Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 81 - the last post from Norway

Hey Fam!

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that this is the last email I will be sending home and that I only have a few more days as Søster Taylor. This has been the most amazing journey I have ever been on and I wouldn't trade it for the world! I am dying just thinking about getting on a plane tomorrow to fly to Oslo for my departure interview with President Evans and then back to the states on Wednesday. It has gone by so fast... 

The past couple of days have been really hard and really good all at the same time. I experienced my last Sacrament Meeting in Norwegian yesterday and was given the opportunity to bear my testimony. During the intermediate hymn, I just cried and cried- it was amazing and I just knew that these people are my brothers and sisters. I love this country and I love these people. It is going to kill me to leave! However, I know I have done my part here. I am so incredibly grateful for the time I have had to serve the Lord in this part of His vineyard. It has truly been an honor! I am so incredibly grateful for all of your support and your prayers. I have felt the strength that comes from them. 

Remember this scripture? Alma 29:9 

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

It is the scripture I decided to put on my plaque. I read it again it again this morning and it is more true today than it was when I first chose it. This was not my mission, it was the Lord's and so I cannot take the glory. The glory goes to Him. He sent me here and I was merely His instrument. That, my friends has been the greatest honor! He has trusted me enough to help some of His choice children to come into the gospel. As I continued reading this chapter in the Book of Mormon, verse 10 struck me. It says: 

And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

Being able to see these precious souls come unto Christ has reminded me of how blessed I am to be a member of this church and to have the heritage that I do. The Lord has truly been merciful towards me! He has heard every prayer that has been expressed, vocally or in my heart and I He has helped me all along the way. Yes, my full-time mission is almost over, but now I have the opportunity and obligation to take what I have learned here and use it more fully in my life. That I am excited for! I cannot wait to be a better member of the church and continue doing the Lord's work just in different ways! 

There are things I will desperately miss here. To name a few:

   - Speaking Norwegian 24-7 or throwing Norwegian words into English sentences and having people understand
   - Meet cakes, boiled potatoes, stewed peas and brown sauce
   - Amazing public transportation
   - Beautiful scenery everywhere you turn
   - Chocolate
   - My new converts
   - Those stalwart members who keep the truth rolling forth

Best year and a half of my life! I will never forget it! 

A final update on our fantastic investigators- our twin brothers both have baptismal dates! One for the first of December and the other for the 8th. They are so amazing! The ward just loves them and they are enjoying feeling the Spirit when they pray. They were atheists like 2-3 weeks ago! It truly is a miracle to see the changes they are making in their lives. I am honored to have been able to meet with them! 

Oh how I love this work! And oh how I love you as well! I am excited to see you all real soon here... I can't believe it is already that time! :) See you in a few! :)

♥- Søster Taylor

P.S. So I will be flying to Oslo tomorrow morning to spend the day. I'll sleep at the mission home and then head to the airport bright and early Wednesday morning. We'll see you at 9pm!!! :)  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 80

Dog dag, god dag! (Good day, good day! Typical Norwegian greeting)

Wow- This week has gone by so fast... I know I said this last week, but TIME IS FLYING!!! I hate it so bad! I will say- this is not at all trunky- I am getting pretty excited to see you all. I can't wait to give you all big hugs- ah it's going to be so great!! :)

Well, the weather has been kind of crazy here. We had a killer rain storm on Wednesday and it hasn't really stopped drizzling since then. It is not cold enough for snow yet... Thank heavens! It sounds like you have enough there to make up for what the Norwegians are lacking! ;) 

So I have a couple of stories to share with you.... 4 to be exact! I will share them in chronological order. :)

On Friday, we experienced Eritrean food. Do you know where that is? It is food from a very small country in Africa; there are a ton of people from Eritrea here in Norway. We went to visit a family and teach them the gospel at their home. It was really nice to be with them- they are a beautiful family with 2 daughters and an adorable little boy. At the end of the teach, he asked us if we wanted to try some of their ethnic food. We had eaten dinner at a members house just before we had gone to their home so we were totally stuffed. (We normally stuff ourselves at members houses because it shows that we like the food and they all think we are starving so they make us eat. Ha ha!) But he wouldn't let us refuse, so he said something to his wife in Amharic and she brought out 2 things from the kitchen- a plate of spongy-pancake-looking-things and then a pot of some red, meaty sauce. We all took a pancake thing and then the wife took a large spoonful of sauce and dumped it on top of the pancake. The father then showed us that you had to rip a little of the pancake off and rub it around in the sauce after which you shoved it in your mouth with your fingers. Not so bad, right? WRONG! It was horrible! First of all the sauce stuff was so spicy our noses ran and second of all the texture was awful! Sister Pace later described it as eating Spongebob. Ha ha! Third problem, we were already stuffed and the pancakes were the size of a full dinner plate. I am not going to lie, I was gagging and the whole time I was praying that I would just be able to get it all down without throwing up. We all pasted fake smiles on our sick faces, thanked them and got out of there! We felt like dying after that, but all was well- we survived! :)  

Also on Friday, we taught Remo (that 18 year old twin who was texting us after a way long time of no contact, remember him?) It was so great! He has been reading in the Book of Mormon and praying everyday and has truly found a faith in God! SUCCESS! He is such a cool kid! We were able to set a baptismal date with him- December 1st! I will not be there (sadly), but I am so grateful for the chance I've had to watch his life get touched by the love of God! :) He came to church on Sunday and loved it and we are meeting with his twin brother tonight! :) 

Well, the highlight of my week was yesterday in church- Bob showed up in a white shirt and tie and was able to use his priesthood for the first time to pass the sacrament! The other men had not given him any instruction, so he looked completely lost and totally freaked out, but he did such a god job! We could tell afterward that he was so proud of himself. Sister Pace and I were like a proud moms- he is so great!!! :)

Yesterday was the primary program and it was so fun! All 5 missionaries (our trio and the elders) were invited to sing "The Armies of Helaman" with the kids and everyone just loved that! Want to know how I know? They were all crying. :) It was really powerful! I love that song. :) Funniest part about it- remember the down syndrome girl I was telling you about last week? She decided to get up with all the kids and sit on the stand during the program! It reminded me 100% of Sam-o and I was dying the whole time! She didn't know any of the songs, but she was just singing her little heart out! :) Everytime she would look at me, I would give her a big smile and she would just grin from ear to ear! I loved every minute of it! :)  

3 words, my friends: LIFE IS GOOD. Yes, there are always hard things and yes, we experience pain and sorrow and sadness sometimes, but MAN! WE ARE SO BLESSED!!! There is opposition in all things and where there is bad there HAS TO BE GOOD TOO! :) There are so many little miracles all around and it is so easy to overlook them, but when we open our eyes to them, we feel how much Heavenly Father truly loves us! He really does! :)

Have the greatest of weeks! I love and miss you all! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

P.S. Be grateful for this huge email - it's most likely the last one like it... You probably will only get like 8 words next week! ;)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 79

Hello from Bergen! 

Another week has come and gone... Can you believe it is Monday again? Time flies so fast! I officially hit my 18 months as a missionary mark yesterday!

I hope all is going well there in the US of A. :) Everything is lovely here in Norway! The weather has been fairly mild, but on the cold side. Trio is doing well- we are working like monsters! We have so many wonderful people we are working with. We have recently started teaching a family- a single mother with 2 daughters, one 16 and one 18 who is downs syndrome. Oh my goodness- she stole my heart from the first time I talked to her! Her name is Joyce and she is so sassy! She picked out her dress special for church yesterday and I got to sit by her during Sacrament meeting. She would lay on my shoulder and tell me that I had pretty hair. Ha ha! Their family lives on an island way out of town and it takes between 1-2 hours to get there (1 by car, 2 by bus). We are going to visit them on Saturday to teach them more about the Restoration. :) They all have a deep desire to be baptized!

