Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015

Not much to say since I got to speak to the family on Christmas. 

So this week was basically spent all at members' houses. Dinners and dinners and dinners. Me and somewhat Daly did the Christmas fast where you don't eat unless you're fed. It worked out great and I was still full every time. It's amäzing how much food a missionary can eat. Truly a marvel in and of itself. The other marvel is how I was able to understand the stuff that was going on. It was like they were speaking a language I was familiar with and it didn't take much effort for me to understand. Wow, guess that's what happens when you actually study and get to work on the language.

We ate the typical Norwegian Christmas food which is Christmas ribs, Christmas hot dogs and Christmas meat. It was so good. They have this stuff called tyttebær which is like better cranberry sauce, it's crazy good. We did get some presents from the ward which we were so grateful for and opened them in true Norwegian fashion on the 24th night with the family we were with. It's kind of weird but also kind of cool. The whole city shuts down for essentially two weeks until the new year. It's awesome but also frustrating at the same time because we can't teach anybody.

We went to a hill the other day and slid down like 10 meters (yes, the metric system) at a time just in our shoes. Wow these shoes are getting some work and I intend to keep the same ones all 24 months. It's a Norwegian missionary tradition.

Eldste Daly and I matched for Christmas and it was truly a beautiful sight. Wow, are you sick of the power duo yet? Because I'm not.

We will probably dance around the Christmas tree next week. Real old fashion around here, but it's beautiful.

Love you all and spread my love to anyone else you think deserves it (and also to those you think may not deserve it too).

Love, J

Our district

Skyping with the fam

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

What what it's Christmas week??? So stoked finally! And it also means I start my sister mission soon (18 months). It went fast, kind of slow and kind of all of the above. 

Wow Holland killed it with the chalk walk art. Elder Daly when he saw the picture was like "wow, why is your sister so talented?" I also loved the missionary flag art that Sister Carr and Sister Merrifield did - so glad I'm not forgotten. Just yet ;)

Well we had eight appointments cancel in three days. A new record for us. Wow we just got thrashed, but that's Norway for Christmas. Most of the time that doesn't happen, but with Christmas in the air people think they have way more important things to do than talk to two kids who barely know Norwegian (ha ha funny story we don't have one Norwegian investigator, funny how that works.) But then again in my mission call is doesn't say I'm preaching to Norwegians, it says I'm preaching in Norway. 

Our Christmas tree looks great and we finally had some snow so that's cool! It was -9 C at the beginning of the week, snowed a little, stopped and now it's like 7 C. So that's a big change. Today is the longest night of the year so that's fun. About 21 hours of darkness, but right now it's light. By the time you read this though, darkness will be upon me.

Things are fine, I'm going to get fat this week with how much we are being fed. Norwegians stretch out Christmas to like 10 days. Can't wait to talk! 

(Yes some of the pics are blurry, but whatever I'm not an expert)


Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

Our week was great! The winter is settling in with people not wanting to meet and people going home and on vacation but it's no biggy, we do the same thing every day so it's not too shocking. 

You don't need to worry about me here, even if I am eating hot dogs. Fun fact they eat hot dogs and frozen pizza here way more than any American could ever dream. Never thought Norway would be big on such things, except they put potato salad on their hot dogs. It's dank, though and super cheap.

The girls that we teach are exactly like Holland. They love TV, music, mine craft, girly stuff, and when we come over to teach them we always entertain them for a bit. Object lessons, object lessons, object lessons.

Not too sure on Christmas, we might be in a member's or we might just be at the center. 

I would say that my understanding of Norwegian is around an 8 but my speaking is more around a 6. I am a little more advanced than most considering I had a Norwegian companion for 10 weeks which surprisingly (sarcasm) helps out quite a bit.

We have around 8 investigators and progressing with about three. The ward is about 120-150 that come to church, but in the winter it's a little less. It is a huge area. All of Oslo and all of the suburbs too. We have eight missionaries - four elders and four sisters.

Not too much has happened this week except that we got a Christmas tree!!! What what. That's right. You didn't think I would go without one did you? If you did then you underestimate the power of the power duo. 

We bought a bunch of cookies and Norwegian soda for the equivalent of 10 US cents so that's cool. Norway is weird like that. Most of the time every thing is like 400 times more expensive and then randomly you have these weird sales that make zero sense whatsoever.

It was pretty warm this week until today which is like -7 degrees which is pretty cold and to make it worse there is no snow and no sign of it anyway. I don't really know if it will ever snow down here!

