Monday, May 29, 2017

This May Be Message Number 100

All of us together
May 29, 2017

Hey Everyone!

So, rumor has it that this is email number 100. I don't know how true it is, but it seems legit. It's been fun for me to see how my emails have evolved over the last couple years. It started as practically a few sentences. After finding out that people would want to read more than a couple lines, I had to step it up a notch. But that's aside from the point. That is a TON of emails.

Coming back down on
a mountain bike trail
I've been asked a lot lately, "Are you excited to be going home soon?" (by the way, I'm coming home next week). And I guess I'll answer that. I'm excited to see everyone, but I'm really going to miss it a lot here. I have so many new friends I've made over here, and it'll be hard to leave. Thankfully Facebook exists! Luckily, it's easier to hold contact with people nowadays than it used to be. So yes, I am excited to be home, but I think part of me will be left here. And I'll take a bit of Norway home with me.

So this week has been definitely a great one. We started out with another hike. It was soooo much fun! We went out with one of the young men, and it was a blast.

We also went and got kebab too that evening with another one of the young men. Tons of fun. That's for sure. The youth in this ward are so great. I've really appreciated the church here in Norway, they're just all studs!

I had my interview with our mission president too this week. So Elder Mitchell, Sanchez, and I took a train (see right there? I took yet another train haha) over to the mission president's home. So we spent the early afternoon over there with interviews and lunch. So it was really good.

This week was a great one, but definitely hot! It was up in the 80s this week. Really nice to be out in, but I got a bit of a sunburn. Oh well, it wasn't too bad!

Well I hope you all have a great week! Take care! And I'll see some of you next week!


Elder Justin Mickelson

“Even in the most difficult and darkest of times, there is light and goodness all around us.” -Mark A. Bragg

Extreme ramp/turn thing (wall of death maybe?)
River along the hike
Snake that we nearly stepped on.

Monday, May 22, 2017

17th Of May Norway Independence Day

Elder Decker, Elder Mitchell, Elder Nelson, Me
May 22, 2017

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a great week. I sure had an incredible one.

The 17th of May is the biggest celebration in Norway. It's their Independence Day. Last year, I was in Oslo to celebrate it, and this year I was in Drammen. Last year was crazy because it was like a million plus people all crowding the streets of Oslo, and the parade went past the King's Palace and everything. So that was a ton of fun. This year was more relaxing. We saw the parade here in Drammen, so that was really fun. It's so cool to see everyone's national pride.

Arizona Drink
After watching the parade, I found an Arizona juice. I drank a lot of in the States, but haven't seen in Norway. Don't worry, it wasn't the tea one. It was such a throw-back though to days on the golf greens. Good times haha. So it was fun to see that someone had found some in probably Sweden and it's now here in Norway. That was cool.

Dessert on 17th of May
I left, Arizona juice in hand, and we went to a little tiny town further up the valley to spend the afternoon with a family up there. We saw the 5 minute long parade (I'm not exaggerating, it really only was 5 minutes long haha) and had some ice cream. Then we had a nice barbecue, had a nice afternoon, and played a round of frisbee golf. I've never played frisbee golf, and I'm not incredible at throwing a frisbee either, but we sure had a lot of fun! It was such a relaxing day, and got to spend it with some incredible people!

Last P-day, we hiked up to a lake behind our house and had a little barbecue with the four of us elders. We took up a little grill and some hot dogs and had that. It was a nice little evening activity. They had a rope course too there!!!! It was way fun. It wasn't very big, but enough to entertain all of us for a couple minutes. So we enjoyed that and stood inside a tipi that's set up there. Pretty cool place.
Grafitti on a wall
The ward here in Drammen had a self-reliance day this week. We went along to that. It was cool to learn different things. Everything from, budgeting, to food storage, to cooking out on an open fire, to eating random (edible) plants, to practical outdoor skills was covered in it. It was a way fun activity they had. Then we had a little barbecue. Brought some hot dogs and cooked them up. The more I write this letter this week though, the more I realize that we have a TON of barbecues here! haha. It's good, I love it!

To top off the week, we were invited over to a family's home for dinner this week, and they made homemade Cafe Rio... Wow... Boy was I impressed. It was DELICIOUS! That was the food story of the week. It was on point. Loved the food. Don't need much, just good food.

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


Elder Justin Mickelson

17th of May parade

Dead frog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Elder Mickelson Sykping on Mother's Day
May 14, 2017

Hey Everyone!

Happy Mother's Day yesterday! Ya!!!! Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there (including my mom!)

It was a pretty great week this week. A bunch of random different things happened so that makes this email just as entertaining for the rest of you!

Topics of discussion for today's email:
A hike (beautiful pictures included)
Elder Mitchell - the grillmaster
An attempt at making our own pinnekjøtt (yes, another picture)
A nerf war (no pictures, sorry)
And to top it all off, last but not least, Mother's Day! (again, no pics, sorry)

We went on an incredible hike this week! IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE! Basically, we hiked up a ravine all the way up to a dam. And it was really cool. It looked awesome. It was us missionaries and some of the members in the ward that had gone up there. It was a blast. And then, we had a barbecue up at the top on some one-time use grills. They work great if you're making hot dogs, but not great at defrosting and cooking some hamburgers. It didn't go over so well. We tried thawing out hamburgers over a couple coals.... at the expense of Elder Mitchell's Subway bonus card so we could have a spatula and separate the burgers from each other. It worked out in the end, and we didn't eat them raw, but it made for quite the adventure. Then we walked down a different way down a ski slope and that was a lot of fun. All of the snow was melted off so it looked more like an epic mountain biking path.

