Monday, August 19, 2013


Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
  "It is more important to not shrink than to survive." -Elder Maxwell
      Family!!! Millie took her first steps! Are we all freaking out about this? I feel we should. I died when I saw the video! She is so cute and so big! When did this happen? I can't even tell you how happy I was to see that you sent me that video, and that you thought of me. I feel so lucky to have a family like you guys. You include me in everything!!! I never feel left out! I am just so excited! The family is getting so old and presh. #cantgetoverthis 
       Also, Dad sent me a RAD email. This week I made it a goal to try to bring RAD back. I don't know how it's going though.... it's a hard one. I'll keep working though. Seriously though, I wish you were all on missions so that you could get Dad's good sweet emails. He just talked about Mom and how much he loves her. I have to marry someone like him. Man, we are lucky. We have amazing parents. The more I teach people the more I realize how lucky we are to have a family like ours. #lovethis
         So transfer calls were yesterday. Oh man guys, I was sick to my stomach! I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew that the moves call was going to be HUGE, but I didn't know where I would be going. I really had zero desire to leave. At 730 am yesterday we all got on a conference call. Can you imagine a conference call with 100 teenagers dying to know where they are going? It's like opening your mission call all over again. They do it by zones, and I am in the North Zone, so I knew if I stayed I would have to survive 3 other zones. Søster Hilton and I both survived. WE'RE STILL COMPANIONS!!!!!!!!! I about died when I heard we were still together. I LOVE Søster Hilton. She is amazing, and honestly just like an extension of my brain. We are very different, but so similar too. She reminds me a lot of Heather actually. When we are together with our district we just die laughing because it really is like we are in our own world. We have so many inside jokes and we just pick up on all these little things that everyone does and we just laugh. I think everyone probably thinks we are crazy, but Søster Hilton and I love to laugh. She can do these accents that seriously change my life. Man, I am so happy we are staying together here in Trondheim! We have so many cool things going on here, and we plan to have 3 baptisms this transfer! It is going to be AMAZING! 
         Some crazy things are going on in the mish. 64% of our mission has been here 6 months or less. We are a YOUNG mission. With these new missionaries coming in on Thursday, President really changed things up. So usually we have a companionship of Zone Leaders, then another companionship where one is District leader and then the other is just junior companion. This helps to share all the responsibilities, but because we are so young we are switching things up. We are one of the first missions to do this. Now, our Zone leaders will be split up in two different championships. So Elder Leighton and Elder Jones are our Zone Leaders now, but they will be in separate companionship's. They both will be training 2 brand new missionaries. And Elder Jones will also be our district leader. Kinda crazy! Lot's of responsibility on everyone. Elder Jones is my hero though, so he will be perfect for it. We are getting 3 new greenies to the district. Søster Knapp is training a girl from Norway. She was in my ward in Skien, so that will be cool to see her again. My lang will be way better because we will just speak Norsk all the time with her here. I don't know the 2 new elders we are getting, but I am sure it's going to be great. I can't believe I'm not the baby of the mission any more!!! How have I already been here 3 months?!
              Quotes and Funny Story Break! 
   Talking to a member in church. He is 83 and just very old. He likes to speak to us in English. He was talking about missionary work and how we need to be better. Good stuff, just a little on the long side. He pointed to the left and said "I really wish that he could come and tell us how to do it." I looked to where he was pointing and saw Brother McKenzie (amazing American family). i said "Brother McKenzie?" I was thinking, if you want him to, we can just ask him, but then the member said, "No, him." and pointed again. I looked to where he was pointing and saw that it was actually a picture of Jesus Christ.... and then I said "OOOOH, JESUS CHRIST!" But somehow in between the awkwardness and the misunderstanding it just came out really loudly and exasperated. And everyone around me looked at me. I died. I tried really hard to silence my laugh. You guys, for real I laugh so much on the mish. Even when contacting people. Life is just awkward as a mish. 
     Yesterday, Søster Hilton and I were trying to explain to Elder Jones a metaphor that we like to use when talking about the Holy Ghost, and Jonesy just wasn't getting it. We kept talking and talking and finally he said "I don't get the point of this conversation." I died. I just looked at him. #boyswillbeboys 
                    Back to Real Life!     
         This week I had some surreal moments. You know as a missionary we sometimes just have to do things because you are a missionary. When I first got to the field I hated it, but I always told myself this is your calling so better shape up. It was really hard for me to step out of my comfort zone, but I would just do things over and over again, and over time it got better. This last week I really realized how comfortable I have gotten with all those things that I hated. I will give a few examples. So, this happens a lot in lessons, but I will be sitting there talking and all the sudden I realized that I am having full conversations in another language. What? How this happen? And then they start speaking and I can understand everything that they say? It's crazy guys. Probably because I don't understand how I know anything that I know. I don't even remember learning most of the stuff that I have learned. It's insane! 
