Mission Theme

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Home Coming Talk

I just checked the weather back in Kutztown, my last area, and they are expecting the high to only get to the mid forties. It is good to be home back in the warm dry weather of Arizona.
It was wonderful to be a full time missionary. I got to meet many wonderful members and nonmembers alike and I really grew to love the areas that I served in, well except for the cold part during the winter months, I don’t miss that part at all. In all, I served in eight different areas in four different states with ten companions. It was fun but difficult to learn how to live with complete, or in a couple cases almost complete, strangers. You not only live with a complete stranger, but you are joined at the hip.
One of my first reactions to opening my call to the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission was that I was going to freeze. Grandma sent a card to me with two Elders standing in snow on a cold windy day with the caption: Many are cold, but few are frozen. I am here to report, I did freeze, but I survived. Another reaction was that it would be a very beautiful place deep with American and church history, and I am proud to report that is was.
When President Rolf set me apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in my blessing, I was told that my speech impediment would not interfere with what the Lord was calling me to do. That promise was fulfilled. People from the Ward and my family have told me that my speech has improved. When we had our first skype at Christmas, Grandma asked if people could understand my speech. I laughed and told them that people thought I had an accent! Can you believe that? I am here to testify that when the Lord gives you a promise, He will follow through if you are faithful to Him.
One of my favorite parts of being a missionary was teaching the people I was called to serve. I have taught people from all different walks of life, from people who don’t have much to people who have done pretty well in their careers. In general, those who didn’t have much had no motivation to change. Those who did well had no desire to change. As missionaries, our challenge was helping them see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ would improve their lives.
During the time I was in Linwood, I was teaching Michael Tomlin. We doubled into the area, or in other words we both got transferred into the area together, so we only had the notes from the previous missionaries to work from.  Brother Tomlin first came in contact with the missionaries one day when he was surfing the internet. At some point, the local missionaries were sent over and started to meet with him. He met with the missionaries for a couple of months, and he almost dropped them a couple of times because he felt like the missionaries were pushing him. He didnt feel ready and does not like being pushed into things.
We talked to the member that normally came out with the previous missionaries. He felt that Brother Tomlin was ready to get baptized, and after meeting with Brother Tomlin the first time, we agreed with the member. There were a few things Brother Tomlin needed to still learn before he could be baptized, so we decided to cover them while we tried to figure out what we needed to teach him before he realized he was ready.
    The turning point was when we decided to ask him the baptismal interview questions. After asking him those questions, he gave us the answers that demonstrated that he was worthy to be baptized and we pointed it out to him. The following lesson we asked him the questions that Alma asked the Nephites at the waters of Mormon in Mosiah 18 verses 8-10.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you? (Mosiah 18:8-10)
As we went through the questions, he slowly realized that he was ready to be baptized. After we finished asking him the questions, he agreed to be baptized. Unfortunately, I was transferred before he was baptized, but the last I knew I he was preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.
One of my favorite couples that I taught was Jing and Yao. They are originally from mainland China and were brought up without any religious background. They are in the United States to earn their PhDs. They were originally referred to missionaries in New York by their neighbor and then the missionaries referred them to us after they moved to Pennsylvania for a job opportunity for Jing.
When we first started to teach them, Jing had a hard time accepting what we were teaching him while Yao was more open. After we taught them the plan of salvation, Jing straight out told us that he had a hard time believing what we were teaching. Jing and Yao asked questions in such a way that we could tell that they wanted to learn and were not just seeking information.
Over the course of time, Jing started to open up to the teachings and we could see progress. We kept encouraging Jing to say the prayer at the end of the lesson, but he normally declined. At some point, Jing felt comfortable enough to say the closing prayer in one of our lessons, and that seemed like a major turning point. In our last lesson with them, Jing told us that when he feels stressed while he is working on his dissertation, he has started to pray for comfort and immediately felt peace and less stressed after he finished praying.
When we think of missionary work, we think about positive spiritual experiences. However, there are some experiences that fall into the category of interesting, weird, or frustrating.
One evening we  had a very interesting experience. We were going around contacting people we found in our area book. When got to a person we were planning on trying, it was late. The man came out and asked us to come back earlier in the day and not so late, so we left. It happens that the next person we wanted to try to see lived across the street, so we pulled into his driveway. After we talked to him, we went back to our car. The person from across the street came over and shined his flashlight into our faces demanding to know why we think we had the right to be knocking on doors so late. We told him that we were required to continue working until nine o’clock, but he wasn’t having any of it, took down our license plate number, and told us that he was going to call the cops on us. He then stormed back across the street to his house. Of course there was no consequence, and I joked with my companion that the police must of put the report in the “stupid complaints against the missionaries” file.
I had the pleasure to be serving in Philadelphia at the same time that Pope Francis came for the World Meeting of Families. Due to the security measures, and because my apartment was outside my area, we were unable to proselytize in the area for that weekend. We were unable to ride the train as you had to have special passes that needed to be applied for and gotten in advance of the papal visit. That was frustrating not being in our area. One evening, it was getting late and the station we thought where we could catch the train was closed. We didn’t even know how we could get back to our apartment in time, but we started to walk in the direction of our apartment even though it was over an hour away and it was almost nine. Not to long after we started, a person chased us down. It turned out to be a less active member. He called a taxi and gave us the money that was needed to pay the fare. Due to the papal visit, the direct route was closed so we needed to take a detour which made the fare needed higher than what we had. The driver took what we had and called it good because that would have been enough without the closures. Prayers are truly answered.
Every now and again I talked to some interesting people on the street. One of the most memorable was when we talked to a drunk African American. Not knowing he was drunk, we said hi and asked a question to engage him in conversation. He proceeded to lecture us about racism and ended up repeating himself three or four times. Another one happened when someone stopped us. We talked about who we  were and what we do. He wasn’t interested, so we tried to end the conversation and leave but he wouldn’t let us. At some point we said something about our beliefs he took offence to and stormed off without giving us a chance to explain ourselves.
During my mission, there were a couple of significant dedications for the church, the Priesthood Restoration Site and the Philadelphia Temple.
The Priesthood Restoration Site underwent a major reconstruction and was rededicated on September 19, 2015 almost half way through my mission. The location is what is historically called Harmony, Pennsylvania. Although President Anderson tried, missionaries were unable to attend the dedication due to the limited space at the ceremony. A few weeks later, we were able to go and visit this important site. Some of you many have seen a few pictures on my blog taken at the site. We got to see the reconstructed homes of Joseph and Emma Smith and Isaac and Elizabeth Hales, Emma’s parents, as well as where John the Baptist restored the priesthood and the baptismal site at the Susquehanna River. The Spirit was so strong there!
One of the most exciting parts of my mission was the completion of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, partly because I barely missed the dedication of the Phoenix Temple. Construction started a little over three years before the start of my mission, and was being worked on for most of my mission. As the temple got closer to completion, the members got more excited to have a temple closer to them then the Washington DC Temple. They were also excited to be able to invite their friends to see the inside of the temple before it was dedicated to the Lord and His Holy Work. The missionaries, including myself, were really excited for the temple because it was a once in a lifetime experience to be a full time missionary during the time when a temple of the Lord is dedicated in their mission.
Two features to note are these. When you walk into the foyer, there is a beautiful picture of George Washington and other members of the constitutional congress signing the constitution. The other feature is at the baptismal font. There they have a picture of Joseph Smith being baptized in the Susquehanna River rather than the more often used picture of the Savior.
Before the general open house, I got to attend an open house tour for missionaries. We were not required to go with members or investigators for this tour. It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for the opportunity that President Randall gave us. I have been to the Mesa and Provo temples, so I haven’t seen a lot of temples, but I will never forget this temple.
The members shared many miracles about the time that they volunteered. One couple was able to see a grandchild that they have not had any contact with in years. Others members felt the Spirit by being silent ushers and admiring the fine details and the precision that the craftsmen used in the building process as well as the furniture.
Unfortunately, I was unable to have any of my investigators go to the open house, but I heard many stories from other missionaries that their investigators decided to be baptized because they were so impressed with what they saw. More importantly they wanted to feel again what they felt when they were inside the temple.
Unlike the cultural celebration for the Phoenix Temple, the missionaries did not participate in the cultural celebration for the Philadelphia Temple. We were able to watch the celebration at the church with Jing and Yao. It was fun to see my newly released mission president in one of the shots of the crowd attending.
As missionaries, we were able to watch all three dedication sessions at the church with members holding the dedication recommends. Almost a week before I left, missionaries returning home on November 1 were able to attend a session in the temple. The temple matron gave each of us a white hanky embroidered with a picture of the temple and the date of the dedication.
I am glade that I had the opportunity to serve as a missionary. I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves us. Missionary work is not our work, it is His work and we can't do it without His help. I don't know how much good I did as a missionary, but I know that it will be much greater then what I was able to see while I was a missionary and I know that I was and still am a tool that the Lord will use to bring people unto His Gospel.
Something people think about missions is that the mission is a bed of roses and I will tell you that it is. However, we must remember that roses have thorns. People not showing up for appointments and having people threaten to call the police on us are examples of the thorns. As missionaries, we learn to expect the thorns but concentrate on the roses - members, inactive members, investigators, teaching the gospel, and special events such as the Restoration Site, the new temple, and places of interest that we are able to visit.

