How is everything going? I love and miss you all so very much!
Oh my goodness- this has been the hardest, best week ever! I would love to tell you all a little bit about it:
First item of business... So last night, there was supposed to be a dinner for everyone at the institute center, but it didn't end up happening... Well the only problem with that was no one cared to tell us missionaries and none of us had any food. So we all raided our cupboards and made a bunch of random stuff... We ate french toast, hash browns, and chicken-potato soup... it was interesting! Well while we were cooking, Elder Davis (the one from our stake) asked me if I had ever heard the song "Jessica Noel." Of course I told him that that was where my name came from. I was floored that he had actually heard of that song... Well he proceeded to tell me that somehow he saw my full name (probably on my email) and was reminded that his family used to make fun of that song all the time... So the whole Davis family gets a kick out of my special song! Yeah, I have never been so ashamed of my awesome name. It was kind of embarrassing and pretty darn funny!
Moves were this week. I was super stressed before Sister Johnston left Oslo because I knew it would be me holding up the area with a missionary who has only been out 3 months more than me. I was freaking out to put it simply. Anyways, Wednesday- moves day came and Sister Johnston left at 6 am which meant that I had about 3 hours of personal study until Sister Ray arrived at 9. Well within that 3 hours, many missionaries came to the center to meet their new companions. There were many from my MTC district and it was so good to see them. One in particular was Elder Lillywhite. He has been in Norway 3 weeks longer than me and he is serving with a missionary that got here 2 months after him. He was freaking out worse than I was. Ha ha! President Johansen came and was interviewing the new missionaries who had just gotten here. After he had interviewed them, he pulled me aside and we had a little chat. He told me that I need to be super strong and not let the work slow down here in Oslo just because I haven't been here very long. He complimented my skills as a missionary and also my language abilities. So basically he freaked me out and smoothed it over all at the same time. Ha ha! I went back to studying with Elder Lillywhite and I just started to cry. Thank heavens for good friends!! He shared with me a scripture in D&C 121:7-8 and one in 122:7-8. I am so grateful for good friends! It made me feel so much better. Anyways... Things have been interesting. My companion is Sister Ray. She is very nice and sweet and funny. It has been a hard adjustment though. I am really just relying on the Spirit and trying to do my best. The coolest part about it is that I have found this buried faith in myself and my ability to do missionary work- I'm pretty good! :) Ha ha! I have a lot of work to do, but I have a lot of skills I didn't know I had. I love it!!!
So as far as our investigators go, it has been really good for some and kind of hard with others. For a while, I thought Ugo completely fell off the face of the planet, but we were able to talk to him and figure out that he just isn't committed enough to be baptized. Oh Man... We are still going to meet with him, but we just don't know when it will happen. He still has potential. Onward and upward... We have been teaching this kid named Teya. He is from India and has lived in Norway for 3 years. He was very very religious back in India, but when he moved here, he lost his faith. Well now he is trying to find it again. He came to church with us yesterday and ate dinner with us. He comes to almost all of the activities and reads in the Book of Mormon. His little testimony is just growing and growing! :) He made his baptismal goal for December 10- what a nice early birthday present for me! :) He is ready to just jump in that water! David is from Africa ( I have mentioned him before) will also be getting baptized on the 10th of Dec. He has a very hard situation right now. His twin sister just died in a car accident in Belgium and she was his last living family member... So now he is all alone. He was at the center earlier and so we turned on the testaments for him in French because he doesn't speak very much English. We walked past him towards the end of the movie and he had tears running down his face- it was so sad! After the movie was over, we asked him if he wanted a blessing and he did. We got the elders and they gave him such a sweet blessing! I am so grateful for the gospel! Anyways, Jacek- He is a walking missionary miracle! So we have just been barely teaching him maybe once a week, but in the last couple of days we have seen him turn completely around. So we met with him on Wednesday, and he had lost his apartment because he couldn't pay the rent and he couldn't find a job, so basically we just had a big pep talk. The next day, we met with him again. This time, we talked to him about baptism and what it means. We challenged him to set a baptismal date-goal. We had a girl named Liv come with us. (She was baptized about the same time that I got to Norway and she is so stinking amazing!) So Jacek told us that he had read in the Book of Mormon the night before and as he was praying, he had the weirdest, strongest feeling come over him. He told us that he was disturbed by it because he had never felt it before. After about an hour of pondering, he came to the conclusion that it was God. Liv explained her situation with reading and praying and it helped understand that God speaks to us in ways that we can recognize. We took the opportunity to testify and seriously, the Spirit was the strongest I have ever felt it thus far on my mission. It was so strong that we all just sat there for a couple minutes in complete silence- just basking in it! IT WAS SOOOO GOOOOOD!!! And even though he was super depressed about his situation, he left there in peace and happiness because he had truly felt God's love. We met with him the next day and he had lost his light a little bit, but we got talking again. We shared with him the story of when Christ was baptized and how God spoke saying, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." We asked him what he thought God would say if he got baptized. He said "Probably the same thing." He began to cry and told us that he would like to set a date for 3 months away. We asked him why so far out? He told us that 3 was his lucky number. Then we thought of this promise that we have been given as missionaries that if we teach a person 3 times a week for 3 weeks, 30 minutes each time, they will be ready for baptism. (Also, if he committed to that, he could be baptized on December 3rd). How perfect, right??? God loves this kid so much! He accepted and is preparing rapidly! Can I just tell you- I have never felt so much love for random people in my entire life! I love these people so much! They all mean the world to me and I love being able to see how much God loves them too- it is incredible! I love being a missionary!!! :)
Well family, I hope you enjoy this email. I enjoyed writing it! I love and miss you all so very much! I hope you all have a great week. :)
Lots and lots of love,
Søster Jessica Taylor