Monday, January 27, 2014

IF MY LIFE WERE A MOVIE

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
    If my life were a movie....
       I'd leave early. 
      Just kidding! But really. No, life is good here in the Tønsberg atmosphere! TJ and I are doing well. We killed it with numbers last week! We even had our rocking investigator (Emmanuel) in church. I did not get called sexy by one of the members, which is a plus. And it stopped snowing for a few days. Sad news? The snow has begun again. 
        You know the life of a missionary is kinda boring. We do the same kinds of things every day. Honestly, I am just impressed that I find new things to talk to you guys about every week. Right now, I'm just blabbing until a good topic comes to mind. Sometimes (meaning all the time) I look back on my week and I think "Did I do anything AT ALL?" And then I remember something and then I'm like wait, no that was a month ago. Time has a weird way of passing on a mission. February is coming snartly! How did we get here?! The time left on my mission seems to be zooming by! We have transfers next week and Sister Thurgood and I are praying our hearts out that we aren't transferred. I think if we tell President in one more email that we don't want to be separated, he will just separate us just for funzies. #canweuseTJsdepressionasanexcusetostaytogether #justkidding #butreally Speaking of TJ.... quote time! 
   TJ Quotes and another Randos: 

"I don't know what to do right now. Your awkwardness is affecting my body. Keep your awkward rays out of my cellular structure. Don't speak... for at least 12 hours!" 

"I can't believe she is up at this ungodly hour!" 

"When I study talks, I want facts, or I want Holland!" 

"I could literally stare at this picture of us for the rest of my life and be happy."

"Did I punch a dog one time because it walked past me while I was sleeping? Yes." 

"HODGKISS. We HAVE to get married in that first year we are back! Our window of opportunity is closing!" 

Elder Vause: Sister Hodgkiss did you bring pictures of your old face?
Me: No.... 
Elder Vause: Dang it. I was hoping to hang it up on our street stand, so that you could stand there and we could have a sign that says "THIS is what the gospel does for you!" 

"When it comes to Tai Chi, I don't know. But when it comes to Jesus, I'm there." 

    Tune in next week to see what other crazy things are said! 

