Monday, July 29, 2013

Grandmas, Buttermilk Chicken and Send offs

Hallo Alle Sammen!

I honestly sat down to write this email and realized that I have no idea what has happened in the past week. It's just been that kind of week! Wow. We did actually do things this week, but it just all blends together way too easily! 

We are still teaching Alex and Merete and that is awesome! They are both doing well, we are steadily progressing with Merete marching quickly towards her baptismal date! We are excited for her and looking at the next two weeks, it's going to be nuts! But that's okay. 

One of our Grandmas that take great care of us.
You know how all through your life you are taught to serve others in every way possible. For instance, walking and old lady across the street! Well this past week we were talking with Luli, one of our "Bestemor's" (grandma's) and she is the cutest lady. We had to run to an appointment, and we told her that and she said, "Well do you know where to go? Do you know how to get there?" We assured her that we did and then as we were walking out her door she said, "I'll just walk with you." And by walking with us she meant the whole way. We were definitely late for our teach walking with an 85 year old woman. But the best part was that every time we would cross a street, she would help us across the street! We are very well taken care of!

Søster Nance made buttermilk fried chicken for lunch at District meeting. It was absolutely deiglig! But, getting it to the church was interesting! There was buttermilk and raw chicken spilled all over our car! It was a "laugh or cry" situation. We chose to laugh. But when it happened I was pretty sure that Søster Nance was going to cry! 

Then we had our very first member teach! We taught Merete at the house of one of our other Bestemor's houses. She was the perfect person to have on the teach with us because she has gone through some of the same things that Merete is struggling with and it was just a wonderful experience. 

Sister Nance, Sister Roe, and Sister Wheeler prior to
 Sister Wheeler returning home from her mission.
Friday....that was a rough day. We had moves call on Friday. Søster Nance and I are staying in Sarpsborg alone together. Oh boy! I was made Sr Companion (Don't really know what that means...just that I am on the phone more than she is...) and I am a little panicked....maybe a lot panicked! But it's okay. That is why Sister Nance and I are staying together. Right?! 

Bishop's kids. We love his family.
It was so weird this morning at the tog station. We were with both sets of Elders as they were dropping off Elder Peterson, who is also going home, and Elder Weaver, who is headed to Drammen. They (all three of them) got on the train and Søster Nance, Elder Skinner, Elder Schultz, and I all looked at each other and said. Lets just walk away. Elder Skinner has been in the land the longest at 4 months. Then the rest of us with only 3 months of real Norsk. It's so weird. But the Elders are picking up their new companion later today. So then their companionship won't be so young. But yeah. 

We had a GIANT water fight with the whole ward on Saturday! It was the funnest thing!! Bishop and his kids literally had 250 water balloons filled up! I was absolutely SOAKED! But it was so worth it! And we had several of their nonmember friends there that we were able to pratt litt med. So that was fun! I'll send a bunch of overdue pics today. But I think that is all for now. 
I got  packages from home!! Thanks
grandma and Hyrum 4th primary!

I love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week! 
Always!
Søster Roe

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pull the anchor... and move forward!

Well Hello Again!
It has been quite the...uneventful...week for me in the long run. Especially after the past coulple weeks that were just jam packed with stories and experiences. So sorry if this one isn't as adventerous.
This tunnel walkway has the year 1734 engraved on the top! 
For last Pday we went to Gamelbyen in Fredrikstad. That was really fun actually! We went there and walked around and took pictures and then walked to another fort in Fredrikstad to check that out before we hurried to a member dinner. It was gorgeous though. Right on the water (like most things here in Norway) and just old (again like most things in Norway.) :) It has been extremely hot this week though! It got up to 31.5 degrees the other day and that plus the humidity was ROUGH! But that's okay.

