Monday, March 3, 2014


Dear Weasley Family and Friends, 

      “Deep in the meadow, under the willow
a bed of grass, a soft green pillow 
lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes
and when again they open, the sun will rise.
Hear it's safe, here it's warm 
hear the daisies guard you from every harm 
hear your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true 
hear is the place where I love you.
Deep in the meadow, hidden far away 
a clock of leaves, a moonbeam ray
forget your woes and let your troubles lay 
and when again it's morning, they'll wash away.
Hear it's safe, hears its' warm 
hear the daises guard you from every harm 
Hear your dreams are sweet and tomorrow bring them true 
hear is the place where I love you.” - The Hunger Games 

        Family!!! How is everyone doing? This won't be a long email because the Elders are headed over in about 40 minutes and then its off to verdensende (The End of the World). We are going to the end of the peninsulas that is around here and exploring the Nazi camps and then grilling out. The sun is finally out. Holy cow, you guys have no idea how crazy I am going! I can't stand it. I don't think I have ever been so depressed in my life. The worst thing? The weather in the North is gorgeous. Trondheim is all blue skies and sun! Ugh! It doesn't even rain or snow! It just sits there with heavy clouds and gray. Everything is gray. And it makes you feel like you are suffocating. Its just this gloomy disgusting weather that isn't even productive because it never turns into anything. I hate it. 
        To put it lightly, things aren't the best they have ever been in my whole mission. I actually feel like I am literally being held together by threads. Remind me guys to one day read to you this super depressing article I wrote. Hearing that Jen cried everyday in the shower her first few months in the mish doesn't surprise me. You have these really dark periods of the mish. You go for awhile and things are good and then you just... BAM! hit a wall and fall on your face. That's where TJ and I are this week. It probably has something to do with the weather, but to me everything is just gray. 
        We have transfers coming up on the 19th of March. TJ and I know for a fact that we are getting split up, and I am about 99% positive that I'm leaving Tønsberg. I have a lot of anxiety about it but also relief. This area has been SO emotionally hard for me. It has been exhausting having a comp that has been trying to figure out all of her emotions, not to mention just deal with the craziness of this area. I always start to think that I'm crazy and then I talk to President and he reassures me that this area is a special case. I love these people, but I think loving them so much is killing me. Does that make sense? So I'm a little broken right now. I'm always going to love this place because it has been so hard, but its made me into a completely different missionary. This is the place that I became the missionary I wanted to be, but I think that its all starting to wear on me. 
        TJ and I talk about how we feel all the time. We are super open with each other which is awesome. I guess its like that when you serve with one of your best friends. I was telling her this week that it was time for me to go somewhere else because I have stopped feeling. She was super confused. I told her that it doesn't matter what I'm doing I just feel numb. A few days later Sister McArthur, my MTC comp, called me. She is in a bad place too. Its funny because both of us had been thinking about the other a lot and thinking about serving together. When she called me it just pretty much sealed the deal for me. I want to serve with her so bad! She said "Sister Hodgkiss, I just don't feel anything anymore..." I just sighed and told her that I was in the same boat. We talked forever about our missions and where we are and how we are feeling. We are right on the same page. It's crazy when it matches up like that, but I feel relieved that I'm not the only one. To say that I'm praying that we serve together would be an understatement! 
       Sorry about the grayness. Gosh I think I can't even separate it from all my other stuff now. The good news is these times come on a mission and then they leave. Well, they come in life too, but I think we go through that cycle faster because of mission life. Sooner or later there will be some more color in my life again. Right now I feel like this: 
"Sister Holland and I were married about the time both of us were reading poems like that in BYU classrooms. We were as starstruck—and as fearful—as most of you are at these ages and stages of life. We had absolutely no money. Zero. For a variety of reasons, neither of our families was able to help finance our education. We had a small apartment just south of campus—the smallest we could find: two rooms and a half bath. We were both working too many hours trying to stay afloat financially, but we had no other choice.
I remember one fall day—I think it was in the first semester after our marriage in 1963—we were walking together up the hill past the Maeser Building on the sidewalk that led between the President’s Home and the Brimhall Building. Somewhere on that path we stopped and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Life that day seemed so overwhelming, and the undergraduate plus graduate years that we still anticipated before us seemed monumental, nearly insurmountable. Our love for each other and our commitment to the gospel were strong, but most of all the other temporal things around us seemed particularly ominous.
On a spot that I could probably still mark for you today, I turned to Pat and said something like this: “Honey, should we give up? I can get a good job and carve out a good living for us. I can do some things. I’ll be okay without a degree. Should we stop trying to tackle what right now seems so difficult to face?”
In my best reenactment of Lot’s wife, I said, in effect, “Let’s go back. Let’s go home. The future holds nothing for us.”
Then my beloved little bride did what she has done for 45 years since then. She grabbed me by the lapels and said, “We are not going back. We are not going home. The future holds everything for us.”
She stood there in the sunlight that day and gave me a real talk. I don’t recall that she quoted Paul, but there was certainly plenty in her voice that said she was committed to setting aside all that was past in order to “press toward the mark” and seize the prize of God that lay yet ahead. It was a living demonstration of faith. It was “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So we laughed, kept walking, and finished up sharing a root beer—one glass, two straws—at the then newly constructed Wilkinson Center.
Twenty years later I would, on occasion, look out of the window of the President’s Home across the street from the Brimhall Building and picture there on the sidewalk two newlywed BYU students, down on their money and down even more on their confidence. And as I would gaze out that window, usually at night, I would occasionally see not Pat and Jeff Holland but you and you and you, walking that same sidewalk. I would see you sometimes as couples, sometimes as a group of friends, sometimes as just a lone student. I knew something of what you were feeling. Some of you were having thoughts such as these: Is there any future for me? What does a new year or a new semester or a new major or a new romance hold for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to go home?
To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”
     Except in my case, Elder Holland or Sister Holland are not here to shake me awake. I guess I'll just have to wait for the Spirit to do that. :) I do love that talk though. You guys should go read it. It's called Remember Lot's Wife. Look at me being all missionary like about my sadness. I can't tell you how many times I use how I feel that exact day to teach a lesson to someone. Thank goodness I have emotions otherwise I would run out of things to say.... Just kidding. This is me we are talking about. 
     In other news, the convert, dearest Emmanuel, is doing well. He is just loving life and preparing to get the priesthood soon. He is great! 
     We had our Vday party this last week and that was way fun! TJ painted faces and I ran around like an idiot getting games started and involving everyone. It was good! The kids had an awesome time, and everyone commented on the decorations. Thanks, Mom! We had our 2 deaf investigators in town this last week so we were down at the Fhyn house often teaching them and doing family activities. It was great! 
      I got to go, but I hope that you are all doing well! Sounds like the NYC trip was a blast! Can't wait to hear about the Idaho trip!! Oh, and I keep forgetting to tell you, Lori and Brent, you are having a girl. I dreamed about it. The last two times I dreamed about Annie and Heather being preggers I was right, so I think I'll place my bet :) I love you guys! 
  Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 


P.S. Send the book mom :) Pres doesn't need to know everything... :) 

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