Monday, October 24, 2016

week 103

Another week has passed, and boy has it gotten cold quickly again. The first part of last week was high 70's or low 80's, and it quickly cooled to the 50's. It looks like my last week in Pennsylvania is going to be a cold one. At least it still is warm enough that a sweater is all that I need. The weather has been very strange this past year, warm when it supposed to be cold and cold when it is supposed to be warm. Everything seemed like it started at least a month late weather wise.

This past Saturday we had a mission conference where Elder Robbins came to address the mission. Apparently mission conferences don't happen very often, but I had two on my mission. For example, before my first one the previous one happened over ten years before. Elder Robbins spent most of his time discussing the difference between "to do's" and "to be's". He taught us that "to be's" is much more important than "to do's" and our "to do's" should reflect what we have on our "to be's" list. He then taught us that we need to have Christ like attributes on our "to be's" list.

I will be going to the Philadelphia Temple this Wednesday. It is going to be an early morning, but it will still be fun. We are going to have two other elders spending the night with us because neither of them drives. We also have to go down to Broomall on Tuesday for our departing interview. How strange it is to be at the point when I will be having my departing interview!

This coming week is my last week. It is strange to think that my time is almost up. I hope I can fill this last week with wonderful memories.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, October 17, 2016

week 102

It looks like I spoke to soon about the weather. For the next couple of days it is going be at least mid-seventy's, just when I was starting to enjoy the weather too. It seems like Mother Nature can't decide if it should be cold or hot so she is giving us both. At least it should cool back down later this week.

Well, it finally happened. I just had my last zone conference which meant I had to give my departing testimony. One change from President Anderson is that President Randall had missionaries who were going home in the following transfer also give their testimonies. If President Anderson were still here, only the missionaries who were departing this transfer would give their testimonies. What made it even stranger is that it was the same chapel that I gave my testimony as a new missionary at a special training for Goldens (used to be called greenies) and their trainers. It seems only yesterday that I did that, and now I have given my testimony that marks the point where I am almost finished with my mission. Time really does fly as a missionary.

To top off the fact that I gave my departing testimony, I also received my travel itinerary for my flights back home. It’s starting to get really real that I don't have too much time left. Only two weeks left before I fly home and remove my missionary name badge, and it seems so strange. All good things must come to an end though.

Jing and Yao are progressing in the gospel. Jing seems more willing to believe and trust what we are teaching him. Yao is asking really good questions about different parts of the gospel. She is asking about things that we cover when people want to know more about the gospel at a deeper level then just Joseph Smith. For example, there was a talk on tithing this Sunday, and she asked what tithing was. We simply explained what it was. At some point we will discuss it more at length, but it is encouraging to hear her ask questions about important gospel topics.

Elder Bjerregaard


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

week 101

It is starting to feel like fall around here. At the start of the week, it was nice but now it is cool enough to make wearing sweaters worth it. It is weird that I only have this little time left that I have to wear a sweater before I go home, but it also feels right because I started my time in the field having to wear one. I have grown to love wearing a sweater with a dress shirt if it is cool enough.

At the beginning of the week, we were wondering if we were going to get any rain from Hurricane Matthew, but it seems like it kept to the east of the mission. It is sad to hear how so many people lost their lives, but we need to remember that we do have a Heavenly Father that loves us and everything has a reason for happening. In the end, anything that is wrong will be made right and all of our sufferings in this life will be replaced with joy and happiness. This is especially true for those who have lived God's commandments so they are able to have all the promised blessings they can receive.

Things have been uneventful recently. We are not currently teaching too many people, so our days are filled with trying to contact new people trying to find someone to teach. It is not easy, but we are really limited on what we can do right now. We are doing what we can. This work is never meant to be easy, even when you been out for twenty three and a half months.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, October 3, 2016

week 100

I can't believe that it is October. There were a few milestones that I passed during last week. First, on September 27 I turned 21 years old. It was the one hundredth week of my mission; I can't believe it been that long. I also hit twenty-three months out and as of last Saturday, only one month left to serve. My mission is coming to an end, and I am having a hard time believing that it been long enough to get to this point. I am excited and ready to come home, but at the same time I don’t want to leave my mission and the people that I have come to love.

This past week was a wonderful conference. I feel like it was a call to action for missionary work, and also for self-improvement through the grace of our Savior. I really liked Elder Oaks’s talk about how members can get involved in the missionary work. I hope regular members will be able to apply principles from his talk and help bring people into the fold.

Elder Bjerregaard

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

week 99

As I reported lasted week, Elder Roberts and I are going to stay together for the remainder of our missions. It is odd that we are going to finish together; normally they don't let missionaries do that. Because we are both going home at the end of the transfer, they will have to double in new missionaries to fill our spots. It is weird that I am on my last six (new five) weeks of my mission. I definitely have mixed feelings about it. I don't want to go home because I am enjoying my mission, but I am also looking forward to being home for the holiday season.

