Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll every meet, because they tear down you walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful, soul mates, they come into your life just reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart you ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break you heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your Spiritual Master..." - Eat, Pray, Love
If anyone knows me, they know that I don't believe in soul mates. I think that everyone deserves one person that they can love and grow with for eternity, but to think that there is only 1 person out there and if you don't meet them then you just lose your chance, that would be too sad for me. I don't believe that a person can be your soulmate, but I do believe that a thing can be. For me, my soulmate is my mission. As I read the quote above I can mentally check off everything my mission is doing for me. Being on a mission is a lot more painful than I am willing to admit. I don't know why but I am constantly overwhelmed by my weaknesses. When you are fighting for a human soul, your thoughts often turn to what you need to do to be better, to bring salvation to you have been given stewardship over. Missions are a time of fire. I think we all go through these times off and on. Times where pressure is great, responsibility is high, and our weaknesses seem more than obvious.
I remember one really difficult day in the MTC. My teacher, Elder DeCosta, pulled me outside and asked what was going on. As tears fell down my face, I told him in an exasperated cry, "I don't want to do this anymore." I'm not sure what I meant. I don't know if I meant I didn't want to sit in class anymore, or that I didn't want to be on a mission anymore, or if I just didn't want to feel anymore. Sometimes even now I think those same words. I guess what I really wanted was to just be better, to have my weaknesses be made strong, to not have them responsible for someone else's life. Elder DeCosta, talked to me a long time about this. He talked about Either 12 where we are promised that our weaknesses will become strengths. But unfortunately, they don't become strengths overnight, and they certainly do not become strengths without effort on our parts. For our weaknesses to become strengths we need something to be our mirror, we need something that shows us the qualities and attributes that aren't so pretty. My mission has done that for me, but like the quote says at the end, our weaknesses always lead us back to our Spiritual Maker. Through the Lord, our weaknesses don't matter anymore. The Savior takes them and slowly transforms them into something better, something bigger. That is the beauty of the Atonement.
This week had it's ups and downs like many. We had some cool miracles happen. We had a cool experience with a girl named Mirana, a woman who came to the church named Therese, and of course, Sandre's baptisim which was pretty much the highlight of my whole life. I should start with the first, Mirana. So here we are walking home going back to the church. This girl with blue hair walked past us as we contacted another girl on the street. The girl that we contacted said no, but it was okay because the girl with the blue hair overheard us. She crossed the street and came back to us and said "Are you the missionaries? Can you pray with me?" Her name was Mirana. We prayed with her right there on the street. The Spirit was so strong! She told us that she had the lessons a year ago and she promised the missionary that if she received revelation, she would be baptized. She said that she doesn't like to think of herself as religious, but the Holy Ghost always calls to her and tells her differently. I really wish the story ended with us teaching her and her accepting to be baptized, but it didn't. I do know that Mirana is special to the Lord. Before she left she thanked us for popping up into her life. I always find it funny that these people always thank us for being the miracle, when really they are the miracle that we are always praying for.
Next up was Therese. On Tuesday Elder J and A had a teach with a girl so they needed us to come to the church and hang out. We decided to take our morning studies there. We were in the kitchen studying Norwegian, when the doorbell to the church rang. Mryhan came and got us and told us that there was a lady there that wanted to talk to the missionaries. We came out to find a woman with blonde hair. She looked like she had had a really tough life. She looked so weak and afraid. We introduced ourselves and sat down with her in the chapel. We started talking to her about how much she is loved. We had planned to tell her about the Restoration, but we couldn't seem to leave the first part of the lesson, that she was a daughter of God. She explained to us that she has had a really hard life and done many terrible things. He dad killed himself awhile back and she said when she goes to his grave that she doesn't feel anything. We spoke to her for a long time. The feeling was ever pressing how important she is to the Lord. She left and promised to come back Thursday. She said "I will come to God on Thursday." Søster Hilton and I were on cloud nine. It really is the best feeling in the world. Teaching and watching their lives changed. There isn't anything like it. I wish that this story ended with a baptism too, but when we called Therese she just wasn't all there. I don't know if she struggles with addiction problems or what, but I really hope that this week we can take contact with her. Hahaha. Man. "take contact with her" That would be my euro-talk, aka, translating my thoughts back to english. You guys should hear my English prayers. #yikes
My next story does in fact end with a baptism, so this is good. I don't know if I told you guys about Sandre. I will go ahead and tell a little about him right now. Elder Jones and Ashton met Sandre on the street about 3 weeks ago. Elder Jones says that it was probably the worst contact that he has ever had with someone, but for some reason Sandre agreed to meet with them. We he came to meet with them Søster Hilton and I actually contacted him again on the street. He kindly explained he knew who we were and he was on the way to talk with other missionaries, so Søster Hilton and I did the only thing we could think of and escorted him to the church. #awkwardmissionarytimes After they met that first time the Elders told us that they weren't really sure how interested he was. They said that they hoped by the next lesson they could better gage where he was. Well the second lesson came and they walked out in a bit of a haze. We asked how it went thinking it was terrible and they explained that he wanted to be baptized. They had asked him if he read the Book of Mormon and he said "Yep." They then asked what he thought and he said "It's true." and then they committed him to baptism with a date. It really was smooth sailing from there. He never had any problems and hardly any questions. He just knows its true.
