Monday, March 10, 2014

Avoiding the Sand

Another week in the books for this missionary in Norway, and life is
feeling great. The week flew by between our teaching appointments,
trying to help some recent converts from Spain who have nothing figure
out what they are going to do to survive here, and trying to use our
time to find new investigators, I don't really remember much of what
we did this week. Which is usually a good sign, because it means that
we worked hard and got a lot accomplished. Missions are weird things
because the time goes crazy fast until you start thinking about it, at
which point it stops completely. But it always starts going fast again
sooner or later.

Norwegian class went pretty well this week, we had three people who
came. We put out some more fliers this week, and I wasn't expecting
many more people to show up the first time. I think it always takes
some time for these things to get started. I think that with something
like language class, a lot of people will hear about it by word of
mouth, so it will grow as we go along. But it was interesting teaching
people the language, because it brought back a lot of my own memories
from the MTC, and how impossible I thought it was to learn this
language. It is way interesting now, because I am really comfortable
with Norwegian. I don't have any problem communicating or
understanding, so now I am really working on my accent. Norwegian is
such an interesting language- a lot of foreigners say that they almost
sing here- and it is proving to be difficult to copy. I am
understandable, but my goal is to sound like a Norwegian by the end of
this. So I am going to need the gift of tongues :)

Our appointments with people went alright this week, we have a few
people who are progressing, like Rhoda, Messay (a man from Ethiopia)
and Jan, (a Norwegian who converted to Islam a while ago but is always
willing to try new things) who we can meet with and teach, but I just
don't feel like I have really met someone yet who is just incredibly
prepared and really ready to become a solid member. So the search
continues. An interesting story, though, is that we met a lady named
Inger from North Norway this week. We taught her, and apparently she
had met with the missionaries up in a city called Alta, so she was
familiar with Book of Mormon and knows that it is true. The problem is
I think she is a little bit crazy and kept talking about her "gift,"
and that she does things around kids that scare adults, and she said
she wouldn't be baptized, so I am not sure that we will be meeting
with her again. You meet all kinds of crazy people on a mission!

Sometimes it blows my mind to think of the experiences that I have had
over the past 8 months, and the ways that I have changed. Not only
have I changed personally, but the things around me in my life are
completely different. Everything that I used to get joy and comfort
from are gone, and I am left with no choice but to rely on my Savior.
So missions are actually pretty ingenious in that way, actually. But
this experience has taught me one of the most valuable lessons that I
think we can learn in life. I think that it is the secret to happiness
despite the crazy world all around us. The lesson is this:

No matter how much we love something or how passionate we are about
different things in our lives, if we build our foundation on them, we
are bound to fall at one point or another. That includes our careers,
it includes our hobbies, and it even includes the people we are
closest to in this life, like our spouses and families. We cannot
count on anything to always be there, so when these things fall or are
not there any more, we will crash and burn with them if that is where
our trust lies.

Pretty depressing, I know. But the great thing is, there is something
upon which it IS safe to build. And that is Jesus Christ and the
gospel He teaches. When we center ourselves on Him, then we are free
to give more of our love to the people and things in our lives, and we
will ultimately be happier in every case.

I guarantee it.

So missions are a genius way to help with that, but I think in our
normal lives, the ultimate quest is really to seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, so that the things we love can be added
upon and improved.

I am so grateful for the rock of the Gospel we have been given to
build on. I love you all, have a wonderful week!

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