Monday, January 23, 2012

Some random paragraphs from my head.

Dear Family...I hope you like random thoughts!

January 17, 2012
I'm practicing my Norwegian vowels every morning. I have a recorder that plays over and over again... A E I O U Y Æ Ø Å. I feel just like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. I can hear Professor Higgins every time I get it wrong...which is often. After 8 months here the /Ɯ:/ and the /Ʉ:/ are still almost impossible. By the end of the Norwegian hour my jaw and my lips are tired. Then I walk out to the Bybane, sit down to a random stranger, tell them about the Book of Mormon, and if they are not interested we practice vowels together. I've gotten a lot of people to laugh. 

January 18, 2012
First, Happy Birthday Michelle! I've missed you mucho this week! I hope you have a good birthday. I'll think of you all day!

P.S. Marilee wrote me and told me about your hot, new car. Can you please pick me up from the airport? 

January 19, 2012 
Today Sister B and I saw the sun. We had to stop what we were doing and just turn to face it for a few minutes. I couldn't feel the warmth on my face yet, but I did see the whole sun. I haven't seen the whole sun since Sister S was here. That makes 2 times. I have seen the sun two times since I've been in Bergen. Kinda sad that I distinctly remember the times that I have seen the sun. We didn't worry about getting blind, we just look at the beautiul sun. We look right at the sun, and we were glad. 

January 21, 2012
I am witnessing a miracle in Bergen. P is nothing short of an absolute miracle. He doesn't like being such a miracle...but he can't even help it. 

Part of me wants to write it all down...but it would take time and work for the words to do the story justice, and still it would be hard to get it right. I write quick thoughts in my journal, but I can't give those parts away either, because without the whole story the wonder isn't there. The best way for me to explain it is with only a few words. He is a miracle. 

(I guess that is what happens when I'm an English major and think far too much about words.)

January 22, 2012 
Norway is the most Beautiful place in the whole world. When it is covered in snow it is splendid. We got out of the city to take P to get to know more members, and I'm not sure but I think they lived up in Heaven.  I cannot live in the city when I settle. I'm my father's daughter, total country girl. 

Also... I got some letters this past week from some very special people who I haven't heard much from. These letters made my week...maybe month. Thank you. I hope to write back as soon as I can! 

I love you all very much!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Yay! New Year's Day in Norway is the best! I had a real good Christmas and an even better New Year. There have been so many good things happening in Bergen. We are lighting this place on fire. 

A is every missionaries dream. He reads and prays, so he has a testimony whether he likes it or not. It is so cool to hear him talk about his own conversion story. It is my favorite one so far. He didn't even want it to be true, but as he read he just couldn't deny it, and it felt so good. The other day we went home with him to meet his family (which was incredible), and I explained to him that when he get the gift of the Holy Ghost this Sunday he will have that feeling all the time. His response what that he just can't wait. He is also preparing to get the priesthood the week after his baptism. His obedience and his dedication is something to be admired. I feel so lucky to be able to be one of the missionaries to teach him. Saturday will be a real good day in Norway. 

We also had a real good experience last week. For one reason or another we ended up in a place that we never really go. One of the random Bybane stops...Sletten...for those of you reading who know. It was, as usual, pouring rain. I was feeling a little goofey, the best for contacting, and I started making jokes about the rain and water proof shoes to the random stranger. I don't even remember what it was, but I thought I was a lot funnier than I most likely really was. Anyway, he seemed open enough so I sat down and asked him the big question...''Do you believe in God?'' He wasn't really sure, but he did admit that just before we came he had been thinking about God and prayer. Then I sat down and taught him about God and prayer. He said everytime he feels low and thinks of God he meets a Mormon missionary, but he never comes to hear our whole message. I was over that. I told him we were going to stay right here in the pouring rain at the bus stop and he was going to hear what we had to say. So we taught him about God and the restoration and the glorious Book of Mormon. Anyway, to make a long story short he has met with us everyday since then. He came to church, but got scared and didn't make it all the way in. I simply called him and told him he had to come back. He was glad that he did. You can tell the blessings of the gospel are coming into his life, and he really needs them so it is really nice to see. Everyday he gets a little more light. His name is P and he is a miracle. 

