense of peace and joy as we taught and testified about the restoration. It certainly strengthened me. It really is the small things in life, or the often-overlooked tender mercies of the Lord that can keep us going. By small things, great things come to pass. We will be having our next moves a week from Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what happens. We will also be in Tromsø for a couple of days this week for splits and a zone leader-training meeting. I am really excited to be able to do missionary work there since Elder Badger has told me so much about it.

There are these really awesome things called båller that are really common in Norway that Linnea taught us how to make a couple of weeks ago. They will probably be among my first baking attempts when I come home. Norwegian baked goods are really good, and we have everything we need to make båller in the U.S. Another thing we have a lot is grøtt, which we have every Sunday after church with Linnea and Geir. It is kind of like oatmeal but with rice instead of oats. We do not have the right kind of rice to make it though in the U.S. unfortunately. Norwegians also really love to ski. Geir is out skiing a lot. Elder Reber, my companion, is a really good guy. He has eight siblings and is the youngest. He went to BYU for a year before his mission and studied math. He wants to do applied mathematics as his career.

We also saw the start of the second largest dog sled race in the world during our lunch on Friday. It begins in Alta and is second only to a longer race in Alaska. It has been so warm recently that a lot of the snow is melting so I feel sorry for those poor dogs. They are also having a winter festival in Alta right now with a lot of ice sculptures, which is really cool. We are doing the best we can to keep the work going forward. It is such a blessing to have the gospel in our lives. There is no greater feeling than feeling Heavenly Father’s love. The Norwegian word of the week is å fortsette, which means to continue.

Elder Ankenman

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

We have had a good week. We have been out a lot knocking on doors to try to find people to teach. It still is really warm, which is a great blessing since it makes it a lot easier to be out. We did see some pretty cool Northern Lights on Friday, but I think we tend to miss the coolest parts since we have our bed times. I do go to bed on time. It is a lot of fun being able to talk to different people and share the message of the gospel with them. We want earnestly to find a family who will receive the gospel and experience its profound and eternal blessings. There are a lot of people who say they are not interested, but it is really because they do not understand what they are saying. When we share the gospel we are offering people a gift, but a lot of times we really need to unwrap it for them so that they can understand that it truly is something that will bless their lives. Once people receive the message of the restored gospel and act upon it, they will feel the difference in their lives. They will most certainly feel of the Savior’s love and will desire to do what is necessary to be able to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Everything is coming along really well for the family history course. I do not know what more we could want. We are hoping to start it a week from Sunday.

As a missionary, it is a tremendous blessing to constantly feel as though I am being strengthened by a power that I know is not my own. I know that Heavenly Father lives and watches over us and that His son Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer who also loves us more than we could ever begin to comprehend. I know that we can receive strength, power peace and forgiveness because Christ has taken upon himself our sins and our burdens. His grace is sufficient. We must come unto Him by living His gospel of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. That is the source of true and eternal peace and happiness. I hope that we may all feel of His love and constantly live the principles of the gospel and remember the covenants that we have entered. The Norwegian phrase of the week is Å Holde Ut til Enden, which means to endure to the end.


Elder Ankenman