Sunday, August 31, 2014

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Something I have been thinking a lot about is going after and focusing on the one. God knows, blesses and helps us individually, and as his disciples, we must seek to do the same. Our ministry and love for others must be personal. We must be where we are and love the people around us. I am so grateful for the Savior’s perfect examples of this principle. He understands each of us perfectly in both our joys and pains, so he knows how to help us. He has overcome everything for us. We can come unto Him and feel the warmth of His love. I know that He lives and loves us and that His church has been restored to the earth. We have also had some really wonderful experiences with helping the members be involved in missionary work by reaching out to people in loving and natural ways. I know that the Lord expects each of us to be anxiously engaged and blesses us richly when we are involved in his work. There is a great sense of urgency with the work. The fruits of our labors are often not immediate but they are nevertheless significant.

We had a training meeting in Tønsberg about planning and then I was on splits in Sandefjord with Elder Reber, which was a lot of fun. We have had a lot of rain so fall is coming. Elder Cheney was on TV and the radio beatboxing, which made our bishop very happy. This is a link to Elder Cheney on the news: . 
Members all over Norway have been talking to missionaries about it. It is pretty cool and will hopefully lead to some people being interested in learning more about the church. There are many wonderful opportunities before us to learn, and I know we will be blessed as we take advantage of them. I am doing my best to go forward and serve. I know that we are never alone. The Norwegian word of the week is høst, which means fall or harvest.

Elder Ankenman

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18th, 2014

We found out today that no matter where we get moved we will all be able to go to the conference with Elder Bednar, which is so exciting. He is awesome! We also found out that we will be included in the expansion of technology use although we do not know when we will get the technology yet. We will be delaying the baptism a couple weeks, but it will be wonderful. We have found some cool people to teach, and I know that the Lord is guiding us. Elder Cheney will be teaching a beat boxing course a couple times at our mutual, so that will be cool.

Elder Dyches of the Seventy and his wife came and spoke to us, which was wonderful. He was a surgeon and talked a lot about healing. After the conference, I shook his hand as he was leaving, and he went up to me and said you have a lot more to deal with than most people know. I think I laughed a little bit and said yes I have ocular-cutaneous albinism. He said I know, and then embraced me. It was pretty cool. He is a wonderful man, and I learned a lot. One thing that he said that struck me is that successful men and women are always on the move. That is very true. We must make every moment count. We truly do not have time to waste. There is a great need for all of us to be anxiously engaged. I know that Heavenly Father is with us in this work. He does expect us to do our part though. We can be assured though that as we do our part, we will be blessed and things will happen according to God's will not ours.

We have had a great week and good experiences with being bold with people. I am quite glad that the summer is over as we will have more people home to work with. When we expect and work for teaching opportunities we are blessed. We were on splits with the zone leaders who are here and had some difficulty finding people who would be interested. We stopped and talked about what we could improve and then got up to talk to people again. We then were able to find two mothers who were interested one of whom had just moved to Norway. I know that we are not alone. I hope you all feel strongly of our Savior's love. The Norwegian word of the week is en mal, which is a model.

Elder Ankenman

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday, August 11th, 2014

One thing I have thought a lot about in the past couple of days is how central the family is in the gospel. Heavenly Father’s plan is all about families. We need to understand that and communicate that to our brothers and sisters. Knowing that should change how we treat, serve, help and love one another. We are all connected, and we cannot do it alone. We need each other. Understanding this also points us to the temple.

As part of Elder Cheney's training, we were watching some material about using family history in missionary work, and it struck me how much our focus must be on the family. The work of salvation is the work of bringing families together forever, so it should be focused on families. I am so grateful for how much the gospel truly has blessed my family and that we are sealed together forever. When our missionary work is focused on the purpose of bringing others unto Christ so that families can be together and happy forever, it will make our efforts so much more powerful and centered on the needs of those we serve and love. The family history training video had a lot of clips from people in the Oakland/San Francisco mission. They showed the temple a lot as well as the family history center on the grounds. Temples are so awesome. I miss them a lot.

