The Wood Cutting Service Missionary

by Elder Andersen

Elder Andersen treefelling

My name is Claus Edvin Andersen. I belong to the Sandvika congregation in the Oslo Norway stake. I am serving as Norway's first service missionary. The first mission leaders in the Nordic region were called in 2020. One could say that the Church's teaching missionaries are the Lord's voice, while the Church's service missionaries are the Lord's hands. As a service missionary, you live at home and provide service in your local community.

Initially I served as a teaching missionary in the England Manchester Mission, but after a few months I fell ill and came home in the spring of 2022. I transferred to the Nordic Service Mission Area, together with an elder from Sweden and a sister from Finland. We were the first missionaries in the Nordic Service Mission Area which covers Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Our mission leaders live on the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden, Elder & Sister Hägglund.

Today we have seven service missionaries in the Nordic region. There is a sister in Denmark, two elders and a sister in Sweden, two sisters in Finland and me in Norway. Since we are so few missionaries, the mission, the district and the zone are one and the same. We meet once a week via zoom for district meetings, updates and devotions. I am serving as the District/Zone leader. I have conversations with each of the missionaries once a week, at the end of the week we all submit a report to our mission leaders about how our service is going.

‘Operasjon Ved’, Operation Wood in Oslo

In my service, I carry out work for charities and private individuals. In our service mission, we try to find projects that the missionaries themselves have an interest in and have skills in. My main assignment based in Oslo, called Operation Wood (Operasjon Ved). It is a charity that goes back 50+ years. Every year, Oslo municipality receives a certain amount of timber donated from Løvenskjold, which owns large forests around Oslo. Oslo municipality provides a place to work, and volunteers who come and cut, dry and split the wood. The volunteers mostly consist of a number of retired fit gentlemen, plus me.

From October to March, with the help of ‘Lion’s Club’, we drive out to families or individuals that need help with heating during the winter. During this period, we deliver approximately 160,000 kilos of firewood.

The reason why I do a lot of work with timber is because I started splitting wood in kindergarten as a three-year-old boy. I really liked this and over the years have developed a great interest in this work and find great joy in this kind of activity.

Elder Andersen on a ladder

It feels meaningful to be part of the long and important tradition we have in Norway of managing, refining and using the forest to sustain life in a sensible way.

I have also done some work for private individuals. Felling trees and splitting them into firewood that they can use themselves. I also help with other practical work in the ways I can, like putting up some sports equipment.

The goal of my mission, as stated in our mission's purpose; is to help others come to Christ by serving them as the Saviour would. We do our best to be worthy representatives as we carry His name in the service we do. Unlike the teaching missionaries, we are not called to preach. We are called to serve. We help show that the Church is not just knocking on doors and handing out Books of Mormon, but that we are also a church that wants to contribute to society.

A particular scripture that I treasure in relation to my service as a service missionary is Mosiah 2:17 where King Benjamin taught his people about service: 'And behold, I tell you these things that you may learn that when you are in the service of your fellow men, you are indeed in the service of your God.'

I will finish my mission Christmas 2023, by then I will have served for 24 months as a full-time missionary.