We eat so much food!!!! It is seriously ridiculous how much food we eat as missionaries. We average 3 member dinners a week, and at every member dinner we stuff ourselves until we are going to be sick. Especially when we eat at the Filipino member houses!
I am actually getting a tan in Norway! Who thought that would happen? But seriously! Every time we have a teach, or we are contacting, or bonking or whatever, I get even more sunburned and tan...I can't decide if it is a good or a bad thing. :)
We had a couple awesome things happen this week! So here you go:
1) MERETE HAS A DÅPSDATO!!!! We have set August 10th for her to be baptized and we are so excited for her. It was so fun to see her face when we invited her! She just grinned. And as we set the date and told her that we would continue to meet with her to prepare her for baptism she grinned even bigger! It was awesome! We have a long ways to come still. But the progress is being made! :)
2)We had 2 investigators in church this week! Alex and Merete both came and they both really enjoyed it too! We were so happy to see both of them there, and to see the ward reaching out to them! That was awesome!
3)Alex. We are working with him a lot. He feels the spirit and feels that it is right, but isn't recognizing the answers to his prayers yet. So we are working on that with him. And he has a lot of things going on in his life. So as we keep inviting him and asking him how things are going, he just says, "You know, it takes time." Then in my personal study the other day I read this quote that I think describes his situation perfectly.

 It's from Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr: "I find that the great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of Heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,--but we must sail, and not drift, or lie at anchor."


What a true statement! I love that quote so much and it just really stood out to me this week.



I am guessing this is an anchor...??? Cool photo anyway!
There is something I just plain don't understand. Old, sometimes senile, or drunk, men. The thing that I just don't understand is this. Why do they always tend to go after me? Why not either of my beautiful companions? This is the mystery of my life as this week yet another man stroked my cheek as he said to me "Du er så pent! Vet du det? Du er pent!"
You know what else just amazes me? The fact that the same phrase, when told to me by one of Biskopen's daughters, or by one of the Olsen girls, just boosts my self confidence and makes me just love them more. Oh the power of a phrase.
Speaking of the Olsen girls! They are just plain awesome btw. And every night they come up to our apartment and we just sit and talk with them! It is so fun! They are the best! And it's always funny when at church they drag us around and tell all of the other youth that we live in their house! :) They make my day!
Playing at Gamelbyen with Sis Nance!
We are having a Vann Krig this week! And I am so excited. It's a water fight hosted by us missionaries to try to better get to know the ward and give them an opportunity to bring their friends and family that either are inactive or non members. It will be so fun and much needed as we enter yet another hot week!
I was thinking about missionary work, and the reasons that I am out here doing what I do, today during studies. Then I flipped open a conference address and began reading "The First Great Commandment" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from the Conference Ensign Oct 2012.


'Christ calls Peter to the Discipleship'
The resurrected Lord is talking to Peter after calling him in from the shore and is telling him why he needs him as a disciple. This is my reason for being out here: "Ours is not a feeble message. It is  not hapless. It is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God and it is to change the world."
I know that I am here, in Norway, as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because I know that statement is true. This gospel can change lives and the world for the better! And it will. I know that with all my heart!
Well it's Søster Wheeler's last Pday with us in the mish. So it's bound to be a good one right? I'll tell you all about it next week! Love ya!
Always, 
Søster Roe

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

No smooching on missions!

Dearest Family,                                                                                          July 15,2013

Well if I never say anything else about Sarpsborg that you remember, remember this, Sarpsborg is a very...interesting...little town. Oh the week we've had!

But we have to start at the beginning. The Elders did make up with buying us chocolate Boler for breakfast and then they later bought our dinner too. So that was wonderful! We went and played ultimate frisbee at a part above Oslo and it was really fun. I had missed turf! There were a ton of people playing!! Eventually I designated myself to take pictures for everyone. It was a wonderful day though and we had a fantastic Zone Leader Training! It ws pretty great. We even watched a "Remember The Titans" clip. It was funny.

