I feel like I always say this, but What A Week! Let me begin by saying I can't believe that at this time next week I will have arrived in Norway! I don't know if I can believe that! But I will eventually, even if it's not until after I get home.
May 17th celebration!! (one month in the MTC)
Okay, so first off. Last Tuesday, we went to the temple just planning on doing a regular session, (Sisters Pitts, Hodgkiss, and myself) but when we went to get our clothing the temple worker looked at us and said, "would you sisters be interested in doing sealings today? I know they need some daughters." I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to do the sealing session. When we got to the sealing room the other two sisters said that they had a similar experience. I think I now understand why. It took 20 minutes to get a group together to do sealings. I know that I needed to be there for those women. I know that the other sister that I would have done her work for in an endownment session got her work done, and promptly. I don't know how long the sisters that I did their sealings for were waiting, they probably wouldn't have had to wait much longer, but I did it. I know that they appreciated it, and I was so greatful for the beautiful experience.
Then we went to devotional. We were sitting there forever waiting to see who the speaker would be (they usually tell you 1/2 and hour before the meeting starts but they weren't showing it.) Then the front doors opened. We were sitting on the floor and couldn't see anything, but as soon as the doors opened the whole congregation stood, Elder Russell M. Nelson, and his beautiful wife walked in the door. They are amazing speakers. But that is not the most impressive thing. I know I told you, mom and dad, at least, about the strong spirit of being set apart as a missionary, and again as I walked into the MTC, the spirit about them was near to tangible. It was incredible. They both spoke on the importance of family history work. One thing that Elder Nelson said specifically about this life was this; "This isn't a place for people to rest, this is a place to progress. Otherwise there would be no point in mortality." I loved that! We should always be progressing in some way or another. He also told us, "I have pounded the pulpit in your behalf by telling the whole world to ask the missionaries. So be prepared."
He also told us this important doctrine, "Just as a doctor can ease the physical ain of a person, a compassionate missionary can help ease the pain of the soul." (Quick side note; he said that by July 1st there will be 405 missions so be watching for that one!)
He then began to talk about the the work that was done on the other side, as well as before we got here. He told us to "Be humble, because a lot was accomplished before you were born." What a wonderful reminder. He began to speak about those on the other side of the veil, about how they love us and want us to succeed. He told us that we should feel free to ask our Heavenly Father for legions of angels, even to ask for them by name or by an attribute. I automatically thought of Grampa Craig, Grandpa Roe, Grandma Scott, and others. I know that they are there for me. I know that they will help me and continue to lift me up. Then I had a beautiful Allisa moment! I was sitting there thinking about how inadequate I am alone, and had this strong feeling that I wasn't alone, that Allisa was standing right behind me and saying, "I've got your back, I'll show you where to go. All you have to do is open your mouth." Needless to say the crying started then. I know that if we but look for the help that we are receiving we will see it. When we went back to our classroom and were talking about the meeting everyone shared an experience with when they knew that that had help, or that they weren't alone. We continued to talk about the importance of a mission and how we should, as Elder Nelson said, "Respect your mission for its sanctity and sacredness." Then Sister Johnson said something that has stuck with me, she said, "When I was little I used to look at missionaries and think, "wow they must be so good." I thought of missionaries as superheroes. Now we're going to be someone's superhero." I want to be able to be good enough to be thought of as someone's superhero.
Okay, so Helaman 1:13. It's talking about all the wars and contentions and problems and at the very end of the verse it says "...and it had an end." I don't know why that stuck out to me so much this time around but I love it. I probably love it for the same reason that "Sunday Will Come" is my favorite talk. All bad things, all hard times, all sadness will come to an end. We will have joy, and we can have joy now. We must find joy now. As sister Nance would say, #soldieron.
So our Sunday night devotional was with Mary Ellen Edmunds. She was so funny!!! I almost died laughing. She spoke to us about the plan of HAPPINESS and that we are hear for Joy. She told us a quick little tale about a woman who was losing all of her hair and one day she only had 3 hairs left. So she decided to put it in a braid. The next morning she only had two so she put it in pigtails. The next day she only had 1 so she put in in a pony tail. The next morning she didn't have any hair and as she looked at herself in the mirror she said, "I'm so glad I don't have to do my hair today!!" Sister Edmunds then counseled us, saying don't worry about losing your hair. You have far worse things you could lose, focus on not losing them.