Jing and Yao are making great progress. They were able to come see the cultural celebration and they enjoyed it. The member we normally take with us has not able to come the past couple of times, but he told us that he sees a change for the better in them. They are starting to act on the things that we teach them on faith. This is instead of asking the reasoning behind it and trying to understand the why. I really have high hopes for them.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 98

The biggest news from this week was that the Philadelphia Pennsylvania temple was dedicated yesterday. It was a special event for everyone in Pennsylvania in general because it is the first temple in the state, but specifically for people in Philadelphia because that is where the temple is. It was a wonderful dedication. We were able to attend all three sessions. The first one was nice because of the cornerstone ceremony, but my favorite was the last one because of the talks that Elder Christofferson and President Eyring gave. I am excited to be able to attend this new temple and also to see what blessings it will bring to this temple district.

The night before the dedication, the youth put on a cultural celebration. For this celebration, they recounted the history of Pennsylvania, starting with William Penn and ending with Joseph Smith, featuring George Washington, Betsy Ross and the singing of the Constitution/Declaration of Independence (not sure which). What was also neat was when the camera showed where President Eyring was sitting, we were able to see President Anderson, my previous mission president. Did you know that President Eyring lived in NJ but had to come to Philadelphia to be baptized when he was eight?

Elder Roberts and I are going to finish our missions together. That is exciting because we were in the same zone at the MTC. As far as we know, we will not be made a trio. That will make the logistics easier for the assistants at the end of October. They won’t have to worry about where they are going to put the other missionary for the day while his companions are in Philadelphia for their last p-day.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 12, 2016

week 97

It looks like the heat finally decided to leave for this coming week. We had mid 80's to low 90's for last week, but we should be in the low 80's this week. Lower temperatures make working easier, at least more enjoyable. When you have higher temperatures and humidity and you wipe away sweat, it comes back right away. There is no hope to stay dry. When you don't sweat so much, you can wipe it away and stay dry longer.

We tried to do some work with the students at Kutztown University. It is interesting because we were hoping that they would be more open than they were. A common response we got is that they were raised in religious homes, but they really don't practice anymore for one reason or another. What really makes it interesting is they are part of my generation. It shows how at least some of my peers are edging away from what their parents taught them.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, September 5, 2016

week 96

We have another week, another chance to help you check in on my miracles.

The first one that I would like to recount happened on Saturday. We were walking around Macungie (east of Kutztown) trying to find people to teach. We were about a mile away from our car when we decided to make our way back. When we walked past a popular frozen treat place on the other side of the street, a woman asked if we would like some and we said yes. We didn't recognize her, and because we were close to our area boarder we assumed that it was a member from another ward. After we ordered, we asked her if she was a member and she said no, but she wanted to buy us something because she recognized that we were trying to spread the gospel and wanted to help us. In return for her act of kindness, we invited her to the temple open house even though there is less than a week left. I don't know what will come of that invitation, but I know that she will be blessed because Jesus taught "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

Another miracle happened yesterday. Yao texted during the week saying that they were not able to meet with us this week and probably will not be able to come to church Sunday. Of course Elder Roberts and I were disappointed about that, but we didn't let that get us down. When we were greeting people who were coming into church on Sunday, we got a text saying that she was in town and she was coming to church. Unfortunately Jing was unable to come, but we were excited that at least Yao was able to come.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 29, 2016

week 95

Twenty-two months ago, I started my mission. I left behind friends and family to dedicate twenty-four months to preaching and sharing the gospel to the people who live in and around Philadelphia. I can't believe that it has been that long, and I only have two months left. Now that I can see the finish line, I need to push even harder to finish strong.

We are really in a finding mode right now. We do not have many people to teach right now, so we have to go door to door and talk to people on the street. Kutztown University just started their fall semester, so there are a lot of people who we can talk to now around Kutztown. We are hoping that we will be able to find people who really want to know about the Church.

Jing and Yao are wonderful. We still are helping Jing understand the basics about praying. We will probably be able to move forward to teach more about the gospel and help his testimony about the other parts of the gospel to grow as well. They came to church yesterday and as far as I am able to tell, they love it. We are really hopeful about them. Please pray for them.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 22, 2016

week 94

We had another wonderful lesson with Jing and Yao this past week. We were planning on teaching them about prayer and scripture study, but it turned into a question and answer with them about what we already taught, mostly about the plan of salvation. Yao has been able to feel the Spirit as she prays and recognizes that she feels good as she prays. Jing is having more trouble because he feels weird praying to what he doesn't know exists. We took the high priest group leader with us and he was able to really connect with them. They even came to church yesterday, the first time since we started teaching them.

I am starting to wonder if the heat will ever go away. We have some relief today, but it is supposed to get to the high eighty's again and the humidity will also return. It will just be my luck that it will stay like this until I get home and then it will be nice here, but hot there.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 15, 2016

week 93

So transfers happened last week and my new companion is Elder Roberts. Elder Roberts and I were in the same MTC district. So, like me, he has been out for about twenty one and a half months. Probably he will finish his mission here in Kutztown. He was serving in Scranton, PA. before being transferred here. If anyone is wondering, he is from Paris, Idaho.

The Philadelphia Temple public open house started last Wednesday. Tours of the temple will be given for about a month before they close the temple to the pubic so they can clean it before they have the dedication. After the dedication, the temple will only be used for religious purposes. It is a once in a life time opportunity to be a missionary in a mission that has a temple open house going on while he or she is still serving a mission.

We had another lesson with Jing and Yao and it went pretty well. It seems like Yao is more accepting of the gospel then Jing. Jing is having a problem accepting that there is a God, or if there is a God why he needs one. I have a good feeling about this couple though. I believe that as long as they keep the commitments they make, they will be able to know for themselves that Jesus the Christ is Heavenly Father's Son and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.

There has been a heat wave for the past week or so. I am definitely looking forward to when it finally passes, but the last time I knew there was no end in sight. At some point it will cool down, and I am definitely looking forward to when it does cool down.

Elder Bjerregaard

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

week 92

Transfers are here, and I am going to stay in Kutztown for the next six weeks. Elder Thielen on the other hand is getting transferred. We think he is going to get transferred south because my new companion is going to be dropped off tomorrow. Elder Thielen is going to ride down with Elder Fisher who is serving north of us.

I got pink eye this week, so that was really fun dealing with that. The problem was that I woke up with a really red eye Monday morning, and the redness didn't go away. I called the mission nurse the following morning, and she sent me to urgent care. I was told I had pink eye and was contagious for forty-eight hours, so we were unable to work for two days.

We had a really good lesson with Yao and her husband Jing. They don't have much of a religious background, but they are interested in knowing if there is a God. It is going to be interesting teaching them because I have never taught anyone without a Christian background. They were unable to come to church this Sunday, but we are hoping that they will be able to come this coming Sunday.

