So I could swear that I only got here to the MTC last Wednesday, but 6 weeks have snuck by, almost without my knowledge, and we are already to my last post before I will leave for Norway. It has been a very exciting week for our district, for obvious reasons, and at times it has become difficult to focus. Our mission president has already decided in which area we will be serving and with which elder. I am so close to Norway! It is nerve-racking for me to think about, because I could not be more excited to live among the Norwegians, yet at the same time more nervous.
For all you who are not as knowledgeable about Norway, here is a little side note. The official language of Norway is called Bokmål, and that is what 80% of the people speak. This language is best exemplified by the way people sound in Oslo, and is what I have been learning for the past 6 weeks. However, if I am assigned to serve in Trondheim in the east, Bergen in the west, or in a number of areas in the north, I will have to learn to speak and understand a completely different dialect. Even other Norwegians have problems understanding each other at first, so we will see how that goes... I guess we will know in a week!
Oh yes, that reminds me, we received our travel plans this week! My flight leaves at 2:30 pm, and we are going to be leaving the travel office at the MTC at 11 am. So nice not to have to rush in the morning! My flights are as follows:
Leave SLC at 2:30 pm
Arrive Dallas/Ft Worth, TX at 6:10 pm
Leave Dallas/Ft Worth, TX at 7:55 pm
Arrive London Heathrow, England at 11:00 am
Leave London Heathrow, England at 1:05 pm
Arrive Oslo, Norway at 4:15 pm
That is such a long time to be on a plane, but it is going to feel like heaven after so much sameness...
Since we are leaving this coming Monday, it has been and will be a week full of a lot of lasts. I did my last load of laundry this morning, it is my P-day, and it is the last time I will go to the temple for two years. Our last class with our teachers is right around the corner, and pretty soon it will be the last time I see the server in the cafeteria who always smiles at me and asks how Norwegian is coming. This week full of lasts has been bittersweet, but it has turned my thoughts to another who knew His time was running out as well, even Jesus Christ.
I think we can learn a lot by examining the Savior's life and the things HE chose to do just before HE died. We are taught the things that are most important, and we can hopefully apply His perfect example to our own lives. Soon before His final descent into the agony of Gethsemane, our Lord called together His beloved apostles, and shared with them the last supper. During the course of the evening, Christ instituted the sacrament and introduced the symbolism of this our most sacred ordinances in the church. Jesus carefully explained to these relatively new followers of Christ the ties between the sacrament and the atonement which He would soon perform. In later words to these men, He charged them to go forth, teaching all nations, preaching repentance, and helping them come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. This was the charge then, and I am a witness that it is the charge now.
How well do we perform this our sacred duty, as we have received it from the Son? I think in the field perhaps too often the focus is on baptism, and, once that goal is reached, the work stops there. But that is not how it should be. Baptism is the gate whereby we enter in to access the atonement, but it surely is not the end. It is the beginning of a journey of life-long conversion and enduring to the end. Therefore, as missionaries we must be mindful of our true purpose, which is for all to reconcile themselves with God and receive a remission of their sins. In other words, this is the purpose of our missionary purpose.
Now, I realize that most of you are not full-time missionaries, so how are we doing with this ourselves? Did we receive baptism and then proceed to coast through life, or do we press forward in faithfulness, converting ourselves to the Lord and continually repenting and coming back to Him? Do we truly use the atonement the way it was meant to be used, every week, day, and hour that we need to be more like Christ? The atonement is not confined to those bad people who are trying to be good. It is also extended to those who have not done anything wrong and are worthy, but are trying to be better. I hope that as we begin to truly understand the true extent of what Christ has done for us that we will be able to use it more effectively in our lives, and, through our examples, invite others to use it as well. Missionary work is all around us, so never miss out on an opportunity to share with someone the glad message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all, and my next post will be coming from Norway! Woot Woot!
Until then, hade!