Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy Easter 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter and that you are enjoying the warmer weather, as are we.  We are moving away from the rainy season and on to summer.  There isn't much of a temperature range here.  It ranges mostly between about 30 to 70 fahrenheit.   It seems like our missionaries are in a revolving door.  They come and go so quickly.  We just get to know them and they are gone.  We have really developed some wonderful, lifelong, missionary friends.  It is hard to not be with family during holiday's, but the missionaries help a lot.  Every one gets off work in Norway the Thursday before Easter through the Monday after.  The stores are all closed and it is a ghost town.  Everyone flees to their cabins and to the mountains.  The churches are much emptier on Easter than they used to be. Every one loves Easter, but like Christmas they are not in tune with the purpose of it.  Thank heavens for the faithful people that believe in the purpose of Easter, the resurrection.  We had fun having a couple of play days with the missionaries and members.  We had a mission wide Internet meeting the Saturday before Easter.  Sister Gormley and I were asked to share our testimonies of the Savior and how the gospel has directed our lives.  We really enjoyed it.  We went to church in Haugesund on Easter.  We love the members there.  We had about 40 out to church which continues to rise.  We had transfers the Wednesday after Easter.  We had three of our favorite missionaries leave us.  We will miss them.  We drove about 7 hours to Drammen for Stake Conference.  We drove with our dear friends, Anskar and Åse Steffensen and the Karl Peter & Laila Pettersen.  They are so kind to us. They had a great YSA activity on Saturday.  It is always fun to get them all together.  On Sunday there were 7 men ordained to the office of Elder from our stake.  We have been able to be involved with each one of them.  Tore Nielsen is in his early 80's.  I help teach him in 1974.  His wife Kirsten has always been active.  He had a heart attack last summer while visiting his grandkids in Utah.  He decided it was time to be baptized. Matias Hiltunan is a young man from Haugesund that we have grown to love.  His Dad is the Branch President there.  Seif and Evan are both YSA from Kristiansand that we have really enjoy getting to know through our YSA activities.  Ole Johnson is from Stavanger.  We have grown to love Ole.  He is the only member in his family and has grown so much,  He is headed to the temple this summer. Michael Nystad is the grandson of Almar Nystad.  He was the Branch President when I served here in 1974.  Michael asked me to ordain him.  It was a neat experience.  What a day seeing all of these friends progress in the gospel.  On the way home we were able to visit all of my apartments that I had on my mission except the one in Oslo.  It brought back tender feelings and great memories.  We were able to stop in Kristiansand and visit one of my dear friends from my mission, Rigmor Torjesen and her son Torleif.  We were glad to get back safe on Monday. Monday evening we all went to the Steffensen's for family night.  Every one brought instruments and we had a sing along with Øvind. It was great fun. Thanks for all of the Birthday wishes today.  Where do the years go?  Every day is a blessing.  The older we get the more we appreciate those around us.  

What beautiful daughters.  They got together for Easter.  Lt to Rt. Kari, Cammy and Faith Elise.  I am so grateful they look like their mom.  They are all as beautiful inside as they are outside.  I sure love them and a so proud of the kind of mothers they are.  There is hope for the world with mothers like this.

Easter egg painting with the missionaries and the YSA for Family night.  Sister Gormley goes all out.  Great fun.

Waiting on the ferry in Judaberg on the way to Bjergas

Bjergas cabin on Bjergeøy (mountain island).  They invited all of the Stavanger missionaries over for the day, the Friday before Easter.  Great Fun

Brother Bjerge and I were able to pay for a while when the others went on a hike.  Couple of old guys on the porch.  

Watching the missionaries leave Bjergøy headed back to Stavanger.

Had a great hike at Steinsfjellet in Haugesund with the missionaries and the Hiltunens.

Sister Gormley and I on Steinsfjellet in Haugesund. Great view.

Bowling with the missionaries in Haugesund.  Lt to Rt.  Sister Lindsay Whited from San Antonio, TX, Sister Brooklyn Davis from Utah, Elder Natham Johnson from Saint George and Elder Jacob Larson from Indiana.

Sister Gormley can still beat me in bowling even though she cannot walk for a few days afterwards!! 

One of our YSA sisters Trina Steffensen drew this of the Savior for us.  She is so talented and so sweet.  

After our Transfer Breakfast on April 18th.  Lt to Rt Sister Savanah Hutchins from Las Vegas, Elder Kade Stephens from Utah, Elder Mitchell Dial from Napa, ID, Elder Christian Carver from Utah, Sister Gormley, Elder Aidan Davis from Gilbert, AZ, Elder Corvin Arveseth from Utah, Sister Hannah Cockrell from Utah and Elder Jason Hailes from Delta, UT. 

Sister Hannah Cockrell from Utah 

Elder Jason Hailes from Delta, UT

Elder Aidan Davis from Gilbert, AZ, His jacket is P day only.

