Monday, October 13, 2014

Converted unto the Lord‏

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,

       Woah. This is it. This is really my last email home, as a missionary. I found out today that I would be released over the phone. I about had a heart attack, actually I'm still in the process of wrapping my head around it. I think the fact that I have to take my name tag off and never put it on again is what really gets me. It reminds me of when I was told that I had cancer and the thing that finally made me cry was when I realized I would lose my hair. In my head, that made it all real. Now in my head, once my name tag comes off it will mean its over. My mission will really be over. 
      They say that looking back everything is clearer, and I would agree. There is something about the future that blinds us. I guess its the midst of the unknown that makes us so afraid. An RM that is already home would read this and smile and say "I remember when I felt that way.", almost like I do when I meet the new Greenies. But the fact is that taking a step into the dark, whatever that step is, is scary. We all ask ourselves, "Is this really right? Will I really be happy? Am I going to be okay?" And I guess with my mission coming to an end, and real life starting, I find myself thinking some of those things. But no matter how "scary" or "unnerving" this next step is, I will never regret my mission. 
         I look back in awe as I think about the Lord's hand in my life. I was 20, living in Russia, teaching English when it was announced that girls could now go on missions at 19. I had never considered a mission before, and honestly the thought of it made me cringe. I liked makeup and heels way too much for that life. I didn't actually hear President Monson make the age change, I only received a text informing me, but as I read that text my heart burned. I think I knew then what my decision was going to be, but I was afraid of the midst of the unknown. How could a mission ever give me more than what I had right now? I had plans of marriage and schooling and a cute decorated apartment in my head, and 630 am wake up calls, and district leaders didn't really fit into that picture, but I prayed anyways.
         I had never had quite a strong experience with prayer like I did when I asked God if I should serve a mission. I had never quite experienced an answer so sure, so unchanging, and so complete when I was told I needed to go. But yet, it was still difficult. I didn't want to go. I didn't think I was good enough, and when I got out of the MTC and into the field, I realized something, I was right. I wasn't good enough. I wasn't brave enough. And I wasn't prepared enough, and I wanted to go home. I sat on my knees so many times in my first 6 months and asked God why I had to be here, but to no avail because no real answer came. But I decided to stay anyways. 
          As time went on I started realizing that there was something special about the people that I was meeting on the mission. As I served with them, taught them, and learned from them, I realized that they were people I would remember for the rest of my life, and people that I would have never met in any other circumstance. For awhile, that became my fuel for being here. I was here for them and they were definitely, and probably even more so, here for me. 
          Now after 18 months, I don't have the "midst" of a mission in front of me, as I did when I prayed that first prayer. I look back on all the experiences I have had, all the friendships I have made, and I am overcome with emotion at how blessed I have been. I stopped asking why I was here a long time ago because I realized it was for a lot of different reasons, but now I really understand. I came on a mission for me. The one I was supposed to save was myself. 
           I can't express in words or at least not in one email, what my mission has done for me, or how much I have loved it. There were so many moments where I wanted to quit, where I wanted to throw in the towel or at least raise my fists towards Heaven and scream, but now looking back I can see even those moments that I absolutely loathed have helped paint the picture of my mission. 
             As I have thought back I have tried to put a finger on the things that I have learned. Talk about difficult, and even more difficult is choosing one as my favorite, but above all that I have learned it as been my testimony of Christ that has been the foundation. The enabling power of the Atonement is real. When I was young and focused on everything I couldn't do, I felt so inadequate, and I was, but through the Atonement, those inadequacies faded away. I realized that I did have talents, I was valued, and I could contribute. I learned I could do things that terrified me, made me cry, or even that I hated, because I was strengthened beyond my own. There have been so many days where I woke up and thought "How am I going to make it through this day?"  The answer was through the Atonement. 
            Although my world came crashing down when I was sick, I didn't have to face it much. I could lay in my bed and I could almost just wait for it to pass. Out here, that wasn't an option. Well, I guess it was, but not for me. I had to face my fears, my weaknesses, and other people. I was put in a situation where I couldn't run away or say that I was done, and at times I hated it, but wow has it molded me into all that I am now. 
          It reminds me of a story that my adorable Trainer, Hilty, told me when we were together. She told the story of a house. The house was a good house. It had some problems, but who had a perfect house these days? The house owners were satisfied enough with it. But one day a builder came and started tearing down the house brick by brick. As they watched the house being destroyed they were terrified and saddened. They thought the house was so great and so useful. As they began to look away in grief they noticed something, this house builder wasn't just tearing the house down, he was building something. As they watched they were amazed. All the weaknesses of the house weren't just been fixed, but replaced with the top of the line products and materials. When the house was finished they could hardly believe their eyes. It was not the house they had owned, now it was a mansion, and that house builder that they had thought was so mean at the beginning was really the Lord Jesus Christ. 
         1 Corinthians 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" Each experience we have, each success, trial, mistake, heartbreak, and triumph is to turn our house, ourselves, into a mansion. I realize now how much there is to learn from that story. I realize now that the Lord could never just add on to the house I was ever so "satisfied" with, but that first he had to break the house down. Yes, on my mission I experienced a lot of breaking. I experience all that was needed to keep me on my knees and keep my gaze heavenward. Do I regret it? No. Because I got to experience firsthand the Atonement in my life. 
          I couldn't have done these 18 months without my Savior. I can't say that I know that Christ lives more than I did before I left, that is something I have had a strong testimony of since I was sick, but my ability to access those powers have grown. I have learned to pray, receive, and act on inspiration. I have learned to plan all that I could and then be willing to leave all my plans behind so that I could fulfill what the Lord needed me to do. I have tried my hardest to abandon my will and align my will with God's. Many times I had to be "broken" into that, as the Lord quietly reminded me that His ways and plans are higher than mine. I have been comforted, strengthened, and changed. In short, I have been converted. 
             In the words of Francis Webster, “‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’” He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’”  
     Was I sorry that I came on a mission? Was I sorry that I got that answer on a dark Fall day in Russia as I knelt down and prayed? Was I sorry I stayed? No. It was the price I paid to become acquainted with God. What is the price of sanctification? The will power to keep going. Because it is when our testimony know longer becomes our knowledge, but becomes our actions, that changes a doubting heart into an converted heart. 
        So with this burning in my heart, I will take this step into the dark. I will trust God and I will wait for the light to illuminate the midst. I know that there is much more to be learned, and  my heart has much more room to be converted, but I now know and understand that it is all a process, one brick at a time. I have loved my mission, and I will love the next stage too. I know that it will be a little bit difficult, and I know that I am probably going to be really weird for awhile, but hey we've all been through this before! #Right? #guys? #areyouthere?
        Thank you all for your love and support. I have been so blessed because of your emails, letters, and prayers. I want to say so much more, but I think now is the time where only hugs and tears can correctly express my feelings. I love you guys. Each of you. And I am so glad that you guys will be by my side as I strive to find my footing again. I hope that you all have a great next 3 weeks. I'll be seeing you at the airport.

Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 


Sunday, October 12, 2014


Me: I wish there was an app that would give me all the numbers around me.
Hall: That would be GREAT for rapists! 

Trydal: Elder Drage why is your bag so heavy? 
Elder Drage: Because I'm trying to work on my feminine side. I just put a lot of stuff in there. And its really heavy it doesn't even make sense and I can't even carry it. If you guys knew how to pack you wouldn't need men! 

Me: And he gets in there and is like grand auto theft.
All the Elders at once: Its GRAND THEFT AUTO!! 
Elder Drage: You're going to be like the worst mom ever! 

Gusty: Where are Ashton and Hall?
Drage: I don't know! I'm not my brothers keeper! 

Ashton: And they said he got a text on the plane which isn't even true!
Me: Nu-huh! My phone gets text messages on the plane.
Hall: But that was 1985. Did they even have text messages back then?
Ashton: And we look to you because...  

Ashton: That rhymes! That means its true! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

President Evans farewell to the 17 Miracles

Dear Sisters
One of the highlights of my mission (and I know I speak for Sister Evans), was receiving the Seventeen Miracles.  What a blessing you have been to this Mission and to Norway.  I remember your arrival like yesterday, and now most of you are preparing to leave.  Where did the time go?
Even though all of your bags arrived with you, we did not start out auspiciously.   One of you locked yourself in our bathroom at home, and then a day later we lost Sister Hodgkiss at the train station in Larvik.  There have been ups and downs since, but from my vantage point they have mostly been “ups.”  You have consistently found, taught, baptized, and strengthened the members where you have served.  How blessed we have been to have you.
I honestly wish that you were staying until June so that we could go home together.  Your departure will put a real gap in the Mission.  But we will look forward to being together in a year at our first reunion.
In Norwegian, we say, “Jeg er glad I dere.” and I am.  In America, we say I love you.  And I do!
President Evans

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Elder Gusty's words of good-bye!

this is an email that my bff Gusty sent out to all of the 17. I love thim!!


So I hope I don't make any of you feel disobedient by my emailing you before you are home.  I just want to make sure I have some final words to you people that you receive before you go!  (and yes, it's wednesday... we took pday today...)

I just wanted to say, with all the energy of my heart, TUSEN HJERTLIG TAKK for at dere reiste på misjon :D:D:D:D  I cannot explain the emotion behind those words, as I suck at explaining myself.  Just know I am grateful, and will forever remember each and every one of you!  

I assume your missions have blessed your lives, as well as those you have been around in these last 18 months, but you have seriously and honestly each left a 'handprint on my heart'.  Serving with you, getting to know all of  you, crying with a few of you, lol, and just saying 'I came with them!!!!' has been an absolute honor.  Yes, I have already cried about you people travelling home, haha, but it's because I think the absolute highest of you sisters :)  

I hope none of you see your weaknesses as what defines you. Honestly, I don't really see them, and I don't really think God focuses on them. We just focus on how freaking amazing you all are. Loving, fun, diligent, hard-working daughters of God who know their divine worth and what they have to offer to the world.  

I think you all are absolutely amazing, and as said earlier, I am honored to have served/come with you to serve the people of Norway :D :D :D :D  

Gud vær med dere til vi sees igjen :')

