It was so good to talk with all of you on Christmas. I'm sure grateful for all of you and love you very much!
Christmas in Norway was great. I loved spending Christmas Eve with the ---s. They are so generous and good. I've eaten a lot of traditional Norwegian Christmas food this last week. We had Ribbe , pinne kjøtt, Jule pølser, ris grøt, ris krem, and many others. Some of the foods are unusual but I love trying new things.
After we finished skyping on Christmas, the ---s made us some trout, vegetables and potatoes. The fish in Norway is really fresh and tasty.
On Saturday, we gave our apartment a nice deep clean in the morning, made another batch of sugar cookies and then delivered them to some members in the afternoon. In the evening we went over to --- and --- and watched meet the Mormons with them. --- loved the movie! She is really opening up and it is amazing to watch how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives and makes people happy and want to be better. --- has a cold and wasn't feeling to well. We are still trying to figure out how we can have him open up. Good news though! They all came to church on Sunday which was fabulous! They are doing well. Saturday was the 2nd day of Christmas.
On Sunday, after church we went to member family's for dinner. They made us lots of christmas food and we read the story in Matthew and Luke together. Sunday was the 3rd day of Christmas. I'm not sure how many days there.
This Christmas it really dawned on me the power of giving, serving, and loving others. At our Zone Conference a week or so ago, President Hill shared stories of some of his Most memorable Christmases. Over the years he has come to a conclusion as to why certain Christmases were more memorable than others. It was when he was more focused on others than himself. He received his call to serve as mission president when he was serving as a Branch president in the MTC. After he found out he was getting released he decided to go to the talk, Character of Christ, which is shown every week at the MTC. It is from Elder Bednar. It is when we turn outside from ourselves, and put others first that we find joy and satisfaction, and ultimately we find ourselves. Christ came into the world to minister, to serve, and to do the will of The Father.
There is a quote from the December Liahona that I really like. It is:
"Christmas is not a day or a season, but a condition of the heart and mind. If we love our neighbors as ourselves; if in our riches we are poor in spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace; if our charity vaunteth not itself, but suffereth long and is kind; if when our brother asks for a loaf, we give ourselves instead; if each day dawns in opportunity and sets in achievement, however small-- then everyday is Christ's day and Christmas is always near." - James Wallingford
I believe that has a lot of meaning. Each day we have a new opportunity to do something good and when we achieve that then everyday we can have the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts. It doesn't need to be a big thing but a small thing. A smile, or a kind text, or a visit.
I know the Church is true. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart. It is a treasure to me. I love all of you and I pray for you daily.
Have a great New Year!!
The end of the world