  Real Chat Time:
      Guys. What are our thoughts about me still having things that I HATE doing has a missionary? What if I told you that doing something every day for 9 months DOES NOT mean that it starts to feel natural. Ek! I guess some things just take time. Going out and kontakting, aka, stopping people on the street is HARD! I get really nervous! I'm not really sure why because the worst thing they could say is no, but still! Ek! We haven't been able to do much since I've been here, but this week we started back up. Its good! Almost like a rollar coaster. Its freezing though. But you have to find new investigators to teach! #missionarylife #atleasttheyrenicertousbecauseweregirls 
       I needed Katie here with me this week to sing some Backstreet Boys... I'll be the onnnneee! 
     We have moved our V-Day party to the 28th of Feb. Its late but they don't celebrate it anyways so we can basically do whatever we want! It is going to be great! We are to invite Skien, Sister Thurgood and I's first area. Its about 1 1/2 hours away, but I guess here that's not a big deal. All of the Bishops had a meeting and our Bishop had to drive 8 hours for the weekend of meetings. Crazy right? These people definitely have the energy to be involved in the church here. We are really excited about the party though. It will be good to see people from Skien and it will be good to have lots of families come in the church. I'm kinda excited about the food too. Well.. let's be honest Norwegians don't know the proper use of sugar. #whippedcreamtastelikeoldmilk #alotofsugarneverhurtanyone #isthatwhatobesepeoplesay 
        Our star investigator, Emmanuel is doing well! He is just really excited and anxious to know all he can! I really think that he already sees himself as a member. He came to church on Sunday and the topics were  crazy. People were dropping deep doctrine like it was no one's business. Craziness! So I grabbed him after church and a member (Sister Thurgood and I went on splits) and we re-grouped with him. He loved it! Big sigh of relief! And is really excited about next week. He said that the only thing he wished was that he had paper and a pen to write down all his questions. Precious. We are really excited about him though! I think it's going to be good :) I've got a good feeling! 
           Btw, I don't think I am moving. Honestly I would be SHOCKED if I did. So feel free to send the package :) 
          Oh, exciting news.. this week I taught TJ how to use a tampon. It was a proud moment in the Tønsberg Sisters House. #sistermissionarylife #mompoints 
          Also, walking to the car today TJ fell in the snow. Bad. All the way in the snow. Pictures to follow. She missed the last step because of all the snow. I laughed hard. 
          We had the Sister-APs (real name: Sister Training Leaders) come this week. I always freak out when they do. Oh man I wanted to die. I only had ONE break down before they came though, so that's an improvement. This time two came so they wanted us to go with each of them. #nothappycampers So we double booked our whole day so we wouldn't have to go contacting or bonking with them for hours on end. #oratall You know, you got to show them your best. That stuff goes back to the Pres! But it turned out okay. We survived and we got a lot done. We were basically shot after their stay though! 
           I think our members here think we are fat....
  In the last week we have received TWO pieces of exercise equipment. 
     It's probably because every time someone asks how we are doing we tell them we are trying to lose weight! We really have become a part of these people's families. It's really cool! I love it here in the T-berg. 
     Basically its been the perfect area, with the perfect companion, with the perfect house. Not that it hasn't been hard, it's actually been my hardest area, but it's been the most rewarding. TJ and I talk a lot about when we have to move and we are really nervous. Everything is so good right now. If we have a bad day at least we get to be with someone that we LOVE and would choose to be with even if we weren't on a mission. We both are kinda freaking out about what will come next. I guess it's that whole can it get any better than this question. I'm almost afraid that this is it. I just have to go back to suffering and not really loving my mission. Eh! It makes me think of a quote by Elder Holland. He said "We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."
        All and all I am doing well!!! We have a bunch of fun things coming up and some really great people that we are teaching. I hope that everyone is doing well back home! I learned how to make these cool slippers by knitting, so that's cool! Finding time to do it though can be tough, but TJ and I got this :) I'm just going all Norwegian! Love you guys!
    Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 

Love,
Kat

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

oh the snow!

Instead of just giving a hand written thank you card to everyone in the branch for the Christmas presents they gave them, they all got a card with a picture of us!

Why is there so much snow? :(

9 month mark. A member let me borrow their snow onezie. I was not pleased with the look. At all.

SNOW ANGELS

This is the outfit that apparently is "gods gift to man". Us before church!

Inspirational signs

#word

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!!!