Eldste Gustafson

3 Nephi 5:13, Alma 26:16

Conference and All that is Good

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
    Did you guys love conference? I thought it was just wonderful and I was so exhausted afterwards because I was intently listening to find answers to the questions I have. I was uplifted and inspired. I felt that as the prophets and apostles spoke I realized how long a way I have to go, but also how loved and cherished I am by the Lord. I particularly loved the Women's meeting. I loved how world wide it is all going with the many cultures showing through. Our wide spread diversity in the church is what makes u strong. As Brother Myhers told me in my first interview at the MTC, "Your uniquness makes us stronger." Indeed, it is the same in the church.
      The General Women's meeting answered one of my first questions. How can I prepare to make and keep more temple covenants? I loved the focus on temples! It testified to me that this needs to be more of a  focus in my life. When I come home I plan to make a goal that will help me to serve, learn, and receive daily, all the blessings that the temple brings. Sister Marriott who compared the light of the temple to our light opened my eyes to a whole new way of understanding the scripture "Know you not that your body is a temple". I love her accent! It is quite a contrast from the English I hear it, but it made me feel at home. I have decided to take up her challenge and memorize The Living Christ by Christmas. Who's with me?! I almost had it all down back in THeim, but time has wiped it from my memory. But it is starting to come back! As I listened to the meeting, I was overcome again and again with the power of unity. I love that we can have GC. I love to meet as members of the church and discuss the things of our hearts. There really is so much support and strength in numbers. 
          As the meetings progressed, I was touched by many other speakers. As I watched I realized how my relationship with GC has changed over the years. As a kid I would listen and try to learn, but most of the time I felt like it was just a bunch of old men talking. I believe what they said, but I didn't really understand their words. Now as I listen to conference, I hang onto every word. I've spent the last 18 months studying the leaders talks and sermons. I have had the opportunity and privilege to be in the some of their prescience's, and I spend more time than I can count quoting them to members, investigators, people on the street, and other missionaries. I feel now I have a personal relationship with them. Not in the way of let's hang out and get some hot coco, but on a spiritual level.
           As I was thinking about this I couldn't help relating it to Christ. In the scriptures we learn that those that know Christ will hear his voice and He will recognize them. To those that did not choose to follow him, Christ says that He "knew them not". But how do we come to know His voice? How do we comet to not just think this is some man that is old and has a lot of wisdom? It is through studying his word and learning to listen to his voice. As we do our relationships changes much like my relationship has changed with GC. We delightfully hear and read his word and actively seek to be more like him. 
              Of course you guys know that I loved the Preisthood Session! Wow has my testimony of the Preisthood grown on my mission. You want to know if the Priesthood is real? Come watch theses 18-20 year old elders preform the miracles they do, and you will know its real. I am obsessed with President Uchtdorf's talk "Lord is it I?" Ding! Ding! Sister Hodgkiss, you should probs stop being so judgey and worry about your own salvation! It was a good smack in the face! I had always read the story of the last supper and the disciples asking "Lord, is it I? Will I be the one to betray you?" and thought, "You idiots! Hod do you not know?!" But as he spoke I realized that that question showed their Heavenly virtue of love. towards others and understanding of the teachings of Christ. I was inspired to be more like them, to not look at another and ask "Is it him?", but to look at myself and ask "Is it I?". Repentance has been an ever needed task for me as I listened to the words of the Prophets, but oh how grateful I am that we can repent and that we have people to guide us in the right direction!
            I think my favorite talks (is it possible to pick?) were by Elder Klebringert and Elder Godoy. Elder K's talk was amazing! What a speaker! He threw it down and didn't even look nervous about it! His story about the sister missionary that was always so hard on herself really hit me. I loved the rawness of her answer when he asked why she was so hard on herself and she said "So no one else can beat me to it." How many times have I been unforgiving towards myself? How many times have I demanded immediate perfection from myself? His 6 steps to help us listen to the "right voices" were bold yet humble and directional. I loved his quote "force a smile and gaze upward". 
             Elder Godoy spoke about the power of "a matter of a few degrees." That is actually a wonderful talk given by President Uchtdorf, and I loved Elder G's spin off of it, with a mix of "Good, better, best" by Elder Oaks. Did his questions "Am how I living going to fulfill my patricahrtical blessing?" change anyone else's life? Heck, I need to read that thing again! Many different people talked about how our actions need to be fulfilling the goals we have. How often I have been like the boy who had a goal of a temple marriage but only dated girls not temple worthy or not members. It definitely made me think about my goals and my actions. Is my life so far bringing to pass who I want to become? 
      "Just because things are going well doesn't mean from time to time we shouldn't question if there is something greater." 
        I could talk about these things all day, but we don't really have all day But good news! By the time I get home the Ensign with the talks will be out and we can read them and have this conversation all over again! #6dastillIseemomanddad #31/2weekstilliseetherestofyou #ding
         So I can't really remember too much of the last week and a half, but I do have some highlights to tell. After reading Kyle's email on prayers, I started thinking about the power that prayers has played in my life. Btw, I love when you guys share your experiences with me! It strengthens me and teaches me so much! But anyways, I love prayer. I once read a talk called Improving Your Personal Prayers. The author asked "If someone listened to your personal prayers what would it say about you and your relationship with Heavenly Father?" Well, when I read that I thought Uh-Oh... Prayers is something I ma still striving to improve, but wow have I seen the miracles it has brought. I love seeing it in my own life, but I love it more in the life's of those I teach and serve with. 
          Benedikte was baptized in Northern Norway in May and we work with her as a new convert because she moved down here shortly after her baptism. The other day we taught her about fasting. As it commonly happens with new converts, they are baptized and then forget about a lot of the commandments, so we re-teach them and help them to continue to follow them. We explained fasting and we asked if she would fast this week for fast Sunday. She told us that it sounded really hard and she wasn't sure if she could do it, so I asked her if she was willing to pray about it. She gladly agreed. After the lesson we asked her if she wanted to read from the Book of Mormon. She said yes and we started reading from where she left off. We read Alma 5 first. In Alma 5 it talked about fasting. I smiled as we read it and mentioned it after we finished the chapter. She laughed and said that is was kind of funny that it just happened to come up. Before we left, she asked if we could read 1 more chapter and so we read Alma 6 where it talked about fasting again. When we got done I again brought it up and she looked at me and said "How do I fast again?" She was determined to pray and ask God and then act on that answer and so her answer came and it came fast. It was so cool to be there and to see her experiencing this. The Spirit testified to me as the first thing about fasting came up that Benedikte would get an answer. Prayer works! 
               Last week Zlatko, the 12 year old Talic kid prayed and said this, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that the misisonaries could come today. That was very nice of you. Sister Louci is going to go home soon and we are all going to really miss her, especially me. We have come to be close to her and it is going to make our hearts heavy when she leaves. Please bless her to enjoy her time and her time with her parents." I translated that, so the English might sound a little weird. But it was the cutest thing! My favorite thing about the Talic children has been teaching them to pray and then hearing their experiences with it. Prayer is so important!!  
               Sunday in between sessions of GC we had a ward dinner. I walked into the gym to eat and everyone yelled "We love you Sister Hodgkiss!" They threw me a surprise going away party!! It was so sweet! They all brought tons of yummy food and even some gifts! I just love them!! Bishop gave a speech about how grateful he was for everything I have done for the ward. I teared up. 
               This week I have been finishing up the last few things to get ready to go. I still can't believe that my mission is coming to an end. Next week I will write a little more about that and my thoughts, but I think right now my brain is still in jumbles. It is an exciting but scary time!! I am thrilled to be seeing all of you soon! I hope you all enjoyed conference and are enjoying your last few weeks of silence before loud Sister Hodgkiss comes back! I love you guys!! 

