I'm here safely in Norway! The flights were long and uncomfortable, but everything went as planned. I ate dinner at the Mission home Tuesday night. President and Sister evans are super nice. They actually let me go to bed early Tuesday night and sleep in til 7:30. That was much appreciated. President Evans told me Tuesday night that my first are would be Tromsø, Norway! After Alta, Tromsø is the northern most mission area in the world.
I flew up to Tromsø Wednesday afternoon and met my new companion, Elder Garrard. He's been out about 8 months, speaks the language very well, and works really hard. Tromsø has four missionaries, but a set of elders got replaced by a new set of sisters this transfer (Søster Mourik and Søster Rupp). A Senior couple will also be coming to Tromsø in a few weeks, which will be much needed.
As for the Branch...VERY small. We meet on the second floor of a building downtown. A very central location. There is an American family that just moved here with 4 kids. The father is doing a phd program here in linguistics. They are pretty much the only active members. A lot of less actives who come sometimes. There are several members who skype in to church every Sunday because they live so far away. One family actually lives up in Svalbard (big Island way north with a lot of polar bears). We're trying to find an excuse to go up there haha. But just to give you an idea of how small we are: on Sunday I blessed the sacrament, gave a talk, and taught sunday school. In norsk. Luckily we only go two hours.
There were not really any investigators when I got here, but a lot of potentials. We've been making a lot of phone calls since i got here. Also a lot of street contacting and door knocking (we call it banking). We've gotten a few new investigators and already have 8 lessons schedules for next week. We're really focusing on finding strong families. We're planning on starting up a Norwegian class for people that don't know the language.
There's a very strong dialect here. There's one older less-active that we bring groceries to with a dialect so thick I can't understand anything. My companion really only speaks norwegian with me, though, so I'm sure it will come fast.
I appreciate all the letters and support! I'm heading down to Trondheim for zone conference on Wednesday. Ha det godt!
Elder Garrard kommer fra Utah! Riverton, Utah.
There are lot's of refugees and international people here. A lot of our investigators aren't native Norwegian. For example we just started teaching a man named Rogers from Uganda. He committed to be baptized after our first lesson, but he is waiting on his citizenship (green card).
Younger people know some english. Older people not so much.
The university is one of the bigger ones in Norway. Lots of students here.
We cook for ourselves. There is a small kitchen at the Church so we eat there a lot. Spaghetti, Fish, Chicken, rice, vegetables. A lot of sandwiches for lunch. In Norway your supposed to eat them "open faced" (one slice of bread). We have our first dinner appointment tomorrow. The food is really good, though.