I'm getting real good at seeing miracles. I'm getting real good at having faith. I'm getting better and better at being an instrument.

Oh yeah, and then there was New Years. We had a party at the church and we stayed out until midnight. We played pictionary and had a treasure hunt and sang sing star or something. A was there with a friend for part of the night and P also came. At midnight we went outside to see all the fireworks, and let me tell you what, Norway knows how to do Fireworks. They were all over the sky. We light sparklers and toasted to the New Year. It was even better because I knew it was half way through the dark months. I'm almost there. 

It was real nice to call home. I think it was just what I needed. I don't feel homesick anymore, I just feel happy. 

Love You Mucho Grande.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A mid-december letter home

Hello All!

My e-mails have been real brief lately, for that I apologize. I am starting to feel a lot better. Thanks for all the e-mails and support. I love you!!

What has been happening lately?

We had a really cool teach the other day. Sometimes we meet people and get phone numbers that we don't really remember. This happened to me, so I called the name in my phone, *, and made an appointment. When we met him Sister Stevens and I were both surprised. He was over 65. We never teach seniors. Never. He sat down, told us a little about himself and his family. His wife and died 15 years ago. He still missed her, and it was cute. We continued to teach him the restoration, asking questions the entire way to make sure he was understanding. He understood it all. Then we asked him to pray. Although we had taught him how to pray, he still said the lords prayer. So we tried again. An honest conversation with Diety. Ask questions. So he started over. He said maybe 3 sentences, stopped, looked up, and told us his heart was burning. We were both thrown off guard because we hadn't taugh him a thing about how the Holy Ghost feels. He asked what it was and what it meant. Then he said a wonderful prayer. I want to keep teaching him so bad, but his kids don't like it. I talked to them on the phone and he told me his kids didn't want him to learn more. It made me so sad because he was so happy as he heard the message, and he felt the spirit with ease. I also know that the comfort he could get when it comes to his wife would be wonderful. We are going to meet him on Wednesday, so we will see how it goes.

On another note: We met a boy last month who has set a baptismal date for January. He actually took time to read The Book of Mormon... the ones who read find an answer. He said he got his answer before he was even ready for it. We are almost done teaching the commandments and it is going well. A 21 year old Norwegain who studies Geology; his name is *. I felt good about him from the contact. He will be the first person that gets baptized that I really remember exactly how the contact went. It was cool, I asked what meant the most to him, and he said the future. So I bore some testimony and asked him to come back to the teaching apartment with us. He came right then. He is a super good kid; I'm happy for him. Please keep him in your prayers, though.

Other things you might find interesting:
We had a Christmas party at the church. We wore goofy elf hats and sang and ate pinekjøtt and riscrem. The two investigators that came asked me to dance...and I felt so awkward and wanted to be in the hall for the rest of the night. Especially as I tried to explain to them that it isn't that I can't dance, it is just as a missionary I don't dance. Being a missionary is real awkward sometimes. One of our investigators is so funny. He is from Germany. He came and joined the choir and performed with us. It was real funny. But it kept him coming, and he even answered a question in Sunday School. He knew that temple work would ge going to on the Millenium- although he had no idea what temple work was. I could have died. 
We went hiking last P-day. I love hiking. I love fresh air. I thought of Ado almost the whole time. (You would have loved it). 
The grass is still very green. Even though it snows it rains often, too. The snow doesn't stay long and we just have green grass. Not the icy tundra I was expecting. It can get cold, but for the most part I'm okay. I do, however, wear two huge coats, two pairs of pants, tights, two pairs of socks, boots, a skirt, slip, between 3-4 shirts, a hat and gloves every single day. Needless to say, I'm feeling twice my regular size and can't wait for the day when I can wear cute flats and see my legs. Ha ha.
I love you all. I'm thinking of you and wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Everybody and their dog...

Yes, it is getting colder and darker by very noticeable degrees here. No, I don't love it. I miss the 24 hours of sunlight and sleeping with my beauty mask.

