Monday, July 25, 2016

This Week Was A Really Good Week

A Great View
July 25, 2016

Hey Everyone!

This week was a really good week. Not too much happened, but overall it was still a pretty good week.

Last Monday, we went out to a very pretty area to go visit a WW2 Nazi bunker. It had been quite a while since I had gone and seen some bunkers, so it was really great to be able to see some again. This one is situated all over a peninsula. Half way through, clouds rolled in, and sure enough, it started raining, kind of hard too, but we kept on climbing all over the peninsula, finding different random things. We found some old anti-aircraft guns, some old pill bunkers, the main headquarters of it, and also some random hidden barracks (which were tiny by the way). But it was a lot of fun going and seeing all of that.
Elder Stephens in a bunker, tunnel, headquarters of bunker peninsula thing, 
a beautiful view, bunker entrance.

Later in the week, we had splits. Elder Stephens got to go down to Trondheim and Elder Abril came up here to Bodø. That was a blast. It was really enjoyable.

Other than that, not too much else has happened out of the ordinary.

Yesterday, I got to teach Sunday School. It was on being converted to the Lord. I think we all come to points in time where we need to evaluate how converted we really are to the Lord. We come to a time where we have to ask ourselves whether or not we are converted to the Lord. I don't believe that conversion is an event that just occurs once, or for just a split second, but I believe that it is rather a process. Yes, we can come to a point where we are converted to the Lord, where our hopes, and dreams, and desires are the same as God's hopes and dreams and desires for us. But that is not the end. It never is the end. We have the rest of our lives to live. We find ourselves happier when we follow those hopes and dreams and desires that God has for us. And we can continue becoming more converted to Christ.

In Alma 23:6 it says,

"6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away."

I thought it was really interesting in the scripture, that those who were truly converted unto the Lord, key word, unto the Lord, never did fall away. When we set our sights heavenwards, and become converted to the Lord, then we find a sure foundation to stand on, a sure foundation to build our faith upon. I hope that all of us can be more converted unto Christ so that we can build upon that foundation that comes from it.

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all you do!


Elder Mickelson
Another gorgeous view with the Lofoten Islands way in the background,
a cool wave, another great sight, a jellyfish on the beach...getting a tan.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Talk About A Crazy Week!

Midnight Sun, Me and the Midnight Sun, Outside my window in the evening.
July 18, 2016

Hello everyone!

Talk about a crazy week! First off, I finally got to see the midnight sun, and it was EPIC! Needless to say, we finally got a night which was clear enough and not entirely clouded over. That was definitely an experience of a lifetime. It's something I'd wish everyone could experience sometime in their lives! I do have to say though, pictures don't even come close to how cool it was.

A payphone. They still exist!
It did feel like a bit of a slow week for the first bit. Because it's summer, many people are on vacation, and that doesn't mean just relaxing at home. When people go on vacation, they're gone for weeks at a time (great if you're not a missionary). Mostly it just makes it a bit more difficult to meet with people. But lucky for us, most people seem to be finishing up vacation here soon, so that's exciting!

The Elders in Mo i Rana came up to Bodø for splits this last week. It was really awesome having them over, especially because I know both of them really well. It was Elder Tangen (who I was companions with a few months ago) and Elder McIntire (who was in Fredrikstad serving at the same time I was there). It was great to catch up with them, see how they were doing, and get to spend some time doing missionary work with them. It was a blast having them come up and visit.
(top) Elder Stephens and Elder Tangen
(left) Epicish Bad Limes with Elder Stephens
(right) Elder Mcintyre and I with Bad Limes
Yesterday was a pretty great day. We had church, both Elder Stephens and I gave talks for it, and it started out with just 5 of us there in total. While I started speaking, we had some visitors come and it was awesome because all of a sudden the number of us in church doubled! haha Normally there's more in church, but many were out of town of vacation this week. Next week it should be back to normal.

After church we went and visited an older lady in the city. She lives in a care center and is just the nicest lady ever. But we had gone there and sometimes we play the piano for her (that's what we ended up doing yesterday) and as I started to play, one of the nurses asked if we minded if they brought out some of the other people there too to listen. We naturally said yes, and it was a really fun experience playing for a bunch of people there. It was nice just seeing them happy and enjoying it.

There was a scripture which I read yesterday that I like very much. It is the last verse of Ether 12, and it says:

"41 And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen."

I really like his invitation for all of us, to not just think of Christ, or to just hope He is there, but to SEEK Jesus. I think that is something really important, that we not only just believe in Christ, but continually seek him out. That we continually try to come closer to Him.

I feel like that word "seek" means that we are engaged in finding. That it is more than just wandering around and maybe stumble across it, but that it becomes our goal, our desire, and our focus. I think that is something that we all need. We all need to continue seeking Christ. That once we've found Christ, that we continue drawing closer to Him and having a better relationship with Him. I think it's important for all of us to try to understand Christ better, that He becomes a more active part of our faith.

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for everything you do!


Elder Mickelson

A fun sign we saw in the grocery store (no, it wasn't us that corrected the spelling).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fairytale Land Of The Midnight Sun in Bodø

Random pictures around Bodø

July 11, 2016

Dear Family & Friends,

In the space of 6 hours, and a couple different of different flights, I made my way from the comforts of Sandvika, and ended up in the fairytale land of the midnight sun in Bodø.

I have to say though, it was definitely a flurry of different emotions and it was just weird. But you know what? It's been like this in every city I've been to. When I'm on my way to my next city, I'm sad, missing all of those that I feel like I've left behind. I miss everyone that I've gotten to know so far. Although, because I know that I miss them, I'm sure that I can say I've loved the people. I've loved everyone and everywhere I've been. It was a pleasure to be in Sandvika, and I can't wait to see them all again at another point in time, I don't know when, but hopefully as soon as I can. I guess I feel the same way with every city.