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
    Let me tell you about a conversation I had with a member yesterday. 
     Member: "Lucy."
     Me: Yes?
     Member: I just wanted to tell you (looking me up and down) that you are looking exceptionally lovely today in your stockings. You have a sexy body. If every woman on this planet had a body like yours, it would be a perfect world. In the 60s and 70s the sister missionaries didn't know how to dress, but you... you do. If the missionaries always looked like this I would introduce all my friends. You... *interrupted by another member*
      People. This is not a drill!! This is my life yesterday after church. I was bright red!!! And I turned around to the other members (yes that is plural) that heard it and just about died. I had never met this member before yesterday and apparently he is heavy on the love and has a few mental problems. I was just my bubbly self with him and BAM! He's in love. I mean it wasn't enough to come into RS and tell me that I'm welcome at his apartment any time in front of all the other sisters, or that he waved at me all through church trying to get my attention, no no, he had to come and tell me that I was the one. The one that every boy wants. I mean honestly, I'm just grateful. How long have I gone around not knowing this? Hahaha! You guys, I get bright red just thinking about it!!! Eeekk!! 
      The funny thing is that I talked to Elder Ashton (up in Tromsø) about it a bit ago. I am in his first area, so he was asking about members and asked if I had met this very special member yet. I was super confused because I hadn't met him, but now I understand!! Oh man, the things that happen as a missionary. Who knew? 
      This week has been a crazy week!! Oh man, it saw a lot of tears, a lot of hysterical laughing, and more a lot of snow. It snowed all week. ÆSHJ. Not okay. I seriously get sick every time I get in the car. I hate driving in snow! We would completely clear off our car, go in somewhere for 20 minutes and come back an do it again. It was nasty. The snow has stopped now though, and the roads are clear. We just have tons and tons and tons of snow all piled up on the sides of the roads. Question: What do you do with all the snow you plow? Answer: It just stays there. Until Spring. 
        So we hit our 9 month mark this week! We had a milkshake and a taco dinner with a family here to celebrate. We went sledding too! It was my first time to go really sledding! It was awesome and terrifying. The kids were loving it though. Walking in the snow is exhausting. We had to walk 20 minutes there and then 20 minutes back and I wanted to just lay down and die after that. I am starting to understand why these Norwegians are so skinny. #hatethem. #thinspo 
          We had a good week numbers wise. We found 4 new investigators!! Yay! And one is super sick! His name is Emmanuel and he is 19. We only taught him once, but he is super positive. I've got a good feeling about him. Don't know if he will be baptized, but he will definitely be around for awhile! He is awesome! We got a soft baptism commitment from him. He kept saying "I feel safe here." over and over again. I will keep you posted on him! 
            We do A LOT of member work here. We are with the members as much as we can be. It is a big area to support and we have a lot of inactive members. This week the family that Sister Thurgood baptized was deported. Yeah. Welcome to missionary life. We went to go visit them on Tuesday and the neighbors came and answered the door and said that the Police had come at 5 am and taken them away. So that was the drama for the week, and let me tell you with a branch this small and everyone knowing each others business, it was DRAMA! Sister Thurgood and I had to do some kicking in the snow many times this week! To say that we both have tempers would be an understatement :)
              In other news, the member that told TJ that she didn't like her is back on the pro-missionary list!!! She invited us over for pizza and chit chat this last week. She even bought us a huge bag of groceries! I was a happy camper. The pizza here is Æshj though, so don't even take a second dreaming about that. 
                TJ and I are being way good about what we are eating. We are on the point-competition band wagon. We aren't even in the competition, but T and I are so competitive that me just beating her is enough motivation! We made a bunch of signs and hung them all around the apartment. We even printed a picture off of Jillian Michaels and put a sign next to it that says "If Jillian was here would she be smiling?" I think the answer to that one is obvious: No. There is always room for improvement right? :)
                   T and I are planning a Valentine's Day party for anyone and everyone with children. The last party was such a big hit we decided we needed some more fun in this branch. Nothing like a couple of two Americans with big personalities to lighten it up! If you see any cute things or ideas, send them my way! Btw Mom, I was going to tell you that you can send stuff through UPS mail if you want. TJ's mom just sends those prepaid boxes. You know the ones you can do for a flat rate? We are trying to find more families to teach and we figured that since so many families came to the last one, we would do a re-hash. Right now we are in the process of getting it cleared with the Branch President. But he can't say no to women, so I think we are good to go ;) 
                  I hope that everyone is doing well in the good ol' USA. I have heard some crazy things about the gay rights laws and drug laws. I can't tell you how nice it is to not be over there having to hear about it all the time. You really are set apart from the world as a missionary! Things are going well. We are loving life here in Tønsberg. TJ and I are praying that we get to spend the rest of our missions together. You meet the coolest people on your mish, that's for sure. I love you all, and remember, I'm sexy and I know it! 
Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 

Love,
Kat 

P.S. No one can say my last name so I have them call me Lucy instead. Am I regreting that with said member above? Absolutely. #fail 

