Monday, February 1, 2016

A Mighty Change of Heart

Hey Family,

I was constantly reminded this week that this is not my work, it's the Lord's! There were so many experiences we had this week that confirmed for me that things are done in the Lord's timing and according to the agency of other people. It's all about how people choosing to respond to, or becoming humble enough to recognize, the spirit. And that's a process that's different for each and every person. And that's the process that will CHANGE people's hearts. 

There's this awesome Norwegian student we found a few weeks ago that we started teaching. He is this really smart computer programming major and naturally very skeptical to most of the things we teach. After the first teach I felt a little frustrated with all of his questions that he was asking and his disagreeing with so much of what we taught. But, he committed to read, pray and meet again. He came back a week later and said he hadn't really felt anything. We taught the Plan of Salvation this time, he asked tons of great, and sometimes annoying, questions throughout the lesson. It went better, though, and he even kneeled and said a prayer at the end of the lesson. This past Saturday we taught him again. We taught a lesson, much more directed by the spirit this time and he dropped this golden question. "You keep talking about the Holy Ghost. How can I feel it? How can I recognize it?" This question struck me right to the core. He said it so sincerely. He may be naturally skeptical, he may ask difficult questions. At first, I let that frustrate me, but now I love it! It was a good reminder to me that "prepared people" don't just show up asking for baptismal clothing and nodding "yes" to everything I say. "prepared people" listen and act (keep commitments). My man Ø. came to church yesterday for 3 hours and I can't wait for our next appointment

Story number two goes out to the Congolese family I've told you about before! To remind you, J. is a member and his wife is not. The whole time I've been here we've tried incredibly hard to get J. active again and start teaching them regularly, but it's been so hard! We've got in a few times and shared some messages, but then future appointments are always canceled and he hasn't been able to make it to church. It seems like 90% of the time we drop by his wife answers the door and tells us J. isn't home. I've felt bad for disturbing her so much, but we have kept trying anyways. On Thursday we dropped by and J. answered the door! We were able to go inside and share a message with them and the spirit was thicker than the ice in a Minnesota lake in the winter. After that, J. asked us to call him an hour before church to help him get up and he we said we would come knock on his door! We came by Sunday Morning, and the wife said he was at his brother's, we headed out to his brother's but the bus schedule and the blizzard prevented us from getting there before church started. After church we dropped by to see what happened and J. told us he had gotten called in to work until 4 am. But here's the miracle: he went on to tell us that his wife and him had been talking and that she wants to start investigating the church! She came out and told us that she wants to come to church and asked for chapters to read from the Book of Mormon. No idea where this will go cause that's not up to me, but I think each time we knocked on that door the spirit was working on her. Finally she's ready!

We had this guy Elder O. and I taught my first week here. He was way positive but said he needed more time. I kept seeing him on the bybane and thought it was fate, but he kept giving me the same answer. This week we got a random text from him about a crazy experience he had praying and that he wanted to meet! I'm telling you, it's the spirit. 

A. (our chinese investigator) came to church this Sunday spiffed out in a suit! He is a heavy smoker and we have yet to mention the word of wisdom to him. However, get this: completely randomly during Sacrament meeting he turned over to me and said, "I need to stop smoking!" It's the spirit!

Guess who I met on the street yesterday?? B's sister. She said we could come over sometime this week! 

There was a hurricane that came through on Friday so we got banished to our apartments/the church. It turned out to miss Bergen so that was a bit of a bummer. There has been a nice assortment of hail, snow, sleet, and rain to keep you on your toes. 

Here is a quick scripture from Alma 5:
 13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers,and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, andthey humbled themselves and put their trust in the trueand living God.

I know this change of heart comes from the Holy Ghost and that we never know when the Holy Ghost is working upon someone's heart, so we should never stop preaching the word!!

Love you all, 

Eldste Parkinson 

P.S these are long because they are functioning as my journal as well...