Later as she was talking about the plan of salvation vs the devil (sneak peak, I can't use the word devil in Norway because it makes anything like the highest level of offensively swearing at someone possible) and his plan of misery. Then she smiled at us and said "What happened to those who followed his plan? They're NO bodies." Then proceeded to laugh at her own joke. I knew I liked her! She looked at us again and said, "So, what's his no-face...I like to call him that cause it annoys him." She was so funny! but taught with every joke and principle and truth.
Yesterday we were able to Skype for TRC (I think I've already explained TRC once...it's basically like visiting teaching) with REAL NORWEGIANS IN NORWAY!!!! (Or in our case she was in England.) I won't tell you her name but I will tell you this. I was TERRIFIED to teach her. My teacher assigned me and Sister Ausen specifically to teach her and then pulled us out in the hall to tell us why. She was baptized a couple years ago and then dropped off the face of the earth and no one had heard from her until she signed up to Skype with us. So she is an inactive Norwegian who needs help. I must have looked as terrified as I felt because Bro. DeCosta looks as us and says, "I picked you two because I am impressed with how you taught me. I know I wasn't easy, but you made a difference in my life with your teaching." What a compliment!! Especially because I thought our lessons with Armand were a failure.
So we taught her. The video feed didn't work on Skype so it was basically like a phone call, but it was a wonderful experience. We got her address and are writing her a letter. She was so sweet, and just said "I am so glad to be able to talk to the missionaries again." She was an atheist and her family is still, she has no friends in the church and no support. But she agreed to find a church, or at least the missionaries, and meet with them. I hope she does. It was such a comforting experience to know that even though she is actually native Norwegian, I could understand her! And she's from Trondheim (one of the hardest dialects to understand.) I may not be able to say much. But I know what they're saying, and the Lord will help me with the rest.
I love the Necklace that Grandma and Ron sent! It's beautiful!! The top clock tells the time in Norway and the bottom tells the time here in Utah. It's perfect! Thank you so much!! I love you all! I miss you all! I pray for you all every day! I know that as we all go separate ways and are doing different things that we will be blessed. There is no reason to be worried, afraid, or uncertain. We were chosen for the work that we all do. And we have the perfect boss. A perfect boss chooses a perfect employee for a job. He knows that we can do the things he asks, or else he wouldn't ask. He will help us every step of the way. Who knows where we will be in a day, a month, a year. Who knows who we will meet. What we will say, what we might do, or where we might go? Well someone does know. He knows better than anyone ever could. And we are all enlisted. Stand strong. Keep the faith. Remember where you come from. Always keep in mind where you're going. I love you.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
--"I don't think for myself anymore. I just follow schedules." Hodgkiss
--"Your tears are my happiness."--Sister Johnson to our always tender Bro. B
--"The person is the end, the lesson is the means." Bro B
--"This Gospel isn't about doing something, it's about experiencing and BECOMING." Bro. B
--"The plan of salvation is about taking men and women of the world and helping them become men and women of eternity." Elder Haite
--"Teaching with the spirit means teaching with understanding." Elder Holland
--"Learning this language I have come to understand how SIMPLE this gospel is." Pitts
--"That book contains Miracles!" Pitts about the grammar book "Nie! The scriptures contain mirables, that book contains trials!" Hodgkiss response.
--We have been nicknamed in the field as the Baby Boomers!
--"Even if we can't remember life before this, our spirits can and so we can recognize the familiarity of the message." Bro DeCosta
--"Oh one day I'll be happy!" Sister Hodgkiss in the middle of a grammar lesson
--"Do you believe that God lies?" Sister Johnson during group teaching
--"Life by the inch is a sinch. Life by the yard is pretty dang hard."
--"We are going to be missionaries for both sides of the veil."
(Sister Johnson and I have passed a note back and forth since Sunday Morning and it has now become communication only through hashtags...these are some of my favorites.)
PS Mom I love that we both studied Elder Hollands talk. Sister Ausen and I studied that all week to prepare for Kjetils lesson! It's a beautiful talk!