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