Mission Theme

Mission Theme for 2015 & 2016--Learn it, Live it, Share it

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 60--Happy New Year

I want to thank people from my ward who sent gifts and cards to me for Christmas. It is always nice to hear from my home ward!

It is hard to believe that the year 2015 is almost to a close. It been a year of ups and downs, but for the most part, it has been a really good year. I haven't had anyone I have taught enter into the waters of baptism, but I have taught many. I have made great friendships along the way. I am sad to see this year that I fully dedicated to serving the Lord go completely into the past, but I am excited to see what 2016 will bring to me.

At this time of the year, most people look back at what they accomplished during the past year and make goals for the coming year. One of the best ways for the coming year to be better than the previous year is to make a to-be list. A to-be list is harder because we can never check off anything from the list, but it is more rewarding because it gives us goals for what we want to become. I'm personally going to consult with the Lord and create a to-be list of attributes that I want to develop this coming year.

On Tuesday, we had our Christmas Zone Conference. We went over what we were able to accomplish this past year and where President Anderson believes we can be in the coming year. The biggest thing President Anderson stressed is to get people who recently joined the church to do genealogy. Then they can take or submit names of their ancestors, who finished their mortal lives, to the temple so they to can gain the blessings of baptism. Another topic that was stressed was that as missionaries, we are called to preach repentance and to baptize the people who humble themselves and repent of their past sins.

As part of Christmas, missionaries are able to call home. It is one of the two times missionaries are able to talk to their parents and hear their voices. We are lucky today because now most missionaries are able to use Skype, so they can both hear and see their parents instead of just talking to them over the phone. I will only have one more opportunity to Skype my family on my mission and I am looking forward to being able to Skype on Mother's Day. After that, I will not have the chance to talk with them other than emails until I finish my mission and return home. I am thankful that I am able to use Skype because it gives us a chance to be able to see our parents in real time while we are on our missions.

Elder Bjerregaard

Elder Bjerregaard and Elder Riley with the Higbees
Elder Bjerregaard with Sister Higbee

President Anderson

A few of the Christmas gifts
Skype call picture

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 59--Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! May your Christmas be joyful and your life full of happiness.

This past week might have been one of the best weeks of my mission. We set weekly goals to help us focus on bringing souls to Christ, and we were able to meet most of them. I am not sure what we did differently, but I am going to say it is because the Spirit of Christmas is in the air and everyone is more willing to let us in their homes. Another reason is because we offer to show the video that the church put out for Christmas called “A Savior Is Born.” People love the video because it shows children from many cultures quoting Isaiah and bearing their testimony of the Savior. I invite you to watch it.

This Christmas season I will also invite people to ponder what gift they can give to the Savior this Christmas. What can you improve this year so you can be more Christ like this coming year? You can get some ideas from the Mormon Message "The Reason Behind Christmas", and also be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. As you remember the humble beginning of our Savior, you will be able to feel the Spirit of Christmas and feel of His love for you.

Mom here--click on the links to watch the videos. 

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, December 14, 2015

week 58

My companion, Elder Riley, gave a talk in sacrament meeting about having a Christ centered life. He chose to focus his talk around Christ like forgiveness. The story shared was about the time when William W. Phelps betrayed Joseph Smith to the Missouri mob. He spoke about how Joseph Smith and fellow church members found love in their hearts and forgave him without asking for any compensation. I thought that was a really good talk over all and Sister Jackson even asked Elder Riley for a copy of the talk.

We didn't teach many lessons last week, but we did talk to a lot of people. We talked to a guy earlier in the week and we scheduled a time to meet with him the following Sunday. When we went by yesterday at the time we previously said that we would, he was asleep. We decided to try to visit a less-active member that lived just down the street. It turns out that the less-active member doesn't live at the address we have anymore. The person we were talking to, Mike, said we can come back and talk to him a little bit about the church. We are planning on meeting with him this coming Friday.

Update on Brother Tomlin: So far he has said nothing about changing his mind. We are going to go through the last couple of lessons we have to teach him this week. We’ll go over the interview questions with him again and he will have his interview next week. It looks like the Sunday after Christmas is a go.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 57

I would say that the most significant event that happened last week is that we invited Bother Tomlin to be baptized the Sunday after Christmas. He never felt comfortable before about being baptized. After we showed him that by the Lord's standards he is totally ready, he felt better and said that we should go ahead and pick a date for him to be baptized. I really hope that he follows through with this because Elder Riley and I personally think that he has been ready for a while now. I am glad that Brother Tomlin started to think that way as well.

