OH MY!! I am so glad to be here in Norway finally!! There is so much to say and I actually have time to say it haha!!!
So first of all I am in Kristiansand which is as close as it gets to Denmark. I took about a four hour train ride from Oslo to Kristiansand. Eldste Dial came with me but I was in another car. The train ride was seriously so beautiful. I am blown away at how beautiful it is in Norway. I still cant believe I am really here. Also I am sorry for misspellings my English is getting bad(not that it was good before) but I am trying to learn as much Norwegian as possible! ok, so yeah the train! I was sitting there and there was about 5 minutes until someone came and sat by me. I thought to myself ok here we go this man is clearly norwegian. I have to talk to him. I am a missionary missionaries have to talk to people.. So for about 30 seconds I panicked and then I just started talking to him... In norsk!! It was so cool!! We talked for about an hour and I found out that his family used to rent out housing to missionaries when he was a kid and we talked a little about the church. Mostly I just got to know him and we talked about Norway. He gave me a bunch of tips and he was just so nice!! He got off the train and I still had about 3 hours to go. So another man sits down. Also definately Norwegian. He came the stop in Bø. Look it up. It is beautiful there! I did not feel super impressed to talk about the church with his name was Ole as much but we spoke the in Norsk together for the 3 hours not the entire time but we had a running conversation the whole time. He had a meeting in Kristiansand and he was a counselor for addicts. He was maybe 24. He was way cool. He also gave me a lot of advice and we talked about Norway and culture a lot. I told him the basic purpose of what missionaries do and how the gospel blesses families. It was pretty funny though because there was also these two men from Kazakstan across from the two of us and they started talking to me and the four of us kind of all just talked about missionary work and also Ole helped translate our bad Norsk. It was funny!
So then I arrived into Kristiansand!! My companion Søster Carpenter (from Firth Idaho) was there and also the two Elders Elder Hall and Tennent and Eldste Dials new companion. He is in Arendale but we all meet together once a week! So yeah we get out of the train and I look around a little bit and my companion grabs my luggage with another girl named Sarra and we started out!! We were just talking in Norsk like it was no big deal and they were like what the heck how do you understand us and I was just like I dont know!! hahah Thats been the summary the last few days I swear I am not bragging because I have a long ways to go but I really dont know how I can understand what people are saying. The accent down here is different they kind of mumble but I just love it! So anyways Sarra just got off her mission from temple square and lives here. She is the coolest she also has a little sister named hannah thats going to spain on a mission in july. Anyways, So than We went to our house and the whole street is under construction and I guess has been for at least 6 months. haha but the neighborhood and the whole city is so pretty! Our house is pretty sweet also! We went straight out and started contacting people! It was kinda intimidating but we talked to a few people and it was really fun. The next day we started the missionary schedule. We went for a run in the morning and it wasnt even cold. It was like in the woods. It was so cool!! Then we studied a whole lot and went out and contacted some more people and had some meetings with the elders from arendale. Afterward though we went about 20 minutes out to visit a lady in our ward named Bjørghild for dinner. Oh man! K so she is like 70 and she has the BIGGEST personality. She is an artist and her house looks like an art muesum everything in her house is beautiful and placed perfectly. And she is very animated haha. We ate with her and the food was so good!! She described her reasoning for making each thing and she just is so funny! We had cod with vegatables and potatoes and then for dessert fruit and cream. I was told that about as traditional as it gets. I am going to be so fat! I would describe her house more but I will just send pictures.