After church yesterday, Sister Pace and I had the opportunity to sit in on the ordinations of Bob and Smith to the Aaronic Priesthood. Oh my goodness- it was so great! I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunity I have had to be able to work with these 2. They are so special and I just know that God is so proud of them and their decisions right now. They both just glowed afterwards! Smith told us later that he is really shy and was nervous to get the priesthood, but he took an account of his life and felt like he hadn't really done anything to serve God and this was his chance. Wow!! I am the luckiest missionary on the planet! I feel like I am cloud nine all of the time- I love it! :)

We have another busy week ahead of us and I am super excited! I hope that you all have a fantastic week! I love and miss you!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 78

Hi Family!

How are you all doing? I hope all is well there in Centerville! I still can't believe you guys are back there..... That is crazy!

This week has been 100% AMAZING!!! I am so happy and the work is going great!

On Thursday, we went to a high school and taught a religions class about the church. It was intimidating, but a really cool experience. On Friday, we flew to Oslo for a mission conference with Elder Teixeira from the quorum of the seventy. It was such a great learning experience. The Spirit is always the best teacher! :)

On Saturday, we had a baptism! Smith was baptized and it turned out so great! He brought 4 friends with him to his baptism and none of them were members! He is a missionary already! :) He was so incredibly happy and was just glowing! Lots of members were able to come and support him and that just made everything better! I am so grateful to be a part of this work! It truly is miraculous!

Earlier last week, we had a really cool experience. I received a couple of texts from a number that I no longer had in my phone. The person was asking if we were still helping people take an experiment to find God. I told them yes and we made an appointment for Saturday after the baptism. I had no idea who this person was, just that we had met them and gave them our number. On Saturday, we met up- it was an 18year old boy who sister Pace and I had met within our first 2 weeks in Bergen. We had tried to get an appointment, but his grandpa had a heart attack and we lost contact shortly after. He was going through his phone and saw my number and felt like it was right to text. We had the most amazing teach! He has no faith in God, but he wants one and we were able to help him recognize the Spirit in the teach! It was so cool! He came to church yesterday and loved it! And he will be bringing his twin brother with him the next time we meet! :) Miracles!!!

Well, I am sorry this is short, but I have to go now... School business took too long. I will send you pictures next week! :)

I love and miss you all! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 77

Hi Family!

I hope all is going well with you! How is everything? 

This has been a crazy week for us here in Bergen. It has been great! The best news is that we are having a baptism on Saturday!!! Our investigator, Smith, is getting baptized. Sadly, our other investigator that was supposed to be getting baptized as well didn't make it to church yesterday and therefore couldn't make his date. We are still so excited for Smith! He is so ready for this! :) 

We have a new companion! So there are 3 of us now. Sister Campbell, my first trainee, went home early because of health reasons and so Sister Grass is now our companion! It is kind of weird being 3, but I am so glad it is with Sister Pace and Sister Grass- I love them both so very much! We have combined our areas and so we have tons of people to work with! It is so much fun! :) 

We are finding lots and lots of new people as well- lots of Norwegian young adult girls- we are looking for a wife for Bob! Ha ha! That is the joke between the 3 of us. :) 

Something way exciting happened today- There was a girl named Liv who was baptized a week before I got to Norway. We became really good friends while she was studying in Oslo and then we both moved- I went to Trondheim and she moved to her home town of Bergen. It was so exciting to come here and be able to see her again! Well yesterday, in Sacrament meeting, she had her missionary farewell! She will be serving in Spain and I am so excited for her! She actually told me when she was in Oslo that she was thinking about serving a mission, and now she is actually doing it! She is on a plane as we speak to the U.S. to go to the MTC! I am so proud of her! :) 

Well, sorry this isn't a very exciting email... Just know that everything is going so great and I am loving being a missionary so much! It truly is the Lord's work! :)

Good luck with everything this week! I love you tons!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 76

Hi Fam!

How is everything going? I hope you all have had a wonderful week.

Weather in Bergen- It has been actually quite nice here lately. It hasn't rained too much and the sun has been out. It is getting cooler and we have officially busted out the thermals, but it's not cold enough for a coat yet. :)

The work- Everything is going really well right now! We actually have 2 baptismal dates for the 27th of October. I think I told you about the one last week- Ohakam. On Monday, we taught Smith, another investigator and it was super powerful and so, being prompted, we invited him to be baptized. He is super cool and we are way excited for him! We are going to have a double baptism party that day!!! Woot!

The mission- We had zone conference this week in Stavanger. It was so great to be with President and Sister Evans and the rest of the missionaries in our area. We had a lot of great activities to strengthen our abilities as missionaries. After their presentation, the AP's invited the whole zone to kneel down and pray for each of our areas and to continually lead us to those who are prepared. Guess who they asked to pray.... Me. It was a lot of pressure, but I was grateful for the opportunity. Towards the end of the zone conference, They always have the soon-to-be-leaving missionaries are asked to bear their testimonies. It's called their "burnimony"- mission language. Well, I had to give my burnimony and it was so hard! I cried through the whole thing....of course! Ha ha! But it was a great opportunity to reflect on the things I have learned and feel an inexpressible amount of gratitude to our Heavenly Father. 

Funny story- When we were in the airport to fly home, our plane got delayed for over an hour. They were able to get all of the other people on our flight on an earlier flight, but the 6 of us in our district got stuck waiting until the later time. When it was finally time for our flight to leave, there were only 6 of us on the plane! Think about it- 6 Mormon missionaries on a 737! It was like we had a private plane to take us home! We were feeling pretty cool! :)

Well, that's about all I have got for the week. I hope you guys have a good one! I love and miss you tons!!! :)

♥- Søster Taylor

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 75

Hi Family! :)

How are you all doing? Have you had a good week? :)

This week has been been really quite good. Sister Pace and I are doing great. We have such a fun time together and we work really hard. :) Fall is in the air here in Bergen. All of the trees are beginning to change colors and at first I though it was so pretty, but now I am starting to miss all of the green! It is so beautiful here! :) It has been really rainy lately, but when it is time for us to contact it seems that the rain lets up a little. When we are inside, however, it pours! :) Nothing like a little tender mercy! :)

We have been meeting with some really cool people lately- we have this Norwegian guy named Even, an African guy Emmanuel, an African guy named Smith, and another African guy named Ohakam. We are loving all people! :) Lots of Africans and lots of teaching in English... I miss Norwegian... But it's all good! :) Anyways, Emmanuel was actually a referral from a member who met him on the train. He is here doing his master studies and told us when we first met with him that he had prayed to know God's will for him, then met that member. He is loving learning more about the church and really feels the Spirit. :) Ohakam is a miracle man! Sister Pace and I contacted into him and his friend last Friday and gave them a church card because they didn't want to talk. Randomly, Ohakam called me last Sunday and wanted to come to church- we had totally forgotten that we had invited him! So he came and really liked it. We taught him once and then we had a second teach on Saturday- it was so great! We wanted to show him the 20 minute film about the restoration and after we did that, Sister Pace and I just bore our testimonies. It was really simple and we didn't say very much... But then I recognized that the Spirit was there and that Ohakam was feeling it big time so I asked him how he was feeling in his heart. He said "My heart is really hot, like it's on fire!" I told him that it was the Spirit and we just sat there together enjoying that sweet feeling. Then Sister Pace did something that we hadn't planned to do- she invited him to be baptized and set a date with him- just like we had practiced in companionship study earlier that day! She is the bomb! Ohakam accepted the invitation and has a goal to be baptized on the 27th of October! Miracle! :)

General Conference was 100% the best 2 days EVER! I felt the Spirit blazing through my heart the minute I heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir start singing. Oh what amazing counsel we have been given! Did anyone else pick up the theme of the need to lay aside our sins, forget ourselves and remember the Savior's call to follow Him and serve others? It was beautiful! I learned so much and it was just what I needed this week! :) I think the thing that got Sister Pace and I got the most excited about was the age change for missionaries! Brothers- get started NOW on the preparations for your missions! Heed the word of God's prophet and be ready to serve at 18! Do you have any idea what this is going to do for missionary work throughout the world??? It is going to EXPLODE!!! So many more sisters will serve and, sorry boys, but the sisters are where the baptisms are at! :) That was history in the making! :)

Anyways, that's about all I've got for the week. I hope you all have a wonderful week and know that I love you all tons!