Keep it real. Keep it simple. And may the odds be ever in your favor. 


Sunday, October 5, 2014



Berumsveien 373
Postboks 894
1306 Sandvika
Telefon 67 521270

1 September 2015
Wiltiam and Leslie Hodgkiss
1118 Owenwood
Irving, TX 75061

Dear Brother and Sister Hodgkiss,

Congratulations on the faithful missionary service of your daughter, Sister Hailey Hodgkiss. She has been faithful and obedient and has completed her term of missionary service in the Norway Oslo Mission successfully and honorably. She is scheduled to leave
the mission field for her return home on 16 October 2014.

Because of her excellent service, she has enjoyed many blessings. Her testimony and knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have grown immensely. Al1who have labored with her are appreciative of her devotion to the work of the Lord. She has brought much
joy and happiness into the lives of the people that she has taught and loved.

Sister Evans and I express our gratitude to you for the support and encouragement you have given to Sister Hodgkiss. We have loved serving with her. We trust that your daughter's adjustment to life at home will come quickly, and that she may always be found on the Lord's side, building and strengthening His kingdom. She has brought honor to the Hodgkiss name and kept the tradition alive of being a strong missionary. We will miss her!

May the Lord continue to bless you and your family.

Norway Oslo Mission

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dope, which is actually Dåp, is baptism in Norwegian!