Monday, January 13, 2014

SNOW, SNOW, GO AWAY. COME AGAIN.......NEVER

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
      This week has flown by!!! The weeks seem to just come and go like a race horse these days. In 4 days TJ and I will reach our half way mark. Man! Is that crazy! I don't know how I got from saying goodbye to you all to being half way done. I am glad though because I am excited for another 9 months of work. I am not sure when I will be coming home, and I won't really talk to President about it until April or May, but until then, I am just making the most of everything. Tønsberg is a crazy area. There are so many problems here! But I love it. TJ and I both asked to stay here together until April. Honestly, I could end my mission here and I would be happy. There is such a need here for missionaries, especially sister missionaries. I guess, we all want to be needed. It gives us a purpose to change, to be better.
        I've been thinking about change a lot. Guys, its hard. Any change is hard. Whether we are trying to eat better or trying to start reading our scriptures again, becoming who we want to be is hard work. I think that its easy to look at the miles and miles we have ahead and to feel discouraged. I think its easy to fall into a pit and not have the desire to get back up. I even think its easy to decide to not even start because we don't want to fail somewhere up ahead. Life is a journey, and sometimes a really hard journey at that. We get discouraged. We fall down. Sometimes we bump our knees, or in my case my face, but those scars, they only show the fight we have given. When I think about myself and all of you, I think that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. That isn't to say that we can't be better, but it is to say that we have made progress and are in the perfect position to have more progress.
      I guess, that's the thing about life, it never stops. It won't stop if you're sad, or if you messed up, or if feel you can't go on. It demands the best from you. It demands you get up and try again. It demands you change. But we each have to make that choice for ourselves. Are we ready to change? I've learned that we can only do so much to help others. We are given friends and family and loved ones (are those the same thing?) for a reason. They mirror our hearts. They help us to see the best in ourselves, and they help us to grow. We learn the most about ourselves while loving others. As a missionary, I want everyone to change. Gosh dang it, I have the medicine to fix your life, and I want to give them to you!!! When I first started my mission I tried everything. I tried the nice card, the yelling card. I tried being blunt, being rude, and even crying. Nothing seemed to work. Then I stopped focusing on the outcome I wanted and I started focusing on the person. This was a person with needs, common needs, the need to feel accepted, the need to know what they have done is good, the need to be loved. When I saw them for who they were, I no longer cared for the "desired outcome" I wanted, I only cared to make them happy. 
         Now the gospel is amazing. It can heal everything. The Savior can heal everyone, but we learn from His example that we each have to come to Him. The Savior loved everyone perfectly, and in doing so he allowed them to figure out how He could heal them. I think that when we see that as missionaries that's when things begin to change. When we love the people we teach, really love them, then they can see where the gospel, where the Savior can heal them. And when they are ready to change, when they are ready to progress again, they have all the tools to do it. 
        Dallin H. Oaks said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change Somewhere down the line we all forgot what repenting really means. We think of it as doing something wrong that we feel awful about and begging God to forgive us. In the Bible Dictionary, it explains repentance as a change of view about ourselves, God, and the world, meaning any time that we change our view for a better view, we are repenting. We don't just stop doing things that are wrong, we start doing things that are good. We don't just sit there idly, we start making our way down the road again. Changing and becoming better, repenting, is hard. Its hard for all of us. But we don't suffer because the Lord is mad and demands we pay for our short comings, we suffer so that we can reach our true potential. Everyone knows that anything worth having is worth fighting for. When Linsey got all hot did she just decide one day she was just going to be a size 4 (or 2 or 0 or whatever you are these days...)? No she worked for it. Did Jordan just decide that he was going to go to the NFL one day? Did I just decide that I was going to be this beautiful? Absolutely not. I had surgery people! We all have to pay the price, but we don't have to pay the price that the Savior did. His grace is sufficient. It covers everything. Every short falling, every start we never began, ever desire that never became an action. All of it is covered under the Atonement. That doesn't excuse our weaknesses, but it shows us that patience is required, and change is possible. We owe it to ourselves and to the Savior to take part in that change, to use the Atonement. And when we do, we allow the Savior to turn our shacks into mansions. 
        Okay, okay, I will get off my soap box. Is that what it is called? I don't even know. My phrases are getting all mixed up in my head. But, really we had a cool things this last week. So we had our Juletre fest was on Friday. We were for some reason put in charge of planning it and throwing it. I have no idea why because in America we don't have Juletre Feasts, but I guess they thought it was a good idea. So TJ and I asked everyone about what we needed to do at this party. They just told us that we needed to have a Christmas tree and some music to sing. Well you guys know me, I am a Hodgkiss, so if I am going to throw a party, I'm going to throw a party. So we did some stuff. We made treat bags for the children, and some goodies to eat. We figured that not too many people would come since only 6 children came the last year, so we were feeling pretty good. Well we get there and set up and its about 3 minutes until we start and we get called into this room and two of the members start telling us all these things we need to do for this "program". At this point I'm angry. I mean we had asked and asked and no one told us anything! So I opened my mouth and said "This is what happens when you put Americans in charge of your traditions." Not my proudest moment, but I got my point across. Don't complain if you're not going to do it yourself. 
         Well we are freaking out. We don't have anything planned and there are WAY more than 6 children, there are 21 kids and about 30 adults. I look at TJ and we both take a deep breath and we just went out there and we worked the crowd. TJ made everyone laugh by telling them that we were all American and we have no idea what we are doing, and I came up with good games for kids. We played Duck, Duck, Goose, which by the way, other countries don't play. They loved it. Everyone was laughing and having such a good time. Our Branch President was like we are going a little over on time, and we were just like who cares! We are having too much fun! It was a blast. Everyone loved the party. The kids were all trying to hold my hand and sit on my lap. It was adorable. And the best part was that two of the families that we have been working with that are inactive were there. It was really great. And then, even better, they came to church on Sunday!!! It was so cool! TJ really did rock it as a host! Hosting in Norsk is not easy! 
         Its been cool to see how things have changed. We aren't baptizing a million or even finding tons of investigators, but we are seeing successes and changes in this ward. We have a lot of work to do, and a lot of forgiving that needs to be done, but we are all getting better. That's the thing about change, we all try to resist it at first. Things are going well though. I feel like there is so much to do, but I feel that my talents are best suited for this branch. I love these people. 
            I hope everyone is doing well and staying warm. We had snow this weekend and its like -9 outside. Its been making working out a pain! Running on snow is an art!! I would also just like to state for the record that I have only gained 10 pounds on my mission. Obvie that weight is catching up to me, but I will forever be able to say that it was only 10 pounds. Bragging points? Maybe! I love you all and think about you often!! 
Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor. 