Vi snakkes!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 74

Hi family!!!
I am so sorry for the extremely short email last week- it was was so rude of me, especially right after a baptism! So I am going to fill you in right now!
So last Wednesday was Bob's big day! I had been sick all morning- Poor Sister Pace was responsible for making some Brownies and finalizing some last minute details because I was trying to sleep off my disease. She was such a trooper! When we had about 2 hours until the baptism started, we headed to the church to make the programs and set up. Everything was going so great, despite how I was feeling. :) When Bob got to the church, he didn't tell us he was there, but we heard him playing a simple song on the piano. We knew it was him (he has a very signature song that he plays) So we went and got him and his clothes all sorted out. When he saw the suit thingy, he asked if we had one without legs, just a dress thing so that he could look more like Jesus. It was so funny! Well, once he got changed, we were getting ready to take some pictures, but then we realized someone was missing... BOB!!! He had completely disappeared! So there was a group of like 6 people running around the church calling for Bob. Sister Pace, bless her heart, was so stressed- she led the pack. Then there was me, trailing behind, just laughing my head off. (I was so sick! But I was not stressed at all... That's a first!) Anyways, we ended up in the chapel and everyone was so lost as to what to do. Sister Pace kept saying "I thought it was Runaway Bride not Runaway Investigator!" Ha ha! When we thought all hope was lost, Bob popped out from behind the curtains in the chapel... He had been hiding in the curtains like a 6 year old! I laughed so hard all over again! (He later told us that he was so nervous he almost ran out of the church... that would've been bad... I think Sister Pace would've died...) Well, we took some pictures and then proceeded to the baptism. Bob looked kind of terrified the whole time, even as he was standing in the water, but when he came out of the water he told us later that he had the most amazing feeling that made all of his fears worth it. I am not going to lie, the Spirit was so incredibly strong and Sister Pace and I shed a few tears together. It was a great moment! :) I got my greenie a baptism in her first transfer. SUCCESS!!! :)
As for the rest of the week, I spent a lot of time trying to get better and we did a lot of finding because we need to find another Bob! :) He got the gift of the Holy Ghost that Sunday and that was so great. We just love him to pieces!
This week has been amazing in so many ways!  Kari almost dropped us a while ago because she has been super sick, but we were able to meet with her again and teach her about God's plan. It was so great! We love her so very much! She probably won't get baptized for a while because she has to have major surgery, but she wants to afterwards. I probably won't be here. :( As long as she is baptized at some point, I don't mind. :) She has come to church 2 weeks in a row with the members she lives with. :) On Wednesday night a major miracle happened. We are living in the house that Sister Pace's great grandpa built and her great aunt, Ellen (who is not a member), lives upstairs. It is a miracle that we are so close to her! We were up visiting her and Sister Pace decided to ask her if we could teach her. The feeling in that room was so strong, so strong! I just felt like everything we said was so guided. I recognized that the feeling was good and from God, but it was different that feeling the Holy Ghost... Then it hit me- we were surrounded by angels! All of the people who were rooting and pushing for Ellen to know the truth. Oh my goodness- it was so cool! I have NEVER felt that close to the spirit world - it literally is so close to us! Miraculously, she accepted and when we went back to our apartment, Sister Pace broke down crying and I couldn't help but feel that someone was giving me a big hug. It says in Alma 13:24 "For behold angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory." I have a very firm testimony of this! People on both sides of the veil are doing the Lord's work! I love it!!!
Well family, that's about all I've got for this week. I love and miss you all so very much! Ha det bra og vi snakkes! :)
♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 73

Hi Family!!!

I hope all is going well with you all! :) I want to apologize right now- this is going to be a short one. I ran out of time today.... I hate that! 

Well, all is well with my toe- it was healed last week. No worries about that. :) But this week, I was totally sick. First time in my whole mission! I got this really nasty cold. Luckily it only lasted a few days and I am totally better now. DON'T WORRY!!!! 

But the big news of the week- BOB GOT BAPTIZED!!! His baptism was on Wednesday and it turned out so great! We were so excited for him. I am not going to lie, I was totally sick that day. Who cares about me though. :) He was so nervous- it was hilarious! I will have to tell you all of the details next week.   

I am so incredibly sorry that this email is so horrible. I promise to do better next week! I love and miss you all! Have a wonderful week! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 72

Hi Family! :)
I hope you all have had a wonderful week! It's always great to read your emails and be able to tell you about my amazing adventures here in Bergen Norway! :) Everything is going so well right now! We just found out earlier this morning that Sister Pace and I will be serving together for another transfer here in Bergen and we both almost cried tears of joy when we found out. :) We are having so much fun together and I love her to death! We work like a well-oiled machine and it has been great fun. I look forward to being able to finish my mission with her. :) The only thing that is a little gloomy is the weather. It rains ALL OF THE TIME. My new shoes and my rain boots have been destroyed and we are going to go buy ourselves some new ones today. :)

I'm sure you are all wondering about why the title of this email is what it is ("Ducky Down")... Some of the pictures I have attached will explain. On Friday, Sister Pace and I were doing our every-morning work out of 500 reps with a jump rope. I was about 50 in when I smacked my foot with the rope. Mind you- this next part all happened within a split second. When the rope hit, my 2nd toe on my right foot curled under and then I landed on that curled toe and heard a nice crack. OH MY GOODNESS- it hurt so bad! I had broken my toe!!! Well, no I hadn't, but it sure felt like it. I was laughing so hard because it was so ridiculous, but wanted to cry because it hurt so bad. Well, I continued my workout with some sit ups and push ups (trying to look hot, you know? ha ha!) and then I just started praying that Heavenly Father would heal my stupid little ducky. I figured that if He had done miracles for the people in the scriptures, He could easily heal my toe so that I could keep doing His work. Let me just tell you- even though there have been many symptoms of a broken bone, the bruising is almost completely gone and the pain is at a minimum. It's a miracle!!! Ha ha! The pictures are the best way to see what happened. They look like they were taken weeks apart, but really they were all within the last 72 hours. I thought that was pretty cool. :)

Well, that's just a funny little story... Now for the important stuff! Bob still isn't baptized, but here is the next miracle... He passed his interview and will be baptized on Wednesday and confirmed on Sunday!!! :) The last few weeks with him have been so stressful! We have done everything in out power to help him gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Thomas S. Monson. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon were relatively easy. It was the connection of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith that was the next issue, but we tackled that one with the Joseph Smith Movie and a whole lot of testimony. Thomas S. Monson was the most difficult thing ever! We watched talks and showed Bob the movie about his life, but nothing helped. We didn't know if he was going to be able to pass a second interview... But yesterday morning, before church, we met with him and then he had his interview... and PASSED! We were so excited and happy and relieved that we had to step into a classroom and cry for a minute. This has been, by far, one of the hardest preparations for baptism I have ever experienced and, it is going to sound horrible, but I am so glad it is almost over! :) Bob is so great and I can't help but feel that the reason it has been so difficult to help him see his answers is because he has great things ahead of him. :) I am so excited to see how he feels with the gift of the Holy Ghost! He is a champion! :)

We have been teaching this guy named Jarle who lives a long ways out of the city. He is only in town once a week to get treatments for MS. I met him on the street a couple of weeks ago and taught him about the plan of salvation. We met with him last week and then again on Wednesday- he is way cool! In our first teach, we were able to point out the Holy Ghost and how it feels to have Him around. That was super cool. But even cooler was what happened in the teach we just had. He told us that he decided to just open randomly in the Book of Mormon and start reading. He opened to 2 Nephi 2 which is all about opposition in all things and about the Garden of Eden and Jesus Christ. He loved it and told us that he felt the Spirit as he read it! WOW!!! That is a miracle! :) So we went on to teach him God's plan in more detail and it went great. He just felt like it was right. He has a soft commitment to baptism, but no date yet. He wants to know more before he goes that far. He is such a cool guy. :) I'll keep you posted on him!