          Another story that I still kinda don't believe is one that happened on Friday. We had our painting gate sing and were just out talking to people about the Tree of Life and the Book of Mormon. It was a down time and so Elder Jones and I were talking and out of the corner of my eye I saw this group of 8 black guys walking on the other side of the street. In the middle of Elder Jones talking to me I say really quick "I have to go talk to them." and in a split second I ran over to the other side of the street and contacted them. I started out in Norsk, but then I learned that they have come for school and have only been here for 2 weeks. They were from Ghana. They all introduced themselves to me and told me about how there are tons of Mormons where they are from. I was about half way through the conversation when I all the sudden realized what just happened. I would have NEVER done that 6 months ago, and all the sudden I was standing in front of 8 random men from Ghana. I was just like WOAH. It was a sweet contact. They were busy, so I wasn't able to get any of their information, but I am sure I will see them again! 
              The last story takes place on Friday night. We had volleyball and Søster Hilton and I were in charge of the Spiritual thought. We stood up in front of the group and gave the thought. Do you guys know that before my mission I hated praying or reading the scriptures in front of people. It just made me super uncomfortable. All the sudden I'm doing all these things and I don't even give them a second thought. I really feel blessed to have so much help to accomplish what I must do everyday as a missionary.
              I am way pumped about the mission president speaking at Stake Conference. You guys, are more than ready to do missionary work. I wish that the members of wards realized how important their part is to us. How much they make a difference. In Hastening the Work, a missionary broadcast about a month ago, they said that the only reason that missionaries are actually there is to help the members share the gospel. They shouldn't be bonking or contacting. They should have their schedules filled with appointments from the members friends and families. Wouldn't it be great if that was the way that missionary work was? I know when I get referrals from members I am just in shock. You mean you want me to teach your friends? You mean I can actually spend an hour teaching instead of bonking and having people tell me that don't want to hear anything I have to say? Wow. You guys play an important role! Make small goals and work towards them. You have talents and gifts you are unaware of. Every time that I get nervous or worried before I contact someone I think about how it matters to one. Everyone could say no, but if one says yes and they get baptized and they get to make all the convents with God that are required to return to him, then doesn't that make all the difference? It might not matter to the million, but it will matter to the one. So, get fired up! You guys can do it! If they say no, then they weren't prepared anyways, and no one wants unprepared people! :) 
      We have some exciting things coming up in the next bit. On the 26th, next Monday, everyone from the West and North Zone is flying in for Monday and Tuesday. Elder Kearon, of the 70?, is coming to visit our mission. We are dividing the mission in two and having and having the West Zone and North Zone meet in Trondheim and have a conference, and then the East Zone and Telemark Zone meet in Oslo and have their own conference. This means that about 35 missionaries will be coming here to stay over. We will have like 16 sisters all in our apartment!!! Its going to be a blast!!! There will probably be about 40 missionaries all together and we get to spend all pday together. We are going to be outside and play tons of games and just tour Trondheim. I GET TO SEE MCARTHUR AND GUSTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited! It is not often that we get together like this as a mission. So happy! After pday is over we will all go on splits and go contacting and bonking. This is going to be crazy! We are going to get so many contacts for Trondheim that night. Trondheim won't even know what hit them. 40 missionaries all out ready to get numbers and appointments. It's going to be RAD! (how do we feel about the RAD thing)
            Kate, I really am praying for you. Nixon needs to get on this. I mean come on! I think about it all week and think that this is going to be the week, and then I get on and nothing.... I bet he is going to come this next week! You need to send me another picture! I am thinking about you and praying that everything goes perfectly. I pray for all of you in everything that you are trying to do and accomplish. I know that the Lord will bless all of you! 
             Yesterday, I was sitting in Relief Society taking notes, I dated the top of my paper and realized that it was that day 7 years ago that I was told that I had cancer. I didn't feel the sadness or the emptiness like I did that day, as I looked back and thought of the events that seemed like they happened a short time ago. It isn't something that I will ever be able to forget. It pressed on my memories often like a soft brush of the hand, but on this day I let myself get lost in my memories.
                I remember sitting in the small clinic with Dr. Lee listening to him explain to me what acute lymphoblastic leukemia was. I was only 14, and my future already seemed to be closing around me. It's funny how quickly one sentence can shatter all your dreams and hopes. It's funny how words shape us as people. I had clung to the words healthy, strong, and hopeful. Those words had been replaced with phrases and terms I could not grasp. Cancer, cells, bald, and sickness jumped out at me and stuck to me as my new labels. I could not see past that day or even that hour. I felt the world had stopped and darkness was creeping in. All I could do was blindly walk forward following the distant voices of my parents, family, and my doctors.
          Now, seven years later I look back with gratitude and awe. I vividly remember my first spinal tap where my nurse, Liz, told me that soon I would be finishing my treatment and wondering where the 2 1/2 years went. I found that to be true and even truer for the next 5 years after treatment. 
        As a missionary, I see things I have never seen before. As I strive to remain close to the Lord, I feel my view of myself change. I can see just a sliver of what the Lord sees in me. I remember thinking "Why me" when I was diagnosed. I am sure my parent asked the same question multiple times, as they watched me struggle to hold my head up. Today, as I sit here, I ask the same question again, but with a little different connotation. "Why me? Why have I been so blessed?" On that day, I could not see what I see now. I could not see how Heavenly Father's plan was taking place in my life, but now I understand. 
