Monday, May 19, 2014

Gratulerer Med Dagen!

It is the 17th of May, and that is a big deal here in Norway. To give a little background to all the Americans out there who are only vaguely aware of where Norway is in the world (I was part of this group before I got called here), no Norway is not the capitol of Sweden :) But the 17th of May is a lot like our Independence day, because it is the day that Norway got their own constitution and became free from Denmark. This year is even more special because it was exactly 200 years ago in the year 1814 that Norway was granted its independence. The sad thing, however, is that only a few months later, in the fall of 1814, Norway was under Swedish rule as a type of province, and didn't gain its complete freedom again until 1905, but no one ever really talks about that anyway. 
On the 17th, there are all kinds of parades and celebrations, including a children's parade, a parade for all the citizens in their respective cities, and games and food at all the local schools, and after all that, they all meet in the middle of the city to sing songs, dance, and listen to a speech. It is a day for the all the women and a few men to dress up in their traditional bunads (if you have no idea what that is, take a look at the picture below) and the rest of the men to put on their best suits to celebrate. Everyone has Norwegian flags and sløyfer (a kind of ribbon to wear on your suit) and it is a lot of fun. The weather didn't exactly cooperate for us here in Narvik, but it was still a lot of fun and I enjoyed being a part of the culture for a while. There is so much rich history and culture, especially today on the birthday of Norway.

Me with my Flag and sløyfe!

the parade going by

A Norwegian woman with her traditional bunad. The facial expression is the best!

Another highlight of the week is that Kikka was baptized on Wednesday! She is such a special woman and it was wonderful to see her finally be able to make the promise to our Heavenly Father to always serve and love Him. She has gained such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon over the past few months, and she knows without a doubt that it is true. I am inspired by her testimony. After she was baptized, she came up out of the water crying, and I knew that her life was really changed forever. She meant the promises she was making and I know the Lord has big things in store for her. 

It has been a great week for us here and I love being a missionary. I know that everyone says that, but I honestly can't imagine anything that would be better for me right now than to be serving the people of Norway. What a life.

Thanks for all the love and support, I feel it every day. I am praying for all of you!

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