Monday, June 17, 2013

A New Companion and My Norwegian Heritage

Hello everyone!

This week was my 23rd Birthday!  I appreciate all the letters and support from everyone.  Many Gratulere Med Dagen wishes and some amazing gifts.  It's made my 23rd birthday really special to me being able to spend it in Norway!!  I got an external hard drive from my parents and a 23rd birthday book of some great memories I've had here so far, with an awesome member family!

I continue to love this place more and more. We just had a moves call, where my trainer and I are finally parting ways.  I am continuing to serve in my area (Sandnes) and will be getting my new companion Eldste Torjussen - he is Norwegian! (Originally from Kristiansand).  He will be the District Leader and I will be serving as Senior Companion, but the awesome thing about it is that he will be coaching me - so I'll be learning so much from an experienced, Norwegian-native missionary.  I forgot to mention he is 6'7 and I am 5'7, so that foot difference is going to be an awesome dynamic as we serve together.  It's going to be pretty awesome talking to people on the street with a short French kid and a tall Norske kid.  I love it!

This past week I received a letter from my aunt Mary, who lives up in Minnesota ('the closest you get to Scandinavia without being in Scandinavia').  She included a short history of my ancestors who had originally come from Norway.  They were a humble people who grew up working and trying to provide for their families.  They were God-fearing people.  They believed Jesus Christ to be their Savior – through all their trials they learned to trust in Him.  I am grateful to be from this amazing heritage.  I am grateful to represent them back in the land of our heritage.

We've had some good teaches this past week with investigators, less-actives, and members.  We enjoyed a nice traditional Norwegian dinner . . . with fried fish! I have to say that that was my first time eating a traditional Norwegian fish dinner and it was really really good.

The best part of my week was probably yesterday at church when I was able to see all the seminary students being recognized during Sacrament.  It brought back a lot of memories for me.  I used to wake up at 5:50 every morning during high school to attend seminary at 6.  My school didn't actually start until 9:30 - but every morning from Freshman year to Senior year we were at church at 6.  It led to some of the best memories I have, driving some of the kids home and being able to spend time learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ every day.  It led me to realize that the calling of seminary teacher would be a big sacrifice, but also a large blessing by helping the youth understand the importance of the Gospel in their life.  At times you take it for granted - all that you have, but then you start to realize the importance of it.  This Gospel is important.  It's special.  As we make the necessary sacrifices to strengthen ourselves spiritually, we allow ourselves to become immovable.  I often wonder how I have accumulated so much happiness as a missionary - and I realize it is because I have been able to sacrifice my life, give up what I had - to trust that God knows the best path for me.  Trusting that my Heavenly Father can lead me on a path to unlimited potential and happiness - it's brought a strength that I've never felt before.  I love this work, I know we can all trust in our Father in Heaven - and that He will provide us with pure happiness. 

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