But I'm fine, way warm and we work so it's not too hard to get the blood pumping! 

Love always and forever (just like kip)

Eldste Hoopes

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

Nope not getting transferred. Christmas in the capitol. Kind of like Hunger Games and stuff. Ugh, we would see the posters for Hunger Games all the time and it would totally kills us. Problems with serving in a first world country.

I have officially gone a whole week without ripping my pants, I hope to keep it that way.

I do remember Jeremy Guthrie speaking a few years ago and I can't believe Ethan is as tall as him, wow, Ethan is a straight stud. I can never get over how cool he is. Almost all of the time whenever I talk about my inspirations or motivations or families with people, they almost always revert back to Ethan and Holland. Yeah, mom and dad are great too but they're like 57 years older than me. They truly are a kicking force in my life even if they are such young children (I'm still convinced Ethan is not a full person yet.) We teach these two daughters of a less active in our ward and the girls are ten and twelve. If you were to combine both of them together you would get Holland. So when we teach them and stuff, I just imagine that I'm teaching Holland.

We are fully submerged in Christmas time here in Norway. All the traditions: eating risgrøt, lille julaften, julaften, første juledag, all the jazz you can think of. I'll be sure to update you more, but you'd also be surprised at how American the culture is becoming. But they are for sure still prideful with their norwegian ways, and with good reason too.

Kind of a slow week last week but we are still chugging and I believe today we will be getting a real Christmas tree for our apartment. yup, that's right, the power duo of Oslo will be (maybe) cutting down a tree. If not maybe just getting on at a lot. But it isn't Christmas without a tree and lights. Daly and I will still be together so you know this is going to be an awesome Christmas here.

Love you guys,
Eldste Hoopes

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

We had a kusli thanksgiving. It was pretty nice and I got to eat a ton of food so that's always good. Life is pretty good here, but weird not having Elder Skoien, especially since he was the master teacher. So now we are just left to the power duo with me and Elder Daly. We are doing great though. We gutted the apartment on Friday and found some stuff that had been in that apartment since the 70's. 

For Thanksgiving we met this guy named Brian who is from America and President told us to go help him. Turns out he was having some physical ailments and went to the doctor and they gave him a bunch of Norwegian stuff. He called his mom and his mom called their lawyer who happened to be Mormon. He called Pres and we got the call that Tuesday morning. We went over to the Raddisson and helped him get the right appointments and stuff because they were all in Norwegian. We then went to a burger place and departed ways. We invited him to Thanksgiving and then he came over!! He was way cool and so thankful for our help. Kind of funny because we will respond faster to any call than anyone else. As long as it's from 6:30am to 10:30 pm. A minute after that and you're out of luck.

So thankful for you guys. Really when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if you're a rich man or a poor man as long as you have your family you're essentially loaded. 

That's about it besides having a beautiful clean apartment and the magical Christmas wonders of Norway happening here. Wow, amäzing. I hope I stay for another transfer, but we will see. There's a good chance but with a mission of only 84 missionaries you never know.

I also ripped my pants twice more. i don't even know how but, yeah, it's a thing. So we were about to hit up a ferry to take it to a member's home for some din din but the sisters wanted to take pictures on the beautiful pier. And I'm like "well hey I'm beautiful so we should take pictures." So we're taking pictures and I think it's a good idea to pick up my companion so I squat down to get him and as soon as I do that I hear a huge kshshshshsh or whatever sound pants make as they rip. The rip was huge! All the way. The sisters were dying laughing. So then I had to wear Sister J's very girly jacket for the rest of the night, but hey! There's a girl in the ward who sews my pants on the daily. 

If people ever ask about me, just say I'm doing great, a little cold, a little tired, and not a bit bored because only boring people are bored. Ha ha.

Love ya,
Eldste Hoopes

The last legendary trio pic

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

3:00 p.m. and the sun has set!

The missionaries in the Oslo area (Jackson is bottom row far left)

So basically it's so cold but I'm staying warm because I've got my nice peacoat which is holding me over for now. I'll be sure to buy something better when it gets a little colder. Usually it's around -5 to -7 Celsius on a regular basis but yesterday morning on the way to church it was -10 Celsius. That's like 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so when people ask you how cold it is in Norway, you can tell em it's so cold. But I love it. It's the only thing I asked for on a mission, to not have to wear short sleeve white shirts. I feel like God was like "ooh, you are going to get more than you bargained for." But it's fun.

