Teaching M. has been an incredible experience. The majority of her teaching and preparation towards her baptism has been during this time of relative isolation. But, despite what we thought were limits to our ability to teach, the Lord answered prayers in unexpected ways in order to hasten his work and bring souls to the truth here in Norway. We first received a random call from M., explaining that she was a college student studying photography and that she wanted to make a photo documentary series about the missionaries for her class. This was not totally unprecedented for us, but we were happily surprised and willing to meet with her.
As we met with her the first time, we learned that she had received our number from a copy of the Book of Mormon after she had attended the Book of Mormon musical about 8 months ago. She explained that she had grown up with no particular belief in anything, but had always had an interest in religion. The musical had piqued in her a fascination with our church, and wanted to learn more. The first time we met we taught her the first lesson right there on a park bench in front of the Oslo opera house, and she was very open and curious.
M. shadowed us for a couple days, attended church with us, taught with us, studied with us, and took pictures for her assignment. We got to know her pretty well, and her curiosity drove her to deep gospel study and deep questions. However, we expected that when her school project ended our contact with her would fade. To our surprise, after the presentation of her project, M. continued to reach out and meet with us. Her continued curiosity and meekness was humbling, and teaching her was always spiritual. Eventually, she built up enough courage and faith to pray, and her faith was rewarded by a direct answer that God not only exists, but is her Heavenly Father, and watches over her. She prayed and read, and answers to her sincere prayers came in many ways, but primarily through the Book of Mormon.
With the onset of Corona, the transition to online teaching was only natural, and as she met with the sisters and us, her faith grew stronger. Eventually, M. committed to follow Christ and enter the waters of Baptism. It has been amazing to be a part of M.'s journey, and to see her faith blossom. Yesterday, April 8th, we held a small, modest service for her baptism. With the restrictions on gatherings, we had only us and the sisters, the bishop and a good member friend attend her baptism. It was simple but very powerful. We are so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given us to still be here in Norway, while the work may look different, it is the same!
Elder Baird & Elder Dansie, Sister Ford & Sister Deere
Norway Oslo Mission