I think that I really want to make family history work and the family in general a much bigger part of my missionary work. That is very much the direction I feel the Lord would like us to go. It is all indeed the great work of salvation. I know that the family is sacred and of divine design and origin. That is a very profound truth to know. We truly do need each other.

We will be having a mission tour by Elder Dyches from the Area Presidency this week, so that should be really exciting. I am sure I will learn a lot. The mission tour by Elder Kearon we had last year was probably the most inspiring meeting I have ever attended in my life. Everybody is coming back from vacation this week, so we should be seeing a lot of people again and there are some people moving away. Norway basically shuts down during the summer. I am grateful for the inspiration we are able to receive every day and for the Holy Ghost. The Norwegian word of the week is ferie, which means vacation.

Elder Ankenman

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday, August 4th, 2014

We have been out trying to find people to teach still. Our investigator preparing for baptism came back from vacation this week and is doing well. He is Norwegian and really loves the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that God can reveal truth to us through the power of the Holy Ghost. That is the only way true knowledge can be attained.

We taught a very kind man last night who was Christian and a scientist. He said that he believed in God but had a very different concept of God than most people. I told him that I believed that science and faith go hand in hand. God works through natural laws. If there is something that does not fit, then there is somewhere a lack of understanding because truth is truth. We taught him about the restoration, and he told us he needed us to prove it to him with facts. I told him that that is not how it works. We wander by faith and not by sight as Paul says. That which is spiritual can only be discerned spiritually. It caused me really to reflect upon how I know the gospel is true and that a loving Heavenly Father through a living prophet has restored it to the earth. A testimony of that, if it will lead to true conversion, must be based upon a spiritual confirmation, not merely a logical proof. It is important for us to reason things out, to rationalize, to ponder and to meditate, but imperfect minds logically do not produce perfect logic. Just because something makes sense does not mean it is true. Just because something does not make sense to us does not mean it is not true. God sees all. He knows all. He is the source of truth. We do indeed receive a witness as we act in faith.

It has been really quite hot and humid here the past couple of weeks, I believe hotter than ever recorded before in Norway, but it has cooled down in the past couple of days, and we had a little rain. Elder Cheney and my cousin Lindsey, who is in the Missionary Training Center preparing to serve a mission in Japan, sat next to each other in seminary class while they were in high school, which is a cool connection. I know that Heavenly Father is with us and is helping each of us along our way. We are never alone. None of us is destined to fail. Christ does indeed stand at the door and knock, quite often through a couple nineteen year old boys in suits. I know we all need Him and His Atonement more than we can comprehend, but we can at least understand that we need it and that it can empower and strengthen us to accomplish all that we need to. There is power in humility, which is not weakness but knowing where your strength comes from. The Norwegian word of the week is Tro er svaret, which means faith is the answer.

Elder Ankenman

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Monday, July 28th, 2014

There are still so many people out there who are prepared to receive us. We are really trying to work to find those who will find us. I know that miracles happen according to our faith and that does not only apply to missionary work. We have heavenly guidance that helps us so much. I know that it is available to each of us if we will only pray with faith and real intent. Our investigator is doing really well. My new companion Elder Cheney is a really good guy who likes music. He grew up in Riverside but has lived in Las Vegas in the Centennial area for a while. Family history work is something the missionary department has been pushing, so I know it is one of the things Heavenly Father wants us to emphasize and is indeed an important part of the work of salvation.

One thing I am learning is how important it is for us to be bold and loving and explain what it is we believe. A lot of people say they are not interested simply because they do not know what it is we are sharing. When we explain what it is and have faith and confidence and bear our testimonies, the Spirit can testify of the truthfulness, importance and urgency of our message. I have had many wonderful experiences in applying this principle. We must fear not and believe. We press forward with a perfect brightness of hope relying upon the mercy, grace and merits of our Savior; I know He is as near as we will let Him be. I hope you remember how much I love you and even more importantly how much Heavenly Father and Christ love you and are mindful of you.

Elder Ankenman