Ok the next day we had a good time haha ok so a little bit on Søster Carpenter. I freaking love her!!! She is such a hard worker and we laugh all the time!! We both get along really well and she is just so nice!! We make jokes a lot while we learn the language and we try to make puns with everything. I am so grateful to have her as my trainer. There are only a few sisters out who have been here as long as she has. She only has about 6 months left. She has been in Kristiansand for 6 months so she knows like everyone here. We are freaking out though because we are supposed to be trained for 12 weeks but she said she has a feeling she will be leaving half way through and I will get a different trainer. Or possible only be trained for 6 weeks. So I feel like I really have to work hard to get to know all the ward and investigators in case she leaves soon and I have to remember everything about the area. But Søster Carpenter is pumped because none of her companions could eat dairy or liked seafood so now she is like finally I can eat!! HAHA We just get a long so well and it makes life so good!! We have talked with a lot of really awesome people! They rarely call back but its cool just to try to get our name out there and to put smiles on peoples faces. our investigators are awesome and I am using a lot of what I learned in the mtc about trying to discern what people need into our lessons. I found out that two of the investigators we have did not really have a testimony of the book of mormon so we are working on that with them. We also talk to a lot of people from all over the world there is a lot of diversity in Kristiansand!
Ok so we also take the bus a lot! This is always interesting because people just dont talk on the bus but we do anyways! So its kind of awkward but we end up having the best conversations on the bus. we talked to two men from eritrea in norwegian and then we saw them out in the street again the man held up his cross necklace and our mormon pass out card and just waved and smiled. I dont know its just cool. Also the other day we talked to these three teen aged boys and they started kind of joking that hahah we are talked to missionaries but two walked ahead and one asked if he could walk with us for a bit and we talked about a lot of the basics he said he would like to know more. It was awesome! It just goes to show that we really dont know what will happen when we share the gosple with others. So I just talk to everyone and let them decide how much they want to hear. my only goal is that everyone I talk to leaves with a smile. Søster Carpenter is great at that. When they dont talk to us we just have the motto that its ok they associated our name tag with Christs name with being happy and thats a step
Another story. We have a member in our ward named Aida she is this tiny woman from the Phillipines who speaks norsk but with the classic asian dialect. So funny!! She gave us a ride one day after we missed our bus and she drives crazy she also tells these crazy stories in half english norsk with this crazy asian twist. hahah so she told us she was late getting us because she left her house in such a hurry to get us that she forgot to put all her clothes on!! Hahah and we were all on our way to this ward party!! oh man she is the best. She also feeds us.. she gave Søster Carpenter 5 boxes of corn flakes the other week!! haha ok one more story about her. She told us this story the other night about how after she was baptized her husband would not be baptized because he didnt want to stop smoking. So she did not want to start dating other men or divorce him so she bought like 100 packs or more of ciggarettes that went on sale and said here smoke all of these so that you die faster and I can find a new husband!! HAHA oh man I wish I could tell it how she did becuase she was talking a million miles per hour and just laughing her head off the whole time mean while I am just really enjoying these bomb spring rolls she made. but moral of the story was she had so much faith that she continued to go to church and do everything she should and everntuallly her husband got the picture and quit smoking and they were married in the temple. He is passed away now and she is preparing to serve a mission as a senior in the phillipines. She is amazing!!
I dont really have much jet lag and we are both exhausted from working so hard the last few days that we are going to go take a nap here pretty soon before getting back at it tonight. Today we went to the grocery store and I love the grocery stores here! They are so small and they just have like fresh stuff and its just the coolest also salmon is really cheap it really is the chicken up here. #blessed also the strawberries here are really good. I tried the brown cheese norway is famous for. Its so good! They eat it on their waffles with jam also they eat waffles with jam and sour cream. Its weird but good!
Oh another thing. Church on sunday was so awesome!!! The ward is a pretty good size and the spirit there was just so strong these members really are converted and they are awesome. they had me go bear my testimony which was scary but I told them Jeg vet at Families kan bli sammen hvis vi folge Kristus. Jeg vet at Jesu er det Kristi og at han død for oss så vi kan bodde i himilen igen. Også sa jeg, mens jeg er har i Norge dere er min familie likesom min familie i USA. Jeg skal jobber til hjelp den Nordmen min beste til kjenne Kristus. i Jesu Kristi navn, Amen
I love you all and I am doing very well in Norway! I love it here and I am so thankful to be a missionary! I want to thank you all for your prayers and your support and please let me know if you ever need anything! I love and pray for all of you every day!
Here is my address:
Marcus Thranes gate 14
4630 Kristiansand Norge
look it up on google earth and you can see where I live and I walk around all over the whole city!