Well Family, that's about all I've got for this week. I hope, again, that everything is going well for you all. I love you all tons and tons!!! Have a fantastic week! Ha det bra!

 ♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 71

Hi Family!

I hope you are all doing so well! :) Thanks for the letters and emails. You guys are amazing!!! I love you so very much! 

This week has been really, really, really stressful... Oh my goodness! So Bob didn't end up getting baptized... It was really sad. :( I don't even know what to tell you on this matter. On Monday, he came to our appointment and was not sure if he was going to do it. He made a pros and cons list with us and his desires were totally in the right place, but he still had some hang ups... We told him to pray and study and figure it out, then let us know on Tuesday. We had to know if he was going to get baptized because we had to plan it before we left for our sisters conference on Thursday. Oh man... He didn't say anything on Tuesday for a long time. I was a hot mess! There was so much pressure because we had so little time and so much to do. When we ended up talking to him, we decided to postpone it til next week. Thankfully, that chilled some of the stress we were experiencing. 

Our sisters conference was absolutely AMAZING!!! It was so good to be with all 11 sisters in the mission. :) We just talked and socialized and relaxed! Sister Evans had everything so relaxed, we felt like we were in heaven! Each companionship prepared a presentation on a certain phase of missionary work and ours was on understanding the Spirit with our hearts. Let me just tell you, it was BOMB!!! Everyone cried and it was so precious! :) I absolutely loved being there with everyone! We got to eat amazing food and Sister Evans let us stay up late and sleep in... WOW!!! :) I just love president and Sister Evans so very much. They are so amazing! :) 

When we got back to real missionary life, we met with Bob and tried to get him prepared for his interview... But he failed... And he knew he was going to because he straight up said he didn't have faith in certain things.... ARGH!!!! We have done everything for him... except taking away his agency! So now we are going to push his date back AGAIN. It has not been easy. AT ALL. I've shed a few tears over this... 

On a happier note- we met with Kari... I hope you remember me telling you about her... She asked us to come and visit her. She is having such a hard life! We went to teach her and for the first 30 minutes, she just cried and told us her story. We felt so bad, but we were able to teach her about the Atonement and how she could use it. It was a powerful teach! Afterwards, we invited her to be baptized and she picked her date for the 13th of October! Yahoo! :) She is having surgery later this week and we are praying that everything goes well... We love her so much! 

So it has been a bitter sweet week. We are just trucking along!!! :)

Well, sorry for the depressing email... I'll try for a better one next week... Ha ha!

I love and miss you! Have a great week! 

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 70

                                          This is from Oslo! Frisør means hairstylist ;)

Heisann familie!

It's just me again. :) Thanks for the emails- I hope you are all doing so well and that life is going good!

This week started out great, got kind of stressful, then turned out ok again. Ha ha! Sånn er livet... (That's life... basically. Ha ha!) Sister Pace and I are having a great time together. We are working super hard! :) Bergen is such a great place! I love it here (expect that it rains all of the time... At least it makes for a warmer winter!) Ha ha!

We were able to meet with Victoria- that amazing contact from last week. Oh man! She is incredible! She told us after we taught her that she just wants to go out on the streets and share the Book of Mormon with everyone she can! She has had a rough life and is actually from one of the countries that broke off from the Soviet Union, but I can't remember which one...something-stan. Ha ha! I'm lame, sorry! ;) Anyways, yeah, she is really searching for the truth and is completely willing to do everything thing she can to find the truth. Unfortunately, she couldn't meet with us after our first meeting because she called called into work everyday and she couldn't come to church either. That was a pain... Oh well. We have good daily contact with her and we will be meeting with her this week! :)

As for Adele, she is on a downhill spiral. She is having a hard time accepting everything we are teaching her. We try to emphasize how important reading from the Book of Mormon, praying, coming to church, and getting a confirmation from the Holy Ghost are, but she just isn't taking it in. I hate agency... Ha ha! But really... Anyways, she was still willing to meet with us and what not, but then she got really sick with perpetual migraines and hasn't been able to meet. I feel super bad for her- that has to be miserable! We are still talking to her and we will meet with her this week as long as she is feeling up to it. Sad part is that she had to come to church yesterday to be able to make her baptismal date, but she didn't come so now her date is off. Så trist! (So sad!) I have a feeling she'll make a new date though- she has the desire and that is where it all starts (Alma 32:27).

Kari, the referral from the Andersen family, is having a really hard time right now. On Tuesday, she text me and asked me to call her so, of course, I did. She is really sick and has to have surgery in a couple of weeks. On top of that, her kids are giving her a really hard time. It was so sad talking to her! We set up a time where we could go out and visit her, but she got really sick again and we couldn't go out there. Yesterday, she was so upset that she couldn't come to church because she felt so sick again. I called her and she thanked us for being her friends and she just said over and over again how much she loves and needs us right now. Oh man! It made me feel so good! :) We are going to visit her on Wednesday morning to teach her again. It's going to be great! :)

Now, BOB. Oh boy. This kid is going to kill me! He is so cool and so nice and so honest and real, but he might want to push his date back! ARGH!!! Have I told you that I hate agency??? Well, I do! We have worked so hard this last week to solidify his testimony of Joseph Smith and when we finally got him to express it, he told us that he wasn't sure if he's ready... Oh how that broke my heart!!! He is so ready! We have been fasting and praying for this kid so much- Heavenly Father has got to be tired of hearing it from me! :) Yes... We still love Bob though. He is going to be a great member... and possibly a missionary! He came out contacting with us this week and actually did an amazing job! He has no fear and was stopping people and talking to them. He even gave me some tips! He's a champion. (Our district leader always says that every time we give him a report on our area- "That Bob's a champion!" :) It's great!) But yeah, we are meeting with him tonight and we are going to find out what he has decided to do. Who knows... We might still have a baptism this weekend! :)

We are so stinking excited- on Thursday and Friday we will be in Oslo for a sisters conference! Sister Evans (The mission president's wife) has put in so much planning and it is going to be a big sleepover part for 2 days with good food and training with the girls... It's going to be AWESOME!!! :) Sister Evans has asked me to give a little presentation about hair and humidity. Ha ha! I have no idea what I am going to say... It was be funny! I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Well, I hope you all have a great week! I love and miss you all tons!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 69

Hello Family!

I hope you all have had a good week! It is always great to hear from you. :)

My week has been really good! No migraines, thankfully!! Ha ha! We feel so blessed right now- things are going so well! We have a lot of member referrals, a lot of progressing investigators, and a lot of miracles taking place. It's wonderful! :) 

Bob is doing well. He is getting nervous for baptism because it is coming up really fast! But he has the desire and we haven't felt inspired to set his date back yet, so we will see. Apparently his family (who lives in Eastern Norway) is going through a hard time and it's really sad. He is still making good progress though. As we were planning last night, we felt like we needed to kneel down and ask if we should push his date back at all, but when we were done praying, the 8th still felt right and everything thing else felt wrong. He is such a good person! We ate waffles with him yesterday after church and we had a really good time. He is going to be a great member! :) Please keep him in your prayers!