        I understand that the Lord knows me perfectly. He has known me longer than I even remember because I was always with Him. He sent me here not to suffer, but to learn to see what He sees in me. He knows my potential and who He not only wants me to be, but who I will be. And most importantly, he knows exactly what i need to experience to reach my true potential. 
        As I struggled through treatment there were times where another day seemed too overwhelming. Many say that we don't know how strong we are until there isn't any other choice. I would argue that we don't learn how strong we are, but how strong the Savior's Atonement is and how far His love reaches. No one could come with me to the depths of sadness and heart ache I experienced except the Savior. It was not possible for me to sink lower than the infinite virtue of His love.  For each day, he stood beside me and beckoned to me, "Come unto me. I will walk with you and carry your burdens. I will hold your hand and lead you through the dark. I will go with you on the road no one else can." 
         It was only though the Atonement that I was able to go through my trials and come out not bitter. It wasn't that I never felt bitter or angry, it was that the Savior took my anger and bitterness and turned it into something useful. Using the Atonement didn't make me emotionless, it made me free. Free to look ahead into the darkness with hope and faith. 
          If someone told me on that day, that in seven years I would be looking back while sitting in a Relief Society lesson in Norwegian, I wouldn't have believed them. I am grateful that I was so important to the Lord that I was given a trial so hard and consuming. It was through this time that I gained my testimony of the Savior and Book of Mormon. I don't know if I would be writing this same email, or even an email at all, if I hadn't had the experiences that I had in life. I do know that the lessons that I learned from cancer are invaluable. I know what it feels like to be at the depths of despair and only smiling so that everyone around you is in less pain, but more importantly, I know what it is like to be saved by grace.  
         One of my favorite talks is His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox. He said "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed. Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God, but no unchanged thing will even want to... Grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now."
          I know the grace of the Atonement is real and for everyone. I know that although our trials are hard and make us question God, that they are given to us because Heavenly Father loves us. When we stop asking why and starting asking "What can I learn?" we are empowered from on high. We were not sent to earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously. Our trials and our grief do not make us, they reveal us. I am humbled by the blessings in my life. I am grateful for a family that did all they could to support me and help me through every step of my life. 
           When I think of them I see flashes of memories. I see Darrin blessing me that I would be healed, and Annie bringing Tommye down to be with me as much as possible. I see me sitting in Shawn's lap throwing up on the way to Corby's game, and ruining his sweatshirt. When I told him I was sorry, he only looked at me and said "Baby, don't worry about it." I see myself curled up in Heather's lap while she rocked me and sang "Give Said the Little Stream". I see Corby with his chart and giving me 4 oz. of water every 29 min.. I won't ever forget the pain in his eyes when he first saw me bald, or when he surprised me and came home for the weekend. He woke me up to give me medicine and I looked up and fell into his arms crying. I see Katie at her Soccer game, the first time we met. She wrote me a note that I still have. She called me awhile later and we talked for 3 hours while I had a blood transfusion. I see Brent leaning over me and kissing me head and whispering "Why wasn't it me?" I imagine him sitting down after football practice and calling me each day thinking of something positive and funny to say even when there wasn't anything positive left to say. I see Lori, staying in my hospital room with me and talking about anything and everything. She would eat all my crazy cravings with me and was willing to break me out of the hospital to go to the Aquarium. I see Kyle crying as he came back from football practice after telling his whole team about his baby sister. He always had a smile on, even when no one else could smile. I see Linsey with her broken leg sitting in the bed next to me. I can't count the number of sleep overs that we had in my hospital room, or how many times we would raise and lower the bed. She was my rock. I never saw her cry once. She just took her sadness out on anyone that even thought of saying a rude comment to me about my short hair, as I started back to high school. Lastly I see Mom and Dad. Mom coming to the hospital every evening and staying up with me all through the night. She would then get up at 6 am and head home to work. When I finally would wake up Dad would be there sitting in the chair next to my bed and say "How are you doing baby?" They sacrificed more for me than I can ever repay. They never let me see them sad. They were a constant force of positive energy, even when things didn't look good. I remember when I asked Mom if I was going to die. Her face twisting in emotion for only a second and then she said. "No, you aren't." I learned later that she called Heather and cried for hours. 
              These memories are all painful for me to think back on, but they are honest and raw. I didn't know how important family really was until they were the only ones that kept me going. When times got tough or when I didn't think I could go another day, I thought about them. Their love and their sacrifice made me strong. It made me remember what was worth living for. I can never repay them for what they did for me as I struggled through treatment. It was a terrifying few years, but it is something that bonded us forever. I love you all so much. I know that every year I pretty much do this, but it's because I believe that it is important to look back, to be thankful for your past and where you are now. I don't know what I did to have such an amazing family. I love you all. 
          I hope that everything is going well. I am excited that Lins got to move to be with Jord! That is super awesome! Kate, focus on having that baby this week! I want to see tons of pictures next pday! Everyone else, you know the drill...
    Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

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