A miracle happened last night. We were trying to find a less-active member that we have never met. When we got to the home, we talked to a person whose daughter just got dropped off. She asked us who we were trying to contact and who we were. We told her that we were missionaries, and she instantly told us that she was looking for a church. We gave her one of the new Christmas pass-along cards with our number on it, and we are going to be meeting with her and her husband next Monday. She also told us that the member we were trying to contact moved about three months ago. Even when people have moved, the Lord will still put people in our path who He wants us to invite to share the gospel. I totally believe we were being guided because if we came five minutes before, or five minutes later we would not have met her.

I am loving being in Linwood. I just love the members. They are just so good to us. They always make sure that we have what we need, and if we don't they go out of their way to get what we need. Even most of the less-actives treat us well even though they don't know anything about us. Sometimes I feel like the original twelve Apostles when Jesus sent them to teach the gospel without purse or scrip. I always seem to have enough to cover my expenses. When we keep our end and follow the commandments, we will be blessed and we can continue on.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 56

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I know that it is a few days late, but want to say it anyway. It is wonderful that we have a day set apart where we can be thankful for all the blessings we have received and for all Heavenly Father does for us. Here is a short list of some things I am thankful for:

1. Being born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
2. Having a loving family who cares for and supports me
3. Being born in the United States where I have the freedom to worship Heavenly Father by the desires of my heart
4. Being able to be on a mission where I can share with people the joyful news that the church that Christ set up is once again on the Earth

It is truly amazing see what Heavenly Father has done in my life when I take the time to count my blessings. For those who feel like Heavenly Father is not in your lives, take the time to see all the good your life has and all the loved ones around you. For those who see Heavenly Father's hand in your lives, look around and see how you can bless the lives of the people around you so you can feel the love that He has for all of His children.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 55

First, transfer news. Elder Riley and I are going to stay in Linwood for the holiday season. This is going to be the first time that I will not be directly affected by transfers since April. To be honest, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about it for the holiday season that is coming up.

The most exciting thing that happened to us this week is that an F-16 from the New Jersey Air National Guard landed right in front of us as we were driving by the Atlantic City airport. Other than that, it seemed like a really slow week.

As I write this letter Elder Thomas is a couple miles in the air, or back home to his family, I don't know which. Mom here – Elder Thomas was Michael’s trainer when he entered the field and was with him for his first three months.

We have a few people that we are going to be seeing on Thanksgiving, it should be fun.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 54

The biggest and saddest news of this week is that Elder Riley lost his iPad. He set it on top of the car, something he never does, so he could have his hands free. Then he forgot about it, and we drove off. We have tried everything that we could think of to find it, and we had no luck. It is at the point where our mission president told him to remotely erase it. We don't know when he will get another iPad, but we are hoping that it will be soon.

My heart goes out to the people that are affected by the terrorist attacks in France. I am not sure what happened because, as a missionary, I don't watch or listen to the news. I find it sad that we live in a world where people to do such an act on innocent people. From the time of the attack on 9/11 at the twin towers in New York City (my earliest memories) there has been an ongoing war on terror. Sadly, I consider it then norm because I don’t know anything different. Mom here ~ this was something that we had not thought about that Michael’s generation would consider war on terror as being the norm.

Elder Riley and I also have been feeling under the weather this week, but we are starting to feel better. We are thinking that we got the cold that our mini missionary had a week ago.

I did not think that Audrey and Tyler were going to come home so close together. I wonder what they are thinking about as the end of their mission is in sight. Both of them are in their last areas (as long as they do not get emergency transferred for some reason). I feel like it was just yesterday that Audrey left for the MTC in Mexico and not long before that Tyler left for his mission.

Monday, November 9, 2015

week 53

The first week of November has come and gone. It is hard to believe that I have started to go through the same calendar days again as a missionary. It just amazing how time passes when you don't pay attention to the time passing.

This week we had a “mini missionary”, a person over 16, who stayed with us and did what we did from Thursday morning to Sunday afternoon. He was awesome. I personally believe that if he were older he would be ready to enter the MTC.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 52 The year mark came and went

Last week on October 29, I officially completed 366 days of my mission. So far it been a wonderful experience, and I am looking forward to finishing my remaining 52 weeks stronger then I started. I have come a long way from I when first arrived in Reading on November 12, 2014. At that time, I was shy and not very confident in my teaching ability. Now I am confident in my teaching and know if the people who harken to my voice and do what I ask them to do, will know what I am teaching them is true.

As a missionary, I have up weeks, and I have down weeks. Last week was one of my down weeks. We taught fewer lessons then we normally do, and we didn't find anyone new who wanted to investigate the church. Things will get better though, it has too.

