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!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pictures From Elder Rasmussen

These were in my email inbox this morning...not sure what they are, but fun to look at nonetheless...Alice

Mountains to Climb

Okay, so I am really sorry that I wasn't able to send you guys an email yesterday. I wasn't on the ball enough to realize that this week we were going to change our p day to today, because we went to tour the Freia Chocolate Factory. It was really awesome, I bought way too much chocolate, we made our own chocolate, and we learned about the origins of chocolate and how it is made. We had to wear hairnets and lab coats, and I felt exactly like an oompa loompa from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. But it was a lot of fun, probably the best p day I have had yet. And the best part was, the tour started early in the morning, so we finished and still had all day left to do pday things! Today has been a good day.

Other than that, it has been a pretty normal week. But it has been a good week. We found a new investigator from the Ivory Coast named Michel, who is pretty interested, and is going to introduce us to his fiancee on Thursday. Hopefully things will go well with him. We also met a man named Christian who really turned his life around because of Christ, and is really interested in talking to us. We will be teaching him tonight, and I am really excited because we are good friends as well. I really feel like things are starting to turn around here, and I truly believe that we can do anything here with the Lord's help. So the work is exciting. The mission has a lot of momentum right now, and we are going to keep it rolling into the new year. We have had 12 baptisms already this month, which is a great number for Norway, so things are going really well.

But, I have some news. After the meeting, President Evans interviewed everyone, and during my interview, he told me that I am going to be the new district leader in Oslo. I was really taken aback when he told me that, because I wasn't expecting it at all. I am still really young in the mission, and Oslo district has a lot of problems, but I am ready to rely on the Lord and let Him help me through this next phase of my life. I am excited to see the things that He has in store for me. But, that means that I will be here in Oslo until at least February, and maybe even longer. By the time I am finished here, my mission will be at least a quarter of the way over! I can't believe it, but I am happy, because Oslo is my home now. I am happy here. 

Yesterday in our zone leader training meeting, President and Sister Evans talked with us about climbing Mount Everest and the things that people have to do to get up that crazy mountain, and related it to the things that we have to do as missionaries, especially now when it is so difficult here in Oslo for us. The meeting did two things for me: gave me all kinds of faith that the Lord is going to help us to overcome this challenge, and made me want to climb Mount Everest. I want to get to the top of the world and see what it is like. I feel like I need to do something to prove to myself that my self discipline can overcome everything else :) It just sounds exciting to me.
I know that, although we all have our own different mountains to climb in our lives, the Lord is always there, helping us each step of the way. Our challenges will always be different, and we can never know what to expect- sometimes we are asked to walk the icy path, sometimes we must cross a gaping chasm in the road, and other times we are faced with sheer cliffs in our way. Regardless of the obstacle, if we show our diligence, determination, and our faith in the Lord's promise to deliver us, we will always come out stronger on the other side. I have experienced this on my mission and throughout my life, and I know that the Lord is there for us. I am so grateful that He died for our sins so that He could help us be stronger. I love Him, and my mission is to align my life with His.

I love you all, and I hope that as we spend this week preparing for Christmas, that we will all be able to remember what it really is that matters- the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Have a great week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doing the Lord's Work

Just got this sweet note and a picture from Sister Rasmussen, who is serving with her husband at the YSA Center in Oslo:

"Thought you would like to see the worldwide work that is going forth and your son is a great deal involved in it -love it! !  -beautiful-"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cold, Snow, and a Lot of Norwegian Christmas

It snowed for the first time this Sunday, and I loved waking up to see the snow outside my window. However, I think I may have mixed emotions about it, because as much as I am enjoying the snow right now, once it snows here in Norway, it snows and it doesn't leave until May. But that is alright, because it couldn't be more beautiful, and what would winter in Norway be without snow?

This week we have been working hard and trying to share "et gledesbud til verden," or joy to the world with everyone that we meet, but no one seems to want to be happy! It is the oddest thing. So we are just trying to mix it up and find things that people want to hear about. One night this week, we took small gingerbread cookies along with us, and in between every house we didn't get let in to, we each ate one cookie. It is safe to say that we both ate a lot of cookies by the time we were finished, but it was a great way to have a good time while doing missionary work. I really think that is what it is all about. Enjoying life while we are doing the hard things. There must be some kind of secret to that. 

Basically, the only reason that I am here is because I know that Christ lives and loves us, and wants every single one of us to have a chance to receive the gospel. That's it. If I came here to see Norway, or because that was what my parents wanted me to do, or because I simply had nothing better to do, I would have been on a plane home a long time ago. But we have the truth, I have been called by God, and He is my strength and my life. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of God upon the earth today. That is all there is to it, and when everything else we have is stripped away, it is alright, because it is the truth. We have the truth. Come and see the hand of the Lord in the lives of His children. That is the message we are sharing with the world, and it will go forth unhindered until the day when He comes again, clothed in the glory of the Father. These things I know.

As always, I am so grateful for everything you all have done for me. I feel your support and your prayers, and you are all an answer to my prayers in some way. So thank you. I love you all, and Merry Christmas!

An amazing Norwegian Sunset

Me and Elder Tate

The King's Palace 

First Snow of the Year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's December Already!

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!