That girl I mentioned last week- Adele- we were able to meet with her quite a bit and get a baptismal date with her! She has a goal set to be baptized on the 22 of September. She fits in great with the YSA, just like Bob! :) The last time we met with her, we had a really good chat and we got to know her really well. :) Her birthday is the 16 of September, so we decided to talk to one of the members here who bakes to invite the three of us over to make a birthday cake together! We thought it would be so fun! :) 

We had the opportunity to go visit a member family this week- the Andersens. It was the coolest dinner ever. It wasn't the food or anything like that that made it great- they had their less active son, their non-member son and their non-member and very interested neighbor there! It was incredible! We had a teach with their neighbor, Kari, and it was so good! The less active son, Trond, even helped by explaining the Book of Mormon promise to her. It was such a powerful teach! Kari began to cry and was very excited to read in the Book of Mormon. We look forward to working with ther in the near future! :)

Another miracle we experienced this week took place as we were out contacting. We didn't have a lot of time and we weren't feeling a lot of inspiration as to where we needed to go, but we headed back towards the main part of town and their we found a girl named Victoria. She actually came to us and asked what we were doing. She told us that she had once been Christian, had lost her faith, but wanted to find it again. GOLDEN! :) So we sat down on a bench and taught her the message of the Restoration- it was incredible and she was in agreement with everything we said. She was very interested in meeting with us again and we have an appointment for this evening! We are so excited! :)

As for our newspaper interview- it went really well! We had a really nice conversation with the reporter and it was cool. He took some dreamy pictures of us... it was kind of awkward... Ha ha! Hopefully the article turns out well! We'll keep you posted! :)

Well, that's about all that is happening here, fam... It's great! :)

I hope all is well there- you are always in my prayers! I love and miss you all! Have a great week! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 68

Hey Fam!
It's so great to hear from you all! It has been an amazing week! It went by so fast. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting here emailing you.
First of all, I'll tell you about Bob. He is a champion! We are so happy about him. He is still progressing nicely towards his baptismal goal for the 8th of September. He has been really good about coming to church and activities. On Thursday, a family invited us and Bob out to their home for dinner and to teach him and we did just that. It was awesome! The Antonesen family took such good care of him and bore such powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon. So that was great. Earlier this week, we had taught him the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity and he readily accepted them. Then on Friday, we made dinner for the 3 of us and one of the YSA so that we could start a fast together. After we ate, Bob helped us clean up the kitchen and I got to have a really good chat with him. He told me that he had really decided to live the Word of Wisdom the day before. He hadn't really lived it after we taught him, but the day before, he had had some coffee and felt so bad about it after. It was because of those bad feelings that he decided to really live the Word of Wisdom. Yesterday in church, he asked me if we could teach him more about the priesthood- he wanted to know more about it. He asks such good questions and is doing so well! We are so happy about him and the ward is too! (That's the most important!) Please keep him in your prayers! :)
As for some other the other people we are working with- we have this girl named Siri who has been taught by elders but then came to us and wanted us to teach her. She is a free spirit and it has been really hard trying to get her a structured, organized faith. Ha ha! But she is super cool. We really like her becasue she is just so happy all of the time- she doesn't have a care in the world! :) We have another girl named Adel who lives a ways outside of town, but she comes to the city very often. She has had a hard life- we don't know what she has gone through, but it is obvious it has been a lot. When we first met with her, we taught her God's plan because she needed it so bad- it went so well! She even accepted a soft baptismal invitation. (Soft means not a date). We are going to be teaching her again tonight before FHE with the YSAs. It should be great! :)
On Friday, the 4 of us sisters went to an elderly couples home for lunch. They are 81 and 84 years old and He was a chef. He made us lots of fish and guess what... I loved it! :) The only sad part was that a migraine had started just before we caught the bus to their house, so I couldn't enjoy it to the fullest because I felt like I was going to throw up. No fun. I don't know why I am getting migraines... That's 2 in less than a month. I have never had them so close together. Oh well...
Saturday was,by far, one of my favorite days contacting on the street! The YSAs in Bergen planned an activity with the missionaries and we all met together in a big group in the middle of town to draw God's plan with sidewalk chalk and teach people about it. In about 3 hours we all had taught so many people and it was such a positive experience! We all loved every minute of it so much that I think we are doing it again next weekend! :) Coolest part is that there was no need for clean up- it started raining and washed it all away. Ha ha!
This work is just so amazing! I can't even begin to express how much love I feel all of the time! I love this work. I love my companion. I love our investigators. I love the members. I love this country. I even love the people who yell at me on the street! (That doesn't happen very often... Ha ha!) But most of all, I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
And lets not forget... I LOVE YOU! :) You are all wonderful! I hope you have a great week.
Vi Snakkes!
♥- Søster Jessica Taylor
P.S. On Wednesday, Sister Pace and I will be meeting with a reporter for a local Christian newspaper for an article that they are doing. President Evans called us a couple of weeks ago and gave us the assignment. It should be super exciting- I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 67

Hi family!!
How are you all doing? I hope you all have had a great week! As always, thanks for the great emails. I love hearing from you! :)
This has been quite the week. Bob was out of town so it was kind of crazy because we realized we had a ton of finding to do. Also, the Relief Society President gave us an assignment to call all of the less active sisters in the ward and see if they want visiting teachers. So each day, we spent a little bit of time calling and then the rest was spent on the streets. Between Wednesday and Saturday we were stood up for 12 appointments. That was so frusturating! We were trying so hard to get lots and lots of sit-down teaches where we could start and end with a prayer, but it didn't ever work out... Miracle from it all: we ended up having 3 people in church on Sunday and one of those people was a referral. That to me was a huge testimony builder of how hard work leads to blessings. There were many days that we went home disappointed because it felt like none of our efforts were paying off, but because we just kept going, regardless of the results, and things paid off. There is a phrase I read in the Book of Mormon that illustrates this perfectly: "...for according to his works shall his wages be..." and also, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." We are not sure, but maybe if we had not pushed so hard to keep going, we may not have seen the blessing of having people in church. We have to work according to the results that we want to see, and that is applicable to everything in life... not just missionary work. :)
Bob came back into town on Friday and was able to come to church yesterday. He is so great! His testimony is just growing and growing. He is beginning to feel more and more comfortable with the members... That is the most important thing! :)  Sister Pace, Bob and I were invited to a members house for dinner on Thursday and he was able to come to a dinner with us last night. It has been so great to see how the ward has just taken him in and helped him in this journey. Watching the members take care of him has made me want to be a better member missionary when my full-time missionary service is complete. I really want to be a ward missionary- that would be so cool! Dream Calling!!! :) Anyways, Bob's baptismal date is still set for the 8th of September, but we are still planning to bump it up... Hopefully to the 25th of this month! Pray for him! :)
Sorry- this email is really short and pretty lame. Ha ha! I love and miss you all very much! I hope you have a fantastic week! Vi Snakkes! :)
♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 66

Hello, Hello!