On Halloween, we needed to get in our apartment at six o'clock. I am not sure the reasons, but I am guessing that it has something to do about our safety and nobody would take us seriously during that time anyway.

Here is a little tidbit of information. They didn’t “put” new missionaries in the South Philly/Center City area that we opened. They closed the area and it back to the South Philly English Elders again. So, on my mission I both opened and closed the same area.

Joseph Smith's reconstructed home at the Priesthood Restoration Site

The headstone of the son of Joseph Smith

Susquehanna River near the Priesthood Restoration Site

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 51

This is my second week in Linwood. Diamond, who was baptized last Sunday, was confirmed yesterday and received the Aaronic Priesthood. Even though I had no part in teaching him or performing any of the ordinances, I still found joy proceedings. He is taking the steps needed for him to be able to return to Heavenly Father. It also reminded me of when I was conferred the Aaronic Priesthood when I was twelve years old.

Tuesday the mission went up to the Priesthood Restoration Site where the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods were restored and conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by angelic ministry. It is by these Priesthoods that the life saving ordinances are performed under the authority of someone being commissioned of Jesus Christ to perform them. It was a spiritual experience because I felt a confirmation that Joseph Smith did translate the Golden Plates by the power of God and that the Church is the Lord’s kingdom preparatory to His Second Coming.

Elder Bjerregaard

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Week 50

P-day was shortened yesterday, and we really needed to clean and do some shopping. I didn't have time to email. The reason why p-day was shortened is because my zone is going up to the Priesthood Restoration Site. It was going to replace all of p day but they decided to give us until 2 yesterday to get the most important things done. That did not include emailing because I was able to do that today (Tuesday). Mom here-We are hoping that he will give us some information when he emails us on Monday.

As it turned out, I doubled into another area this time making twice in a row. This time though, I did not stay with Elder Harl. My new companion is Elder Riley, one of my zone leaders when I was in Sewell. Honestly, the first few days it felt like I was just on an extended exchange because he was my zone leader at one point. I am loving my new area so far. It is almost the complete opposite of Center City, PA.

I got transferred to Linwood, NJ where my trainer just served. Mom here--He is referring to Elder Thomas who trained him when he arrived in the field. It turned out that my first baptism was someone who was ready to be baptized the following Sunday. Elder Thomas and Elder Bowman, the elders who were just in Linwood before us, set everything up for us so we just had to be there for the baptismal interview and for the baptism itself. The person who got baptized was Diamond, and he was introduced to the church by his girlfriend. He was investigating on and off for about a year before he got baptized.

The biggest miracle this week happened on Sunday. It was getting late into the evening and we were not having any luck finding people. It was almost an hour or so before we had to get back to the apartment. To give us a spiritual boost and to ask for help, we said a prayer. The very next door we knocked on we met Tom. At first he was not to interested in learning more about the church, but while we were talking we were able to learn about him. We then used the story about the conversion of Alma the Younger to help him understand that the power of the Atonement is within reach for all.

It is strange to think that Julian is going to be leaving in a week or so now. That also means that I am nearly a year out. I really don't know where the time is going.

I hope you all are enjoying the weather because it has been really cold these past couple of days.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 49

It turns out that my time in Philadelphia was meant to be a short one because I am being transferred tomorrow. I don't know where the time went, but it has gone quickly. Time seems to be just flying by.

Again this week was mostly finding without any success. It can be a frustrating or a humbling experience depending on if you view the cup as half empty or half full. This area might have been my refiner's fire for me on my mission. I have seen many miracles happen during my time here, but at the same time I have not seen any fruit for all the effort I put into finding people. I hope I can take what I learned here and apply it to my future area(s) and then to my life after my mission.

It looks like the Russell's are going though happy and sad times all at the same time. I will remember them in my prayers.

Elder Bjerregaard

Mom here- In the picture below, Elder Andrus makes Michael look really small. I love it! :-)

Elder Bjerregaard and Elder Andrus
The Philadelphia Temple

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 48

It was a good wet week. It was cold and raining for the most of it.

We had zone conference this week that was really good. It was focused on the gathering of scattered Israel. President Anderson was asking us to study it for the past two or three weeks. It was also really nice because it was a great way to get us into the mind set for General Conference this weekend.

It was a really good General Conference was well. Three new Apostles of the Lord were "called" and, in conference, were sustained by the church membership. It is amazing to think about how much thought and prayer goes into each of their calls. I am sure that they are going to perform wonderfully in their new and important positions as prophets, seers, and revelators.

