Monday, July 14, 2014

Halfway There -- Living on a Prayer

Well, it's been one more week, and this week was a special one, because it was my Hump Day this week! Pretty exciting stuff. The day included waking up at 2:45 a.m. to catch an early bus to get on a plane that was hopefully going to get us to our connection in Bodø on time to go to a zone meeting, but that's a story for a different day. Let's just leave it with the fact that it is really difficult to travel in and out of Narvik sometimes. We had a good meeting, I saw some of my friends, ate a really great Kebab, and then got back on a plane to go home. It was a pretty great day. But one year. That is a crazy thought. One year is a long time and it is a short time. So much has happened and I have learned so many things, but at the same time, I feel like it has gone too quickly; that I have too much to do and too little time. One year of being a full-time servant of the Lord. One year of learning who I am and how to overcome that. One year of being a crazy, stressed-out, fun-loving missionary in Norway. It has been the toughest year of my life by far, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I love my mission and I love everything about serving the Lord. There is nothing like it. If any of you are considering it, do it. I can guarantee you won't regret it.

We have been helping this American lady named Kelly to learn the language lately, and this week we had our last visit with her. She is from Texas and moved here to live with her boyfriend. He had noticed that the missionaries learned the language really fast, so he called us and asked if we could help. We accepted and it has been a lot of fun to get to know them and be of service. They aren't super interested in the gospel, but we have been able to make a good impression on them about the church and I have enjoyed doing it. They are now visiting Texas and after that they will move to a different part of the country, so who knows if I will see them again.

My hump day! We didn't do anything all that big, but the night before, we bought ice cream and ate it while we watched the best two years. It was fun and good to be able to think about the last year and how good it really has been.

Traveling to Trondheim. We had a zone meeting during which the assistants talked about missionary skills and how we can improve them and practice them. It was a good meeting and it lasted the entire day, and it was good to see the other missionaries and have a chance to really practice things. President was conducting interviews during the meeting, and when it was my turn, he called me to be a zone leader this next transfer. He wouldn't tell me where I will be serving, but I am moving on the 23rd, and I am excited for the opportunity to be able to serve more missionaries and hopefully help them to be better and come closer to Christ. It is a wonderful opportunity and I am excited to serve. I will find out on Sunday where I will be serving.

In church yesterday, we only had 3 members from our branch, but we had 25 people in church. There were a lot of members from other parts of the country visiting and it was really good to see them all. We even had a family from Finland, and they had 8 kids who all looked like they were between the ages of 1-8. It was good to have so many people, but it caused a slight problem for us because we didn't have enough space for everyone! It was even worse because the main room at the Red Cross building where we meet is being renovated, so we meet now in a room upstairs which is pretty tight. We brought in a lot of extra chairs, but we still had people sitting out in the hall, and it was really tight. Everyone is out of town right now, so I conducted and presided at sacrament meeting, and also gave the talk, and Elder Forsberg taught Sunday School and blessed the sacrament. I hope the members aren't sick of hearing from us yet! It's a lot of fun :)

We were finally able to visit Inge and Gro again last night, and it was a good lesson. We recommitted Gro to pray about the Book of Mormon, so I am expecting her to get an answer about it this week. She already believes strongly in answer to prayer, so that is a really great start. As we were leaving, they invited us to drive to Lofoten with them, which is arguably the most beautiful place in Norway, and I was going to say yes, but unfortunately president said no when we called to ask. I was really close to getting there at least.... I will have to go after I get back :)

We kind of had a rough week because literally everyone is on vacation right now, but we are working our hardest and seeing miracles. We find people when I am ready to believe there is no one to find. We teach lessons at the very moment before I give up and say, Let's go back for the night. It's always that "one more door," or "one more time." Sometimes in life, I think that God lets us walk to the very edge of our ability and our understanding--or maybe even a little bit into the fringe of darkness surrounding us--before He opens the windows of heaven to lighten our way. It is easy to get frustrated when we feel neglected or left to our own devices, but really it is a divine stroke of brilliance. God lets us walk according to our own understanding because that is how we learn; that is the only way we can grow. Even though it is hard and our fears lurk in the darkness, it is only by walking with faith that dawn will follow the darkness that we can learn to trust in His light. Sometimes we are called upon to hold our candle for the world even though the wind blows and the world does everything it can to extinguish our flame. But God will never let that happen. If we rely on Him, we will find that He will always be there to give us a little extra fuel, or to show us the next few steps of the way. I have had to rely on the Lord to do everything I have been asked to do for the last year, but that is why I have learned so much. No one ever learned anything because they had it easy.

To all of you who feel like the darkness is almost too much to handle, hang in there, the Lord is on the other side, calling us gently to Him. I know it, I hear His voice. I love you all, just keep on keeping on, because in life, every day is a battle, but every night is a victory. I love you!

We went and hiked around in the mountains this morning and found a little lake in the middle of nowhere! It was pretty cool, so we decided to take some pictures :)

 Elder Halvorsen and I on our Hump Day in Trondheim.

The district for our final district picture before we get transferred. Sad day! 

Norway from the air :) 

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