How are you all doing? I hope everyone is doing so very well this week. :) 

Sister Pace and I have had an amazing week! It all started out with Bob. We felt like we needed to take a step backwards a little bit and emphasize the Atonement a little bit more. We were able to create such and intense spiritual environment in that teach that we were able to help him realize what the Spirit feels like. It was GREAT! :) As we were teaching, Sister Pace and I both had the opportunity to bear testimony about the Atonement and after that, it was just silent... The first person to talk was Bob and he told us that he felt his faith in Jesus Christ growing. It was so funny because we asked him what that made him want to do. He paused for a minute. (See, we had mentioned earlier in the teach that the way that we accept the atonement is through baptism.) And the he said, "Keep the 10 commandments..." And we just kept sitting there quietly... Then he added, "And be baptized." BINGO! :) He was feeling the Holy Ghost in all kinds of ways and it was so great! :) So right after that, we had him pick a day to be baptized. He chose the 8th of September. (Happy Birthday to Kelsie! Ha ha!) I know it's kind of far out, but we have a solid plan to get that moved up sooner. Just gotta give it a little bit of time. It worked with Agnes, Brit, and Marita in Trondheim, so I know it will work for Bob too. :) He is out of town right now, but he will be back on Friday and we will get back to teaching him. :)

We have seen some amazing miracles as far as finding people goes. We have been given several referrals. President and Sister Evans were in town and they found this girl at the restaurant they were eating at and gave her info to us. Daniel is a young adult who has been taught before, but got dropped because he wasn't progressing, but he is still coming to all of the activities even though he is an atheist. He wanted to come out and see what it was like to be a missionary so he came with us on Friday and we were able to talk to him about his faith and what he wants. He said that sharing the Book of Mormon with people really made him want to really read it and find out. He is super cool and we want to start teaching him. Saturday, we had 2 first teaches- one woman named Geralyn from the Philippines and an African man named Dennis- and both went absolutely amazing. We were able to help them recognize the Spirit, have the desire to read the Book of Mormon, and we committed them both to baptism. It was so amazing to watch how we taught them the exact same lesson, but we were able to tailor it to their specific needs. That is how both teaches were so successful! :) Then, yesterday, there was this girl in church and she randomly asked us to start teaching her and so we are! Wow! We have people popping out everywhere! I feel so blessed!  This city is amazing!

On Thursday, we had the opportunity to fly to Oslo for a training meeting with all of the trainers and new missionaries. It was really fun! I love flying and I love being in Oslo and I love being with President and Sister Evans. They are such amazing people! :) Yeah... That's about all I have to say about that. Ha ha! I turned in my paperwork about flight information. I'm coming home to SLC. I hope that's ok... You guys better tell me quick if it's not! Ha ha! :)

Well, thanks for the great emails- I loved everyone! :) Well, one of the computers in broken, so I can't take anymore time. Sorry- no personal emails! :( Just know that I love and miss all of you very much! :) Have a great week!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 65

Hi Family!

Well, it has been quite a week. I don't even have words to describe it... Ha ha! I will just tell you what happened....

It started with the migraine. I have not been sick so far on my mission, but the other day, we were starting our language study with a prayer and when I stood up, I had this crazy dizzy feeling come over me and then there were spots in my vision. I told Sister Pace that I thought I was getting a migraine and she told me to go sleep for and hour, but I wanted to be tough. So I continued with my studies... It didn't go very far. I couldn't see anything! So I decided to take her advice and sleep for an hour. Well, while I was napping, I felt the headache hit. Oh man! It was the worst migraine I have ever had! We had the elders bring some migraine medicine and then I slept for 3 hours. It took up our whole day, sadly. However, I was better in time for us to teach this really cool new investigator later in the evening. I'll tell you more about him later. :) But don't worry, I am healed now. Ha ha! :)

Anyways... So we are living in Sister Pace's great aunt's house who is not a member. She found out that Sister Pace was here and invited us to dinner. She told us that she was making us shrimp... Great... Ha ha! So we went to visit her. Let me just tell you, we walked into her house and she had a HUGE platter of raw shrimp complete with heads and tentacle/feeler things and eggs. She taught how to behead, de-tentacle, de-egg, and then eat these nasty creatures. Yes, I ate shrimp that I had to disembody. It was torture. But I did it with a smile and no one knew how bad I was dying inside. Ha ha! These nasties are caller rekker in Norwegian. It was fun and all worth it because she gave us delicious chocolate afterwards! :)

The other night, we were just getting done with a very awkward contacting session where we met a lot of random people when we saw 3 or 4 people huddled over a man who was laying on the ground. As we got closer, we saw that they were trying to wake him up... and find a pulse. and they couldn't. As we got even closer we saw that the man's eyes were OPEN! Then an ambulance pulled up and the emt's walked out, tried to find a pulse, couldn't find one, and slowly walked back to the car, got out the gurney and then they heaved that man onto it. Big problem- the man was not limp like he should have been... His body was stiff! There was the weirdest feeling around- as if he was there watching his body. It was so crazy! Sister Pace and I may have freaked out a little bit! 

Well, even though it probably sounds like we had a rough week, it actually was quite an amazing one! Last Saturday, we found this guy named Bob. He is basically Norwegian. He was born in Denmark, but moved to Norway when he was 6. He came with us to FHE with the YSA's and we have taught him 3 or 4 times. He is progressing so fast! He is about 21 years old and just gets along so well with the people in the ward. He came to church with us and stayed for 3 hours after church, talking to members, eating waffles with us, and watching a video about the restoration. It was so cool! He is definitely on the baptism radar! He hasn't been willing to set a date for baptism, but he knows that is the goal and he is working towards finding an answer if the Book of Mormon is true. We love BOB! :)  

We had a miracle 45 minutes yesterday where we got 6 teaches, 1 new investigator and 2 phone numbers to people who would like to meet. It was incredible! :) We are just tearing up Bergen and loving every minute of it! We are getting along so well. We laugh all of the time... even when times are a little off... Ha ha! She is a great missionary! There are 5 new missionaries in Bergen and only 1 who has been here. So all of the new missionaries got to speak in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. It was really cool and the Spirit was really strong. The members are really nice here. :) I am excited to grow to love them as much as the ones in Trondheim! :)

Well, I hope all is well with everyone at home. I love you all very much! Have a fantastic week! Vi snakkes!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 64

Hi family!

Thanks for the great emails- it's always great hearing from you! I love you guys so very much! :) 

This week has been rather crazy with my move and everything. Oh my goodness- my last 3 days in Trondheim were NUTS! Everyone wanted time to say goodbye and we were running around all over the city. It was so hard to say goodbye to the people I had grown to love so much, especially my new converts. Mariell, Marita, Agnes and Brit- all so amazing. Oh man... I'm tearing up just thinking about it! I miss them all so much! On Wednesday afternoon, Agnes had offered to drive me to the airport and wait with the Butter (Sister B) until her new companion came. She had made us delicious sandwiches and took us the long way to the airport so that we could see the fjord. When we got to the airport, they both went with me to the terminal and waited with me until I got onto the plane. It was so nice of them to be with me! When I got on the plane, I sat down and got settled and then pulled out my book of memories that everyone had written little notes to me in. I just started bawling. I was so grateful that the engine was so loud because I was literally sobbing! As we flew over the city, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. Oh my goodness- I love Trondheim, Norway with all of my heart. I never thought I could ever love others so deeply as I love the people there. I feel like I left a part of myself there and it hurts a lot... but it's a good hurt. :) No one will ever be able to fill the gap that those people have made in my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be among those Trønders! :) 

Sorry... That was probably really depressing. 

Then I got to Bergen and I was all alone for a few hours, waiting for my ride to come and for my new companion to arrive. Well, I can't remember if I told you, but my companion's name is Sister Pace. When she got off the airplane, right off the bat, she told me that she was so excited to serve with me and that she had been following my blog since March! Ha ha! Right after she got her call, she google searched the Norway Oslo mission and the only thing that popped up was my blog. She basically decided that we were going to serve together and sadly for her, from it she got the impression that I am a way better missionary than I really am... oops! But way to make me look good! Ha ha! :) She started off by asking me questions about stories that I had told you guys and stuff- It was way funny! :) She is super cool though. She is from Holiday and her parents are serving as mission president in Spain. She is a killer missionary already. I have absolutely nothing to offer her- she is too incredible! I love it! :) Her family is from Bergen and we are going to find and baptize them! So Bergen is absolutley BEAUTIFUL! Our first 2 days here were sunny and warm... That was weird because it rains a lot here. Ha ha! But it was good because we were able to figure out the city and what not. The members here are really nice. I have a feeling that I am going to really like it here, but for now, my heart is still yearning for Trondheim... Sister Pace and I are already having good success. Because our knowledge of the city is very limited, we have really been relying on the Spirit to direct us where to go. We know it is the Spirit because 1) we always feel to go to the same place with one another and 2) we always find people to teach when we follow the promptings. It has been a really cool experience! We had 2 people in church yesterday and we have set really high goals for this week that I know we are going to reach! (Only in the strength of the Lord, of course!) We are going to rock it! It definitely helps that we get a long so well. :) I am grateful that we can build up the kingdom here in Bergen! 