In my spare time on P-Days I have been doing a little family history myself. I found two new people, a couple, for the Snow line (my great, great, great, great, great grandparents). I have already reserved them for the temple ordinances. I am thinking about taking my great, great, great, great, great grandfather’s name for endowments at the end of my mission. That would mean that I would need to find someone to do the preceding ordinances before then.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 47 When the Pope Comes to Town

I am sure many of you are wondering what it was like with Pope Francis in Philadelphia. I am here to tell you that I don't know. The mission didn't want missionaries in Center City during the Pope’s visit, so we were not allowed to work in the city. Instead we helped the set of Elders that work in the ward that our apartment is in.

It is weird that it has been just little less then eleven months since my mission started. The time seems to be flying by so quickly that I don't know where it is going. It is starting to be the time of year here that it will be cloudy most days. I wish I was further north so I can see all the leaves change colors to the beautiful red, orange, and yellows.

Next week is the start of what the missionaries call in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia mission the sweater season. Between the October and April General Conferences, all Elders are required to wear a sweater unless the temperature is over 72 degrees. This season also says that it is going to get cold soon so we need to make sure we are getting coats and scarves if we don't already have them.

It is sad to hear of the passing of Elder Scott. We now have three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve so we are going to most likely get three new members this following weekend. It is a sad and exciting time because of it though. I am looking forward to see who will be called, but I will miss hearing talks from the people who have passed away.

Elder Bjerregaard

Week 46

It’s been a slow week in the city. Elder Harl and I seem to be good at talking to people who live outside of our area, so we give a lot of referrals out.

We did talk to someone interesting though. As we were waiting for the bus (which was late for a reason we don't understand), we started up a conversation with a person. I don't remember how the conversation started, but it seemed to go all over the place. We said one thing and he would say another thing so we just went with it. In the end, we got his number and we are planning on calling him at some point.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 45

It was my first full week in Philadelphia and I am liking it. I would rather be in the suburbs. The city is too crowded and fast paced for my liking. It may not be what I prefer, but I still like it all the same.

It has started to cool a little lately, and I am looking forward to the not so humid time of the year. It has started to get a little chilly when the sun goes down, but it is not too bad yet. I will probably need my sweaters when conference comes around.

The Pope is going to visit the area on September 26th and 27th. The Pope’s visit is going to cause us problems because we don’t even know how we are going to get to our area. Even if we can most of our area is off limits to proselytizing during his stay. We might be told to work around our current apartment during that time, but we will find out soon. Mom here—remember he lives 20-30 minutes outside his area until they can get housing.

We are struggling to find anyone that lives in our area that is interested. We are finding people we can refer to another set of missionaries almost every other day if not every day. Just last Saturday, we came across someone who was a member but lost contact with the church shortly after her baptism. They rearranged the boundaries and she did not know where she was supposed to go to attend church.

Last Sunday was stake conference. It was different than the other ones that I have been to on my mission, mostly because it was not at a school's auditorium. Instead, the main meeting was at the Broomall building and then they broadcasted to another building so the whole stake could watch it.

View from the appartment

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 44

So this was an interesting week. I got doubled out of my last area just to get doubled in to another. (Mom here -- Doubled out means that a companionship leaves the area together. Doubled in means that a new companionship goes into the area.) The crazy thing is Elder Harl and I decided to stop somewhere for breakfast. It turned out we had breakfast in our new area. (He stayed with Elder Harl.) Speaking of my new area, I am in South Philadelphia, but it also includes a lot of Center City. It's also a new area, so what they did was take part of the South Philadelphia Branch and gave it to us to work in, and left the other half for the elders that were already in the branch. It is a walking area, but we use public transportation to get around.

One thing about opening a new area, we have almost no investigators. We inherited a few because they live in our area, but for the most part our area is pretty untouched. We did find someone though. We wanted to see a less-active. He was not answering his phone, so we taught his door man instead. He seems interested, but we don't know how interested he is. We are hoping we can continue to teach him, or to be able to refer him to another set of missionaries because he lives outside our area.

In case anyone was wondering, we are currently living quite a bit away from our area. We don't have an apartment in our area yet. From what we can gather, they had located one for us. Before they could rent it someone else got it, so we are currently living about a twenty to thirty minute commute to get to our area. They are trying to find a place, and I hope they can soon. From what we hear, we might not be able to get to our area easily in a couple of weeks because the Pope will be in Philadelphia and they are going to be closing the subways.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 43

First the news that most of you probably want the most. I am being transferred from Sewell, NJ. I was only here for six weeks and that is uncommon for most areas. Normally you stay for 12-24 weeks. I am glad that I had the chance to serve here, but I am looking forward to my fourth area. It’s hard to believe that I am going to my fourth though.