The following happened this week:

We were taking the bus from point A to point B. Søster G and I were sitting apart from each other in order to talk to people on the bus. Sometimes if we are having a good conversation we just stay on a little longer, so we try to keep an eye on one another. Once we got to point B I kept talking, but just a little bit. Just a second long linger. But it was a second too long, because Søster G didn't know that I had the intention to get off the bus. I hopped up, leaped through closing doors, and turned around just in time to see Søster G standing on the other side of the window looking at me with a look of shock. I lost it right there. I waved goodbye to her and started the long walk to the next bus stop. It really wasn't long at all, but took me twice as long because I was laughing so hard the whole way. People must have thought I had gone crazy.

One of my favorite parts of missionary work is helping people to stop smoking. You wouldn't believe how many people smoke and don't want to. It is my favorite part because you really can see them get help from the atonement. We tell them to drink orange juice, chew gum after eating, read from the book, and pray. And it works. They come back and talk about how good they feel. We are helping a Norwegian\Greek man about our age. I also like when we get to teach the younger kids about the commandments. In Norway you would have to teach no smoking starting at 8 at least to make sure it is early enough. I am still amazed by the number of things we do everyday when we know how bad they are for us.

We met a big old man from Spain who has my heart. He has met with missionaries before and says the funniest things in his half Norwegian half Spanish. (I can get any latino to give me their number, because I speak a few words of Spanish to them, melt away the Norwegian cold, and we are BFF. It is like we have some sort of understanding. I like it.) He told us he can't pray to God anymore because he fights with him too much. I wish I could take a picture of the moments that I am in and send them home to you. This week he is having us over for dinner and we are bring an old member Norwegian member with us. It should be quite the party.

Went to Oslo again this week. Sat next to an architect on the airplane. Thought of you, dad. The houses here are real different than the houses there. Super simple. It might be the future...maybe you could google it? I like the yellow ones. But I have always liked yellow houses.

Søster G and I work real good together doing missionary work. We get a lot of new investigators every week and are really good and keeping each other laughing. I'm wondering where all the super weird sister missionaries are, because I haven't met any of them yet. Poor girl though. Her camera got put in the washing machine. Mine only works every other time I turn it on, but I just shake it up a little and it works again. Neither of us are big picture takers. I think we have 1. Sorry, never been a strong point.

Another real good part of the week was teaching T, a 20 year old Norwegian, the law of Chastity. He almost died as we slowly named one more thing that was now forbidden. He is out of town but called us because he felt like he was losing the spirit. I wasn't planning on giving him the lesson, but he said he was trying to avoid alcohol, marijuana, and girls. He said B told him about the no girls, so I decided I might as well go into detail. By about the middle of the phone call he asked what he was going to do all day. I told him to get a job. : )

My favorite things to teach: The Plan and Commandments. I don't know why, but I love teaching commandments.

Boy, dad was sure on fire after my last e-mail... Sorry it was so short!

I miss you all mucho grande. Winter will be the hardest part. I'm still in Tronheim, but moves are around the tenth of next month. President said he will put me somewhere warmer because I never take my coat off, even inside. He said he was sorry that there was no places in Norway with palm trees.

Love you,


Monday, August 22, 2011


Moses is a blind, middle-age man from Eritrea. He was also the highlight of my week. We met him contacting and we asked if we could call him and come and visit him sometime. He said yes and invited us over.

One of my favorite Authors is Thornton Wilder. Thomas Monson, who must also be fond of Wilder, used an example from Our Town in one of his first talks as President of the church.  He explains, ''In the play Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and we read of the lonely grief of her young husband, George, left with their four-year-old son. Emily does not wish to rest in peace; she wants to experience again the joys of her life. She is granted the privilege of returning to earth and reliving her 12th birthday. At first it is exciting to be young again, but the excitement wears off quickly. The day holds no joy now that Emily knows what is in store for the future. It is unbearably painful to realize how unaware she had been of the meaning and wonder of life while she was alive. Before returning to her resting place, Emily laments, “Do … human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?” I remember being very struck by Emily's experience the first time I read Our Town. Every single moment of our lives is amazing, we don't, however ''realize life...every, every minute.'' But when we do, it is something that changes you completely. When we visited Moses, I realized life. 