Love,
Kat

Shout out!!

Angel Man!! Happy birthday!! What what!!! I hope that your big day was a blast and full of lots of cake and fatty foods that I have not eaten in like 3 weeks (or 3 hours, who's counting)!!! I love you!! And expect to see some birthday pictures next week!! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The "M" word is not okay

Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
            There are some things that I don't understand in life. Here are a few...

1. Why do people assume that just because we are missionaries that that means we need to eat like obese people? I don't get it. Okay, yes I love you members and I get that you want to serve us, but I have food at home. And I eat every day. Its not like you are my one meal for the week. This has to stop. 

2. Sometimes I wonder what kind of sleepers people are. Like do you move a lot? Do you fall asleep fast? I don't know. Everyone is different. This question got to be way too much for me and so I turned to TJ in compy comp study and asked her what kind of sleeper she was. Thankfully, the perfect person she is, she didn't even hesitate to answer. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough though, so I sent Torunn a text to find out what kind of sleeper she was... #thesearethethingsthatkeepmeupatnight

3. I'm really hyper today. My brain is going really fast and its like I want to tell you guys things but at the same time I don't. Why isn't there snow in Norway? It just rains all the time. I thought at first the weather was just in enni (agreement) with me and then I was like "HOOOLLLLDDD UPPPP. I'm am not THIS sad." So now I just think that its Satan trying to make all my pictures look bad because my hair is stuck to my face. 