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
        Dope, which is actually Dåp, is baptism in Norwegian. And that my friends and dear loved ones, is what we had last week. Okay, now let me just say this. It was not as easy as we thought. Actually, it was very dramatic, in fact, and the elders saved the day twice, but he was baptized and confirmed. Thank all that is good, because it almost didn't happen! 
        So everything with Salko has been super easy. He stopped smoking, drinking coffee, and accepted everything else with ease. It only took him 4 weeks to be baptized. So going into this week, as a missionary you are always a bit nervous because you know how Satan works, but I also thought well that it would be just some minor things. Well the week comes and first Salko gets sick. Sister Hilton and I always talked about the fact that Satan and the immune system are directly related, and it was no different this time. *See Bible Dictionary: The Fall, Satan, Blood* He kept saying I hope I get better so that I can be baptized! Well Friday comes around and we call him and he tells us that he can't be baptized the next day. It was less than 24 hours left, and we didn't know what to do. We couldn't just call that baptism off! He needed to be baptized! So Elder Hall and Elder Ashton come to Sarpsborg with us and we try talking to Salko, except he won't really talk to us. He is doing like a million different things, and he keeps saying he is too sick, and then he leaves. We are all just praying our hearts out trying to figure out what to do. Finally, he comes back and we get him to sit down and talk to us. It turns out that he got a ticket in the mail that he supposedly didn't pay and he said that he had to pay it and deal with it, so he couldn't get baptized. Luckily the elders were there because I was speechless at this point. I have learned that in these situations its better for me to keep my mouth shut. The elders talked him down and figured out a plan and then offered him a blessing. In the blessing Elder Ashton was very clear about the fact that Salko needed to come to his baptism and the confirmation. After the blessing Salko was feeling a lot better, and so we made plans for the next day, and went to bed feeling pretty good. 
           The actual day of the baptism went smoothly. Everyone showed up on time and did exactly what they were supposed to. Well, one of the Talic kids that was supposed to sing was no where to be found, but that was minor. We had 4 of the Talic children there, and a cousin. It was a great show up from them! Many members came and there was lots of dessert afterwards. It was great! We came and saw them after the baptism and everyone was so excited. Salko was so excited to get the Holy Ghost the next day and the kids were excited that he was going to be finally a "real Christian" as they call it.  Salko talked to the police department about his ticket and found out that they had made a mistake and that he didn't have to pay anything. All was well in the Norway. It was an exhausting, but good day. 
             Sunday I woke up and didn't feel very well. I just felt really anxious and worried and I couldn't figure out why. I couldn't focus in personal study to save my life. I just kept thinking about everything coming up in the next 3 months that I have to do. It was so frustrating. When I was talking to Sister Trydal about it in comp study I just kept thinking that usually when I feel this way something goes wrong, but I brushed it off. Well pretty soon I found out what the feeling was about. We went to the Talic's house to get the kids ready and make sure that Salko was ready and it was pure madness. There was lots of tension and Salko wouldn't talk to us. He kept saying that he had stuff to do and that he couldn't come. Well I'm going to be honest, I freaked. He hadn't been confirmed and the chances are if he didn't come to church that he wouldn't be ever, so we followed him around his house trying to talk to him, but he wouldn't give us the time of day. The kids were ready and waiting so I decided to just go grab them when their dad came out yelled at Salko and the kids. Belma the 5 year old looked at me and said "We don't have permission to go." It all happened so fast, we didn't really know what was going on, not to mention the fact that it was all happening in Bosnisk, which we don't speak. So we left thinking that the dad said that no one had permission to go to church anymore, and I cried the entire was to church. 
              Once we got there we told the elders what had happened. We had to go to RS right away because we had a lesson to teach. After the first hour Elder Drage came up to me and said "Come on lets go, we are going to go get him." So Selwyn (the member that baptized him), Elder Drage, and Elder Hall drove to his house. 20 minutes later I get a text that said "You're welcome" from Elder Drage, and they all show up with 2 of the Talic kids about 10 minutes after Sacrament meeting started. Just in time for him to be confirmed as a new member. Moral of the story? Sister Hodgkiss is glad she is dying soon because I don't think my heart can take more of these last minute game changers! 
                I'm so glad that everything worked out. Apparently there was quiet a misunderstanding between everyone and Salko was overwhelmed so the dad told him to sleep it off. He had just woken up again when Selwyn and the elders got there. I'm grateful that Elder Drage listened to his promptings! And I am so glad that Salko is now baptized and confirmed. Now just to get him to church for the rest of his life.... Right, we will take that one next week! 
               The kids were the cutest and sang at the baptism! Everyone loved it and the kids were so proud of themselves. They had practiced for weeks. It was almost time to sing and the 10 year old, Selma was so nervous and told me she didn't think that she could do it. I told here the if we are scared then we can pray and Heavenly Father will help us. So we said a quick prayer. The song went great and they were all really happy. Afterwards it was my and Elder Drage's turn to sing and I told them I was super nervous. Selma looked at me and said "I guess we are going to need to say another prayer then." It was so cute! We said a prayer and then I went up and sang. Afterwards she smiled and beamed because Heavenly Father had heard our prayers. 
               The ward loved Elder Drage and I's song. They asked us to sing the next day. Selwyn is from Trinadad and has this deep black voice. He came up to me afterwards and said "That was just like sweet sugar bread. You're sweet sugar bread." I about died. Now the elders love to call me Sweet Sugar Bread whenever possible, and of course they say it in a deep black man's voice. I die laughing every time. Selwyn's Finnish wife came up to me and said "Your light reflects who you are. Yours is so pure and clean. Keep it." It made me smile and think about the light that we each have. I have been uplifted and strengthened by so many other's light. 
 "If you want to give light to others, you have to glow yourself." - President Monson
        When Elder Bednar was here he said something that caught my attention. He quoted D&C 50 "...that you may chase darkness from among you." I have been thinking about darkness and light so much lately! I don't know what it is, but its just been stuck in there. Maybe it's because I have had those dark times. Times where there seems to be no end, where there seems to be a heaviness that sits upon my shoulders, and even times where I have questioned if God loved me individually. I think back to those dark times and I think about the feelings that came when that light began to come back. Some times it was only for a few hours, I would visit a member I just loved or have a experience where I felt close to the Lord. And there would be so much peace. We all want peace from the world. We can look around today and there is so much happening. There is so much pain in the world, there is so much going on in our own lives. Do we ever take a moment to just sit? To just feel? And think things through? To we take time to bask in the light that we have? 
           I studied darkness and light today and I found a scripture that I really loved. It is D&C 88:67  And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
   The gospel brings that light that we need. This weekend we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from those that carry much light, the prophet and the apostles. Who is excited? I am! I already made a list of questions that I am going to be looking for answers to. I don't know about you guys, but every time I listen to conference I come back feeling lighter. I definitely feel that there is more light around me around the weeks after conference. I am super excited!! 
     Belma the 5 year old was praying for after our meeting, on Friday, to encourage him to be baptized. I was helping her say the prayer and I said "thank you that Salko can be baptized" and she said "thank you that Salko can be killed." I said døpt and she said drept. We were all laughing and trying to remain reverent at the same time. Kids are so cute! 
      I hope everyone has a fabulous week! I love you all!! We will be facing soon!! 

Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds ever be in your favor!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Saldo on his Dap day!

This is what our church experience is like... #loveFredrikstadward

Salko on his Dåp day" 

Salko and Selwyn
 Elders these days...

Family pic! 

Group pic with the Olsens and the Langbachs

Lil-Clarissa and Erin!! 

Selma Talic and I

Add caption

 I said "If you Elders touch my cake I will kill you." I come into the kitchen to find this... 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Last minute talk!