We rang bell 3.2 on the outside of the apartment found over the old, local restaurant. The door unlocks and through the speaker we hear ''vær så god, third floor, end of the hall'' in Norwegian more broken than mine. Once inside his small, simple apartment, all three of us were in awe as we watched him scurry about. His tea making was amazing... pouring hot water into cups without spilling a thing. We sat on the couch, speechless. He had some African spiritual music playing, and before we started talking he went to turn it off. But this is the moment that really made me realize life. He paused before he turned it off to really listen, and to sing. I didn't understand a word of the music, but there was a strong feeling of peace that instantly came into the room. He looked nowhere in particular and sang from the bottom of his heart. I guess I just felt how beautiful his life was, and how much I knew he mattered. His soul is of so much worth, and we are lucky to have him here. We often talk of the beauty in nature or the beauty in music...but more beautiful than that is the beauty of another soul, another life. 

We have been to visit Moses 3 times now. He can't read The Book of Mormon, so we are kinda at a stand still because his Norwegian isn't too good. But, we ask him if we can help him with anything each time. This morning we went over just to help him start his laundry machine and fold his cloths. I love that I have a whole year left of trying to find opportunities to help people as they live their normal life. I am so glad in being a missionary.    

Finally, I'll being to Oslo on Wednesday for splits and a training meeting. Next Wednesday I will be getting my very own, brand new, fresh from the MTC missionary. And I am scared out of my mind. With not many sisters in the mission they don't have too many options, because training after 3 1\2 months isn't ideal. I'll need an extra dose of mail and prayers. 

Love you all! 


Monday, August 15, 2011

Blueberry Picking

No blog post this week because I wrote too much to individuals. Just post a few pictures. We had an activity where we took some investigators blueberry picking in the mountains with the young adults. I ate more than I saved and had blue hands and blue lips... I never thought this was part of missionary work! We have one investigator who this meant a lot to, so I'm glad we could go. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm safe!

In case  you haven't heard...I'm safe! I was worried about my poor dad who said that at least he would have to worry about me in Norway. Norway has really been affected by what happened last week. You can feel it out in the streets and when you go in to people's houses. The news is always on. This is a safe country where nothing this violent ever happens. As a missionary I don't see any news about exactly what happened but I hear about it from people and from our leaders. We have a special opportunity to be able to comfort the people here who don't know what to think when something like this happens. Yesterday we were visiting a member and I  shared a little spiritual thought about what I had studied in relation to what happened. We shared it after they had talked about the disaster. I really felt the comfort and love come in as I tried to share something hopeful. I never feel like I do a real good job...but we are qualified in our efforts. That is the most miraculous part. The church was open all day yesterday so people could come in if they wanted. We didn't have very many...but it was neat to have our doors open all day. Also, the church sent a letter to the Norwegian State letting them know that we would be willing to do anything to help. We have been asked to give blood; I'm pretty excited about that. My heart goes out to those who lost a loved one or who where otherwise influenced by what happened. It is a long road to finding a new normal, and even once you found it you never know when it will creep back up again and you'll have to try something new to fill the hole and readjust once more. 

There was a baptism here in Trondheim last week... and we did it in the fjord! V was turning 20 and wanted to be baptised on her birthday and in the fjord, so we did it! It was a really lovely day. It was supposed to rain but it stayed sunny and the fjord is always amazing.  She felt so happy after. Baptism days are the best.  

At the same time my heart is real broken this week. People are just disappearing and it makes it real hard. You open your heart up a lot to these people and when they are suddenly gone it hurts bad, but then you have to do it again and again. I never knew you could meet so many people and make so many friends in such a short amount of time. It will be hard when I have to leave here...and the longer I am here the harder it will be. The city I'm in isn't too big, we talk with so many people that it is pretty common for us to run into at least one person we know when we go out...when we find time to even contact. We are teaching a lot of people now...missionary work comes and goes in waves. Or I guess you could say, when it rains it pours. 

Also, I saw some pictures of my niece and she really grew. I don't feel like I've been gone that long at all, but by the look of those picture I've been gone more than just a few weeks. That time is flying here is real good. It means I'm loving it, and I am. I thought earlier this week that they will have to pull me kicking and screaming away from missionary work...but I have to be honest...when I saw pictures of my family I thought maybe they'll have to pull me away just crying. Is it possible to have them both?

I love the gospel and I love how happy I am.