Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I am doing very well and the work is moving along. We have had a ton of snow in the past couple of days, which was good since we needed to wash the car. One thing that missions, adversity and General Conference all have in common is that they help us to truly understand and remember what matters most. I believe the sentiment President Monson expressed applies that if something is taking us away from those things, it does not matter what those things are. They are not what are most important. May we all develop the character that Christ has. May we turn out and love each other. May we be grateful and of good cheer. May we strive after goodness and bring others its light.

Conference was wonderful and inspiring. I really loved so many of the talks. Elder Scott gave a wonderful talk about teaching through loving example. There was such a wonderful theme of focusing on what really matters, which is so key. That will largely determine our happiness. What truly matters does not fade and will not be corrupted. Love and kindness should always be our course. The love of Christ and the fact that He is always reaching out to us all was a wonderful and repeated theme. I know God is always there for us as is His son who has taken upon Himself all of our pains, weaknesses and infirmities.

There is a whole chapter of Preach My Gospel dedicated to helping us as missionaries, representatives of Jesus Christ, develop the attributes that He has. It teaches us that we cannot develop them alone. These attributes are gifts from God that will be given us as we use our agency righteously, seek them and pray for help and strength. This is of course one of the most important roles of the enabling power of Christ’s atonement. I have felt a particular need and urgency to work to develop these attributes. I have a long ways to go, but my study, prayer and action in order to develop them has helped me make a lot of progress. I am so grateful for the many wonderful examples of people in my life I have had to follow in my pursuit of these attributes. One thing that has given me such faith and hope is the knowledge that Heavenly Father and Christ truly do possess these attributes. They are perfectly patient, charitable, merciful hopeful and faithful in all things, the least of which not being our individual happiness and development. God is with us, so none can prevail against us. The Norwegian word of the week is kostelig, which means precious.

Elder Ankenman

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Monday, March 31st, 2014

It was a lot of fun traveling to Trondheim this week, and I learned a lot. Trondheim is a really beautiful place. It is a lot warmer there. We have gotten a ton of snow the past couple of days, a lot more than we have had the whole time I have been here. We also had a visit from President Pedersen, who is the first counselor in the Norway Mission. He is a wonderful and loving man. I am so grateful to be able to serve in Alta. We have a wonderful and devoted branch and so much potential. One thing that President Evans said we really need to do is to be fully centered on Christ. I think it is often easy in our day-to-day lives, and surprisingly also in missions, to lose sight of the big picture and to move our eyes away from our goal, our light and our life, which is Christ. I know that I have been so much happier, more diligent, more effective, more organized and more loving as I have truly done all I can to be devoted to and focused upon the Savior. I know that is true for each of us.

I really loved President Uchtdorf¨s talk from last conference You Can Do It Now! One thing he said that really struck me is that although we will still stumble and fall from time to time when our lives are focused on the highest and best goals, we will always have the hope and faith to get up and keep walking towards the light. We will know that Christ is indeed mighty to save and is filled with love and mercy. He will be our strength. It is because of Him that we have the opportunity to repent, to learn, to grow, and to return home. I know that He stands at the door and knocks, and wants always to open that door, to feel His love and His redemptive power. We all need it so desperately every day of our lives. I hope that you can feel of the Savior’s love. It truly is given freely to all inhabitants of the earth. I know that He lives!

I am really excited for General Conference. I remember last conference that it was one of the most stressful moments of my life watching conference with an investigator. It made it something really precious for me. I know that we need prophets to guide and lead us. That is God’s pattern and way. I know that we have modern prophets and apostles, and I am so thankful for the strength I have received from their teachings. I know that the Spirit will teach each of us also the things we need to hear as we listen and pray to understand.

We got fed reindeer by some investigators, which was the first time I have had it. That of course was not the highlight of the week. I have felt very much a sense of peace and strength. It is frustrating at times to know that the natural man inside me tends to resist it at times, but the fact that it still comes and is so gently pressed upon me is such a sign to me of the perfect love that Heavenly Father and Christ have for us.

I know that God loves all unconditionally and equally. Christ came to lift us all up. We are all children of God. We can all become like Him. Heavenly Father truly does want a united, humble and loving people. Eldste Reber and I sang Be Still My Soul in church yesterday while Grier played the piano. I love that song, and it was a lot of fun and very spiritual. We are going to resume the Family History course after General Conference, and I think it will be really wonderful. I really do feel as though it will be a tremendous benefit for members and investigators. The Norwegian word of the weeks is å besøke, which means to visit.

Elder Ankenman