We also got to set up Facebook this week, and then we quickly lost it because there were missionaries who misused it. So, everyone has go through the training again and then wait until the zone leaders give us permission to use it again. It is going to be a process before everyone is using Facebook effectively and correctly. Until then, it seems like it will be a bumpy ride trying to use Facebook.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, August 1, 2016

week 91

I can't remember if I already informed you about this, but this transfer is a seven week transfer so transfers are not this week, but next week. It is strange to think that I have only two transfers left after this one. A lot of missionaries that I have gotten to know at the start of my mission are now home or will be going home next week or in the middle of September. Time definitely flies by when you are in the service of God.

The big news from this last week is that we going to be allowed to start using Facebook again after this coming Thursday. Back in February of last year, the Church decided to temporarily stop using Facebook in many missions. Missionaries were not properly trained to use Facebook for missionary purposes. The Church wanted to wait until they learned about the best way to use it for missionary purposes, and then train missionaries how to use it effectively and correctly. How it works out, most of the missionaries that used Facebook from last time are already home so almost no one in this mission has used Facebook on this mission so it will be a complete fresh start using it here.

We also were extremely blessed this last week with two referrals. One of them referred herself and already knows a little about the church from her own research. We have not had an opportunity to teach her, but we are planning on teaching her this coming week. It seems like she is really interested in learning more about the gospel.

Another referral we got last week was someone who was already investigating the church in New York, but moved to Pennsylvania last week. She has been to church a couple of times when she lived in New York, and we are excited to meet her this coming week as well.

I found out this week that the number of VIP tours for the Philadelphia Temple is greater than what most temples have before they are dedicated. Most temples only have two or three days of VIP tours, but the Philadelphia Temple is having little over two weeks of VIP tours. I don't know who all are going, but from what I have heard, politicians and officers from the Pentagon are on the list of people that have been invited to come and see the temple as VIPs.

Elder Bjerregaard

Reading Zone

week 90

The biggest news this week is that I was able to tour the recently completed Philadelphia Pennsylvania temple. There were special open house tours for the missionaries that President Randall, my mission president, wanted everyone to attend. It is a very beautiful building and the people who built it and designed it did a really awesome job. It defiantly is a building built to the highest level of craftsmanship that mankind can do. There is a special spirit that is already in the temple, and it will only increase as we get closer to the dedication. With the dedication, we can start fulfilling the purpose for which the temple was built. As missionaries, we will be able to bring investigators to the public open house during August and September.

I love being a missionary during this special time in the mission. It is definitely a once in a life time opportunity for the current missionaries here because never again will we have the opportunity to invite people to tour His house as His representatives. Great miracles will happen because of this temple. People will search for the truth more sincerely, families will come together on both sides of the veil, and people will come to know who they are and where they fit in God's family. Because of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the knowledge of who we are, our relationship with God, and the priesthood having been restored, we can complete the ordinances that we need to be able return to live with Heavenly Father.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, July 18, 2016

weeks 86-89

Week 89

Has It really been eighty-nine weeks? Where has the time gone? It is strange to be so close to the end of my mission, and I definitely have mixed feelings about it. I am excited to be able to go home soon, but I also don't want to leave. I am not going to miss the heat we have been having the past couple of weeks. If I learned only one thing from my mission, humidity makes whatever the temperature is feel like it hotter then it is.

The Kutztown Ward just had a missionary finish his mission this past week, and sent off another Wednesday. I can totally see how people who are not used to the idea of LDS missions be a little confused about them. It takes a special person who would be willing to put everything on hold for eighteen or twenty-four months. He/She will go to go to a place where he/she probably doesn’t know much about with the purpose of teaching people about Jesus Christ, how His church was restored to the Earth, and that prophets still speak to God on the behalf of the whole Earth.

With any hope, Elder Thielen and I will be able to go to the temple in the coming weeks with a recent convert. We are not sure if we can because we are close to the limited travel time to be able to go. I hope I will be able to go because it been over twenty months since the last time I was able to go to a temple.

One way Elder Thielen and I started to try to get the work moving faster is to have families make a family mission plan. The idea is that the family would come up with people they know with whom they want to share the gospel. Then they would plan ways how they can help them and do something for them to help them increase their faith in Christ.

Elder Bjerregaard

Week 88

I had my first interview with President Randall this past week. He is a very kind man and is doing his best to learn about all the missionaries in the mission. From what I heard, he is going to try to get to every missionary within two weeks. It is amazing how quickly he is learning. I do pray that he will be able to fulfill his calling as a mission president as best has he can.

It was a hard week for us teaching wise. We don't have many investigators right now so we spend most of our day going door to door. It is hard work and we don't see much fruit from doing it, but we don't have much else we can do right now. We were also out of our area for two and a half days this week helping the zone leaders because they overscheduled themselves. That hurt our area this week.

Missionary work is definitely hard work. I personally think it is a miracle that I have the energy everyday to get out of bed. One nice thing about missionary work in the middle of summer is that the sun goes up before we wake up, and then it doesn't get dark before it is time for us to go in for the night. The days do get long and hard, but in the end I know I will be able to look back and know that it was worth all the effort I put into being a missionary.

Elder Bjerregaard

Week 87

Happy Fourth of July. What a wonderful day to remember the birth of the country whose religious freedom allowed the restoration to happen. Also is a wonderful time to remember all those who fought to retain this freedom. For all those who are or who did serve in this country's freedom we all enjoy, I thank you.

It was a fun week. I meet my new mission president on Wednesday. He and his wife brought three of their kids along. They have three older kids that are out on their own. I really like them already and I am looking forward to being able to get to know them better over the course of the next four months.

We have been having a hard time finding investigators lately, but we are definitely working hard to find some more. From what I have seen we also have a lot of missionary minded members so we can be looking forward to some referrals.

The Philadelphia temple is also finished. It is real exciting to know that all they have to do now is finish the preparations for the open house and then the people will be able to see what it like inside a Mormon temple. I know that a lot of people will become interested in the church because of it, and they will start seeking the truth.

Elder Bjerregaard

Week 86

I got transferred to Kutztown, PA and I have Elder Thielen as my companion right now. This is probably going to be the closest to my first area as I will be able to get on my mission. My district leader is in the companionship that is over my old area so I might be able to go back there for exchanges.

President Anderson's term as the mission president over the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission is over and President Randall is now my mission president. We are going to have a zone conference this coming Wednesday so I will be able to meet him and his wife then. It is going to be interesting to have new mission president, and I am excited to see how this will be.

We had an interesting encounter this past week. We were out tracting and we came across this guy who did not want us there at all. He accused us of trespassing and demanded us to leave or he will call the cops. We left. When we were at his neighbor's door, he left, but made it clear that if we go back and knock on his door he will call the cops. I thought the whole thing was funny but it is sad how some people are so rude to complete strangers. I hope he will soften his heart at some point and be willing to hear the gospel, until then we are not going back because he will probably call the cops on us, but I am unsure what they will do.