4. Yesterday was actually a good day, actually it was a perfect day. Church was so cool. I was going crazy. I felt so good so I was just bouncing around to everyone talking to them about their lives. Then TJ and I went to this members house, and the member flat out told TJ she didn't like her and then went on to tell her everything that was wrong with her. #teammarit #thisismissionarywork #honestlyigiveherprops 

5. The other night Tor and I had a bit of a heated conversation over the phone. I got off and was annoyed about something and then I just went to bed. When I woke up in the morning TJ told me that I sat up in the middle of the night and yelled "TOR!! OH. MY. GOSH.!" and then mumbled lots of things. This is my question.... does that burn calories? 

6. I got your package!! Okay family, where did the skills of package sending come from? I am impressed. And humbled. Not really. I don't get humbled very easy. New Years goal? I think yes. But really, I LOved LOVed LOVEd LOVED! everything in there!! Did you see that progression of loved? Nice touch, I thought. Everything was so cute and so perfect. I am wearing the scarf now #shoutouttoLucksterandBullet. I forgot Lors name, but I felt like Bullet seemed fitting. LOVED the cancer doll. I mean? Does life get better?! The necklace? Okay, really. I about cried. Its all so cute! And I have been listening to Frozen and all the CDs nonstop. I have to buy Frozen in Norwegian. Oh! It sounds so good!! 

7. Some weird stuff has been going on in the Hodgkiss & TJ soap opera of Tønsberg. We went to District meeting this last week and we started off with our usual area reports. Skien went first and then it was our turn and TJ goes "Yeah... so Tønsberg..." and then we just sat there talking and crying for an hour and a half about this area. I am a little embarrassed that all my dear fellow missionaries saw me like that, but I think that Gusty might have cried more than me. #lovehim We kinda hit rock bottom this last week. I think we were both so focused on the area that we stopped thinking about ourselves and what we need so that we can work and then it all kinda came up and hit us in the face. Wednesday we spent most of the day in "companionship inventory" trying to figure things out. Yesterday I feel like everything finally fell into place. We just both realized that we have to be happy otherwise we can't do everything for this area (and it needs ALLOT) that we are meant to do. We both feel GREAT now, but man was it a long week.
 
8. We had moves calls, but TJ and I get to stay in Tønsberg together at least until Feb. Its really funny because we both break down and cry all the time because this area is so hard, but we want to be here so bad. We are both talking to President and trying to be able to stay here together until April. I would LOVE that. We both work together so well and I feel so good with her. I would love to be able to stay and keep working on this area. There is SO much to do here. Its cool because we are the first sisters in 21 years. Every mission president as thought and prayed about this area, but until us, none of them received the revelation to put sisters here. Sometimes we joke that we know why, but really, it is so hard, but the small successes we are seeing make everything SO worth it! 

9. No one celebrates the New Year like the Norwegies do. They woke us up at 12 with fireworks going off at I'm not kidding, every side of our house. It was like being at Hogwarts. There was flashes of colors everywhere. I thought we were in the last battle between Harry and Voldemort. Not sure who one though. Seriously it was so cool!!! 

   Really that's everything. Its has been a really hard but good week. I feel like I have everything I want and need in my life right now, and I just feel happy. Like really really happy. I am excited about this week and I am excited to really get started on Tønsberg. Norway better watch out! TJ and I are back in business!! 
   You guys are all adorable. I love all the pictures and the emails. Sounds like everyone is back to their hectic lives!! So fun!! Stay warm over there! I've heard that the weather is worse in the US!! #thesearethelastdays #movetoNorwayitswarmer 
Keep it real. Keep it  classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor!! 

Love,
Kat

P.S. Thanks for the package again!! 
P.S.S. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!