December has always been one of my favorite months of the year, and that still holds true in Norway. Life is beautiful here, and I am so lucky to be where I am. The work is going slowly, but I am able to give everything that I am to the Lord, and I am living the dream for two years, so basically I can't complain too much. This week we had district meeting on Tuesday, we went driving with a driving instructor on Wednesday (I will be able to schedule a test as soon as I get the papers I need in the mail, so for the time being, I am just practicing, which is fine by me. I am not too worried about the test, though.) On Thursday we just had weekly planning and then banking all night, on Friday I was on splits with Elder Badger, so that was fun. We went to dinner with a really cool family named the Skovlys, and he is not a member, so hopefully we will be able to start working with him and get him into the church. They invited us over for Lille Julaften (little Christmas eve) and so life will be good with them. On Sunday we just knocked on doors, but we met a man named Ali who actually let us into the house, gave us dinner and drinks, and then let us teach him a lesson and took the Book of Mormon. He was really nice, but the problem is that he thinks that all religions are good and true, and it doesn't really matter what you believe in, so I don't really feel like much will come from that. So it has been a good week. It has been long, but I feel like we are serving God the best we can, and that is all that we can really do. So life is good here in Norway!
It has felt like Christmas here for the past month, which reminds me! I should explain about Norwegian Christmas. Christmas is different here. It is called Jul, and people start celebrating in November, basically, since there is no Thanksgiving here. The 23rd of December is called Lille Julaften, which means little Christmas eve, and the 24th, is Julaften, which is the main Christmas holiday. Everyone opens their presents that night, and that is when the celebrations are held. People hold hands in a ring around the Christmas tree and sing songs, and they eat Riskrem, which is like rice porridge or something. It tastes really good. On Christmas, they put an almond in and whoever gets the almond wins a Marsipan pig. (I actually have no clue what Marsipan is in English or if it is even a word, but it is just a type of candy.) There isn't really a 'Santa Claus' tradition here-instead they have Christmas elves called julenisser, and each house has it's own julenissen. But Santa has kind of immigrated over here over the past few years. After Christmas, they have 20 days of Christmas, starting on December 25th, and going into January. Norwegians love their Christmas!
I am doing better than I sometimes think that I am, and I owe it all to my Savior. I often find that throughout the day, my moods tend to change. Every morning I wake up, excited and ready to work, and I feel like nothing in the world could possibly bring me down or stop me from accomplishing my mission. However, life gets hard, and sometimes it isn't as easy as we at first may think it will be. Sometimes I get down, and the last thing I want to do is to talk to my Heavenly Father and tell Him how it is going. I don't feel like I should take the time to pray. But those are the moments we need to pray the most. If there is one thing I have learned on my mission, it is that prayer is powerful. Prayer changes hearts and minds and lets the Spirit into our lives. I am so grateful for the gift of prayer we have been given to guide us through this life.
I love you all and thank you so much for everything!