We didn't really drive this week because we didn't have the miles to do so, but we did see miracles though. We’ve been having trouble with finding people that are interested. However, last week we found seven individuals or families that expressed some interest. We had a lesson with one of them and two lessons with another and both seem interested in learning more.

The person who we had two lessons with is named Steve. When we first knocked on his door, he said that he was not interested because he and the other people in the house were already saved. We asked him what it meant to be saved. Then we asked if we are saved, then why did Christ need to be baptized? He gave us an answer that was doctrinally sound. We told him that we agreed and showed him where it is in the Book of Mormon. He later agreed to have us come back to talk more. When we went back Saturday, he was expecting us. We got to know more about his religious background and asked him some questions. He thought about them and then he gave us answers. Most, if not all of them, were also doctrinally sound, so we testified that he was right and then we expounded on his answers. We followed that pattern, and we taught most of the Plan of Salvation. We could really feel the Spirit in the lesson.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 42

This coming week is the last week of this transfer. I want to know why it seems like each transfer is shorter than the last. At this rate, I will just have to blink for a transfer to go by when I get to the end of my mission. The mission is a wonderful thing, but it is going by too fast. I have been out for almost ten months now, so I am getting pretty close to being half way through.

I have good news and some bad news. The bad news is that an investigator that we thought was golden seems to have lost his interest with meeting with us. The good news is that a less-active came to church for the first time in a long time. We are going to have a lesson later today (Monday), and we are going to see if we can continue getting him to come to church.

I don't remember what I was studying that led me to this verse in the Book of Mormon, but I really like it. In Mosiah 2:41, King Benjamin was addressing his people and at the end of the chapter he says, "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; ...” He simply said that when we keep the commandments, we are blessed and we are happy. A lot of people today view the commandments as restrictions. When we understand that they are given by a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for us, we will realize that the commandments are guideposts to a happy and abundant life.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 41

It has been an interesting week. We got into contact with a person who we been trying to meet with for a couple of weeks. A person who we were working with dropped us after we set an appointment with him earlier in the day.

I went on exchanges with Elder McArthur on Wednesday which was really fun. We had two lessons that day and I thought they went over pretty well. One lesson was with a person who has a major decision that he has to make. The other was with a son of a member who passed away earlier in the year.

One thing that I was studying this week is "How do we take upon ourselves the name of Christ?" and by extension "What does it mean to take upon ourselves the name of Christ?" We take the name of Christ when we get baptized. As we continue keeping the covenant, or promise, that we made at baptism, we will be blessed with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. When we stand before Christ at the final judgment, we will see that we have become like our Savior and qualify to spend the rest of eternity with Him and our Heavenly Father.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 40

So I have good news, and I have bad news. Bad news, my hand swelled to a balloon, the good news is that it is back to normal. We don't know what happen, but we think that something bit me. I probably had a mild allergic reaction that was thankfully kept to the hand, so I didn't have to go to a doctor.

Elder Bjerregaard's "balloon hand"

 I participated in my first reactivation this past week. Elder Harl started to work with the sister last transfer (June 9th – July 21st ), and she seems to be in it for the long haul. She wants to go the temple, so we are now working with her on that goal.

So far I really like Pitman, then again everybody likes Pitman, so says the Pitman water tower. I think I have been blessed so far because I have liked all my areas even though they are different from one another. I hope this trend keeps going because it would be bad if I get to an area that I don't like.

Elder Bjerregaard


Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 39

This was the first week I attended the YSA, young single adult branch. They were not there a week ago Sunday because of a trip they went on. It is a very small branch right now and not many people come. Sunday was fast and testimony meeting because it was the first Sunday of the month. For the most part, it was dead silent so it was a really good time to ponder. What came to mind was a line from "How Firm a Foundation": "Fear not, I am with thee". We as humans are naturally afraid of some things. When we are doing the Lord's will and His work, we shouldn't fear because we are doing what is asked of us.

We are working mostly with less-active members of the church right now. It is fun because most of them still know that the church is true and we are just helping them come back into the fold. We are helping the Good Shepherd bring the lost sheep back into the fold.

I like the area and the people. There have only been two or three days that we have not had a meal appointment in the last week and half since I have been here. In my experience, this has been unusual so far.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 38--New Area

I am now serving in Sewell, NJ. I am currently covering the ward in Sewell and the Pitman YSA (Young Single Adult). It is going to be interesting to be in a YSA branch. My new companion is Elder Harl and he is from San Jose, CA. One of his stress relievers is cooking, so he cooks for the both of us a lot.