 But the thing about Oslo was going home. Olso is a huge city with lots of tunnels and it is very easy to get lost. Especially because the GPS loses signal all the time! So we finished out our day and were getting ready to drive home. The Halden Elders were going to drive with us, but they were going on splits with the ZLs. So Elder Schultz came up to me and said, "Elder Chapman doesn't have a license so you have to drive." WHAT?!?!?!?! (Taylor gets really nervous about driving in the city and becomes flustered easily!)The biggest city I have driven in was Salt Lake and that doesn't even happen very often! I started to panic and so I went over to talk to Elder Weaver to see if he could give me very simple directions to get out of Oslo. Cause when you get out you're home free...it's the getting out that is the problem. I am pretty sure that he thought I was going to have a panic attack or something cause the first thing he said was "What's wrong? Do you need to sit down?" Poor guy. Well after gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my fingers still hurt 2 days after the fact we eventually got out of Oslo and home to Sarpsborg. Thank the heavens
.
And I thought that would be the only crazy moment that week! Funny! Cause on Tuesday we are having studies and Sister Wheeler's phone rings. She looked at me and Sister Nance and just said, "It's President." Now we were worried because President had just called and moved Elder Whitmer from our district to Årendal...so we automatically thought that one of us was getting moved! Thankfully that wasn't the case. He just wanted to let us know that he and Sister Evans would be coming out to visit with us and interview us the next day. Surprise. It was actually really good. It was awesome to be able to talk with them. I love those people. Sister and President Evans walked into our apartment and said, "Wow, this is really small!" They were both surprised, I think, that we hadn't been asking them for stuff. Sister Evans was so cute and saying, "I am going to bring you this and you need this, and I can't believe you haven't said anything before!"
Taylor is pretty low maintenance, as Sister Evans can attest to!
We haven't been able to meet with Merete since she came to church. We don't know what happened, but we keep praying that we will see her again. We have been teaching Alex though. Alex is awesome! He's from Ethiopia and has been living here for 12 years now. We invited him to be baptized and he said, "I know that this is a serious thing. So I would like to pray about it." WOW! That's what I'm talking about! He came to church yesterday which was perfect! Søster Nance sang "I know that my Redeemer lives" and the spirit was so strong! It was beautiful and I am glad that Alex was there for it!

Alright, so on Friday! What a day Friday was! We had met this man earlier in the week and we had asked if we could meet with him another day. He said, "I am always in the city so I will find you."
So Friday, we (Sister Nance and myself) were contacting and all the sudden someone comes up behind me and grabs me by the shoulders and squeezes my shoulders. Naturally I think "Who is that?" I turn around and it's this man that we had met. We talk to him briefly and he flops down on the bench behind him. He had the cutest little puppy with him and it hopped up on the bench next to him. So I sat next to the puppy. This man is totally wasted, something I didn't realize until we sat down and he started talking. OH BOY WAS HE DRUNK! So he gets talking about how his grandparents were Mormon (in very slurred speech) so I am just thinking "how can we end this as soon as possible?"  When all the sudden in the middle of his sentence he stops and strokes my face saying things like "Oh you are just so beautiful." And "Jesus loves you so much. I love you too." He keeps stroking my cheek and eventually tries to pull my head towards him. I and thinking "Oh my gosh what just happened, how do I get out of this??" Followed quickly by, "I refuse to let this man kiss me!"
Add caption
So he does this like twice. Then I just go to leave. The problem with that is that he was quick for how drunk he was! And while I was looking down to grab my bag he stood up so when I stood he grabbed me and just didn't let go! Sister Wheeler sees this happen and starts to come over. He the whole while is whispering what I suppose he would call "sweet nothings" into my ear! SO GROSS!!!! Finally I got away and we just laughed about it as soon as we were out of the situation but it was gross! You should have seen the Elders faces when we told them about it! Elder Weaver just said, "Did you get his name? What did he look like? How old is he?" It was really quite amusing!
This is how light it is when we go to bed!
Well, that's all the news for now! I will send more pics asap. Hope everyone is doing well. I pray for you all.
Always!
Søster Roe

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our hopeful Merete!



Norweigan Ice Cream!