I had a first this week. We went to another church's service. It was Faith Church. We had a deal with an investigator that if we went to his services then he would go to ours. To be honest, I felt like I was at a Christian rock concert instead of a worship service. The service that I went to was geared toward young adults and I can see why they would like it, but I much prefer the quieter services that we have on Sunday. Another major difference is that they didn't offer the sacrament (communion) which I thought was strange. I am definitely going to put it up on my cultural experiences board, but I think I will stick to what I feel is the proper way to worship.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 20, 2016

week 85

To answer the question I am sure that most of you have is Elder Allred and I are leaving. It is strange leaving after being here for almost four and a half months, but I know that it is time to go to another part of the mission and give my service there. I do hope that it will be my last time being transferred on my mission, but I will go wherever the Lord wants me to go.

The mission president, President Anderson, is closing some areas temporarily because he wants more of the sisters around the temple for the tours and dedication. So that means we don’t know if we are going to be replaced right away or not.

I have discovered that after being transferred seven times, it doesn't take long to pack everything and be ready to leave.

We had a lesson fall, through this past week, but I felt like it was a good thing. The reason why is that I noticed a less active member putting up a shade tent up across an empty plot of land. We quickly drove around the block and went around to the back yard and asked him if he needed help. He accepted and we helped him set it up in little under a half hour or so. It was good because we were able to show that we were there to help him. He even invited us to his birthday party to get a bite to eat.

I also tried blue crab, and discovered that I didn't care for it to much. I think it mostly because of all the effort you need to go through to only get a little amount of meat per crab. At least I can say that I tried it. FYI--The blue crab is the Maryland state crustacean.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 13, 2016

week 84

Where is the time going? It is already the last week of the transfer. It doesn't help that it was only five weeks long but it still went by really fast. Before long, it will be at the end of my last transfer of my mission. Next transfer will my companion’s last before he goes home.

We did a lot better this week than the previous weeks in the transfer, even though we had a day completely gone because of zone conference. We are not sure what made the difference, but I think we were determined to do better. We did everything we could to be more effective and then relied on the Lord to cover where we lacked. The zone leaders even called us to congratulate us on how well we did compared to what we were doing.

This is the last week that I am going to have President Anderson as my mission president. The new mission president is coming at the end of this week or the beginning of next. I am going to miss President Anderson, but I understand that it is his time to go and for him to give the reins to another person to guide and direct the work in the mission.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, June 6, 2016

week 83

June is finally here, and I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday that it was Christmas, and now we are about six months until Christmas this year. Time just keeps on pressing on if I like it or not. The closer it gets to the time I am to come home, the faster time seems to fly so my return date seems like it is coming faster and faster.

I have zone conference this week so that means that I have a three and a half hour drive to make in the morning. We have to leave around four in the morning in order to get to Cherry Hill, NJ on time. This will be the furthest I have ever driven before so that will be fun. We are not expecting to be back until at least 7:30, so it will take up most of the day. It is also going to be my last zone conference with President Anderson before he finishes his three years that he was called to preside over the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. When he goes home, he will have been my mission president for little less than twenty months.

It has been another hard week. We only taught one less active lesson this week. The only time I have taught this low a number was when I was called to serve in South Philadelphia/Center City. I really hope that this rough patch is going to be over soon because I know that we can teach over ten lessons a week here because I have done it here.

I hope that everyone is keeping cool. It seems like it has been really warm here the past couple of days. I remember that before my mission when the news said that the east coast was having a heat wave of over 90 degrees I thought they had to be crazy because I was used to the 105+ weather back home and it was not too bad. Now that I have been here, I know for myself that when humidity mixes with anything over 75 degrees it can be most uncomfortable. However, I shoulder on knowing that it could be worse and that I survived it last year so I can survive it this year.

Elder Bjerregaard

Dover Zone

Monday, May 30, 2016

week 82

It seems like we keep on going from one extreme to another weather wise. It was super bright and sunny a couple of days ago, and now we are overcast and rainy. I wonder if I have this to look forward to for the rest of the spring and then into summer.

I can't believe that it is almost the end of May. The year seems like it just marching on at a quick rate. It is amazing on how fast that it going some times. It seems like it was just yesterday that I got transferred here back in February and now we are almost at the end of May. I wonder if the last five months of my mission will go as quickly has these first five months of the year have gone by.

We have dropped a lot of people in our teaching pool lately. A lot of them we almost never meet with or they almost never keep their appointments. It is hard to watch the teaching pool shrink, but it is better for it to be small and we have solid and committed people that to have a lot of people that only hold their appointments a third of the time. It is also easier to have a smaller teaching pool because it becomes easier to plan because we don't have as as many people we need to think about, but we are always trying to find out more.

I am really looking forward to the Philadelphia temple dedication. I missed the Phoenix dedication because I left for my mission two and a half weeks before the dedications, but I will still be on my mission for another six or so weeks after this dedication. It definitely going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a temple dedicated in a middle of a city like Philadelphia.

Elder Bjerregaard

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Week 81

It been another week here in the PPM, and my new companion and I have gotten along great. Well we should because we were companions a year ago in Wilmington, Delaware. That is right, my companion is the one, thee only Elder Allred. We thought the assistants were joking when they first told us that we were companions. We get to spend another five weeks together. We have to wait to see if we are going to stay together the rest of his mission or not.

One of the hardest parts of being a missionary is when lessons don't hold. Quickly counting possible lessons from last week, we should have had twenty or so lessons, but only three of them held. I feel like that is one part that makes missions hard, setting up lessons that end up not holding.

I am seriously wondering if it will ever stop raining. It has been cloudy and raining for about a month now. I am told that this is pretty abnormal for here. I feel like it has rained more here in the past month than it does at home for a whole year. I am hoping it is like this during the hot months of summer so I will not die from the heat. One thing that I have going for me is that I am from Arizona, so I am used to high temperatures. At times it seems like it is worse here because of the humidity. I don't like to admit it when we are outside. I believe that when you think it is hot, it will just seem hotter.

Elder Bjerregaard

Elder Bjerregaard with is new "old" companion.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 80

It is the end of another transfer here in the mission. The big change for me with this one is that the sisters that started their missions at the same time as me will be going home tomorrow (May 17). From now on until I go home, I will be out longer than the sisters now going home. It is just a sign that my mission is getting close to the end, but I still have four more transfers and I am planning on working hard until my stake president tells me that I am released, and that I am no longer a full-time missionary. The second change for this coming transfer is that Elder Crowther and is getting transferred and I am going to stay in Cambridge, so I will be getting another companion to serve with for at least the next five weeks.

Another change that is happening in the mission is President Anderson is going to set up another zone. A zone is larger than a district and the largest division within a mission. It is going to be north of Reading. At the very least it’s going to include Potstown, Hazelton, and Lehighton.

The weather finally broke this week, and we have sunshine again. It seems like everyday for the past three weeks it was totally overcast. For a while I was beginning to believe that I was really called to the Washington Seattle Mission instead of the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. I feel like we got more rain during those three weeks that I would normally get in a year back in Wickenburg. Personally I hope that the weather is going to stay like this, but the way the weather has been for the past six months, I am not really sure what will happen.

Elder Bjerregaard

The District (The Sisters in the truck are going home 5/17)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 79

Sunday was my last time to call home while on my mission. I feel like I am on my "final" stretch now because from here it is a tight shot until October. The only major event left is General Conference in the beginning of October. I am sure that my family is not so secretly counting down the days until I get off the plane at Sky Harbor to be with them again. (Mom here ~ Yep, we are sure counting down the time. There are 169 days left!!)