So far, I think this ward is awesome. The bishop is a freemasonry (fraternity of stonemasons), and he gave us tickets to a chicken barbecue they had last Saturday. Everyone in the ward is really friendly, and we are working really closely with the leaders of the ward. I feel like there could be great promise here, and we just have to put in the effort to achieve it.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 37

Last week was my last full week in Wilmington. It does not seem like it, but it has been 12 weeks since I arrived and I am already leaving. I have met a lot of good people and I am sad to leave them behind so soon, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go.

I didn’t go on exchange last week. It has been weird not being with the district leader because I am used to going on a ton of exchanges during a transfer. So far, Elder Foster has been my only companion that was not been a district leader while I am with him. He is going to be the district leader next transfer though.

One thing I learned this past week is about the gathering of Israel. It is both a physical gathering of the Israelites to their homeland by the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a spiritual gathering of them onto Christ. I always thought that it was just a physical gathering.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 36

It was a slower week then normal. We had a good number of lessons lined up, but most of them fell through. It is weeks like these that I need to remember to rely on the Savior the most.

We did find a new person this week, Walt. A couple of weeks ago, we were tracting in a tougher neighborhood when we passed a groupie love of people on the other side of the street. We were not having much luck, so we decided to try to talk to them. Most of them were trying to make a joke about what we were doing, but Walt recognized that we were missionaries and knew what we were doing shouldn't be taken lightly. He seems like he wants to know more, and we are going to see him this coming Tuesday.

I was studying about the natural man this morning. Something that I took from it is that the natural man will view things from God as foolishness. Also to learn then be able to teach about spiritual things, we need to have the Spirit with us. To understand spiritual things, we also need to have the Spirit with us. We might be able to learn what God wants for us without the Spirit. However, we need to have the Spirit for the spiritual things to be able to enter into our hearts in order to bring about a change in us. Only the Spirit will only bring knowledge and change unto the heart.

Elder Bjerregaard

Wilmington Zone taken June 23, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 35

Happy (late) 4th of July.

This week was a slower week for us. It seemed like no matter what we did, we didn't see any fruit from our labors. If anyone told you that missionary work is easy, it is not. Most of last week consented of knocking on doors to find out no one lives there or they are not interested.

We did meet an interesting person though. We were on exchanges with the zone leaders and I stayed in my area. An appointment fell through, so we were knocking on some doors in the neighborhood. We were trying to find a new investigator while we waited for the next appointment that we were going to have in an hour. We passed a group of people on the other side of the street. We passed them because we wanted to finish knocking on doors on our side of the street. We weren’t having any success, so Elder Isseetell suggested that we go talk to the people we just passed. Only one was interested, Walt. Walt had briefly talked to missionaries before, but he never saw them again. He thinks they were afraid of him because of the way he looks. We have an appointment with him this coming Tuesday. Definitely a sign that hard works pays off in the end.

As part of a spiritual message that we shared this past week, I shared an analogy of a tree. The tree represents our testimony. We can watch a sapling all day every day for twenty years. We are not able to tell much difference in it from one day to the next, but we if compare a picture when it was first planted to a picture twenty years later, we will be able to see a big difference. So it is with our testimony. We often don't see any difference on a day by day basis, but that does not mean that it is not changing. It is continually changing (and hopefully growing). To help it grow, we need to pray and study the scriptures daily. We probably won’t see a big difference short term, but it is slowly making us better people from the inside out.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 34

We had an awesome zone conference with Elder Kacher of the Seventy this past Tuesday. It was awesome having a general authority there. We largely talked about how we can work with the ward council more effectively. One thing that he suggested to do is to meet with the members of the ward council individually and ask what we can do to help them in their respective organizations.

For the past couple of days, I have been studying about faith. I have not gotten very far so as of yet, but knowledge is added line upon line, and precept upon precept. A little here and a little there. One thing I have learned is that faith is both a verb and a noun. Some people think of faith as only the noun. James taught that "faith without works is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). In other words, we need to put faith into action. We need to have and use faith in our everyday life if we want to draw closer to the Savior.

Mom here: I receive a picture and a video from a returned missionary’s mother (Elder Tyler from the PPM). The video is a little difficult to understand due to background noise. He mentioned that he is doing well, has food, and not to worry about him. It was a pleasant surprise to receive this video.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 33

President Anderson called two elders as "training elders," and their main responsibility is to help train the younger missionaries on how to be the best missionaries they can be. They are to pass down the wisdom they learned from doing the work for almost two years. President Anderson wanted them to do a double in exchange with us last Monday, and they helped us find a few people who might be interested in learning more about the gospel.