Saturday was his baptisim and I don't think I will ever forget it. It is the first one I have seen on the mish. We went early to help the Elders set up. They were so nervous and tense! Usually everything goes wrong on baptism day, but Sandre's was perfect. So many people came! The talks were great! Tons of our investigators came too! Everything was just smooth, it didn't stop the Elders from freaking out though. Jonesey was sweating sitting in his chair while Ashton looked like he was going to puke. Ashton baptized Sandre and Jones confirmed him the next day. It's too bad I couldn't have filmed the baptism because watching their faces was priceless. Sandre came out of the water and was just in complete shock. Ashton stood him back up straight and then they made eye contact and Ashton had the biggest smile I have ever seen and grabbed Sandre and gave him a huge hug. Jones broke into a huge smile that he couldn't stop. His face got all red. Pretty sure he was trying not to cry. Ashton started crying as soon as he brought Sandre back up. It was perfect. Time stood still for a minute. The Spirit was so strong that you couldn't help but feel the happiness and peace. This is what missionary work is for.
As far as our investigators go, they aren't doing too well. Our area is in a bit of a tough spot right now. Our investigators are having a hard time progressing. Its hard to watch. You come to love these people so much. You see what they are struggling with and what they are carrying around and you have the solution for them, but they won't listen. They won't believe. Its is heart breaking. Yesterday I had a good cry. Poor Søster Hilton, she has to watch way too many of these break downs! We are really hoping that this week we can many new people. I think all the companionships feel a little like this this week. Luckily we have great leaders here who are trying to come up with some new ideas. I think that we are going to have a finding night where we all go out together and go bonking in one area. That should be really good. I know that there are miracles and blessing waiting to come, I just need to find out what I need to do to enable them.
We also had zone training this last week, which meant that our zone all flew in again. It was a good training. Our motto for this month is "Be gjennom dagen og redd på veien" which means pray through the day and save on the way. We are working hard to do these two things, making sure that we are praying so much that we think that we just prayed 10 minutes ago and talking to everyone wherever we go. I think that there will be many miracles coming from this. Also this week, President has asked us that we really step up our game with the Norsk. 65% of our mission has only been here 6 months or less and so we are having missionaries come in and be trained by trainers that hardly know Norwegian themselves. Tomorrow he has told us to speak Norwegian all day. That probably doesn't sound too bad to you guys, but when you have 3 hours of studies in the morning and most of those hours are you planning and speaking with your comp, Norsk all day will be.... well fill in what you will... I know that President is so right though. I need to work harder at the language. My hero is Elder Jones. It's ridiculous how good at the language he is. He gave me these 533 verbs to memorize. Seriously, I think its going to kill me. Apparently he memorized them before he got to the land! #wheresmytalent So, basically its just a week of really committing and grinding down.
Elder Jones' new comp finally got his visa and came to the land, so Elder Ashton left to go to Tromsø. I'm pretty sad about it. I am excited that he gets to go up so far in the North, but I am sad that he left the area. He is going to be so busy! Tromsø is going crazy right now. They are working with over 30 people! There is only one companionship up there, so I am trying to get President to open another area and let sisters take it. Right now, the furthest north sisters are is in Trondheim. Tromsø is pretty high up there. Maybe my prayers will be answered?! Elder Ashton and I have only spent 8 weeks of our missions not serving together. Crazy huh? Sometimes it gets like that. You just continue to serve with the same missionaries. Its pretty awesome. He is still in my zone, so I will get to see Ashton often. Elder Jones' new comp is Elder Neilson. I don't know much about him, but he seems pretty nice. I am sure that he is great. We will have to see!
I was so excited to hear from everyone today. Kate, I almost died reading the story of Nixon. I can't get over that! He is so cute!!! Annie, thank you for the email and the pictures! I can't believe how big everyone is getting! Seriously, where does time go? Heston is huge!!! Nixon is so cute! All these cute little boys that I don't even know yet! Man! Everyone sounds like they are doing so well. I miss you guys. Mom, the weather is super great. I don't know how Oct will be but Sept is doing well!
Did you guys know that Joseph Smith is 1 1/2 years younger than Emma?
Keep sending me pictures and videos! It is the best to see you guys. All the kids are so cute and getting so big! I love you guys!!
Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor!
P.S. Is the Texas state fair starting soon?