From what my Grandma told me, the stake president over the Wilmington Stake will be the first temple president for the Philadelphia Temple. I served in Wilmington from April to July of last year. I remember seeing him a few times. It is interesting to see how things progress as the temple dedication gets closer. I would like to know what role I will have in the dedication, but I will probably not find out until the new mission president gets here (he begins on July 1st) and makes a decision on the matter.

For the better part of the time, it has been cloudy or raining for the past couple of weeks, and the forecast says that it might stay cloudy for this week as well. I am starting to wonder if I am in Cambridge or somewhere on the west coast of Washington (rain forest) with the weather we been having. It been nice that it has been cooler than it has been though.

I hope everyone is having a lovely time and hope you are getting ready for summer. For me personally I hope it is not going to be a hot one because I will be the one that will be out in it everyday. I cannot stay inside like “normal” people with A/C.

Elder Bjerregaard

Dover Zone

week 78

I can't believe that it is already May. The year is going by fast. In a couple months it will be summer again. I definitely believe that time is going faster every month. I like to say that someone keeps on pressing the fast forward on my perception of time.

It was a really slow week for us. Most of our lessons cancelled, which is disappointing, but what can I do? People do have their moral agency after all.

I would like to wish every mother a happy Mother's Day on Sunday. The world is a better place because of your selfless service you do in raising your kids and helping them through their life problems. Elder Holland gave an excellent talk about mothers in his October 2015 talk. It’s a good read.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, April 25, 2016

week 77

I can't believe that I hit my eighteen month mark this week, and the sisters that came out with me are on their last few weeks of their missions. Time seems to fly by, especially the longer you are out on your mission. I remember that the first six months on my mission went by relatively slowly, but this past six month period went by quickly, and now I am going to be starting my last six month period. I personally wonder how many new areas and new companions I will have for the rest of my mission. If my average continues, I will have two more companions and two more areas, but we will see.

We went on two exchanges this past week. The first one was with Elder Dean from the Salisbury Ward. He was in my district when I was in Linwood for a transfer so it was fun to be with him around him again. Nothing really interesting happened to us, but Elder Crowther and Elder Larsen found a couple of bedbugs in the Salisbury apartment. They put them in a jar and lit them on fire and recorded it, that was entertaining to watch. (Mom here ~ Boys will be boys.)

The next day I was in Seaford with Elder Weeks, a Spanish Elder. Turns out, he was Elder Covington’s companion in the MTC. I seem to be around a lot of Spanish missionaries that came out with that group. If I remember right, it came to five different Elders. The Spanish elders in Seaford also teach people in English unlike most Spanish areas. Spanish exchanges are fun, but one downside is when they teach in Spanish, all I really can do is to sit there and look pretty, but I really enjoy it.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, April 18, 2016

week 76

Things are finally starting to warm up here and stay warm. It has been a crazy winter and early spring, but I think Mother Nature finally told Old Man Winter that winter was over and it is time to start warming up and staying warm. Pretty soon though, probably around the end of May or beginning of June, I am going to think that it is getting a little to warm and ready for it to cool off again. One thing about missionary work, we go out no matter how hot or cold it is.

Last week for preparation day, Elder Crowther and I went bowling with a member of the branch. For most of the time, I was having a hard time getting any good frames, but on the last game I was able to get a little over a hundred and won that game.

We went on exchanges this pass week with the zone leaders. The zone leader I was with got trained by Elder Allred (a former companion). The mission seems so small sometimes. I feel like I know most of the missionaries by now. From what I heard, that is normal when you are around the middle of your mission, but by the time you go home, you don't know anyone again. I don't think that is true because I knew more than half the missionaries when I was about six or seven and a half months into my mission.

We had interviews with President Anderson this past Saturday. This was my last one with him. The next time I have an interview with my mission President, it will be another person. Because it was going to be the last time with President and Sister Anderson, they had us do what they have all missionaries do shortly do before they go home, namely signing their souvenir blanket and giving them our home mailing address and home email.

Shortly after having interviews with President Anderson, Elder Crowther had two baptismal interviews. So all in all, it probably took a hour and a half to two hours because of interviews.

Have a wonderful week. Remember that no mistake is too big that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can't fix. God be with you until next week.

Elder Bjerregaard

From left to right: Elder Holden, Elder Crowther, Elder Bjerregaard, Elder Lake

Monday, April 11, 2016

week 75

Has it really been seventy-five weeks already? Time is starting to run out faster and faster every passing week. Last week, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that it was not winter anymore, that or Mother Nature forgot to tell Old Man Winter that it was no longer winter. It has warmed right back to where it supposed to be this time of year.

It was a hard week this week because our investigators kept on canceling, or they were not there when they agreed to be there for us to come over. It is never easy when you have over twenty scheduled appointments and less than seven hold and we were able to teach them the gospel. At the very least that gave us more time to go find the people who will receive us and listen and act on our message.

I find that the hardest part of going out to talk to people, to see if we can find anyone who is willing to listen to our message, is finding people who will listen and act upon the message. Sometimes I feel like the simple commitment to read from the Book of Mormon is like pulling teeth. Some people just will not read it for one reason or another. Without acting on the message we have, they can never know for themselves if the message is true or not. I sometimes wonder why people invite us in, or more importantly back, when they don't intend to act on our message. Without the desire or intent to act, they might as well watch tv. I am sure watching tv is more entertaining than watching two twenty year old boys try to explain why the restoration of the gospel was needed and that Joseph Smith really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

My mind just goes back to the need of having real intent. Moroni teaches us in the Book of Mormon that without real intent, we can't receive answers to our prayers. I find that true with the people that I teach. People who has real intent in their prayers are the people who are ready to act on the message. As Jesus taught "If any man do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself". If anyone does "his will" with "real intent" and with a "fullness of heart" he will "know of the doctrine", and that it what I hope everyone will understand.

That concludes my rant about people acting on my message that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith. Through Joseph Smith the gospel was restored to the Earth and the Book of Mormon is a sure witness that it is true. We can get closer to God as we read the Book of Mormon and apply it to our lives, enter into sacred covenants, and endure to the end.

Now onto my week. We had stake conference this past weekend and it was really good. The first part of stake conference was people giving their testimonies. At least two of them were recently baptized and shared their journey into the church. It was interesting how Heavenly Father prepares his children to receive the gospel, no matter how religious they are currently are. One of them said that her journey into the church started years ago when she meet a guy at school. Through that relationship she requested a bible. She was ready for the missionaries to call asking if they can come and visit with her. The reason why she said yes is because she was told by her friend that they probably would be calling to set up a time to meet with her.

We never can tell how we will influence others to come unto Christ. It might just be something small like being friend to them, or just being friendly to them, or something as big has inviting them to learn about the restored gospel. The point is we should always be ready to do what Christ would do, that way they can come onto Him.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 74

It was a wonderful week, and ended with a wonderful conference.

