Monday, May 26, 2014

If you are serving right...

God Morgen!                                                                            May 26, 2014

Well people, the time has arrived that I will be leaving the city of Stavanger, Norway. And I am quite sad about it. I am moving to Trondheim and will be companions with Sister Shaw, who I was in the MTC with! It will be a fun adventure!

 
 
Making cookies at Joanna's...she has been so good to me!!!
But it's definitely hard leaving a place you love. I had someone tell me once, "If you serve right, it will kill you to leave every area you serve in." Well I don't know if that's always accurate, but the thought of leaving these people here has pretty much demolished my heart.I don't know how it works out that we somehow have more love to give! I mean, I remember so clearly how hard it was to leave Sarpsborg, when I literally cried for 3 days straight and it felt like I was leaving my home and family all over again. 

Gonna miss this kid
Stavanger is turning out to be the same!  There are so many people here that I have gotten close too over the past 5 1/2 months! I have loved being here and getting to know them! So many of them I count as family! I hate leaving, but it's not forever. I love these people too much to leave them and never come back. So I am determined, that I will be back, as soon as possible!

This week was good, we had a lot of fun with our last week together! And every second that we spent with our best friend Celine was AMAZING! She is seriously fantastic! I love her to pieces and cannot wait to see her again!


Saying goodbye to my Mission leaders family

We were talking to our MMK and his family yesterday over hot chocolate and rolls, saying goodbye and such, and I was so overwhelmed with love for them! They have taught me so much about dedication, trust in the Lord, and acceptance of others as well as situations! I was talking to Sofie a couple of days ago and she said, "We get to decide if we want to be miserable or not." 

I love that! I know that I knew that, to some degree...but still, it hit me anew. It doesn't matter the situation. I mean, yeah, some days are harder than others. Some things are happy all the time, and other times you have down moments, but you get to choose. I love that it's all up to us, always. 


Taylor is headed here... Trondheim

If we need evidence of Gods love, isn't that it? That he loves us enough to give us choices? And even more so, that he gives us choices over how things will affect us. Yeah, it's a hard thing to master, but it's been incredible to see the difference when I mentally stop myself and decide to react in a positive manner, rather than in the negative! And believe me, I do my share of both. 

It's all thanks to the Atonement that we have the many opportunities that we do, and the power that we have over ourselves. So that's my challenge to myself, and anyone that wants to join. React in the best way possible to every situation. No matter how hard. And if we falter.....repent. :)


Anyways, I love you all! I miss you all! I pray for you all daily!

Always!
Søster Roe

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

17 Mai. Norway Independence Day Celebrations

Hallo Alle Sammen!!!!                                                                        May 19, 2014

How are you all doing? I hope that you had a wonderful week! Goodness knows we had a great time here in Stavanger this week!!! 

One thing that I saw a lot of this past week is that this really is the Lords work!!! We are His hands here, but it truly is His work. How did I see this? Well we'll take one example. This week, we have been getting completely moved out of our apartment and have been trying to get it clean and ready for the next tenant. We were in our grubby cleaning clothes cleaning in a frenzy taking apart furniture and getting the rest of it taken care of. We were walking back to our new apartment to eat some lunch and we were stopped by a woman from China. She just wanted to know if the church that we were walking past was open, and we found the hours for her and it, unfortunately, wasn't. But then she asked us who we were, what we were doing, and we told her a little about the church. We exchanged numbers and were on our way.  Later we texted her and she texted back saying, "Hi Sisters, thanks for helping me today. I'm only here for a few weeks, but I really would like to learn more about your church." 

We weren't looking for her, we weren't even really paying attention when we ran into her. But the Lord put her in our path, or us in her path, depending on how you look at it. And we were guided in how much to say, what to invite her too, even the fact that we didn't have a church card on us worked out for the better because we got her number as a result. The Lord is in the details.  

We also taught Iza, Weronika, and Marita this week. My tegnspråk (sign language) skills are, slowly, getting better. And it's exciting to be able to communicate with the girls and it opens up a whole new world of communication and spiritual edification. The spirit in those teaches with the girls is incredibly strong, I love it because it's like being a greenie with the language, when I absolutely could not get in the way of the spirit. It's great! :) 
What a great day with our Norwegian friends celebrating!

