Dear Weasley Family and Friends,
Confession: As long there aren't words to that song, I play it... #1000years #coldplay #instrumentalhappiness
Another week has come and gone! On the mission the days are long and the weeks are short. Time has a weird way out here. It was great to Skype with Mom and Corb and Kate and to see Lins and Heather for a bit! I wish I could have just called you all and blabbed about the last 13 months, but soon enough we will get that! Everyone looks skinny which inspires me and depresses me at that same time. Can you guys send me a package and put some of that motivation in there? It would be greatly appreciated!
This last week we had ZLT (Zone Leader Training) in Oslo. Its always fun to leave your area for a day and go see other missionaries. As a missionary, other missionary time is precious! A lot of my friends are in the West and North Zones, but it was good to see Elder Shanklin (served with him in Trondheim and then again in Oslo), Sister Johnson, and some others. This month the theme is urgency. These days I feel old. When we came into the mission, 60% of our mission was 6 months or younger. There was a lot of fire and energy in everything. Everyone seemed to be wanting to learn. Now, a year later, we have lost a little bit of that fire. We are an older mission now, and that eagerness is kind of lacking. I kinda feel like the saying "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is about me these days. I don't want it to be though! I want to be back in my young stage where I didn't know anything and every meeting and practice I had with other missionaries I just wanted to soak everything up like a sponge. I want to get back to that! Where is my humility?!?! Anyways, I sat down at this meeting trying to be open minded but really just thinking how I would rather be standing on my head than being at this meeting, when it started. Okay, I will admit that it started out a little rocky. I guess I'm tired of hearing all the same answers and the same discussions. (Side note: this is a place you don't want to be as a missionary) But then we had a twist! They gave us 45 minutes to bare our testimonies about why we came on missions. It was so cool!! So many missionaries got up and told their stories. Wow, there are so many amazing missionaries here. I don't mean amazing in the way that we all think about amazing, as in a pro kontakter or banker, or a missionary with a lot of baptisms, but just missionaries that have a strong character. One Elder who is in my distrikt here was inactive his whole life. His family just was one of those families that disappeared off the map. His seminary teacher came and knocked on his door and invited him to seminary. He figured that it was about time that he found out what the Mormons were supposed to believe, so he started going, and over time he decided that he wanted to be active and that he wanted to go on a mission. I just thought it was the coolest story. He is so quiet and shy and I was just impressed by his story. And with the Seminary teacher. It is amazing the impact we can have on each other. This Elder's whole life was changed by one simple invitation. So cool!
Here's a quote I liked from ZLT: "Every day is a battle, but every night is a victory when you know you have done all you could do."
And of course a funny quote. I leaned over to Sister McAruther in the middle of ZLT and said to her "He has huge ears...." and Sister McAruther turned to me and said "Those are cage fighting ears!" This sweet Elder used to be a cage fighter before the mish. Sister McAruther later said "Those ears are just asking to be hit!" I died. I might be crying a lot these days, but I laugh all the time too. The moments are sweeter when you are in the middle of a storm.
The summer is coming which means that the sun is up all the time! I remember when I got to the land last year it drove me crazy! I couldn't get used to it being bright at 10 pm. This year it is sometimes weird when I think about it, but most of the time I just pass out from exhaustion. Summer really is beautiful here! I wish I was going home in the summer so that Mom and Dad could come then, but I guess we will just have to come back. I still don't really know what we are going to do when you guys come. But I'm thinking!
Lori and Brent... you're going to be parents soon!! I'm pumped!
What else, what else... Oh we are teaching this 14 year old girl. She is cute! Her mom is a JW (Jehovah Witness), but she wants her daughter to believe in God, so she is fine with us coming over. Its cool because the members that we live right by have 2 daughters and one of the daughters knows this investigator. So that's pretty cool! We can take her on teaches with us and that will help so much. I love getting members involved!
Another investigator we had, is named Øystein. We met with him the other day and I didn't know him so I asked him about his experience with the missionaries. He told me that he wasn't so set or worried about finding out if this church was right or not, he was just wanted to make sure he was being a good person. We taught the lesson and I was thinking about how I was going to drop him as soon as the lesson was over (meaning we wouldn't meet with him again) and so I said a silent prayer. I said "Heavenly Father, I am going to drop him unless you give me a reason not to." And no sooner had I finished then Øystein said "I prayed and the image of your baptismal font came into my head. It was weird." I was like "Yep. We're keeping him." He totally knows that its true. He was an atheist but over the last 6 months of meeting with the missionaries he now knows that God is real. He just doesn't want to give up all the small things. So basically he's going to be baptized one day, but we just don't know when. Way cool guy though! And even if he doesn't get baptized or if we don't get the chance to meet with him again, it was a cool experience of a prayer being answered.
Let's take a break...
Funny Quotes From the Week!
Sister McAruther I were talking about a person she isn't to thrilled about: "I'm sure he has great qualities of help..."
Elder Shanklin: "I respect your opinion! Night before my proposal I'll say "Hodgkiss what do you think?" Send a few facebook pictures. Your opinion matters! It goes the Lord, you, my mom."
Sister McAruther: "Shouldn't you be your favorite self on your mission?"
Today we are headed to a fort in Halden. It's about an hour away and we are going to take stuff to grill out. That should be really fun! This week is our BIGGEST holiday!! It's Søtten av Mai! Which just means the seventeenth of May. It's Norway's independence day!!! And seriously it is the craziest thing! Everything shuts down and everyone celebrates. There is a huge parade in the cities and lots of fun activities. Because we live close-ish to Oslo, all of the missionaries in the Tellemark and East zone (about 45 missionaries) are going to Oslo for the day and then to President and Sister Evans house for a BBQ. Oslo is like the place to be in Norway for Søtten av Mai. I guess its just HUGE there. That will be on Saturday, but the only sad thing is that it counts as a Pday, so next Monday I won't be able to email ;( I think I might die with a week of no pday, but Sister McArthur and I will pull through. I'm excited for Saturday though! I will take TONS of videos and TONS of pictures and send lots our next pday.
You guys are great. Did you know that? I love you guys way too much. It was really good to be able to talk to you all (and mentally talk to the rest of you) and I CAN'T wait to be with guys again. Well, I can wait, but it is going to be AWESOME once we are all back together! Really guys, 5 months!! Holy cow!!
I'm going to go ahead and send you guys some pictures now! I love you all!
Keep it real. Keep it classy. And may the odds be ever in your favor.
To the Victoria's Secret Model- HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRL!!! This is a reminder so that your husband doesn't have to be reminded the night before (love you Corb!). I hope that you do something way fun, like talk in an accent all day or wear a weird hat at the store. I love you! Thank you for all the emails and talks! I printed them all out!! Have a GREAT BIRTHDAY!!