It was a busy week for us this week. We received a referral from Mormon.org that someone requested a Bible, and of course we were glad to deliver it to her. As we talked, we sensed that she was ready for the gospel, but because of guidance from our leaders and because of our schedule, we were not able to share a "full" message, but we did share the first vision with her. She also had a friend over at the same time so that was awesome. When we were about to leave, we asked if they knew anyone who would benefit from and be interested in hearing our message. They both said that they would invite one of their friends to come over for the next time we meet with them.

Conference was really good in my opinion. There were many good talks, but I’m having a hard time remembering who said what. But I loved the topics; forgiveness, fatherhood, marriage, and family just to name a few. One of my favorite quotes from conference is, and this might not be word for word, "we need to choose the harder right than the easier wrong." In the world today, it is getting harder to choose the right because what is right is becoming more and more unpopular and the wrong is "becoming" right. There are things that the world now deems as "right" that many years ago was considered taboo. I am not going to name examples, but if you look carefully, you will be able to find them.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 73

April is almost here. It seems like these first three months of the year went by quickly. At this rate, the year will be gone before we know it. Everything is getting green here in Maryland, and I am sure other parts of the mission as well. Easter came pretty early this year, falling on the last Sunday in March. Happy Easter everyone!

The big thing that happened this week is that we had a special training outside the normal district meetings and zone trainings. President Anderson wanted to focus on teaching the Plan of Salvation better as it is normally one of the hardest things to teach people. The reason why it is so hard is that it contains so much doctrine that it can easily over people's heads if we don't teach it properly. The focus of the training is when we teach the Plan of Salvation, we need to focus on the creation, the fall, and the Atonement. When they are better understood, the other parts of the plan make better sense because people see how they fit in.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 72

Yesterday was the first day of spring, so my last winter on my mission is over. Winter was very bipolar this year. Over the course of this winter, the temperature went up and went down. Some days it was also to seventy degrees (around Christmas time), and other days it was below zero because of the wind chill (sometime in late January). I am hoping that this spring will stay warm, but not too warm where heat exhaustion can become a problem.

The most exciting thing we did this past week was to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. They had us finish a roof they were doing over a shed, and then pour cement bases for roof supports they are putting in later. We don't know how often we are going to be volunteering for them, but we are thinking about every other week.

I can't believe that it is the last quarter of school again. I remember that when I started to get my cap and gown that being a senior in high school really set in and I realized that my "regular" education was almost over. Now I am approaching my "senior year" (the last six months) of my mission. It probably won't feel to real that my mission is almost over until I get my flight itinerary (a.k.a. trunky papers) during my last transfer.

Fluid started to come out of my ears, so the mission nurse told me to go back to urgent care. I was told that I had “swimmer’s ear” which mean I have an outer ear infection. Everything is normal now, but I do have a constant ringing in my ear. I am hoping that it will go away soon.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 71

So we are on daylight savings time again in the mission. That means that I am now three hours ahead of the people in Arizona. It's the last time I will have to change my watch while on my mission. The next time I change my watch is when I change it back to MST when I come home from my mission.

I have bad news, and good news. Bad news, I have ear infections in both ears. (Poor guy.) Good news is that I have some antibiotics that will help take care of it. I will start feeling better after three days or so. The only symptom I have is pressure behind the ear drums, but it is really annoying.

I have read in one of the church magazines (I think it is the New Era) that sometimes we view ourselves like a wooden board. When we comment a sin it is like driving a nail into the board. Some people think that when we repent, we take the nail out, but it leaves a hole. What really happens is that we get a brand new board when we repent that perfectly matches the old one without the nails.

We had zone conference this past Thursday. One thing we talked about is the new Easter View, "Hallelujah.” It is a nice little video of about two minutes with young adults quoting from Handel’s Messiah concerning their testimony of Jesus Christ. If you have two minutes, please go to followhim.mormon.org and watch the video. Please share it on social media with your friends.

Elder Bjerregaard


Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 70

It has been seventy weeks already? I guess it is better that it is seventy than a hundred because if it were a hundred there would been only have four more weeks left. It is starting to get warm up here. From what I heard, it is normally mid-forties here, but it has been fifties or sixties. We might be able to take our sweaters off for a little bit this coming week because it is forecasted to be over seventy and we don't have to wear sweaters when it is over seventy.

First something cool that happened that also is sad. When we were walking around on Friday, a couple of A-10's flew over head. That is the cool part. The sad part is that I didn't get a picture of it. By the time I thought about taking a picture, they were already too far way to take a picture of them. A similar thing happened when I was in Linwood. An F-16 landed right in front of me, and I didn't think to grab my camera until his wingman also landed right in front of me. I just wish I got those pictures because they would have been awesome to have.

Last Monday, Brother Dayton took Elder Crowther and me out to see an old 17th century church. It is out in the countryside, and it is really peaceful. I personally just sat on an outside bench. I could just take in the landscape for hours is was so beautiful. It is right on a river so it has a beautiful landscape. He also took us to other places in Dorchester County. It was all very beautiful, amazing what it is like when you get away from where humans have built things and changed what was originally there.

Ok my funny, and somewhat confusing, story of the week. We were walking around a rougher part of Cambridge, and this man stopped us and asked us what we were doing. We told him that we are missionaries and that we going around sharing the Word. We told him a little bit of the foundation of the restoration. We had to go somewhere else and tried to leave, but he still wanted to talk to us so he wouldn't let us leave. He pretty much dragged us to a laundromat down the street where he "introduced" us to a couple of his friends. Elder Crowther started a conversation with this man’s friends while I continued the conversation with him. I was trying to explain why the family is the most important social unit, but somehow he twisted my words in his head. He then said we were trying to be like Hitler, and then said something that we are trying to get everyone under one family and it offended him. I am still confused how he connected strengthen the family so communities will be strengthened to Hitler and what he did. It probably has to do with the fact that he was drunk. We wished him a good day and continued to where we were going.

Elder Bjerregaard

A picture from Michael's last area (Woodstown).

Monday, February 29, 2016

week 69

It has been an interesting week. We got some good work done even though most of our appointments fell through.

We helped a part member family put on a new metal roof this week. We helped him tear off the old one last week, and then we helped him nail in the new one. We are not totally done, only got half of it done, but it is ready for the rain that is coming later this week. Putting on a new roof is something I didn't expect to do on my mission but it is fun anyway. I don't know when we will help him get the other half done. I smashed my thumb a couple of times with the hammer, but luckily it was only hard enough to hurt but nothing more.

We had a lesson with a someone who requested a Bible, and she is willing to listen to us. We are not able to visit her this coming week, but we are hoping that we will be able to visit her early the following week. She accepted the doctrines that we were teaching. She seems really willing to learn more about the gospel. We couldn't teach her the first time we meet her, but we did give her a Book of Mormon. She was reading it already before we were able to sit down with her and talk about the restoration.

President Anderson sat in on our companion study on Wednesday. I don't know what he intended to do, but it really turned into him training us a little bit instead of a companion study. I am not sure why he wanted to come, but he told us was interesting. He wants the whole mission to better use the email that we have as a companion to keep in touch with people that we are teaching and with the ward members.

