“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!”
These past 18 months have been the hardest, best, and happiest times of my life! Coming on a mission was not something I had always planned or wanted to do, but boy am I glad that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and that he wanted me to serve a mission. My life has forever changed and I am so grateful for this opportunity I have had to be a missionary and not only change the lives of others, but along the way change myself(: I have a million thoughts going through my head and I know I am not going to be able to get them all down...... This email is going to be a little different than usual and I first wanted to start off by writing a little something to Norway....
I still remember perfectly stepping off the plane into your foreign land, being dead tired, not knowing what was going on, and wondering what I had just gotten myself into.... I remember my awesome trainer Søster Frampton at the airport welcoming me with a warm hug and I still had no idea what to do.... getting on the public bus for the first time I wanted to cry... Hearing Norwegian to my left and right and having it hit me that I was a missionary in real life and that it wasn't a dream. Banking and kontakting in the rain and snow, going to bed exhausted, teaching people about God, helping others feel God's love, serving people, slipping and falling, laughing at the good and the bad, freezing to death, going out of my comfort zone, being bold, standing up for what I believe in, coming closer to Christ, etc...However flash forward 18 months later and my heart is breaking in two. I never thought I would love this land and people so much. Thank you for taking care of me, for sharing your beautiful land, culture, language, and amazing people with me. GUD VÆR MED DEG TIL VI SEES IGJEN!!! Tusen hjertelig takk for alt!!
Mitt Vitnesbyrd: (My testimony)
Doctrine and Covenants section 18 verse 15: *And if is so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be ONE soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father* I love this scripture and to me, that defines a successful missionary. That one soul is yourself. It doesn't matter about the numbers or the amount of baptisms you had, what matters most is… did you learn and grow and change into what your Heavenly Father wants you and knows you can be? Did you come closer to him? I can surely say that I know that I brought my soul unto him and how great it is and at peace I feel to know that I can say that without any doubt.
I know that the work I have been doing is of God. I am so grateful I have been able to wear Christ's name on my chest on a badge for these past 18 months and represent Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to feel God's love for these people and see them as he sees them. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same exact church that Christ established when He was on the earth. Just like in Christ's days, we have a living prophet and 12 apostles who lead and guide His church. I am so grateful that God is the same, today, and forever and that he still continues to speak to us through not only personal revelation, but through a prophet as well. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith and his work to restore Christ's church and to translate, not write, but translate the Book of Mormon for us to have today. I know that the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible are from God. I know that the Book of Mormon and the Bible complete each other and that we need the Book of Mormon just as much as we need the Bible. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, I would strongly encourage you to give it a try! What do you have to lose? I promise you that if you read it with an open mind and heart, that you will come to feel and know that it is true just like I have. Even though I won't have an official badge anymore, I can't wait to continue to still be a missionary in any way that I can at home. *If you're not a full time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart- painted, as Paul said, *not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God...* Being a missionary hasn't always been the easiest thing, but every minute has been worth it! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.
To all the boys and girls out there young or old struggling with their testimony, I invite you to go forward with faith! Don't dig up in doubt, what you planted in faith. Go back to the basics and begin again. If you are having a hard time, I invite you to lean on my testimony until you can develop your own.
To all the boys and girls out there unsure about going on a mission or thinking that a mission isn't for them, or for those who are saying “no way Jose!!” I was once like that too.... However as a representative of Jesus Christ I can promise you that you will not regret going on a mission!!! I would recommend a mission to everyone boys and girls!! And I am not just saying this because I am a missionary. I have learned and grown so much in ways that would have never been possible if I hadn't gone on a mission. I have learned what this gospel actually is all about and how important the gospel actually is. A mission has better prepared me to be a wife and mother and to raise my children strong in the gospel. This decision will not affect the rest of your life and your generations to come, but also those and the generations of those that you meet, talk to, plant seeds with, and teach. Please please please when the time is right pray about a mission and really be open to the idea of going on one! Do not close the door without even giving it a chance and praying about it! Who knows maybe God will tell you a mission is for you and maybe he will tell you that a mission is not for you, but you must first try and see what he says! 18 months or 2 years sounds like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things, it flies by! This isn't our time, but the Lord's. He has given us so much, so giving up that time for him doesn't even do it justice.
An amazing talk that changed my mission is by Jeffry R Holland called The Miracle of a Mission! I would invite ALL missionaries to read this talk!! It changed my mission and I know it will change yours. It gave me the motivation and encouragement I needed when I read it as a new missionary.
***This week was full of goodbyes and a lot of the last time...... It is still not real to me that I am actually leaving!**** It's not a goodbye, but a see you later!
I can't really remember what we did... so much has happened since then.
Last District meeting......
I checked out of the city
Majken and Aaron had the missionaries over for hot dogs! Hot dogs in Norway are seriously the best!! I hope I can make them in America. They use like this potato salad and special tortilla looking bread
Taught the English class again!! It is a real success! I never really thought how hard it is to learn English from someone who knows absolutely nothing about English.....
