Monday, August 29, 2016

The Week Was Quite Legendary!

Our tie selection (mine are the 5 on the right)

August 29, 2016

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was quite legendary. Needless to say, this week will have gone down in mission lore and will be talked about for years to come...

Ok, so what, it really is just one thing that will get talked about, but hey, at least it's noteworthy.

As background to this story, I'll run everyone down on why this is so important. It is every missionary's dream and aspiration to find/collect cool ties throughout their mission. Well here in Norway there is this store called Dressman, and it's basically a men's store with dress shirts and suits and ties and what not. Well, there is this story that has been told that there was a missionary a few years back that found a tie sale at dressman where he could fill a bag with as many ties as he could, and only pay one set price, something like a couple hundred kroner or something, which is pretty cheap considering how pricey ties are here. Ties cost about 20 or 30 dollars here. This previous story is true because I talked to someone who was companions with the guy that had gotten this incredible tie sale. He verified that it was true.

Ever since then, missionaries just wait for these types or crazy sales to come out.... and they never happen. Hence, it is just mission lore, because you hear about the possibility, but it never happens. Well this following story is one to write down in the books.

The day was cold, dark, and dreary... actually the weather was just fine. But it makes a better intro. Elder Stephens and I were walking down the street trying to talk to people. We walk passed this Dressman, and I said, "Hey, let's go in." It's nice to take a break every once in awhile so we went in and started looking around. And that's when we saw it... THE SALE... Most people are happy with a buy 2 get 1 free sale, that's all fine and dandy, but what we saw was one that we will probably never see again.

Receipt proving we actually got this sale

10 ties, for 100 kroner. For conversion sake, 100 kroner is like 12 dollars. Now these are NOT cheap ties. They are like 100 dollars a pop, but definitely not cheap ones either. Like I said earlier, they're nice ties. Like 100% silk and stuff. So, we say to ourselves, "Well when you see a deal like that, you can't turn it down!" So I picked 5 tie’s, and Elder Stephens picked 5 tie’s, and we got 10 tie’s for 100 kroner! We get to the checkout after picking way cool ties, and the guy just laughs. He rings it all up and asks us if we want to know how much we would've paid without having the sale, and we said yes. 2,340 kroner. We saved 2,240 kroner because of the sale. It was over 95% off! Without the sale it would've been about 280 dollars worth of ties, but we got it for a little over 10 bucks! Definitely a great deal and an incredible story.

The rest of the week went as normal. Not too much was out of the ordinary. Fall is coming so that's been exciting to look forward too. The Summer is basically over and school is back into full swing, so with all of that, not too many tourists anymore here in Bodø.

Something I've noticed while reading the scriptures this last week, has been how often we forget how merciful God has been for us. He's always trying to help us and guide us, but too often, we find ourselves turning away from Him, turning away from help, and trying to do everything on our own. Maybe we as people are too prideful. Maybe we just believe that we can just do everything in our own strength. I think about a person's ideal dream, that they can make anything for their life if they just work hard enough for it. I think about those that paved the way before us, what they did to create a better world. They tried and tried again. They didn't try again because they succeeded, but because they failed. And as people, after enough times of failing, we decide that it's not worth it. The trial humbles us. But I think that most people who pioneered the world to what it is today, didn't give up, not because they were more strong willed, but that the trial brought them to their knees and humbled them enough to ask for divine help. The divine help sometimes comes as the motivation to try again, to keep going and try one more time. And when that happens, they create something better in the world, because they were able to try over and over again, despite when they didn't want to. We don't always see God's hand in our lives, but if we look back, it's a lot clearer to see the help we received.

"Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions" -Robin Hood (the new Robin Hood movie that came out like 4 years ago or something like that)

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


Elder Mickelson
Funny road construction sign

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Had A Lot Of Fun This Week.

Another cat (it likes ice cream, no it wasn't me that gave it to it)

August 22, 2016

Hey everyone!

I had a lot of fun this week. Everyone was finally off of vacation and were able to just start meeting with everyone. It was a lot of fun to meet some new people and get to visit some good friends here.

We started finding some way nice people while knocking around some neighborhoods. I'm really excited to go back and get to share with them such a great message of Jesus Christ.

Bus stop graffiti

From Thursday afternoon until Saturday night there was a huge concert for like 3 days a few blocks down from our apartment. Needless to say, it made falling asleep quite difficult. I guess Saturday night there was a bunch of fireworks going off for it, but I was fast asleep so I didn't notice them. You'd think something so loud would wake me up, but it didn't. But on the other hand, the concert helped there be a ton of people out and about for half of the week. Granted, everyone was at the concert and not actually much on the streets, but hey, people were out either way!