Everyone, wish my companion, Elder Crowther, a happy birthday. It is going to be his birthday this coming Sunday, March 6.

Elder Bjerregaard

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week 68

This was my first week in Cambridge and I am loving it. I don't know why, but I instantly loved this area and want to work has hard as I can so I can help the work of the Lord to progress. From what I can tell I have two main cities in my area, Cambridge and Easton. So far, we have spent most of our time in Cambridge and we are meeting with a lot of success.

The members are really friendly here and want the work to progress. They are more then willing to come out with us to teaching appointments and help the people we are teaching learn more about the gospel. I feel as the Philadelphia Temple gets closer to being completed, and the open house dates get closer, they will take full advantage of the wonderful opportunity to invite their friends to come and see the temple.

My new companion is Elder Crowther. He is from Utah and has been out less than a year. I don't remember which but he has been in Cambridge for a transfer or two.

I am personally looking forward to Easter. I feel like this year, the church will put out a really good video that will help many people to come unto Christ and partake of His Atonement and become dedicated followers of Christ. I really love Easter time because it helps me remember what Christ did for me and how I can follow Him in a more perfect way that will bring me closer to Him.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 67

It has been a cold couple of days. From what I could tell, a polar cold front came through bringing a lot of wind. In the early morning or after the sun went down, the windchill was below zero, and when the sun was help it didn't want to give us its warmth like it normally does on a clear day. It’s probably going to be the coldest weekend of this winter, but we have to wait and see.

It turns out that I am only going to spend one transfer (six weeks) in Woodstown. Saturday night we got the call telling me that I am being transferred and got a call this morning saying that I am going to be transferred to Cambridge, Maryland. If you don't include that little bit of New York, I am going to be serving in every state that the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission covers. The only I haven’t been to is the little piece in New York and that is a Sister area. It’s probably going to stay a sister area because the Priesthood Restoration Site is in that area. I don't know why I move around so much. The average amount of time for missionaries in one area in this mission is three to four transfers, but I am averaging about two. I like to think that I have people throughout the mission that I need to personally touch. They live all over the mission, so I need to be moved often so I can get to all of them.

We had a less active member come to church yesterday. I stopped by a couple of weeks ago and just talked to him on his doorstep for a few minutes. Then I just forgot about it. It must have been the push he needed because he said that he is planning on coming next week and stay for the whole three hour block. Who knows, he might have been the one person that I needed to touch here. Now that he has decided to come back to church, I am now needed somewhere else.

Elder Bjerregaard 

Monday, February 8, 2016

week 66

It seems like it just started, but it is already the last week if the transfer. Time flies so fast as a missionary that if you blank, you might miss something important. It seems just like yesterday that I finished my training, but it been over a year since my trainer got transferred and I was paired with my second companion, Elder Bierman. Time really does fly quickly as you lose yourself in the work of the Lord.

We got some snow last Thursday night into Friday Morning. It wasn't much and it was mostly gone by midafternoon. Snow doesn't seem to last long here in South Jersey, and it is just the way I like it. To me it seems like it is colder when there's snow on the ground. It seems like it is slowly heating up, but it won't be until the end of February or March until it will be really nice outside. I have noticed a strange thing since being on my mission. When it starts to get cold in the fall you think it is really cold but when it starts warming up again in the spring, the same temperature you called cold in the fall becomes really nice in the spring.

The zone leaders asked Elder Lewis and I to do a ten to fifteen minute training on accountability for zone training this past Thursday. In case I haven't mentioned zone training before, once a month (normally the first Thursday but sometimes the second depending on when transfers happen) the whole zone comes together for a three hour training on what the zone leaders and President Anderson think we need to be trained on. Elder Lewis and I focused on the following up part of accountability and being proactively accountable. We discussed that we will all be held accountable in the end, and that the followers of Christ will be "anxiously engaged" and "do many things of their own free will and bring to pass much righteousness" or else they would be "a slothful and not a wise servant“. In the end, we committed them to be proactively accountable.

Elder Bjerregaard

ward building

Wilmington from New Jersey

Field that does a great job at summing up my area

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 65

I can't believe that January is already over. It seems like we just welcomed in the New Year and the first month is already over and we are into February.

It has been warm this past week. Every day it seems that the highs have been above freezing, so the snow we got the week before is melting quickly. Last night the forecast said that it was not going to get below freezing. When I looked out a window this morning, almost all the snow that was not piled is melted. The piled snow might be gone by the end of the week. I am surprised how quickly the snow is melting based on how slowly it melted when I was in Reading. So far, it seems like it will be a milder winter then last year. We will have to see what February and March brings. Last year it seemed like they were the coldest months.

We had an interesting lesson with someone that missionaries have been trying to meet with for months. They were having trouble because before the end of November there were sister missionaries here. They could not meet with him because there was never a woman there, and he didn't like setting up appointments. When we were inviting him the read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know that the Church is true, he got offended because he said that we couldn't say one church was true and another wasn't. To me that just testifies that we are to find and teach the people who will receive us and our message. The message is that the church that Jesus Christ set up on the earth was lost, but it is now restored to the Earth.

Mom here—Michael Tomlin, from his last area that he mentioned in his blog, was baptized January 31st.

Elder Bjerregaard

Monday, January 25, 2016

week 64

We basically didn't have our car for the whole week. There was body work that needed to get done that previous missionaries failed to do. So we didn't have our car from Monday to Friday and then with the snow storm, our car was grounded for most of the weekend. Due to our area, we pretty much had to stay in Woodstown the whole time. It is a three hour walk to the closest town. We did do the walk because we wanted to work in that town, and we couldn't get a ride there. After that walk we decided not to do it again because it took so much time. Now that there is snow on the ground, we will be having to walk through the snow.

We knew that the storm was coming about a week in advance, but we didn't know how bad it was going to be. The weather app we use does not give us specifics of what will be happening, only the chances of it. We were told on Thursday how bad it was going to be by President Anderson. The cars were grounded from about six in the evening on Friday until two or three on Sunday afternoon. We didn't get much direction on how to prepare, but as a missionary we are told to be prepared in case we are in an emergency situation. Luckily we didn't lose power during the storm, so the heat stayed on and we didn't freeze. I haven't been told an official number, but from what I have seen, I think we have gotten about two feet of snow. From walking around, it seems like they were trying to keep the main roads clear throughout the storm. The bishop thought it would still be good if he cancelled church yesterday because the residential streets were not being plowed as much if at all during the storm. There wasn't much to do during the storm other then walk around Woodstown helping people shovel their walks and drive ways during the storm so they wouldn't have as much to shovel after the storm. I am hoping that this is the first and only major snow storm this winter. Based on last year, things will start warming up around mid-March and most of the snow will be gone by then. I am looking forward to April and May when I don’t have to worry about the cold any more.

On Wednesday, there was a worldwide broadcast for missionaries that focused on teaching us that as missionaries; the main responsibility is to teach repentance and to baptize converts. We can do other things, but if we are not focused on what we are called to do, then we could be using our time better.

Elder Bjerregaard