Well Everyone, This is it. My final hours in Norway are quickly approaching, and I don't really know what to think. I am so excited to see everyone I love again, but I struggle with the thought of leaving all the people I love so much here. I love my purpose as a missionary. I love finding, teaching, and baptizing. Luckily, none of that has to end when the tag comes off :) I have learned so much over the past two years. Sometimes I look back at that young kid who arrived in Norway: inexperienced, excited, burning with a desire to serve, maybe a little prideful. Boy have I changed as I have been put through the refiner's fire. Sometimes I don't recognize myself. I have learned more about who I am and I have seen so many people change their lives because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have learned to plan and set goals and work like crazy until they are achieved. I have learned to laugh through the hard times. But I think my favorite lesson I have learned in this wonderful country is the way that God speaks to me through His Spirit and the way that Spirit works on and through others. There is nothing that could be so valuable in life as the ability to recognize and follow the Holy Spirit. Not just any Spirit - a member of the Godhead whose specific assignment is to help us through our lives in a way that only He can and only a loving Father in Heaven could provide. I am committed to following Him diligently for the rest of my life, and I can't wait to see the experiences I continue to have.
And to add to all of the sentimentality of the bittersweet moment, we were able to have a baptism this week. Elisabeth made it! I am so proud of her, and I can't wait to see the growth she continues to make as she works toward entering the House of the Lord and making covenants with Him there. There was some drama leading up to the baptism (ask me when I get home), but the meeting was so special and there was such a sweet spirit there. It was wonderful to watch the ward members take her in so perfectly as the symbolic culmination of all of my efforts here in Stavanger. What an amazing thing a baptism is. It is essentially the culmination of everything that missionary work is. The missionaries and the members working together in concert to help a person make one of the most important commitments they will make in their lives, and the Spirit is so strong every time. I love this work.
I am really sad as I say goodbye to everyone and everything I love, but I know that there are good things to come. Here is a quote I love: "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." I am ready to keep moving, because in this church, it is always onward and upward. Moving forward toward our eternal home. These have been the best two years of my life so far, but I know that I have so many more amazing years to come. Life is so good :) I have appreciated all of the support I have received on my journey, and I can't wait to return the favor. I guess we will see you all in the states! Or wherever you happen to be :) Godspeed to all of you. I love you all!
Signing out for the final time,
Elder Dallin Bruce Childs
|The Redfords, as well as Casper next to me on the right.|