Well, that's about all I've got for this week. Could you please post this next comment on the blog with everything else you usually do (it's for Sister Pace's sister who is still following my blog... ha ha! I feel so popular!):

Hi Michelle! Your sister is awesome- I love her! I promise to take really good care of her here in Bergen! You and your family are in my prayers! :)

Anyways, I hope everything is going well for you all. I love you all tons and tons! Have a great week! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 63

Hello, Hello!

How are you all doing? Did you all have a good week? I hope so!

This was another slow week here in Trondheim. We were trying so hard to be diligent and think of new ways to find people and be effective, but it wasn't working. We kind of bombed last week. It was sad. We had some good experiences though. Remember that girl who yelled at me then came back and apologized? Yeah, we finally were able to meet with her. she met us at a cafe in town and then bought us drinks. It was really nice of her. She is a really cool girl and has had a lot of amazing experiences with her faith, but our meeting wasn't what I hoped it would be. She was basically just trying to convert us to the bible... which we already are, but yeah... It ended up not being very cool. I was disappointed about that. BUT, we gave her the Book of Mormon and I feel good about that! :)

On Friday, we flew to Oslo for the training meeting for new trainers. Sister Grass and I will both be training in Bergen and I am very excited about that. I love Sister Grass so much! She is one of my best friends. It will be a little scary because neither of us have been to Bergen before so we don't know where anything is! It is the second largest city in Norway and it is supposed to be very beautiful! :) They speak really funny though... I am kind of nervous for that. My new companion's name is Sister Pace and she is related to President Johansen. It's going to be great! I am really excited to train again. We'll be white-washing! It will be a new adventure. :) But back to the meeting- it was really good! I feel really honored to be able to serve in this position. I don't really feel worthy of it. President Evans was so passionate and positive about the revelation he had received on who would train that he got emotional as he talked about it. He is an amazing leader! I am excited for another opportunity to train. :)

Funny experience- So, I'm pretty sure I told you about how Agnes has this feeling that I will be a psychologist in New York... Yeah, well, I have actually been considering it lately. Here is the funny part- from the time that I began considering it, I have had a few experiences that have shown me that I do NOT want to be a counselor or psychologist or anything like that. One of these experiences I wouldn't trade for the world. There is this new convert who, on the outside looks like a happy, normal young woman. However, we met with her this week and she is actually having a really hard time and has been for quite a while. She is depressed and has anxiety and has had a problem with cutting herself for a really long time. Well, her family and friends are all away on vacation and she has been alone which has left her with a lot of time to think... and that's no good. I told her that before she began to cut herself, she needed to call me- not matter what time of day or night. Well, at about 3 am Sunday morning I got a call from her. Oh, I was so tired and speaking Norwegian was the hardest thing! But, I talked to her for an hour. I read to her from the Book of Mormon, told her stories and we had a good time talking. After an hour, she told me that she felt lots better and was going to go to sleep. It was really cool to be able to help her. I felt honored that she trusted me enough to tell me this secret. It was a testimony builder for sure. At the end of our conversation, she told me to never stop being a missionary and I told her I don't plan on it. :) I don't know if I can explain in words how good it feels to be able to lift someone out of a hole like this girl is in. I know I can't help her permanently, but I can do a little bit. I think that's how it is with everything. We may not be super heroes that can make any bad situation better, but we can do little things to brighten the lives of those around us. That's where I have found true joy! :)

Well fam, that's about all I've got. I hope it wasn't too depressing. I love and miss you guys tons! Have a great week!

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 62

How are you all doing? Have you had a good week? It looks like you had a great 4th of July! I'm totally jealous- the river looked like so much fun and I totally miss the fireworks at the Green Valley Ranch... We didn't do anything too exciting, but we did get to eat dinner with an American! Majken- she is actually half Norwegian and half American, but it was close enough. Ha ha! She is our age and is actually dating one of the boys in the branch so she is here visiting form Thailand (where she lives with her family). We are like best pals. :) But yeah, she made us hot dogs. They are much better here in Norway. Ha ha! 

I'm glad you hear that you got the magazine! Sorry that the chocolate was melted.... That is my favorite kind. :) It was a really good experience to be interviewed. We are still in contact with the photographer, but not so much with the reporter. They are really cool girls. :)

So on Monday, we had the opportunity to meet and be interviewed by the new mission president and his wife- President and Sister Evans. They are super sharp people and I love them very much! They are very different than President and Sister Johansen, but that is ok. They are really good people and I look forward to working with them in the future. On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference and we spent a lot of time just hearing about them and getting to know them and their stories. It was different... In a good way. :) 

Well, missionary work this week has been a little rough... We are really struggling to build up our area after Brit's baptism. We spent tons and tons of time on the street, contacting without much success. It was a little bit frustrating, but I'm not going to lie- it felt really good to work hard! I was really proud of myself as I looked at our days and how much literal work we did. We pounded these streets!! :) And we are going to do it again this week! Sad part- our 2 most positive investigators dropped us due to summer vacations... We will most likely be able to get in contact with them when they get back, but who knows... It is way sad! Good thing is all of our new converts are doing great! Agnes is praying for her friends to open up to the church. Brit invited us over to dinner and told us all about her latest experiences with promptings for the Holy Ghost. It was so cool! :) Marita came and helped us teach one of our investigators and did a great job bearing her testimony. Mariell is just a happy 9 year old and doing great! She text me yesterday after church and told me that she doesn't like boys because they are so childish. Ha ha! Love her! :) 

As far as transfers go, I do know a little bit about what is happening, but I will for sure be able to tell you next Monday. :)

Cool random news: I have lost 6 pounds! I am slimming down my friends! I gotta get looking hott! Ha ha! Butter and I have been running a lot and eating rabbit food, basically. It feels really good! :) You are not going to be able to recognize me when I walk off that plane- long uncolored hair and my clothes will be just hanging off my body because I'll be so super skinny! Ha ha! Just kidding. I can dream, right? :) 

Well fam, that's about all I've got this week. I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful week! :)

♥- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 61

Hi Family!

How are you all doing? Thanks for your emails- they make me happy! :)

Well, I'll get back to the subject of this email... Guess what! Remember how I told you about Brit wanting to be baptized last week? Well, we had another SURPRISE BAPTISM yesterday!!!! It was a miracle! Brit is now a confirmed member of the church and I am SOOOO HAPPY!!! So here is what happened- get comfortable because this is a long one! :) Sister Hansen (Brit's friend) told us that Brit would be calling us this week to set up a baptismal date. So it was Wednesday and we hadn't heard anything, so I decided to send her a quick text and see how she was doing (acting like I had no idea about the conversation between her and Sister Hansen... I'm sneaky! Ha ha!) She told me that everything was going well and that she wanted us to come and visit her on Friday. We scheduled the appointment and then I asked if there was anything we could do to help her. She told me that there would be something on Friday. :) Sister Butterfield and I were talking about it and thinking that if I just told her that I was leaving, she would totally get baptized earlier. I wasn't too sure about it though... (I so do not have enough faith!) 