My weekly spiritual thought this week is inspired from church yesterday. One of the talks that was held was on being thankful. For me, I don't know if I take enough time to be grateful for the things that happen in my life or what I have been blessed with. In Alma 37:37 the scripture reads,

"37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

Sunset in Bodø

I like the part where it talks about when we rise in the morning, that our hearts are full of thanks. It's not easy to be thankful 100% of the time because life gets tough, but I think when we try to take time to thank God for what we have, to thank Him for our family, our friends, the random old lady on the street that did something funny and made you laugh, that's when we start to become more thankful in our lives. There are so many things to be grateful for, and an innumerable amount of blessings from God that we receive. Although, it's up to us to try and see those incredible things in our lives.

Now I will say with surety that there are things in life, challenges, trials, struggles, illness, diseases, ailments, tragedies, and other things which our out of our control. And it is by no means easy, but at the end of the day, when some obstacle has been overcome, we are made stronger. Our trials are for our good, despite how bad they can be, but they are experiences we can look back on and be grateful that we COULD overcome it, that we were made stronger because of it.

I heard a quote supposedly by William Shakespeare, whether or not he said it I don't actually know, but the quote is,

"Tragedy is a comedy misunderstood." -Shakespeare

Now with tragedies, there are for sure sorrows associated to it. And a comedy doesn't necessarily mean that it's all funny. But I think what Shakespeare could have meant was that the things that come in life can be taken in two ways, we either see the good or the bad in what happened. How we interpret the world around us is only our perception of it.

I believe that our perception and gratitude go hand in hand. How we look at things in our own lives will affect how thankful we are for things. A lot in life is just our perception, so I hope that we make a greater effort in seeing the good in us, in others, and see the good in the world around us. I really do believe that will help us as people become more grateful so that when we wake up, our hearts can be full of thanks unto God.

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


Elder Mickelson

Monday, August 15, 2016

Elder Stephens & I Staying Together For Another 6 Weeks

Anyone want to buy some blood and whale meat at the grocery store for some food?
August 15, 2016

Hello Everyone!

Well, I guess 6 weeks have come and gone, and I'm not really quite sure where it went. But what I do know is that it was full of a lot of fun, adventure, a ton of beautiful sights, and getting to meet a bunch of really cool people. Yesterday we found out that Elder Stephens and I get to stay together here in Bodø for another transfer. So that's really exciting. We'll be up here for another transfer!

Not too many different eventful things happened this week. Everyone in the mission got to spend a day to clean literally their entire apartment. Now we got a sparkling clean house! haha
Arctic Race of Norway
One cool thing that happened this week was the Arctic Race of Norway. It's a race here in northern Norway with professional cycling teams that compete for several days cycling around the area. So this week was busy with them being around and attracting crowds of people to watch.

Elder Mickelson with the Subway
dude handing out free cookies
On Saturday there were a bunch of people around because of the cycling race, AND as a result, a ton of food places were giving out free food. So in the space of a couple hours we had gotten samples from Burger King, Subway, and free cake because of Nordland Music Week. Definitely some great samples! And to explain the walking sandwich in the subject of the email, the Subway guy was dressed up as a sub sandwich! And I totally got a picture with him!

In case you all haven't caught on yet, I like ending my letters with a small spiritual thought, something that I've noticed or thought about a lot in the last week. This week comes from something I was thinking about yesterday.

I think too often as people, inside and outside of the church, we expect that our lives or other people's lives can be changed in a matter of days, a couple weeks, or just a month. We think that change happens basically overnight, but despite as much as we want change to occur that fast, I don't believe it occurs like that most of the time. Most change in life takes time. I believe that in life we go through "the refiner's fire", that through time we are molded and shaped into something greater. But a blacksmith doesn't take some ore and turn it into something great the first time he heats the ore and beats it across an anvil. It isn't complete even the second time it is hit, or even the tenth. So it is with us as people. We as people, and everyone around us usually can't change overnight, but we do change with time. We change through experiences and how we manage situations and whatnot. I think we expect change to occur too fast, not recognizing that change and conversion to the Lord with that change come over time. We aren't changed beings automatically because we went to church one time, but we are changed with time when we follow God's guidance.

I hope all of you have a great week! Take care!


