So much has happened these last few days that it's going to be hard to formulate an email. The main theme is departure. On Wednesday, we had the departure dinner for 10 of my favorite missionaries in the mission. We were a little late for the dinner because of horrible traffic getting to the airport to drop off a new missionary. Luckily, thanks to some running and some begging to the lady at the service desk, things were able to work out with her flight. I'm going to miss these departing missionaries, though!! I have served with some of them: Årsnes, Shanklin; and around the rest of them (still not sure how to use a semi-colon so I just threw one in there). We dropped them off early the next morning at the airport as they all head back to their families and friends. It was powerful for me to see their consecration to this work and the confidence and joy that they were carrying with them back to the States! It reminded me of the scripture in Alma 26: 11-12: "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God...Yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
On that same note, President and Sister Evans are taking off tomorrow to conclude their missionary service here in Norway! I can't begin to express my gratefulness for them and their service. They will be missed and remembered.
President and Sister Hill will be arriving tomorrow afternoon. During the upcoming week we will be touring the mission to give President Hill the opportunity to meet all the missionaries and have interviews with them. It's going to be intense, exciting, and probably a bit stressful, but I'm going to try and do what President Evans always advised: "Ready, fire, aim!" Things are going to be crazy, but as we ACT and DO we will learn and be guided by the spirit. God always qualifies us, even if we have to learn how to swim after we have jumped in the water.
I think above everything else right now I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for the power of repentance. I'm so grateful for the healing power of the atonement. Everybody needs healing. Every week I need healing, and it always comes from serving others and inviting them to partake of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the source of true joy and satisfaction. We live in a world where "men's hearts are failing them" and material things and richness are becoming slippery. The gospel is simple and it has all the answers to the important questions. Sometimes I wish it was easier to put off the natural man. I wish it was easier to explain the gospel to the Norwegian people and to convince them to try it. Yet, God's plan has never been about the easy way. It's about the BEST way, and I don't think I'd have it any other way.
We taught this man from Syria this week. He's separated from his family, can't speak Norwegian, can't speak English, and has had a really tough life from what I was able to understand from him. He came to church for three hours and loved it. Again, he speaks 0 of the languages spoken by any members of the ward. But, there is one language that he could understand and that he could feel: the language of the spirit. That was cool to see.
Thanks for your love and prayers! The peanut butter has been well used on about every type of fruit and vegetable. So creamy and so delicious.