Went to the nursing home like usual! Søster Gates and her violin are a real hit! We even sang the song we sang in church
We had a relief society activity about motherhood and man I lost it.... The first video they showed I started bawling because it made me think of my mom..... They should not show that video to people who haven't seen their mom in a year and a half.... It was a way awesome activity and very cool to hear stories from different perspectives of mother's
The STL's came!! Sister Wood and Leland, those two are awesome!
Said goodbye to Maria.... She had us over for a skikkelig norsk lunsj! smør brød og vafler!! Det smakte veldig godt! Maria is so cute!! We also helped her take her picture for her mission papers!! So exciting!!!!
Visited Majken and Aaron and shared a way awesome scripture and thought about prayer and how when we get answers we shouldn't doubt them (Doctrine and Covenants section 6 verse 23)
Said goodbye to Evalina, Lars, and Jackson and while we were in Hell we got our pass port stamped saying we have been to Hell
It's a small world after all..... So when I was in high school there was a missionary that my family became good friends with (Eric Wood). Well it turns out he has family in Trondheim!! I got to meet up with his cousin and we went to dinner!! It was way awesome! She was so nice and it was so cool that we were just talking in Norwegian and eating dinner. I had one of those moments where I was like.... *woah, I'm speaking Norwegian and having conversations and I know what is going on!!*
Last time at the nursing home... Our ending song was Gud Vær Med Deg Til Vi Sees Igjen and I lost it..... Especially when I was saying goodbye to all of them and they told me to come back soon.... These people are like my family!!
Said goodbye to bestemor and far
Said goodbye to Elin..... she was so nice and gave me some way awesome lotion for home!
On the way to Elin's I sat by this girl and started to talk with her and she was so cute and nice! We got to talking about why I was in Norway and how I was a missionary and how she hoped that there was something there, but wasn't sure and I began to talk with her a bit about God and asked if we could meet with her and tell her more and she said yes! Her name was Signa Elisabeth and I got her number and we are going to meet with her on Tuesday!!
Søster Gates and I made “operation go big and go home” goals for my final days as a missionary and dang it has been working so good!! It got us so pumped and motivated and miracles have been happening! We have had a lot of findings this week and have come in contact with so many awesome potentials.
The street stand was canceled due to weather, but last week was such a great one to end on!
Last weekly planning... It was kinda weird because I basically acted like a new missionary to help Søster Gates prepare for the new missionary she will be training
Said goodbye to Ingebrigt
I SAW CASPER!!!!!! IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!!!! I haven't seen him since I left Stavanger a year ago!! So Søster Gates and I had an appointment with a deaf girl we had met on the street and had asked Casper to skype in and help us on the teach.... I feel terrible to say my tegn språk isn't what it used to be.... It turns out the girl didn't show up, but I did get to see Casper, so that was awesome!! He has just turned in his mission papers!!!
Said goodbye to Jecon and Angi.... They are awesome and we are working with Jecon to getting him to start reading the Book of Mormon from beginning to end starting with the picture book. He is so good and he has so much potential!
Well this is it folks.... I gave my farewell testimony in sacrament meeting. I was able to compose myself without crying until I sat back down..... This is Biskop Paulsen and his mom.
Ole was so nice and offered to make us dinner! He is way good at cooking and it was so nice of him. It is funny because usually we do salmon Sundays and whenever I remember to thaw the salmon out before church we always have someone invite us over and when I forget we have to try to defrost it in the microwave.....
Said goodbye to Målfrid and Ivar... Ivar started crying and told me “don't go!!” and said “I'm am coming with you!” Seeing that old man cry just broke my heart and made me tear up! Man I am going to miss these people!
Visited Ella! We had a great discussion with her and she isn't interested in learning more, but they do want to keep in touch and have the missionaries over for dinner and things like that! They are such amazing, sweet, and such down to earth people. I am so grateful I was able to befriend them before I left. Ella taught me how to juggle scarves! So you could say I am a juggling pro now.
We had Moves call.... and I am getting transferred to.... TEXAS!!
Scripture of the week:
Enos chapter 1 verse 26:
*And I saw that I must soon go down to (Texas my homeland), (after) having been (called) upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people (the Norwegians), and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my (18 months), and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.*
(I added some words into the verse to make it more personal to me)
- Enjoy every day!! Each day is a new day, so don’t dwell on what happened yesterday! Try to do and be better today(:
- Don't live with regrets! Be bold, be fearless!
- Don't worry about what others think or will say... do what make YOU happy!
- If you ever have the chance to go to Norway, DO IT!!
- Packing is a nightmare..... I wish I could just snap my fingers and be done...
-my goodbye lunch.. can’t beat this view of Trondheim
Tusen hjertelig takk for all of you who have supported me throughout this wonderful and amazing journey and for keeping up with my blog and following my adventures in Norway. Your love and encouragement has meant the world to me and words cannot describe how truly grateful I am! I love you all and as much as I am so sad to close this chapter of my life, I am looking forward to starting the next!! GLAD I DERE!!!
SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TERMINAL!!!!!! LOOK OUT AMERICA THIS GIRL IS COMING FOR YA!
Søster Jordan Dawn Peterson
(for the last time....over and out)
p.s. to all my Norway peeps.... I will be coming back in May with my fam!!!! So I will be back!!! You haven't gotten rid of me that quickly....