Tuesday, November 24, 2015

As Of Now The Sun Won't Come Up Anymore

Elder Mickelson and Elder Jefferies in the Trondheim church building

November 23, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,

So mørketid has officially begun! As of now, the sun won't come up anymore in Alta until end of January. It's actually a really cool sight, well lack of sight I guess, to not be seeing the sun. Because Alta is settled in a fjord and mountains surround it, I haven't actually seen the sun in the last week and a half haha! It's really cool though. Whenever we have some.... light?....., it comes out as a sunrise/sunset which is really beautiful. I love it up here. It's unique, which makes it so great.

The Nord Zone!
This week we went to Trondheim for a Zone Conference. President and Sister Hill were there, along with the entire zone of course. We talked about using our family history as a teaching tool. It was great to learn about how we need to keep changing things up as missionaries. Our work and goal doesn't really change, but the way we go about it can. We also talked about unity as a mission. We need to be united with our companions and also as a mission. We have such a great mission. We try to always be making friendships, and I'm seeing how it just continues to bring us closer together.

Also, while I was in Trondheim, I got an amazing kebab. So the kebab shop is called Golden Kebab. I neglected to take a picture... sorry about that, but just wanted to let everyone know it tastes amazing. It's a kebab... with fries inside of it... Delicious! haha

This week we started visiting less active members of our branch. We started getting a list together of all of the members and we've made it a goal to go visit all of them. It is just so nice to start seeing members who haven't been to church in a long time and try to help them come back.

On the way to Trondheim I had a really nice conversation with the man next to me. We talked about different things and religion got brought up, naturally, most people my age don't come to Norway for no reason, especially if they aren't students here. At one point he just asked, in Norwegian of course, 'So what is your message that you go around sharing with others?'. Normally most people aren't just super open to hearing what we have to say. But for him, he was super open to learning about our faith. He was open to hearing everything I had to say, and for me, it was just so great just to be able to say what I wanted to, and not worry that he'd just start arguing. It was a really nice conversation we had.

So this week I'd have to say that I learned more about what I've learned in the past. We can have opportunities to share our beliefs with anyone. A person's faith can come up anytime, anywhere. It's a matter of whether or not we choose to shrug off the opportunity to share what we know, or whether we be open with our beliefs. We don't always have to go out of our way to share the Gospel, many times, those chances come in regular conversations.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! Take care!

-Elder Mickelson

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

So Life Gets Really Interesting Living Above The Arctic Circle!

November 16, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,

Snow outside our house
So life gets really interesting living above the Arctic Circle. This week has been full of service, embracing the culture, and trying not to freeze (just kidding, it hasn't been too cold, we have just had a bunch of snow though which has been really fun to have).

This week we were doing a bunch more service. I built more of a deck and a roof extension. So that was super fun. While doing different service, I've learned one really interesting lesson. No matter what we are doing, we can always share the Gospel. Our examples play a big role in the impression that others get about us. So naturally, our values get brought up and we have the opportunity to share our beliefs. When we've been working, religion and beliefs and thoughts are exchanged, and it's just so cool to me that even when building something, we can still have these cool spiritual conversations with others. By the way, the couple people we've been helping came to church yesterday! It was just so wonderful to see them come and be welcomed so warmly by such an amazing branch up here.

This week we went to a Sami market. The Sami people are the native inhabitants of the Scandinavian Arctic region. Many Sami people fish, trap, or herd animals. Many Sami people are well known for herding reindeer. So the market has many handcrafted items and homemade food. You can buy reindeer meat, reindeer skins, hand-knitted gloves and hats, and an assortment of other things. I ended up buying some Lefsa, which is a traditional flatbread with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. I also bought some julebrød which is a traditional Christmas bread. Oh! I also bought some whale steaks there. Whale tastes amazing by the way. I don't really know how to describe it. I cooked it up like a steak, and then made up some mashed potatoes and grilled onions and poured some white sauce on it. It was delicious. It's funny because it was the most I had put into a meal that I had made for myself the entire time I've been here. Absolutely worth it though! It was an awesome dinner.
The Catholic Church building here in Alta
supporting France after their recent tragedy.

Every year there is a town tree lighting. So it kind of was like How the Grinch Stole Christmas when all of the Who's came together when the tree was decorated. There was a bunch of people gathered together for this tree lighting ceremony and it was just a very cool experience. Elder Jefferies and I got volunteered/asked to join a few other people in our branch to sing some Norwegian Christmas Songs there. So we did. It was way cool. It was funny because it was almost like a flash mob because after the tree was lit, we just started singing. Then everyone turned around and watched us. It was still a really fun time though.