So our fire alarm in our place was going off because it's broken and stuff so we decided to throw it in a bucket of water to kill it and we forgot about it and left it outside. Totally forgot it gets like -10000 at night and now we are left with a fire alarm that is frozen solid in a block of ice. Kinda cool (pun)

Along with the cold theme of the email - my clothes froze! So we do wash very often and we are one of the few apartments in the mission with a dryer. But good thing about Norway is that the dryers are bad. And of course, because I hate when my clothes shrink, I hang them up. Because we have no room in our apartment, I left them outside to dry. Again, I forgot the cold and my clothes froze. Coming to the morning where I am out of clean clothes and I try to put the ones outside on, and they are FROZEN. Like Elsa basically in the flesh.

Things are good and the investigators are good. The work is slowly dying because of the Christmas and holiday season but we are working on it. I tried to forward you a pic of me talking to a Norwegian woman. It's my bread and butter.

Elder Skoien will actually be leaving us on Friday, which will alleviate some space issues in the apartment but it is going to be sad to see the legend go. He is actually going to be an AP (*assistant to the mission president), just to show you how legend he is.

Love you guys.

My pants are fixed and hemmed so I am ready for action.

Eldste Hoopes

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

With Elder Daly talking to people in Oslo about Family History

So not too much happened this week except for that it got cold. It's snowing right now so that's interesting. We were at the street stand and basically got killed. No one would listen to me but then my main man Elder Daly stopped a starter pack of like 10 girls. They just kept coming out of the make up store! Wow what a great example he is. 

Also, There's a sister here named Sister Johannessen but no one can actually say her name properly so we call her Sister J or just J, but it's a little weird because my family calls me J too, so I think they're talking to me but no they're talking to her. But she made me draw a picture of Ronald Reagan, and I had a good time so I wrote a poem. 


It was an incredible poem, probably some of my best work actually!! We also had service with our favorite sisters. We had to scrub gross candy off the floor then we ate pizza. Yum. I love missionary life!!! Also we talked to a million and twelve people. That means every single Muslim man and Norwegian girl has had the opportunity to hear the message of the restored gospel. #thiseldersonfiiiire (that's from Sister Johannessen)

So basically that was our week, it is cold but Elder Daly and I have so much energy that we kind of just bounce off walls and talk to everyone and just laugh the whole time. 

A Norwegian starter pack is a girl who wears white sneakers, black pants, big puffy fur coats, a big nest scarf, and iPhone headphones and blonde hair. 

I heard about Paris which is kind of scary. Good thing Norway is so neutral but then again... Whatever, though, just spreading the gospel. Our two main investigators are doing good and we got some more investigators this week. 

Basically we have a powerhouse trio which lights up the mission numbers, lol #selfhype

Just another week and more things happening. Being constantly tired is kind of just becoming a norm.

Love you guys,

The Oslo District talking to people about Family History

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

The chocolate factory was so cool a couple of weeks ago!!! I ate so much chocolate and it tasted so good. Life is good here except the sun doesn't rise until 9am and even when it does it's super cloudy and stuff so you can barely see it anyways. The sun sets here around 4, so it's basically dark before then. And it's rainy. Norwegians have been dealing with this their whole lives but for us American folk it's a little tough.

Having three of us is so sick tho!!! Only thing though is our apartment is built for one so it's a little crammed having three people and all of our stuff in there at once, but we make due. Right now I have ripped my various sets of pants a total of 4, count em 4 times. I don't know maybe I was just born to move. One of them was just wear and tear, the other trying to climb a ladder and my pants got shredded, the other was showing some kids my soccer moves, but that's just life. I feel like that's just how it goes.

Our investigator is doing good, we are praying he gets baptized before our next transfer. All our other investigators are doing good.

I know all you know, but my advice is to save money!!! If you remember Joseph, it was 7 years of prosperity and 7 years of famine. Not saying a famine is going to happen but the world is a circle and everything is a rotation so just be ready. My words of wisdom for the week.

Love you guys so much and hope everything is great at home!

With Elder Daly and Elder Skoien

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015

We don't have so much time!! Sorry we had a full day.

Our new companion is Elder Daly, from Livermore CA/ Idaho and he's awesome. He went to BYU for summer and fall.

Also got a haircut and it's way toooooooo short, whoops, might need to shave the head.

