Cheers to a New Year and my blackout year!! That means that for the whole year of 2015 I will be on my mission!! So it is my blackout year!!!This week I have so much to say and I feel like I am not going to be able to say it all!! So here it goes!!!
Dec 31st (Wed): New Year’s Eve!!!
New Year's Eve day was kind of like a P-Day. Søster Frampton and I packed for her to go home the next day!! We also took a nap to prepare for staying up late. We were allowed to stay up till the New Year tonight!! We ate dinner at the Olsen's house and Søster Frampton and I hung out there for half of the night! After the Olsen's all the missionaries went to the senior couple's house and partied till the New Year!! It was so fun!!! The senior couple (Brother and Sister Whitaker) are my favorite!! They are so awesome!!! We all went outside when it was almost midnight and to my doing all counted down from 10 and banged pots and pans!! It was so fun!!
Okay so Norway is crazy when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve!! There were fireworks going off everywhere!! Right next door and like huge fireworks!!! It literally sounded like the whole city was exploding!! Something I will never forget!!! It was the coolest thing ever!!! I am so grateful I got to spend it with the missionaries and in Norway!! Different than what I was used to, but very cool!! Søster Frampton and I got home around 1:30 am and still had to wake up at 6:30 like usual which was a bummer, but oh well!!
**shout out to my girl Hermana Kenzie Randall who went into the MTC today!!! You are going to rock it!!
January 1st (Thurs):
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Wow! I cannot believe it is 2015!! So crazy!!! Today I dropped Søster Frampton off at the airport.... She is going home!!! I was so sad, but so happy for her!!! I am going to miss her so much!! Until the new transfer moves, which is January 7th I will be with the Sandnes sisters! Today we had an awesome time at the Svannes Family house! They are so awesome and we had yummy pancakes!! They are awesome at being missionaries to their non-member friends! Not even gonna lie - I cried that night because I missed Søster Frampton!
January 2nd (Fri):
Today when I woke up I wasn't even tired!! Which is a miracle considering every morning when the alarm goes off, I do not want to get out of bed!! I am hoping this is a sign that the New Year is going to be great and I won't struggle anymore in the morning haha. Today something amazing happened!!! Søster Nielsen, Gates, and I were contacting in Stavanger in the city and on our way home we decided to split up. Søster Nielsen who has been in Norway for 6 months went by herself and Søster Gates who has been in Norway for a month went with me! Yeah I was a little nervous you could say.... We stopped this lady and to make a long story short we got her number and she said she would be interested in meeting with us!! I was caught way off guard and totally did not expect her response!! This rarely ever happens!! She doesn't live in Stavanger so we gave her number and information to the Kristansand missionaries and they called her and got an appointment with her!!! I was so happy and just in awe!! Søster Gates and I did that!! AND.. It was all in Norwegian!!! I am coming along!!! So happy!!!
January 3rd (Sat):
HAPPY 4 MONTHS TO ME!!!! I have been on my mission for four months!!! Today was probably the best day ever!!!
So today we had sport like usual and guess who walks into the church!!! Marita!! She is a deaf convert who is less active in the church!! My mouth dropped to the ground!! I was so happy!!! Also the Elders had two other deaf girls who they are beginning to teach come!!! It was the best!! Later that night we traveled to Sandnes - we were sleeping in Sandnes tonight (I feel like a nomad because we are back and forth between Stavanger and Sandnes) and we had planned to be in the rest of the night. We still had studies and weekly planning to finish. We had just started making dinner when I got a text from Marita. Marita never texted me!! I had texted her the previous day to see if we could stop by and like always she said no.... So this was a shock to me!! She had asked me if I was free and I told her I was in Sandnes, etc... well, after a while of going back and forth she asked if her and one of the deaf girls from this morning could meet with us!? I told her we were in Sandnes not Stavanger, could we another day? She said we are getting on the bus now to come to Sandnes!!! (just to remind you – Sandnes is a 45 minute bus ride from Stavanger) I was like umm what!! I asked her if everything was okay?? She said yes, they just wanted to talk about Jesus and the church! I at that point started freaking out!! Søster Frampton was the best at signing and she was gone!! The Sandnes sister’s barely just starting learning and I know more than they do, but because I am still learning Norwegian it is difficult. So I called Eldste Gunther who was at the same skill level as Søster Frampton to come and help us talk with them. Well Gunther was across the fjord teaching a new convert family!!! I about died when I heard that!!! So it was us all on our own!!! Then I thought I will text Casper!!! I texted Casper and asked him if he was available and he was!! I told him we were in Sandnes and he said I am on my way!!! I started jumping for joy!!! I was so happy!! So the other sisters and I dropped what we were doing, put our shoes on and ran to the sentrum of Sandnes to meet Marita, Iza, and Casper!! Did I mention it was a snow storm outside?? We met Casper and I was so grateful for him!! It was so nice of him to come on such short notice and to Sandnes to help us!! I thanked him and he said it was no problem!! He said you helped me and I want to help you!! I about died!! He is just the best!!! Casper has an apartment in Sandnes so he asked if we would want to go there and teach the girls there!! Great idea!!! So we did!! Let me tell you the gift of tongues and hands is real!!! I have never prayed so hard or so much in a short amount of time!! I was saying prayers as we were running and in the car in my head!! I really needed Heavenly Father's help and you bet I had the faith he could help me!! I don't know how, but I was able to understand everything Casper was saying and I would translate to the other sisters!! I was able to sign and communicate everything I needed to say!! Let me just tell you Casper is a rock star!! He is seriously the best missionary ever!!! Even though people don't have official tags like I do, you can still be a missionary!! He helped the girls with all their questions, bore hard solid testimony of what he knew to be true, and involved me and the other sisters!! Seriously it was probably the best experience I have ever had!!! I was so happy and amazed and just feeling every emotion!! Casper literally is the best ever!! He is so strong in the church already!!! Best day ever!!! This was a miracle!!