Midnight in Bodø

The Land of the Midnight Sun. No, it's not just a joke. It's true. Here in Bodø for the next few days, the sun will not set, so that's exciting. I've looked outside at midnight, still feels like the middle of the afternoon, just not near as many people outside haha! Go figure, most people are sleeping.

I said goodbye to Elder Rial in Sandvika, and said hello to Elder Stephens. He's from Pleasant View, Utah. He's a way cool guy. He likes to rock climb and do a bunch of outdoor things. He's a great guy. I'm excited to be serving with him up here!

In the last week, I've thought about Christ's service for others, about how selfless He was in what he did. I think we all have a responsibility to help those around us. In Mosiah 18:8-9 it says,

" 8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life"

When we decide to follow Christ, we make a choice to do our best to be like He was, to become a blessing in others' lives. We choose to serve others, not because we have to, not because we feel obligated to, but because it is in the desires of our hearts to see those around us blessed. Because we want to help them. Because we want the best for them. And when we come to a point where we don't want to hinder their well-being, or happiness because of one reason or another.

Our epic Jenga game 
(it fell shortly thereafter)

I hope that we all find ways in our lives to bless one another. We can serve all of those around us. We can begin with serving within the walls of our own homes, and a random neighbor, someone in the community. It doesn't matter who it is, we should be serving as much as we can, helping whoever we know could use a helping hand. It didn't matter who it was, the poor, the blind, the leper, the sinner, Christ reached out to all. I hope that we can find those around us to be able to serve.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Take care!


Elder Justin Mickelson

Monday, July 4, 2016

Leaving Oslofjord...A Sad Day!

Elder Rial and Elder Mickelson in front of our house.

Hello Family & Friends!,

Wow. Talk about another six weeks flying by. Based on the subject of the email, you can already guess that I'm moving this week. I'm leaving the good ol' city of Sandvika, and flying back to the North. I'm headed off to a city called Bodø. It's a small (but strong and awesome) branch up there. I think there's about 15 or so members in church on Sundays. It's really exciting. I'm headed back to the magical land of the North! It'll be similar to when I was in Alta, except now I have a better chance of understanding people and finally knowing what I'm doing! It's really exciting. My new companion will be Elder Stephens. I've met him once before so I'm looking forward to being with him up there!

This week was busy. With all of the normal missionary work, plus attending a funeral of a good friend, trying to get back a lost phone, and the normal craziness that no one ever expects. It was a great week. I'm still just amazed all of the time how fast it all goes by. It dawned on me that this week I'll have 11 months left... It's quite scary. I don't really quite know how to express it, it just feels as though I want it all to slow down a bit. Well, such is life.

On Saturday we played soccer (like we normally do), but this time, it rained... a lot... and it poured... the WHOLE time. I was SOAKED by the end! haha but it was a blast.

I'm going to miss this ward a lot. I finally feel like I've gotten to know them, and EVERY time that happens, I move. I really love this ward so much! It's so saddening to be leaving. I'll miss catching the bus outside of our house each day, walking around the largest shopping center in all of Scandanavia, all of the people I come in contact with, and especially all of the incredible friends that I've made here. If there's something that I was told before moving here that is absolutely true, it is that in Norway, once you become friends, you are friends for life.

I've thought a lot about what I've learned while I've been here in Sandvika. I believe that with each companion, every area, and every stage of life (whether on a mission or not), we learn something different. I believe that everything in life has a reason, that there is something that we can learn from every situation. I think the one thing that has stuck out to me while I've served here is how important it is for us to understand others. 1) Everyone has a different background. Because of that, we all see life differently, we all have a different perspective, and it is that perspective and beliefs that make all of us unique. 2) Everyone has something that we can learn from them. I was sitting in church and I noticed a person taking notes from what the different speakers had to say. It didn't matter if the speaker was an older person from the congregation, or one of the youth. This person was still taking notes from what they were saying. Things that had impressed this individual was written down. Everyone knows something that we don't.

In this last week, I've pondered a lot about what Christ means to me. I've thought about why He is important in my life. It comes to more than just a childhood faith. It's more than just having gone to church since I was a baby. My relationship with God isn't just a part of my imagination because that's what I've been forced to believe. Christ's gospel isn't about that. That's not what He taught. I think about my understanding of who He is, and it's much deeper than all of that. It's been built by many different experiences, trials, and triumphs through my life. I think we need to go to church, especially in our youth, so that when hard times come in life, we know who we can turn to. But it is just as important as adults as it is as children to go to church. Many see it as pointless, but we go so that we can be continually reminded of how we can strengthen our faith in God, something that is very easy to lose sight of when we don't go. But back to my original point, what does Christ mean to me? He's my foundation. When everything in life has felt as though it was falling down around me, when I've felt at my lowest lows, and I didn't know what to do, I knew where to turn. God always provides safety for the soul. He provides a way for us to feel of His love, for things to become better in life. He provides the light at the end of the tunnel. So when I ask myself, what does Christ mean to me, I can answer with saying that he is the foundation of my life, that everything I have is because of Him. I'd be a very different person without my faith, and I would be a very different person if I did nothing with my faith.

I hope we all take some time this week and ponder what our faith really is, to think about what the foundation of our beliefs are, what we know to be true, and think about what we are doing with the beliefs that we have. We have the ability to do as much good in this world as we do bad. So I hope that we take our beliefs, no matter how big or small, and use them to help build each other up, make everything around us better, quit tearing down others, but help each other stand a little taller. Our beliefs are reflected in our actions. So I hope that we all think about what Christ means to us personally, and build on it.

I hope you all have a great week! I'll talk to you all from the North!


Elder Mickelson

Elder Micleson in front of a beautiful lake.