We had 17.Mai this past weekend which was so much fun!!! It was definitely our kind of holiday! Sister Thurgood especially loved it because she could be as loud as she wanted for as long as she wanted! It was fun just yelling at the top of our lungs "Hurrah!!!" everytime we saw someone we knew! There were two parades, not nearly the same at American parades, no floats were involved! But the people would just walk behind their signs. The two parades were the barnatoget, which included all of the schools throughout all of Stavanger. And then later we had the folketoget, which were all of the different organizations  and sports teams. Both were really fun!
It is customary to drink Champaign for Breakfast on this day

In between the parades we hung out and ate with the whole Steffensen clan which was a party in and of itself! I have a billion pictures, a few of which I will send on!

I have to tell you though, about one of the best surprises that has ever happened to me!!!! We were chilling before going to bed last night, I was folding some laundry, tidying up, being a good little missionary. When, all of a sudden, my phone rang. I went over and picked it up, who was on the other line but our best friend Celine! Remember how she lives forever away??? Well guess who walked past our window!!!! We freaked out and ran out of our apartment, barely remembering to grab the key so that we could get back in! :) It was so great!! We talked to her and her beautiful mother for a bit last night and we're hanging out with her today! :) Oh we are so happy to see her!!! Oh life is good! The work is true and life is good!!! 
My Manicure compliments of Thurgood!!!


I hope that you all had a great week and that you have a fantastic one ahead of you!
The traditional bunads here in Norway. (Parades)

Love you all! Miss you all! Praying for you all!! 

Always!

Søster Roe!
PS. Move calls are this Sunday so just a heads up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A child's pure testimony changed everything!

Hallo!                                                                                                             May 12, 2014

Well Happy Mothers Day yesterday! Okay, is it just me or did the time between Christmas and Mothers Day just FLY by? Goodness! And it's frightening to think that I have that amount of time left on the mission. I mean seriously people! I don't ever want to leave Norway! Honestly! 

Norway has become home, and so I am just not going to even think about leaving my home here.

So this week. We were blessed to be able to meet with our three deaf investigators again, which was wonderful! They are awesome girls! Iza, Weronika, and Marita. The spirit that attends their lessons is amazing! So strong, and you learn so much! We are extremely blessed to be able to meet with them and learn from them! I honestly don't know why I have been so blessed throughout my whole mission. But I have been, I have learned so much from these wonderful people that I have met, taught, and become friends with here. The Lord knows His children. Each and every one of us, individually. He knows exactly what we need and how we learn. I am so thankful for that. 
 

Anchor yourselves to Christ!
 


We also had a cool experience with some member missionary work! 

A family in the ward invited us over to dinner and had also invited a non member family to join us for dinner. It wasn't weird, or tense, or awkward at all. They were wonderful member missionaries and just talked openly about their beliefs all the time, using the church vocabulary was one thing that I noticed that they used so that it could open up an opportunity to ask questions. 
 
Man, we sure have fun times together!!! Love it!

But at the end of the dinner we had the spiritual thought. We talked about eternal families and showed a Mormon Message. (http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=2119328537001)

At the end of the message we asked the kids (boys 9 and 12) what they thought/ felt during the video. The 9 year old actually ended up bearing his testimony to his non member parents that he could feel God's love and knows that he is a son of our Heavenly Father! His small utterance of truth was incredible, the spirit that he brought into the room by saying, "God knows me" was so strong and impacted every single heart in that room. 

It was amazing, especially because in the scriptures we read about how the Lord used children to get the message across, but here I was seeing this happening before my eyes.  The power of a child's testimony is incredible. Pure testimony changes lives. 
Yep, broke the puller! Need a fix!

Anyways, that's all that I have time for today. Gotta run! Have a great week all, and I'll talk to you all again soon!

Always!

Søster Roe

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Put on Strength

Hello One and All!                                                                       May 5, 2014

Goodness it seems that time just continues to fly by, does it not? I seriously don't know where the time has gone, this week seemed so short! But alas, many a change have occurred in the short window of time in which we did not speak. For you see there comes a time in the everyday life that things must differ, for otherwise so shall they be monotonous and that just would not do. So every sixth week there are dramatic transitions come to pass. This past week it was that we must bid adieu to some of our best friends and carefully prepared to greet what we would hope to be some new found friends in the group arriving. We have yet to see how this will conclude...but see we shall. 

However, on to more interesting subjects. Do you recall when, in a city not so far away, and a time not that long ago, I embarked on the ever so wonderful adventure of learning a new language? One that did require the usage of ones hands and not of ones vocal chords? A preparatory stage, that must have been, for now, you see have we the opportunity to learn in even more and advanced manner this language. Why? You may ask? Because of a wonderful young woman by the name of Iza. This young lass is a woman of high class. She is quite possibly, more knowledgeable than me. Yesterday she had done her homework and came prepared for church. When the lesson was going far too slowly for her, in Sunday school, raise her hand she did to share the rest of the story herself. 
 