Elder Mickelson

Monday, August 8, 2016

We Had A Pretty Great!

Elder Mickelson with some Lefse
August 8, 2016

Hey Everyone!

We had a pretty great week this last week!

Nothing was too much out of the ordinary. We were able to go up to a city North from us called Narvik for splits. It was so much fun getting to see the missionaries up there. They're way cool and we had a really good time.
I went up with Elder Bunnell (who's serving in Narvik) to a city further North called Harstad to go and try to visit some people there. While we were there, we were walking down the street and ran across a family there that are members (out of the whole city and we come across some of the few members there). Anyways, we get invited to their home and visited them. They were so awesome. Such a kind family. I have to say I continue to just be impressed with how incredible the members are here in Norway. Everyone here just has such a strong faith and testimony of the gospel. They are all great examples to me of what I want to aspire to become. I love them all so much here!
Random thought, while we were in Harstad, I came across this really cool little bakery and it fitted so perfectly the stereotype of a European bakery (it looked just like the one in the movie the Best Two Years). So I bought some boller (basically rolls with some cinnamon and spices in it) from there and it was DELICIOUS!

Yesterday in church we talked about prayer and it's been something I've been thinking a lot about this last couple weeks. We talked about how we can have more meaningful prayers. There's a scripture I like a lot that talks about it. In Alma 34:26 it says,

"But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness."

I really like how it mentions pouring out our souls to God. I think that's so important, that we need to remember that prayer shouldn't just be repetitious, but rather a conversation with our Heavenly Father. When we start pouring out our souls to Him, that's when we find ourselves coming closer to Him. We will begin to have a better relationship with Him. And it all begins with something as simple as a heartfelt prayer.

Well I hope all of you have a great week! Take care! Thanks for all you do.


Elder Mickelson

Monday, August 1, 2016

Everything Felt Very Scattered This Week

A street in a city called Mo i Rana has my name on it!!!

August 1, 2016

Hello everyone!

Man, what a crazy week, hmmmm, well, where to begin?

Well, everything felt very scattered this week, but in the end, it all worked out. Our week was filled with the normal, everyday activities, talking to people on the street, knocking doors, etc. Aside from that though, we flew up to Tromsø for Zone Leader Training. That was really fun. Normally, we would fly down to Trondheim for it, but they split the training so half went to Trondheim and the other half (us) flew to Tromsø.
View from our airport gate to fly to Tromsø

I have been to Tromsø several times already. That was while I was living in Alta. So I hadn't been back there for about 8-9 months or so. It was pretty great to go back there and visit the city. There were a bunch of other missionaries that were in Tromsø that I got to see and it was great to catch up with them.

At ZLT, the meeting was centered around the importance of the Holy Ghost in missionary work. It led me to think a lot about how important it is for us to be focusing on true conversion to Christ. The Spirit plays a large role in how we become more converted to the Lord. It is necessary for us to help others feel the Spirit to help them come closer to Christ. I think that too often when we as people begin to discuss religion or beliefs, it just turns to philosophy/ethics (nothing wrong with philosophy or ethics) and we forget what we really are talking about. We forget at times that we are talking about God and His plan for us, his plan that helps us come closer to Him, find more happiness in our lives, and live a more purpose-filled life. I think when we focus on what the doctrine of Christ is, that is when we can have a greater relationship with Him.

watch for hedgehogs haha I can't wait to see 
a hedgehog walking around Bodø. 
They exist in Norway I guess, 
just haven't seen one yet here.

In other news, it totally looked like I got punched in the face this week. I totally woke up one morning, and I blinked, and it was then that I realized I was going to be getting a stye eye, totally sucks to have, but ya, it basically just turned into a gnarly black eye, but it looks MUCH better now, nearly unnoticeable.

Other than that, there's not too much else that's new. I'd like to end with a thought that I've had these last few days.

There is a saying along the lines of "church is not a showplace for saints, but a hospital for sinners".

Perfect people don't need church. But no one is perfect. All of us have our faults, our trials, our struggles. It doesn't matter where we are at spiritually, or temporally, we all need church. It is there that will help strengthen us spiritually, and where we will find spiritual healing we need. When we feel like we shouldn't go to church, that is when we dearly need to go. It does more good than I think we will ever really realize.

I hope that we don't take church attendance for granted, there's a lot we can learn and it helps us grow.

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


Elder Mickelson

Zone picture at Zone Conference
Showing off my black eye!