I used to make fun of people when they said it is hot when it is over ninety, but now I understand that it is no joke because of the humidity. To help save on miles (we can only drive so far a month), we often park our car at a central location and then walk for at least a mile before we return. By that time we are normally sweaty and ready to spend time with A/C to cool down some before we go out and do some more walking. I am even starting to look forward to the winter when it is not as humid.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 32

Transfers took place Wednesday and my new companion is Elder Foster. He is only six weeks ahead of me in his mission. He is from Tri-City, Washington. This is his fourth area, so he has been spending on average only three months in each area. Elder Allred got transferred to Bay View so he is still in my zone.

We had 17 new missionaries this time around (or something like that, I can't remember the exact number). We are going to receive 33 new missionaries at the end of July. I heard that about half of the current missionaries in the PPM (Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission) have only been out for six months or less.

Things are slowly moving along in Wilmington. We are in finding a mode right now because our teaching pool is pretty low. We are trying to build that back up. We are trying a little bit of everything to find people who want to hear about the restored gospel.

I miss my dry heat!

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 31

This is the last week of the transfer, and Elder Allred is leaving. It was surprising to find out because he has only been here for three months, and the average is six. It is sad for him to leave because we got along really well, and we are going to miss each other. We thought for sure that we would have at least another one transfer together if not two.

We had a great lesson last week with Clay. We focused on faith and could really feel the spirit. He still doesn't feel like he is ready to be baptized, but he is getting closer to feeling ready and even gave the closing payer.

The District

Elder Bjerregaard and Elder Allred saw this picture at a church in Wilmington and had a good laugh.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 30

Stake conference was this week and we got a new stake presidency. In one of the talks on Saturday, the speaker said that what we do on the Sabbath day should reflect what kind of sign that we want to send to Heavenly Father and The Lord.

I went on two exchanges this week. The first one was the normal district leader exchange which was fun. For some reason, the mission president wanted the district leaders at mission leadership council, so I was with Elder Jones, the companion for the other district leader in the zone.

The mission has been really been pushing for us to be more careful with our cars as of late. They already had to pull ten cars for one reason or the other. For most areas that have a car, the amount they can drive has been reduced. With the reduced driving though, the mission has a whole has been more successful at finding the honest seekers of the truth.

This is the last week for the transfer, but it has not felt like five weeks has already passed. For that matter it doesn’t seem like I have been out seven months. It stills feels like only a couple days ago that I was dropped off at the MTC to learn how to effectively teach the gospel. At the same time it seems like forever ago because of all the new experiences I have had. Anyway by this time next week, I will know if I will stay in Wilmington or if I am going to get transferred.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 29

Why is it that when we get older, time seems like it flies? The longer I am out on my mission, the faster the time seems to go by.

I was asked to give talk for yesterday's sacrament meeting. The bishopric thought it would be a good way for the ward to get to know the missionaries better. I didn't have much time to prepare for it as I would like, but I think it went well. The talk was about how the scriptures strengthen our relationship with God. It was weird, I was having a hard time writing it and had to start over a couple of times, but in the end I thought it was really good. I do believe that the spirit helped to guide me. I don't think I could have done a better job by myself with the time I had.

We also helped the mother of one of our members to move hardwood flooring into her house. We didn't realize how big a job it would be, so we went in normal white shirts and ties. We wished we had our service clothes on instead. We literally helped move what seemed like over a ton of hardwood flooring. To "repay" us, they took us to a really nice restaurant for dinner. I am not sure if the member's mom would be interested in investigating the church, but she now knows who we are.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 28

Is it just me, or are the weeks going by faster? Summer is only about a month away, and it feels like just yesterday that I had to put on multiple layers to stay warm. Now it is getting hard to stay cool. Such is life I guess.

Do you know that I don’t like the humidity? I think it is already high here, but people have been telling me that it is going to get even higher. Hopefully, it won’t get much higher! (Mom here—we don’t have the heart to tell him that it will get higher and will last until September.)

In priesthood yesterday we talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It does truly have the power to bring people closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Last week’s district meeting was also about the role of the Book of Mormon. It is truly a wonderful book that I would encourage everyone to read. It was written for our day and the messages and principles it contains are of great worth for everyone.

We are going to have stake conference next week, and they are planning on calling a new stake president. Why is it that every ward that I am in, something interesting happens? My first week here and we got a new bishop and now we are going a new stake president. What are the odds of that? Whoever the new stake president is, I am sure that he is called of God.