This week I was thinking about something to share with all of you that would be a great spiritual thought. One thing that really stuck with me was the importance of remembering where we come from. Most of the time, we think about where we grew up, our town we lived in, going to school, our family, and things like that. Those are are really important because it reminds us of who we are and our values that were instilled in us when we were younger. I was thinking about that this week and I thought about how we should also remember where we came from before we were born. I think we need to remember that we used to all live together as spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We chose to come to earth and receive a mortal body and be tried and tested and live following Christ's example so that we would be able to return again to our Father in Heaven. I love that when we think of remembering where we came from in that sense, we can see more of our eternal purpose and have a deeper understanding of who we want to be.

I hope you all have an amazing week. Take care and have fun!

-Elder Mickelson

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Week Has Been Super Fun!

November 9, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,

This week has been super fun! We got to help with some service, teach some more, be a part of a Nepali Cultural Celebration, and take a trip up to Hammerfest!

So for the service report for the week! We got to put some insulation up in an extension to a house up here. So that was really cool to learn how to insulate a house. I also got to help with building a deck. I'm learning how doing things on our own can be much easier than we thought it would be. Things in life can seem really hard, no matter what it is, but when we start doing it, we realize that it really isn't that difficult.

While we've been doing our service, we've gotten many opportunities to share the Gospel. We share our beliefs and discuss different doctrines and teachings of Christ. It's really cool to see that we don't have to be so formal in sharing the Gospel with others. Discussions of beliefs and religion come up so much in life, we can share simple truths with others all of the time without even really realizing it.

We were visiting one of our friends at a cultural celebration where he and a bunch of others were selling different crafts from around the world. While we were there, the theme for that week of the culture market was Nepal. So many of the Nepalese people from Alta got together and there was Nepalese food and music and dancing. It was super fun to see it and taste the food (which is REALLY good by the way), dance a bit, and learn about another culture. One really cool thing was that while we were there, we ran across someone we knew that we had shared the Gospel with before, and we talked a little bit. So we will be meeting with him again! It was just a super cool experience. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

We also had the Tromsø Elders over this week. It was wonderful to get to see them and have them over to help us. We also went to Hammerfest this week to visit the members up there and do some contacting up there also. It was really great to meet our members up there and also talk to some people on the streets and share a message about the Gospel with them. I really loved it.

One question I've got asked a lot was to tell more about my companion. We've been companions for the last week and a half. He's super cool. We came into Norway at the same time, but we weren't in the MTC together. While I was in the MTC, he was starting his mission in Arizona on a Navajo Reservation waiting for his Visa.

As for an update on the sun, or lack of, the sun is up at around 9am, and then the sun starts going down at around 1pm. By 3pm is completely dark. haha Gotta love Norway! I do think it is really cool though because it's an experience that I will probably won't have again.

Here's a picture of the Northern Lights last night! They weren't the best Northern Lights I've seen, but still super cool!

Have a great week everybody!


Elder Mickelson

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My new companion Elder Jefferies
November 2, 2015

Dear Family & Friends,

So you know mørketid (dark time(the time where the sun literally doesn't come up for 2 months straight)) is coming really soon when the sun comes up at 7 and it's already dark by 3. It's coming fast. I guess it's the end of November that the sun quits shining. That'll be a really cool experience to look forward to!

This week has been awesome. I dropped off Elder Cheney at the airport and I picked up Elder Jefferies. He's from Provo, UT. He's really into medicine and science. He worked as an EMT before he came on his mission. That has been really fun. He's been in Norway just as long as I have. So it's been an adventure getting to try and learn the language together. We make it work though. We have been getting along really well.

We started having the missionary discussions with members. It helps the members out, but also has been helping us teach better.

The work is going really well up here. We got to do some more service over this last week. There is a lot to be done up in Alta in preparation for the Winter. We really haven't gotten anyone new to teach, but we have just kept working with those that we have. It's been really great to get to build relationships here and help others out. The members here are awesome. They do so much to stay active and they always participate so well. They are some of the strongest members I have ever seen.

After being here for 3 months, I've not only gotten to know the members, but also have gotten to make some really amazing friends. It's really cool to see how people with different cultures can still come together. I have gotten to learn here that everyone has a story. Everyone is where they are for a reason, and it's really cool to me to see how they've reached their unique place in life.

This week has just flown by, and I'm sure this next one will too. Take care and have a great week!


Elder Mickelson