(BTW this whole conversation was either in Norwegian or sign language!!)
January 4th (Sun):
MOVES CALL!!! We got moves call today!! Which means we find out who is serving where and with whom!! Drum roll please.... I am staying in Stavanger and my new companion is.... SØSTER HEYWOOD!!!! We were in the MTC together!!
Today was probably the best fast Sunday and testimony meeting in church I have ever experienced or had in my whole life!! No joke. As usual I bore my testimony today with Edel and we got another girl to come with us!! Those girls are so awesome!! Edel is amazing and such a great example to me!! So today the spirit was so strong in church!! It was just amazing!! A lady in the ward who I love!!! Johanna Bjerga got up at the very end and said she had two points to share real fast. The last one was to the missionaries.... She had everyone stand up in the congregation who had been converted by the missionaries and more than half of the congregation stood up!! I was in shock and awe!! Then she had them keep standing and asked everyone who had parents or grandparents that were converted stand up and basically 99% of the congregation was standing!! I looked around and was speechless!! Johanna went on talking and basically was like never give up missionaries and lose hope because this is what you can do and what others before you have done!! It was so amazing!! I totally started crying!! It was seriously the best thing ever!! Then after church Eldste Duncan and Nilsson, Søster Nielsen, and a guy in the ward Jørgen came up to me and said they were amazed at my Norwegian and how good I sounded and how far I have come, etc... I was in shock!! I was like are you serious?? I totally thought I sounded bad, etc... They were like no you did amazing!!! I again started crying!! That was something that I needed to hear!! I have been struggling with the language and those comments were exactly what I needed!! We got invited to go to the Sandne Family's house for dinner and it was so good!!! We had a great time there!! That family is so awesome and only speaks Norwegian to us to help us!! It was the best!! Usually I wouldn't like it, but after the comments today I gained so much more confidence and I understand so much more!! We met with Casper tonight and after yesterday I am not worried at all about communicating or signing with him! It is seriously a miracle at how I can talk and understand almost all of what he is saying! Our lesson with him went so good!! AND he had a surprise for me!! Søster Frampton and he had been texting and she had sent him a video for him to show me!! It was the best surprise ever!!! I was freaking out!!!
Eldste Gunther is leaving and Søster Gates, so now I will have to translate for Casper at church and everywhere else!!! Time to step up to the plate!! Challenge accepted!!!
To say the least this week has been amazing!!!! I am so excited for the New Year!! Everything that happened this week was exactly what I needed!!!
I honestly had bittersweet feelings towards my blackout year, but after these past couple of days and the experiences I have had, I wouldn't want to be or doing anything else!! Heavenly Father knew I needed to have these experiences to boost me and get me pumped and help me become a better missionary and it was exactly what I needed!! I am so grateful!! Heavenly Father knew I needed to be a missionary to learn, grow, and help others and I am so glad that I chose to serve a mission!! This is exactly what I need to be doing!! AH!! I am so excited!!!!
- Nothing is impossible!!
- Never give up!!
- Have faith and trust in the Lord
- Expect miracles!!!
- When the going gets tough, keep going!! You will be surprised by what you can do when put in situations that push you!
- I feel like a kid in kindergarten when they are finally understanding how to read!!
- I think the MTC should teach Norwegian Sign Language
Thank you again for everyone who has sent me mail, letters, and packages!! Even an email is the best!!! I may not be able to respond right away, but I will!!
I love this quote and have it hanging on my wall!! It is such a good quote to live by!!
“As we arise each morning let us determine to respond with more love and kindness to whatever might come our way!”
**clearly this week I had a lot to write about.... so if I didn't get to email you, I will next week!!!''''