Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey, so it's been a while, because I was way too busy last week to
find any time at all to sit down and write about the week. We just had
way to much celebrating to do! If Norwegians know how to do anything,
it is definitely celebrating Christmas. We have been over to what
feels like every member in the ward, eating way too much
rice.....porridge and rice....cream. Wow, it sounds kind of gross when
you say it in English, but risgrøt and riskrem are definitely two of
my favorite things about the Norwegian holidays. They cook rice with
milk until it becomes like a porridge, and then they add butter,
sugar, and cinammon, and then you have delicious risgrøt. To make
riskrem, they just take risgrøt, make it cold, add cream, and eat it
with raspberry sauce, and I think it might be one of the best things

One tradition that Norwegians have is to put one almond in the risgrøt
or riskrem when they prepare it, and whoever finds the almond in their
portion gets a pig made out of marsipan. Why it is a pig and not some
other shape or animal? I'm not sure. This year, I got the almond, so I
ended up with one more sweet thing to eat. Which reminds me, the ward
in Oslo gave all of the missionaries Christmas presents, and I ended
up with 10 big bars of chocolate and a lot of other small chocolate
things, so I think that I will be really lucky if I get out of Norway
weighing less than 300 pounds. I can't complain about being well taken
care of, though, and the members here are amazing.

One thing that hit me this Christmas was how much joy we really get
from giving. For every other Christmas of my life, I have been focused
on what I want to receive and what my plans are, and what my "perfect"
Christmas would be. And I have had a lot of good Christmases. I have
received a lot of cool things, and I have even given a lot of great
gifts, but there has been something missing. This year I didn't expect
to get anything from anybody and we weren't quite sure if we would
even have a place to go on Christmas, but it was all okay because I
knew that I was here serving the Lord regardless of what happened, and
that I was doing my best to give something back to Him because of the
wonderful gifts He has given all of us. I still am, actually. There is
nothing like the peace and joy that come from giving of yourself for
the sake of others, and doing it for no other reason than love. The
Savior has said, "Greater love hath no man than this; that he layeth
his life down for his friends." Jesus Christ has laid down His life
for each and every one of us so that we all can take ours up again. I
know that at the last day, I want to be able to be counted worthy to
be numbered among the Savior's friends, so I will give my life, even
lay it down, for His sake. I know that as we do this, we will be
filled with the pure love of our Lord and Savior, and that the peace
and joy that will come into our lives will be beyond compare. I love
you all, and hope that you have a happy new year!

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