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
                   Well I was excited to see that I had lots of emails about the "what's happening" in everyone's lives. Shout outs to Kate, Annie, Heather, and Mom for keeping me up to date! I loved all the pictures and I love hearing about all of you! I sounds like you guys are all busy! Isn't that what Fall always brings? Its like summer everything just goes into slow motion and Fall comes and BAM! Its Christmas! I am excited for Christmas! So many things remind me of it. Like weird things, like, the smell that the car has when the heater is on. I guess in Texas that's the only time its on? Yeah, I'm not sure, and still a little confused about that one, but I am excited for the Holidays, nonetheless! 
    But, to tell you the truth talk about plans and trips and things after the mish really freak me out. I don't really understand it because I am quite ready to be done. I don't know if that makes me a bad person or not, but I don't have anything left to go longer than my time. The phrase I keep using is "Its all heart from here" I honestly feel like physically, emotionally, and mentally everyday is a struggle. Finding the energy and capacity to serve as I always have is getting more difficult, and at the same time easier. Although I feel as my resources are limited, I feel that things have finally fallen into place. Things I have wanted or tried to make happen my whole mission are just happening now. Everyone always told me that once it starts to feel comfortable and you get the hang of it, its time to go. 
      It kind of reminds me of something that I remember Corby saying once. He was talking about 2-a-days and he said that they would start with one workout and it would be really hard. Just when his body was getting used to it, Coach would change the workout up, and he would constantly stay in a state of exhaustion and soreness. This week we had the STL's (Sister Training Leaders) for a visit. I was talking with Sister Harrison about our missions and things that we had learned. She said to me, "You know I used to think that the Sister Training Leaders or Trainers had the leadership position that had because they were this or they were that, but now I've learned that they had it because it was what would keep them on their knees." That really hit me. Keep them on their knees? What did that really even mean? 
       I thought about it a lot and I realized how true that statement was. I spent a lot of time on my mission looking at other's missions and thinking "Why is mine so different?" I've had a lot of challenges that many didn't have to go through, and I've been put in a lot of situations I would not have chosen to be placed in, but one thing that is common with all of my experiences is it has been exactly what I needed to keep me on my knees. If there is one thing that I have learned, if I really had to buckle it down to one thing, I would say it has been the power of the Atonement. Not the Atonement in broad general terms, but the real, everyday, tangible power of the Atonement in my life. If I had to go one step further and set it to a scripture I say this one:  O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
        To tell you guys the truth I am very nervous for the next stage of life. I guess I don't like the fact that I have to put away my missionary planner and lose my Distrikt Leader who tells me what meetings I have and where. Starting new chapters are always exciting and scary, but this one seems so much scarier then the others? I don't really like the fact that when I step off that plane that my life becomes a blank piece of paper. Sure I can write whatever I want, but some guidelines would be nice! I guess that's where the whole "continuous revelation" principle becomes so important. I know that it's all going to work out, but its definitely going to be an adjustment! You guys will just have to help me adjust as best as possible. Who's with me at waking up every morning at 630?! Anyone?! Anyone?! Just kidding guys... that's probs the thing I am looking forward to the most! 7 am sleep ins! Whoot! Whoot! 
          But, like I said earlier, the time is coming snartly for me to go. How do I know this? Besides the fact that everything is breaking and running out and being lost? Well because I gave a talk in church on Sunday. Someone couldn't do it last minute, so I was called Saturday night at 730, and asked to present the last few principles in the first lesson that the missionaries teach. My first thoughts were "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Talks are hard. Talks in a language that isn't your own become harder. But, as I stood up there to give my talk I realized that I knew how to do this. I wasn't nervous and I could give a talk my talk just as easily as I could if it was in English. Yep. It's time to go. Got to stay sore, right? 
           As I said I spoke about the Restoration, but I didn't want it to be like I teach to investigators, so I used a few talks from May's conference and a couple other ones. I love cross referencing! I love going through my library of talks and matching things up! Here is a run down of my talk:
  • What is truth? This is a question that has been asked for years.
  • Pilate asked Christ in John 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
     38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
  • We all want truth, but we want truth that will not change. When Pilate asked Christ what is truth? he searched for heavens truth. Heavens truth exists beyond belief. It exists even if no one believes it. 
  • President Utchdorf: Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about:
    Six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.
    In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.
    One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.
    Each is describing truth.
    And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.
