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

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