So Friday came and we went over to her home, which is a 5 minute walk from the church. First thing, we sat down and she told us that she wanted to be baptized. We were excited to actually hear it from her! She told us that she has wanted to be baptized for a long time and has had many dreams that have been signs to her that it is the right thing to do. She had one dream where there were little children standing around her and they were telling her that they were angels and that she needed to continue on the path she was on. Sister Butterfield alluded to the idea that they might be people who have gone before her and want their work done. It was cool. :) She opened up her calendar and told us that she wanted to do it the first week of August and we told her that it would be great. My heart kind of sunk a little because I knew I might not be there. Then, (I will be eternally grateful to Sister Butterfield for this one) The Butter told Brit that I might not be there because of the upcoming transfer. She pulled out her cell phone and called Sister Hansen. See, Sister Hansen is going out of town. She actually leaves today and won't be back until the end of July. So Brit was calling to see the exact date they were coming back because she wanted me to be there. Then Sister Butterfield said, "There is always Sunday..." Brit asked if that was possible and we told her that we just needed to teach her the commandments and get her an interview. She said, "Let's do it!" We asked if she wanted to be taught tonight and do the interview tomorrow and she said no- she wanted to do it all right then! I stepped into the hall and called the zone leaders and had them come over while Sister Butterfield started going over all of the commandments. I'm not going to lie, I started crying in the hall as I called the elders. I was so overcome with gratitude! It was surreal!! I came back into the room with tears in my eyes and just told her how much I love her and how much she means to me. I feel like I've known her forever and we shared a very tender moment, both of us crying. Herlighet!!! (Google translate that! Ha ha!) So we started teaching her. We started going over the baptismal interview questions and she was golden! The Spirit was so strong!! When we got to the ones about the commandments, we stopped and started going through them. Obedience- good. Pray always- good. Study the scriptures- good. Keep the Sabbath day holy- good. Follow the prophet- good. Law of Chastity- good. Word of Wisdom- AMAZING (considering that was why she dropped us!). Then we came to tithing. We had a hiccup. She is doing a lot of volunteer work and not a lot of work that is bringing in income. She has a loan on her apartment and not much extra after that. She said that 10% of her income would be so difficult. I'm not going to lie, I felt a little stuck. I was nervous to tell this woman to not worry about it because of everything that is going on at home. But, something just lead us to promise her that Heavenly Father really would pour out the blessing of heaven upon her and she won't have room enough to receive them. She accepted and there was no more problem! :) The Lord's promises are sure! The interview went off without a hitch and she was ready for baptism! To give her peace, the elders gave her a beautiful blessing telling her that She is a light for those around her and that God loves her so much. They also told her that baptism is a part of His plan for her. YAY!!! 

We spent all day Saturday calling members, making programs and preparing for Sunday and I also had to prepare a talk because Brit asked me to speak. :) Then we went to visit Brit that night. We bought her some cookies that are called Skjokoklem which translates as chocolate hug and then some hot chocolate to cover the desire for coffee. She was a little nervous, but very excited. She asked me to say a prayer for her before we left. I still feel like this all was a dream! :)

The baptism was beautiful! I was there when she came out of the water, and the first thing she said was "This water is warm!" She was glowing! She told me that she felt something very peaceful under the water and she was so grateful that she didn't wait. Oh it was so beautiful!!! When she was done changing, she didn't walk out of the dressing room... She danced out! Ha ha! She felt so good and I was so happy for her! :) After the baptism, I gave a talk in Norwegian about the Holy Ghost. It went pretty well, I guess. I didn't follow my notes at all... (It's a new gift I have... Ha ha!) Right after the program, they decided not to wait to give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. The blessing was wonderful! The first thing that was said was that there were many on the other side who had been waiting for her to make this decision. :) Everyone was so excited for her! All of the members just sucked her in- just like they did with Agnes. (I have to tell you something about Agnes a little later. Don't let me forget!) all I know is that it was an a amazing experience and I am so very happy! This work blows my mind!! :)

So remember how Agnes was called to the Relief Society presidency? Well, the only part about the calling that she hasn't been able to handle was sitting in front of all of the sisters before the lesson. Funny, but true. She doesn't like too much attention. :) Well, yesterday morning, she overcame her fear and ended up sitting in the front with the rest of the presidency! Everyone clapped when she did- it was so sweet! It was the perfect example of building and strengthening one another in the church. My heart felt like it was going to burst! :) All of the Relief Society sisters had a great time before church started- we laughed together as Sister Hansen taught swimming lessons (check out the picture- you'll understand. :) Ha ha!) I just felt like I was with all my sisters and we were all happy! I love my Trondheim family! :)

Well, I'm all out of exciting things to say... but check out how long this email was.... SWEET! I hope it wasn't too boring! I love and miss you guys a ton! Have a great week. See you in 4 months!!! :) 

Black heart (cards)- Søster Jessica Taylor

Monday, June 25, 2012

Week 60

Kjære familie-
Hello! :) How are you all doing? I hope all is well. :)
This has been a really good week. Sister Butter and I have been working our little tails off. Sadly, Charles didn't get baptized. That was really sad, but we will see what happens with him. As far as our other investigators go, we have seen some great things happen! :) For example- Brit. She is the referral from her friend, Sister Hansen. She dropped us becasue she didn't want to give up coffee, but then she randomly started coming to church again. On Tuesday, we went to visit her without an appointment. She had just had surgery, so we took her some chocolate and a church book that she could use as she studied. :) We were planning on just dropping it off, but hoping we could talk to her a little bit. We got what we hoped for. She totally let us in and we were able to teach her about faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was so strong! After we taught her, we said a prayer and I felt like we needed to invite her to baptism, but I didn't feel good about pushing her into setting a date. I told her to pray about being baptized. Well, after that, we heard nothing. Then, yesterday, Sister Hansen told us that Brit had called her over to her house and told her that she wanted to be baptized! She is willing to give up coffee and tea. She wants to be baptized the first week of August. :) It was a miracle! I love her so very much and (I don't want to be cocky or anything, but...) she loves me too! :) Ha ha! Sad thing is, I might be transfered before she gets baptized... Oh well, at least I could teach her! :)
Agnes, our new convert, invited us to her house this week for ice cream. She is so cool! She met us at the bus stop and then showed us to her house. She turned on her favorite music (which was kind of crazy) and then made us eat tons of ice cream! Ha ha! We were there for a while, just talking about her life and listening to her stories. She is amazing! :) The gospel has just completed her life, it seems! She thinks I should study psychology and live in New York City. Random... Ha ha! She lended me 3 psychology text books to read. (Sadly, I can't read them as a missionary, but I just couldn't tell the woman no, so I stuffed them in my backpack and took them home. Ha ha!)
Friday was a very special day- it was Santans Aften of mid summer night. It was the night of the midnight sun! Sadly, we couldn't see it in Trondheim, but we got permission to stay out until midnight. We had a party with the Elders and played sand volleyball at a park near the church. It was 11 pm and it looked like the sun had just barely set. It was so cool! :)
Yesterday evening, we went to the Prestmo Family's home (we baptized their 9 year old, Mariell) They live about 30 minutes outside of town, by bus, but then it is a 20 minute walk from the bus stop to their house. EXERCISE!!! :) Ha ha! When we got their, she had barbeque chicken and rice for us to eat. We taught their girls and then played with them until it was time to go catch the bus. We played badmitton and then jumped on their trampoline. I haven't done that in forever! Ha ha! It was so much fun! :) They just loved us so very much and didn't want us to leave. Their little friend came to play with us and she asked why we couldn't just live there. Kids... :) Haha!
Well, that's about it.... Well of the exciting stuff at least. Ha ha! I feel bad- these emails aren't very special or spiritual. Is there anything I can do to better to make these emails more exciting? Just let me know! I love and miss you all so very much! Have a great week! :)
♥- Søster Jessica Taylor