We held a church open house yesterday after church. It was to start at 4:30 but no one showed up. We were about to call it quits when an investigator came. She really enjoyed it and is planning on attending church next Sunday to see how the church building is when it is being used. It was definitely was a miracle because if she came five minutes later, we probably would have everything put away and left, but now we might have someone who is interested in learning more about the gospel.

Elder Allred's picture taken May 11.

More greenery in Wilmington, Delaware
 Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 27 - Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers happy Mother's Day. I hope that all the mothers that are reading this had a wonderful day yesterday. I know my mom and Grandma did because we were able to Skype with each other. We can only Skype twice a year, once on Mother's Day and again on Christmas.

This was the first Sunday with my new bishop. I found out that he is a professional organist. It is going to be fun working with him as we work together to help bring about the Lord's work to the people in our ward boundaries.

We are not teaching very many people right now, so we have been doing a lot of street contacting. Some of the people we have talked to are drunk, so they say some of the funniest things. Sadly we have not found anyone interested in listening to the message we share, but I know that they are out there and if I try long enough we will be able to find the humble seekers of truth.

Wilmington is very green and a lot of the houses have a lot of trees nearby. It is wonderful to be able to see this much greenery since I am used to the brown desert of Arizona. I have really liked being on the East Coast so far, and I am looking forward to what else I can witness when I am here.

It is a wonderful thing to know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do right now. I have always been told that if you make a choice before you have to, it is much easier to make the right one. I think it is the same way with my mission. If I had not made the choice beforehand, it might have been easier to follow the counsel and the wisdom of the world. The world would say giving up two years and totally devoting myself to serving the Lord was fool hearty. The world says that it would be better to go through college and start my career. I have chosen a better path and I am serving the Lord. I can already see some of the blessings of doing so, and I know more are still to come.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 26 --New Area

My six month mark happened on Wednesday last week. It is odd to think that I have already been away from home that long already. It seems like yesterday that Mom and Grandma dropped me off at the MTC. It also seems like I just got to Reading and now I am in my second area.

Transfers were moved to Wednesday for some reason. They never did say why, but a lot of missionaries think that it so the goldens will know what a normal transfer meeting is like. What they have been doing is the normal transfer meeting was on Tuesday and the golden transfers were on Wednesday. Speaking of transfers, I have been transferred to Wilmington, Delaware. I had a feeling that I would be going to one of the other states in my mission, or that I would be in the Philadelphia area. One strange thing about Delaware is that it doesn't have any sales tax. That is one thing that I need to be getting used to, but I think it is nice because I don't have to think about the tax.

My new companion is Elder Allred. So far, he has only been in Wilmington for a transfers, so he still doesn't know the area all that well himself. Also, Elder Clark is in my district so that means that I get to go on exchanges with him because Elder Allred is the district leader. Elder Weisler is also one of my zone leaders, so I might get to be on exchanges with him as well. I wonder if President Anderson knew that the three of us were MTC companions or it just happened.

We have an awesome investigator. Missionaries have been teaching him for a while, and he has the light of Christ in him. He says he needs some more time before he can be baptized, but he is truly ready whenever he does decide that he is ready.

I hope that I can meet many other really cool people hear. From what I have seen of Wilmington, I really like it and can't wait to see what other people we can meet.

We got a new bishop Sunday. They even changed the time church starts to allow him to accept the calling. He has to work in the morning on Sundays, so they moved the start of church from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon.

Elder Bjerregaard

Elder Bjerregaard with his new companion Elder Allred
They were given 20 pounds of rice and 10 pounds of chicken. This picture is courtesy of Elder Allred.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 25 - transfers

My last full week in Reading. Yes, I am getting transferred and it feels weird. I will not find out where until Wednesday. I have most of my stuff together now, and yes, I am working on getting it into the suitcases. It feels so odd to be leaving Reading after living here for almost six months. I am having a hard time getting my head around the fact that I have been out for six months. Time flies when you are doing the work of the Lord. It seems like yesterday that I was dropped off at the MTC and now my mission is almost a quarter over.

I went bowling on Monday because we thought it would be fun and that it would be my last chance to hang out with Elder Leavitt. He went down to the mission home to finish his mission there before his parents pick him up tomorrow. It is really odd seeing so many missionaries that I know go home because they finished their missions.

We had a multi-stake conference on Sunday. I don't know how well the speakers related to the people here. I think the best part is when they said that the Philadelphia Temple was about 67% complete. I am looking forward to seeing that temple finished in my mission because it looks really nice from what I have seen from the artist renderings of it. I hope I can go there during my mission, and it f I cannot, I will go sometime after my mission.

Elder Bjerregaard