Working hard!

Sister Thurgood, had a really cool experience too. (Sorry my brain won't keep up with the Shakespeare thing any longer) She translated for Iza and her sister Weronika, and their friend Marita, for all three hours of church. When we got home to fix dinner, she nearly collapsed on the couch in exhaustion. As we talked about her experience of signing for the girls she said, the greatest blessing has been that I did not feel tired the whole time, not until all the meetings were over. What a tender mercy. At one point during testimony meeting she started crying while signing due to the emotion of the Holy Ghost. When the girls noticed they asked why she was crying. She explained and they were satisfied. Then in the next testimony the spirit filled the room with such intense force, that no one could deny it. The girls started crying, confused at the feelings they were having, they asked for clarification. To which they replied, "It's such a strange feeling, but a good one!"

Another moment this week. I have become more and more convinced over the course of my mission, that we are sent to whichever mission we are sent to for the people that we meet, members, investigators, and inactives alike. One of these people that I was sent here, because I needed them in  my life is Celine. We talk to Celine quite often, even though she's half way around the country from us, and every time that we talk to her, I feel so uplifted, loved, and comforted. If nothing else on my mission were to have happened other than this friendship that has been forged with Celine, my mission would be classified as a success. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be in this amazing country, and meet these amazing people.
My amazing friend! Celine.

I was reading in 2nd Nephi 8 today. And I read about the command to "Put on Strength", and I thought, how on Earth does one accomplish such a thing? To PUT on strength, stated in such a manner sounds as if one would put on a piece of clothing, not an emotional attribute. Then I got thinking about it. Reading in the scriptures, it gives us strength or power, against the adversary. When we have "obtained" the word (Doctrine and Covenants 11:21) we have a power that only understanding and knowledge of the gospel can bring. 

Another way that we can "put on strength" is to attend church. How often is it a challenge to look forward to church? How many times do we wonder who will be speaking or teaching that day and if it will be interesting? Here's the thing. Any talk can be "interesting" if we are listening with the right intentions. It is, as I said last week, up to us. We decide if we really want to be spiritually fed and strengthened every week. I would suggest that we all choose to learn, and be teachable.
Graffiti...Norwegian style

Prayer. How can praying help us to "put on strength"? What is our first defense against the temptations that so readily beset us in our daily ventures? Prayer. Praying is the one of the greatest gifts that God has given us, the gift to communicate with our divine maker and that ultimate father. Do we pray sincerely, really yearning to gain the relationship that is to be had? Or do we tend to go through the motions. I have seen countless times that prayer, when properly used, can and will defeat any personal trial that we may be struggling with. 

Iza came into a teach a little bit ago and was nearly in tears at the frustrations she was facing. She was struggling majorly with some personal issues and when we asked her about it, everything spilled out. Then, just as we were going to reassure her and try to console the poor girl she managed to plaster a smile on her face and sign, "But it's okay, because I have God on my side. And he understands." She "put on strength" through faith and prayer.
 
Oh how I've missed the temple

The last point that I will mention on this subject is that of temple attendance. And boy do I feel strongly about this one. I have gone almost a year without having access to the temple. Back home the nearest temple is 15 minutes away, another is just 20 minutes. I miss the temple, and I wish that I still had ANY access, let alone EASY access to a temple. In the temple is the closest that we can come to God, with select exceptions, while in this mortal existence. Do we take the temple for granted? No where on Earth have I, personally, gained more peace, guidance, knowledge, love, and acceptance than in the temple. How do we "put on strength" in the temple? In the temple we are so close to the veil. We are literally set apart from the world and the tumultuous noise and chaotic lives that we lead. In the temple we are endowed with strength and we can, when in the right mind set, learn more about who we each are as children of that divine creator, Heavenly Father. When we truly understand that we are His children, then the strength received will outdo all of the trials we face. We will still have trails, and will still flounder now and then, for that is the way we learn. But we have the chance to go at it with the end in mind, and the reward in sight. 

I know that we can all "put on strength". We will be given strength from on high to do everything that He would have us accomplish in this life and learning experience. I love you all! I miss you all! I pray for you all!

Happy Mothers Day! (Can't wait to Skype with you!) 

Always!

Søster Roe