  • I 1820 there was a boy who desired truth. Raised in a time with many churches. Confused. Joseph said JSH 1:10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them beright, which is it, and how shall I know it?
  • His search brought him to James 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
  • He decided to pray. Elder Corbridge said : And yet as anxious as he is, he doesn’t run to a quiet corner and rattle off a hurried prayer. He is only 14, but in his haste to know, he is not hasty. This is not to be just any prayer. He decides where to go and when to make the attempt. He prepares to talk to God.
  • He thought over everything and he went to a near by grove. There, he found a quite place where he knelled down and offered his first uttered prayer
  • But he had opposition. He said: I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
  • Elder Corbridge: Opposition, criticism, and antagonism are companions to the truth. Whenever the truth with regard to the purpose and destiny of man is revealed, there will always be a force to oppose it. Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, down to the ministry of Christ, and on down to our day, there has always been and will ever be an effort to deceive, derail, oppose, and frustrate the plan of life.
  • How many times has this happened to us? I know for me every time that I try to start doing something good I meet opposition. But Joseph had a perfect faith. We learn from the Brother of Jared that to see God you have to have perfect faith. Joseph had an absolute hope and faith that God would answer his prayer. 
  • JSH 1:16-17: at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction...I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
  • Joseph saw God and Jesus Christ. They spoke to him and answered his question, the same question that many had asked for thousands of years. And this question, What is truth, was answered all because one boy decided to pray. 
  • Now we didn't have to listen to one blind man explain to us the way, we could see and feel for ourselves. The gospel was restored in its fullness. 
  • But do we know what we have?
  • President Utchdorf: Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.”2Brethren, the exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Are you sleeping through the Restoration? 
  • We believe in living prophets which means that we believe that God is still revealing things for our lives. Contentious revelation. 
  • Through Joseph Smith we know that Gud lives. He knows his children personally and he has a active hand in our lives. 
  • This is not a small thing
  • God has given us everything that we need so that we can come back to him.
  • He guided Joseph Smith to the gold plates and gave him power to translate them. 
  • Today we have the Book of Mormon. We can hold it in our hands, see it, and read it. 
  • (holding book) This is the answer to Pilate's and Joseph's answer. This is truth.
  • Joseph said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
  • Do you read from the Book of Mormon every day?
  • Do you know what you have?
  •  We are promised that if we read the Book of Mormon with an sincere heart that we will know by the Holy Ghost that it is true.
  • This is not just a one time thing. This is an everyday thing. 
  • As we read the Book of Mormon and pray, the Lord will answer our questions, give us guidance, and lead us to truth. 
  • Testimony 
            That was that! I felt happy when I sat down. A little bit like I had overcome some of my biggest fears. I still get nervous to speak, but I think its been cool to see all the ways my mission has molded me. 
            Btw, I would encourage everyone to watch the new Mormon Message: You Never Know. Seriously. Watch it. Esp. if you are a mom.
            In the news of the Talics things are still going well. This is a big week! Salko is going to be baptized on Saturday. 3 of the Talics will be singing at his baptism. I have taught them A Child's Prayer and now when we go over there we sing it a million times. I fall asleep with it in my head. I will record it and send it home to you guys next week. Belma, the 5 year old starts the song off with a solo. Its so cute! We practiced a lot after church tomorrow. The kids have been coming to church and they love it. They love primary and they love singing. It's so good for them. The gospel really blesses families. I have seen the light it brings into those that don't have very much light in their lives. We are planning on talking to the mom next week about the kids being baptized. I am praying my heart out that she says yes. We are hoping to have her at the baptism on Saturday and that the Spirit will touch her heart. It will be an exciting, busy week! 
             Our days are filled with floor games, children's church activities, and many hugs. I don't think I could say that I have had a more fulfilling time on my mission. I love kids! I really do! And I am always so blown away by the fact that for so long I didn't want kids at all. Now, let's not get a head of ourselves, I don't want a million, but I definitely want a few! I can't wait to see all the nieces and nephews at home! It is going to be so fun! 
              Oh, btw, Mom can you call the secretary in the Irving Ward and ask when they want me to do my Homecoming Speech and on what subject. Also, if they give you a lame subject, tell them that I will probably just end up speaking about what I want, so they should probably re-think that one. 
                Anywho, I hope that you all have a great week! I don't really have time to write all of you that wrote me back, but I want you guys to know, that I LOVE your letters. I love all the pictures and I love being updated on your lives. It's what I miss the most about being home! Just hearing about what is going on in the every day! I loved the pics from Knox's baptism, and hearing all about it. I am so glad that so many of the fam could be there! It sounded like it was a wonderful day! Brent and Lori you guys are just the cutest! Anywho, I better get! 

Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Picking up our missionary

Dear Parents,
Just a follow up on previous emails or letters sent to you concerning the pick up of your missionaries in Norway.  President and Sister Evans would like to invite you as parents to dinner the evening of October 15th at 6:00 pm at the mission home.  There will be quite a few in attendance to this dinner so if you have children or others traveling with you please know that this dinner is just for parents and not for siblings.  There is limited space in the mission home. 
If you would please respond to this email and let me know for sure that you will be there or not so I can pass this information onto Sister Evans.  We look forward to meeting you all.  We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know your daughters.  They all have been diligent in their service here as missionaries and many love them, as do we.  Thanks for sharing them with us.
Sister Allen
Norway Oslo Mission Secretary

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dinner at CeCe

Liss-Andrea and Lil- Clarissa and I taking mirror pictures! 

Dinner with CeCe 

Dinner with CeCe 

Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Lord is in the details of our lives."

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
              I would like to formally announce that I bought books 2-5 of the Harry Potter series in Norwegian. Are we excited? Yes! Are we worried that I won't be able to read them because I don't have magic/wizard vocabulary? Absolutely! Am I going to read them anyways? Yes! In like a month because I don't think it talks about Christ in those books. Exciting times. Exciting times! 
            So another week has come and gone and I look back and think "What have I even done?" I really don't even remember the details of the weeks anymore, they seem to just clash together. Jumping on the trampoline with the Talics, baking brownies, eating too much. It all just wraps itself up into one episode that I call "my mission". And today is the 15th meaning that I see Mom and Dad in exactly a month. I feel like I should be losing weight for this, but the members have other ideas. One day last week all I honestly did all day was teach and eat cake. Every house we went to had cake. What am I supposed to do? Probably tell them I am terrified of di-a-beat-is, but instead I just put on this surprised look and say "Cake?! My favorite!" I have perfected the "I'm so happy you made more bad food for me to eat" face. Also, the "I know what you are saying" face. I gained that talent when I came into the land and people started speaking a million words an hour. The probably is that now I'm too good at the face, so when I'm with Familien Talic and they start speaking Bosnisk I put the face on and then they think I know what they are saying. The gift of tongues is a gift of the Spirit, but I don't got it, that's for sure! #Moroni10 #rambling 
                  I saw the pic of Lins and Brent and Lori and Baby Knox! You guys are all adorable! Knox is getting so big. I know it's hard on him that I'm gone, but I will be there soon! Can't wait to meet him and Nixon. And get to know Heston because I held him like "ah" time before my mish. And Mills probs doesn't even remember me, so that will be new. And Gavin still thinks I'm bringing a dragon home for him, so I don't know what to do about that. And Tommye is like almost in YW. And Brylee is talking up a storm and probably has enough sass for all of us. And Jade's hair is longer than mine and prettier. And the rest of you are all skinny. So I guess there is some proof that its really been 18 months? At least we have some mile stones. As for me, I've just gained weight and my teeth are stupid now because my dang retainer broke a few months ago. Yes Mom, this is me breaking it to you lightly that my retainer is broken. I figured since you have 4 weeks, you will be able to forgive me by the time I see you. Hey, at least I was using it! 
                    We did have a really cool miracle at the beginning of the week! So the week before last week, Sister Trydal and I were doing our weekly planning. We were talking about working with the youth because we really felt like that would help them a lot. So as we were discussing ways that we could help the youth. We decided that it would be really great if we invited one of the YW to be with us for an entire day. She lives a long way out and has a hard time coming to church, and we wanted her to be at the Sister's Conference Broadcast so we decided that we could have her on Tuesday. We wrote in in our planners and planned most of the day so that we would have good activities to do with her. That was Thursday. Well the week gets busy and we kind of forgot to call her and talk to her about it. So Monday night comes and we give her a call. No answer. So we decided that we could just do it another time. Tuesday comes and we have some time so we go into the city center and are kontakting and talking to people. Sister Trydal stopped this Muslim man and said "We are from the Church of Jesus Christ..." he didn't really understand her and so he said "No, but she is really beautiful" and pointed at me. Sorry, that had nothing to do with the miracle, but nonetheless.. Anywho, so we were talking to people and I was tired so we decided to go inside the mall, find a bench, and make some phone calls. We sit down and who do we see on the bottom floor below us? The Young Woman we had planned to spend the day with! We went up to her and we asked what she was doing in Sarpsborg and she told us that her bus card wasn't working and she didn't know how she was going to be able to get home. I told her that I had a good idea, she could just come spend the day with us. She quickly called her parents and we got the green light and she was able to spend the whole day with us, including going to the Sister's Meeting. It was a wonderful day! On the way home, she said "Would it be okay if we did this one day every week?" I tried to hide my excitement and play it cool, but really I was jumping for joy! It was so cool because everything worked out just as we had planned it. It was a huge tender mercy and the Lord really led us, without us even knowing it. It reminds me of the quote by President Monson, "The Lord is in the details of our lives." He loves his children and he works all the details out so that we can be blessed. 
                     Things are still going well with the Talic family! We teach them everyday and they are getting into better routines. They are going to be singing "A child's prayer" for Salko's baptism, so I have been teaching them that. Belma is 5 and can't read so we sing it over and over again. It will make sure they are at the baptism, and it will just be the cutest. Salko also wants me to sing in English at the baptism, so I dragged Elder Drage, my distrikt leader into singing with me. Its the last few weeks before Salko is baptized, so things are pretty crazy. It always last minute teaching, hair pulling, someone forgot to bake brownies kind of ordeal, but its always a happy ending! Salko is so excited to be baptized and the ward has been great with welcoming him. The kids are fitting in well with the other kids, and love primary. They have a primary program coming up and they have been promised cake if they sing well. To say the least, they are very excited for that! I feel a little bit like a mom because my days are filled with bicycle rides, and family home evening, and homemade treats and meals, but man do I love it. Working with families is the best! It definitely has its challenges that single investigators don't have, but its so much more rewarding. I have learned that I really just love kids. I don't know exactly what I want to do with my life, but I know that it has to do with kids because I'm the happiest with them. It's been a huge blessing to be with them so often! This ward has so many kids and families and I am lucky to be in so many of their homes. 
                          Yesterday we were able to eat dinner at CeCe's house. She is the professional golfer and basically the coolest. The discussions at her house are always so enriching and uplifting! Her friend from Tyland was also with us. She spoke in church and CeCe translated! Mom and Dad do you guys want to speak in church when you are here? ;) I am so grateful for the people that I've met here on my mission. There are so many amazing wonderful people who have uplifted me and inspired me to reach my potential. CeCe and so many of the other members here are some of those people. There is just a light that comes from them that is unmistakable! Elder Bednar talked about this in his talks. He quoted D&C 50 "light will case away the darkness". As I meet with these members and families, and investigators I see how that light is what we all need, its what we cling to. This gospel chases away the darkness. It chases away questions, doubts, weaknesses, and insecurities. A life in Christ is a life in the light. 
                I hope that you guys all had a wonderful week! I love you all and you know I am so looking forward to seeing you! You're always in my thoughts and prayers!

Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reunions and 17 miracles

Benedikte's birthday party

 We had a ward party in the park and I brought all the games that mom sent me. I did bubbles with the kids for like 30 minutes! This is Liam, Wellah's kid. He loved it! 

R-Pitts! I love this girl! 

TJ, after 6 months of being apart

Me, Celine, and TJ

Me, Gusty, and Roe 

Me, Nielson, and Shank! These guys were greenies in Trondheim, and now they have been out over a year and are ZLs and DLs! I love them! 

Ap Dallin Jonesy! Got to love him! And I don't know what TJ is doing in the back there..

Sister Hartley! She is my sister because we were both trained by Hilty. She is the cutest! 

17 Miracles 

17 Miracles 

My MTC district 

All the Sisters in the mission 

My entire mission