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.

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