Elder Davis had to coronate Elder Dial the new District leader.  We are going to miss Elder Davis's sense of humor.

We had a lesson from Brother Rolf Torejsen Saturday in the Drammen chapel.  This is the same pulpit that I translated for Elder N. Eldon Tanner at a district conference in 1974.  Many of you have heard me tell the story how he stopped me as I was translating and said "that is not what I said, could you rephrase it."  I did so and he said "that is right."  Talk about the gift of tongues.  He did not know one word of Norwegian.  

This is an old factory in Vestfossen, outside of Drammen, that has been turned into a beautiful conference center.  We had the adult session and the main session there because the chapel in Drammen is not large enough.

This is some of our YSA from the Drammen Stake.  Front center right is our Stake President, Terje Pedersen.  Front Center left is Elder Mattieu Bennasar, an area authority from Paris that was presiding at the meeting

This is Seif.  He is a Syrian refugee that joined the church last year.  He received the Melchizedek priesthood at conference.  He is wonderful.  I can only imagine how the Lord will use him in his life.

Almar Nystad and I.  He and his good wife have blessed the church so much in Norway.  It is hard to see them age and not be able to get out much.  They are wonderful.

 First apartment in Drammen in 1974.  Bromansgangen 5.  We had four Elders living here.  

Second apartment in Drammen in 1974. Rabbensveien 36.  Definitely an upgrade. 

Apartment in Larvik at Tenvik in 1974.  I would have loved to see Mrs. Hansen again.  She has been gone many years.

This was my apartment for 8 months in Kristiansand. Torridalsveien 36.

My sweet friend Rigmor Torjesen.  Her and her husband Kjell joined the church in 1960 and then helped convert her two sisters.  They were so kind to me as a new missionary.  He passed away several years ago. 

Carving by Kjell Torjesen hanging on Rigmor's wall.  I remember it well..

When I was being transferred from Kristiansand to Larvik I told Kjell Torjesen how much I appreciated his ability to carve.  I said I particularly think you did a great job on "Erik the Viking."
He said "He is yours."  I couldn't believe it.  It has been one of my prized possessions.  It has been with me since my mission.  The captions says "Memory from Kristiansand."  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April Showers bring May flowers

 Dear Friends and Family;

Spring has officially sprung.  We are sure enjoying the warmer weather.  We have had several sunny days the past couple of weeks. We have had plenty of rain as well.  We have have had couple of fun weeks with transfers, General Conference and a couple of good trips to Haugesund.  A couple of weeks ago the two Elders, the two sisters, us and 5 members cleaned the rented church building  in Haugesund.  We stripped the old wax off of all of the floors and re-waxed them.  We shampooed the carpets, We washed all of the chairs and windows.  It was a great activity.  It is a great feeling to have to church shine "like the top of the Chrysler building."  I texted the Sisters and thanked them.  They said "thank you Miss Hannigan." The next Sunday we had 50 at Branch Conference.  It was heart warming to see all of the chairs full.  We moved the Elders out of an old , expensive apartment in downtown Stavanger to a much better location.  We have relocated 3 of the 5 apartments in our area and have added one.  We are continuing to help the missionaries learn how to clean.  We really enjoyed Conference.  It is a challenge with the time difference.  We were able to watch two of the sessions live. The others we had to replay.  Hope all of you are doing well.  We sure appreciate hearing from each of you when you are able.  It seems like the weeks are going by like days.   We appreciate the prayers in our behalf.

Love Elder and Sister Gormley

Bowling with the YSA and missionaries.  We have really nice lanes here in Stavanger.

Elder Dial from Napa, Idaho.  He is the Fentons' nephew from Cody, WY

Sister Gormley finished her 4th blanket for a new baby in the ward.  She is getting really good at crocheting.

The Swans are out.  Great to see them.

Gian and him family had a big party for their one year old.  He was one of the YSA right before we came. 

Elder Davis baptized Vebjørn Øglend on March 25th.  He is a young man from Sandnes that will be joining our YSA.  He is the only member in his family.  His Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Uncle came to the baptism.  They are very supportive of him.

We moved the missionaries out of Smedgate and into Kong Karls Gate. Elder Dial and Davis

Had the missionaries to our apartment for homemade pizza and cinnamon rolls and to watch a session of conference.

Elder Dial and Carver in their Norwegian sweaters

Sister Gormley made the Zone Training lunch pretty and Eastery.  We served Hawaiian Haystacks.

Was able to attend a Stavanger Oilers hockey game with Anstien Olson.  Great Game.

A sister in the Stavanger Ward, Helgunn Ravonsheed painted Sister Gormley and I walking down Øvre Strandgate (Upper Beach Street) in Old Stavanger.  It will be a mission keepsake.