Well as always it has been another wonderful yet interesting week in Sarpsborg! Life is as crazy as ever! And this town is kjempe strange! We have found that one corner of sentrum is the one where people always whistle at us or honk their horns...and it just happens to be the corner that we have to go through to get to our car at the end of the night. So it has been really funny to see Søster Nance's reactions to that!
On Monday we went to this beautiful Medieval church and we went to a couple different towers where we could just look out over the country side. It was awesome! I do have pictures but I left my camera in my bag in the car cause we just stopped off in Moss on our way to Oslo. It's going to be a bit of a crazy day! I'll have to send pictures another day...and I still haven't sent pictures of the whale that we ate. I'm sorry I'll work on that! We also went and got minne books. I am really excited about that! It's gonna be so fun to have everyone write in it!
I'm sorry that my emails are always so scattered. But I never know where to start so they will continue to be scattered.
So lets talk about ice cream. I thought that I loved ice cream before I came to Norway. HOLY COW! My addiction to ice cream was nothing compared to people here! The problem is that not only do we get ice cream at ever member meal, but when we do have it in a cone it takes Søster Nance litterally an hour to eat it. And don't ask her to walk and eat it because she will get lost! :) (So obviously I misunderstood her last letter which said she had a lack of ice cream and chocolate hahaha....language barrier or generation gap hahaha)
The 4th of July was NUTS! We had district meeting that we were making pulled pork sandwiches from scratch for. So we got up super early. Drove to the Fredrikstad Elder's house, got the church key, drove to the church and started cooking. We did all of our studies at the church which was a nice change. And the food was deilig!! Then after that we had to run into F-stad to get Søster Nance's...basically her norwegian social security number ordered. Then we had to drive the Halden elders to Sarpsborg so that they could catch a bus. We then ran to a dinner appointment with our MMK and went straight from dinner to the Language class that we started with the F-stad elders at kirken. That was probably one of the longest days of my mission. But we had like 9 people come to the språk class which was awesome with it being the first time we did it. So that was a blessing!
Then came Friday. We (Søs Nance and I) met an awesome lady named Merete while we were kontakting the gågate sammen. We got an appointment with her for Saturday and were really looking forward to it. Especially cause Saturdays in this town are ROUGH! So we had like 3 appointments Saturday which was awesome.

 Then, Sunday began with a heart attack. Søs Kultorp is this gamel woman in our ward. She's like 86 and is amazing! We love her. But we were in the middle of comp study when a phone goes off. We all check our phones rapidly and Søster Wheeler answers it. After she hangs up she looked at us and said "Søs Kultorp needs us." We jumped up and were out the door. I thought that the woman was on her death bed! But we get to her apartment and she says I am sick and I need you to go get some medicine and food for me. Thank heavens it was only that! After we came back with the stuff she had requested we sat and visited with her for 2 hours. After we left her apartment we ran to our first appointment. And Burim showed for our appointment so that was a plus! We had three appointments and ALL OF THEM CAME!!!!! NO ONE KEBABED US! (As far as I can tell Kebabed means 'blows us off') Oh for all that is blessed and holy I needed that!
Faith in Every Footstep, literally! Sis Nance and Sis Roe.

 But the best part was teaching Merete.We taught her the 1st lesson. We read Moroni's promise with her and both Sister Wheeler and I got the impression to read 2nd ne 31 with her. So we did. And right after that we all got the impression to invite her to baptism! The spirit was so strong that she automatically said "Yes!" and after a second she said "well I don't know." We couldn't think of a day. So we just said in August and we are going to pick a date for her next time we meet. I am so excited for her! She came to church yesterday and it was so good!!!! She loved it. The spirit was so strong and when we talked to her about it afterwards she just smiled and said, "It just feels good here!" I am stoked! Life is good!

 2 Nephi vs  17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remissionof your sins by fire and by the HolyGhost.



Then after church Sunday,..oh boy. Now that was interesting. Halden (the Elders) had asked to take our car so they could go to some graduation in Meesen. We agreed (stupidly) They said they would bring the car back by 5. So we caught a bus to Sarpsborg and tried contacting. The problem is that it was a Sunday, and there was a Soccer game. So it was literally a ghost town. We went bonking and NO ONE was home. So it was almost 5 and we were slowly walking to where the Elders were going to give us the car back. Before we know it it's 5:30 55:30 and there is NO ONE. They didn't text, or call. So when we called them we asked them if they were getting close. (Keep in mind it was also fast Sunday so we hadn't eaten yet.) They were still at the graduation! We decided to sit in the city and do some studies. Then an hour and a half later when they didn't answer our phone calls or texts we decided that they weren't coming so we'd take a bus into Hafslundsøy. The problem with that is that there wasn't one running cause it was Sunday. So we walked. It's probably 7 kilometers from sentrum to our house.