Pinnekjøtt and mashed potatoes

We made pinnekjøtt this week. That was something else. It starts out as dried lamb, and then you soak the meat, and then steam it for a few hours. Wow. It was delicious!!! A little dry, but still really good. Although, our whole apartment smelled like that for a few days. I think the smell is gone now? I can't really tell. Oh well. It tasted great so I can't complain.

We had a nerf gun war outside with one of the youth this week. It was really fun. He had several nerf guns, so we went out, split up into teams and had a blast for a little bit. He had a whole bucket of nerf darts and that made it SO much more fun to play because you didn't have to pick up all of the darts after three shots. We had a great
time. We all enjoyed it, and then we had some dessert to top it off. That was a good time!

And to end off my email, we had Mother's Day. So I skyped home yesterday! It was great to see my family and talk with them. It took us forever to get it to work, but after a long enough time, we eventually got it all worked out. So it worked out in the end.

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


Elder Justin Mickelson

"The highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother." -Russel M. Nelson

More of the hike
The Dam
Trying to thaw out the burgers.
A snowmaker
Coming down the ski slope.
Waking up with snow.
Snow melted making a picturesque scene along a path down to a bus stop.

Monday, May 8, 2017

I Had A Awesome Week!

Elder Mickelson Enjoying The View
May 8, 2017

Hello Everyone!!!

I had an awesome week, and I hope all of you did too. This week felt a little all over the place but it was a really solid week. Everything from meeting with several people, to a selfie day, to a couple barbecues made the week fly by.

Elder Mickelson & Elder Nelson
We went on a hike up in the mountains this week. In Norway, it entails basically parking in a neighborhood and start walking along the trail behind everyone's houses. Before you know it, there's nothing in sight except for trees. (I spy, something green... A tree (If you name the movie I'll be impressed)) It was a blast. We didn't decide where we wanted to go, so all of us just started hiking along random trails and eventually went to a lake up on the top somewhere. It was so beautiful! Way fun, really enjoyed it. Next time we'll need to go up with a grill and some burgers or something. I did get some great pictures from our hike too. So, ya. Perks of Norway, awesome pictures!

We had a "Selfie Day" also this week. At first I was really skeptical at the sound of it. Selfie day? What am I supposed to even do? Go take pictures with random people?! Come to find out, it wasn't necessarily like that. It was a chance for the missionaries/church to get out there a bit on social media. It was way fun. A random person on the street wanted to take a picture with us, so we told her to put it on like Instagram and we did the same with some other members too. It was way fun, and a chance for people to see the missionaries out and about! So maybe next time they see us on the street, they'll stop us because they saw us on Instagram or Facebook once!

A Nice View
Dugnad. Dugnad is a Norwegian word that sums up a Norwegian service project. It'd be defined basically as a community/group volunteer project (often cleaning up something) and seems to often involve someone in charge of waffles. Way fun get togethers for a common goal. ANYWAYS, we had a dugnad in the church this week. So a bunch of church members got together and deep cleaned the church. Waffles were included, and yes they were delicious. I helped in a dugnad at the church in Sandvika last year, and I think they're awesome! A great way for everyone to help out!

We got to do some service this week for a person who lives in this gorgeous area outside of Drammen! Holy cow! Imagine farming community by the water. It was great. We helped out with some yard work and it was great!

To top off this week, we had a couple of barbecues. Wow. I've sure missed them. That's one of the great parts of Norway in the spring/summer. Grilling. Everyone just loves grilling. So I've had some great burgers and pork steaks. Yup :) Summer is on it's way, and the grills are coming out!

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for being awesome!


Elder Mickelson

Monday, May 1, 2017

Today Is Labor Day in Norway

May 1, 2017

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a great week, because I sure did!

Today is Labor Day in Norway, so it's a lot of fun. Well, everything is closed and stuff, but we are going to go on an epic hike so I'm stoked for that! Can't complain about a good hike. So we'll be headed off to that here soon.

This week started out pretty great with having Family Home Evening with a wonderful family in the ward. Well, a couple young families got together for it and we had it all together. It was a blast. It's fun trying to teach little kids.Such a joy to do! I can only imagine what it was like for my parents trying to have it with us when we were little. An adventure most likely!

We had a YSA reach out night too this week. We went out with some of the young adults to visit some other young adults in the ward to invite them to different activities. Real fun to see people than I already know and catch back up with them.

I've never quite figured out why I even try playing soccer. I'm not that great at it (I'm not terrible, but I'd be mediocre compared to the 10 year olds here). We played soccer with a bunch of us from the ward. I ended up as goalie for the second half. I didn't stop them
all... but, we didn't lose. So, who knows. It was a blast either way and I really enjoyed it.

We also finished painting the house that we painted a couple weeks ago. We went by a few days ago and busted it out. It looks pretty good. Nice and white. And I got all of the paint out of my jeans too. A good soak and a nice scrub fixed that!

Had an awesome time in church yesterday too. I ended up doing the live translation during sacrament meeting. 1) I haven't translated like that in SEVERAL months. Nor have a just translated for an hour straight in quite a while either. 2) I can't translate scriptures very well on the fly from norwegian to english. 3) Translating from swedish
to english is a lot more difficult than norwegian to english. Oh well, it turned out good enough. The family from America got a kick out of the commentary they got when a story got way too in depth for me to explain.

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


Elder Justin Mickelson