.(Google tells me that is 4.3 miles but probably felt a lot further still on an empty stomach and in dresses!)
My happy Norway girl Taylor...keep smiling sis!
The Elders didn't call the whole time. It took us an hour and twenty minutes to walk home. And right after we get home (of course) they pull up behind us. We were not happy with them. At all. It was funny though because when Elder Peterson got out of the car the first thing he said to me was "I think we're going to walk into the city." I just nodded. I was so frustrated I just couldn't look at him. But they didn't walk. Cause there wasn't going to be a bus to Halden. So they took our car. They picked us up this morning. And they are going to buy us boler for breakfast. So I guess we'll forgive them. Well that's all for now folks! Hope all's well with you! Love you!
Søster Roe

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy 4th of July America!

Hallo Alle!                                                                                                      July 3, 2013
I cannot believe that is is already going to be the 4th of July! It will be weird missing my first big holiday back home but that's okay. It will probably be safer for me here where there aren't any fireworks that could possibly be hazardous to my health! :) We are going to have our district meeting on the 4th so we will be able to have a little 4th of July Party too! I am pretty excited! We are making pulled pork sandwiches for it. It will be a good time. But you should all have a helping of Dutch Oven potatoes for me!
The language is coming! After being here for a month I feel really comfortable contacting on my own...as long as they aren't actually Swedish...then we have a bit of a problem. :) We are in a small enough place that there aren't really that many tourists or refugees so everyone just speaks Norsk to us. It helps so much! The Lord is certainly helping me to understand and get a grasp on this language! Søster Wheeler is leaving us this month and as far as we know it will be just myself and Sister Nance in this area......that will be interesting. :) I am sure it will be an adventure! Transfers aren't actually until August so we'll see how it goes! Thankfully we have two sets of Elders relatively close to us if we need help. 
A view of Norway

We haven't been able to meet with the Thai sister again yet, but we will. And we have our first progressing investigator!! After 4 going on 5 weeks of working with the area we feel like we are actually beginning to progress. It is a wonderful feeling!
We had our Sister Training Leader come and be with us all last Wednesday....it was rough. But that's okay. She just did things very differently. And it works for her but I just found it to be very uncomfortable.
We are also teaching a woman named Elsie. She is awesome!! She reminds me so much of Grandma Linda! It is awesome! She just loves us, and she is our bestemor! That is for sure!!
My Grandma Linda. This "Elsie" reminds me of Grandma.(She must be awesome!)

Funny moment: we contacted a guy like 3 weeks ago and after that he wouldn't answer our phone calls and such so we just gave up on him. Then the other night we had just finished planning and my phone rings. It's him. I answer it and he was TOTALLY WASTED!!! It was so uncomfortably funny! We laughed for about 15 minutes straight after I told him to take 2 asprin's, drink a glass of water, and go to sleep. It was SO awkward! Yeah...don't think he'll be coming to church soon.
Søster Nance and I always go contacting alone together now. It is so helpful because if nothing else if forces us to speak and to be truly actively listening so that we can respond. It's great!
Remember Lars? Remember how we couldn't get a hold of him after a while? He called us this week! Apparently he is on Holiday, with the rest of the city. But he said he wants to meet with us again. So that's a blessing!
We sang in church yesterday, Søster Nance and I, and it actually was really good. I was a nervous wreck. But that's not any different than usual! We sang "Come Thou Fount" på Engelsk. And it brough the spirit so strong! It was much needed and most everyone was crying by the end of it. Including me! :)
Last week we went to a Fortress in Halden and to the Swedish border. It was pretty awesome! I'll post pictures. The Fortress is where the king of Sweden was killed. And was used in WW2. It was very interesting. 
King of Sweden Headstone

Sister Nance and I started a "praying for charity" list for the things that we are struggling with. Mostly cause I was reading in Mosiah 24 and I realized that my circumstances might not change, but my outlook and abilities can. So even though I do have to pray for charity for things I can move on and make them a joke rather than dwelling on them. I am not going to lie two of the things on there are "lack of chocolate in my life" and "lack of ice cream in my life". Yeah...it's a fact. 

I MISS ICE CREAM AND CHOCOLATE!  :(

I love you all so much! Thanks for your support and love! I am going to have to send my SD card home again soon so that you can watch the video's we've been making! I love you and will talk to you again soon!!!
Always!
Taylor