Love you guys and hope you have a great week :)


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27, 2015

Today we're going to a chocolate factory!!! (This is why our Pday is on Tuesday instead of Monday.) Like a real one!!! It has a chocolate waterfall and everything. I love chocolate so much it's just something that has always made my day here in Norway.

It's already getting down to 0 celsius in the mornings and frost everywhere. It's not even Halloween, are you kidding me?? But I do like the cold so I don't feel too bad that I'm missing out on the sun. Norwegians do love their tanning salons and perfectly sculpted eyebrows.

Our investigator is doing great. He's really moving forward and he'll be ready for November 14th. For some of your questions, he is the only one of his family. They were all killed or died before he was the age of 10. He doesn't really have a recollection of them. He doesn't have a last name because he doesn't remember it and there is no one in his family surviving to be able to figure it out. Yeah, I know, and you thought you had a bad day. He's awesome and his prayers are so intricate, we need to pray like that for sure.

Talking to crazy people as usual and a guy was like "I just had an operation" and proceeded to lift up and show me his scar and bandages. Pretty gross and cool all at the same time. He figured I wasn't from Norway and then when I told him USA he continued on about his partying days in Miami Beach and the types of women down there. This dude is like 55 and telling me about his American partying days while recovering from an appendectomy or something. Stuff like that makes the days.

One of my contacting techniques is going up to people with headphones in and asking what they are listening to, and they tell you every time. I mean who wouldn't, everyone thinks they listen to the best music. I started talking to this one guy about rap and he proceeded to put his headphone in my ear. It was awesome.

Another way is I asked this kid what he was reading and he was studying English. Perfect because I'm American, I responded proudly. He then took out his computer and was having me help him with his homework. Before he asked me if I had seen the new Star Wars trailer and I said no, and he played it. Unfortunately after one minute he insisted we keep working on his homework, so I helped him.

Everything is great. We're actually getting another companion on Wednesday, so that will be fun.

Cold, rainy, beautiful, and tough, but that's all good stuff.

Love, J

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015

Norway is actually known as more reserved than Sweden but it just depends. Both are pretty closed off - they're attractive, rich and in good shape, why would they want to talk to anyone else? Norway uses the Krone for money, only in Norway.

So we actually have a baptismal date. Ummm pretty cool. November 14th, he's a man from Sierra Leone and he's way open to everything and it's awesome. So now we're just working with him and trying to get him ready before then, that would be so amazing if he did. He's had a rough life and wants to come closer to God and we told him this was the perfect way. We also have some other investigators so things are going well here.

I usually try to talk to the most interesting looking people and the most attractive. I like hearing the stark differences in their responses, but also some that are just common throughout being in Norway. Norwegians all smell really good. It's a weird thing to pick up on, but something I have noticed.

I finally realized after 19 years why dad makes spaghetti really well. Because as a missionary you make it all the time!!! It's cheap and no matter how cheap the ingredients it always tastes delicious, so Dad I commend you!

Not too much happened this week, Norwegian gets better every day and understanding does too. I go on splits with an elder who has only been out six weeks. It's weird being the senior companion, but it's not too hard. I like the responsibility. 

I'm having a great experience even though I'm tired ALL THE TIME. It doesn't stop. But, I've only got 20 more months so I can do it. Kind of weird looking at the pictures from when I left, I feel like I was so much younger. I really wasn't, but I guess I'm all mature now :)

Love you guys and when I say prayers I always say "og velsigne familier våres og veneer våres" (and bless our family and friends) so remember when your day is rough you've got 155 pounds of crappy Norwegian language in a white shirt and tie praying for you even though it's already 0 celsius in October. 

Love, Elder Hoopes

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015

(Jackson and his companion, Elder Skoien)

I can understand what people are saying and can kind of communicate back to them what I think. No, people aren't all of a sudden listening to us but that isn't what it's about. I'm actually doing great. We talk to people, and they say no and we move on. Kind of how it goes. But I know what everyone is saying and I can communicate.

Something I have been noticing recently is my ability to connect with people. Everyone in the mission has been saying this, but I never really thought about it until one lesson this last week. I was able to communicate a few words that I knew about how families are the most important thing in my life and that how I knew it was important for them and them to hold on to. For the family that wasn't so receptive, they received it so well and that was a blessing for me. I didn't realize that connecting with people is a skill and talent and it's something I want to improve on to the fullest. 

There's a woman here from Vina del Mar, who lived in Chile when dad served there on his mission. It's kind of difficult talking about collectivos and spanish stuff in Norwegian, but I pulled out some spanglish in there and it worked out, so yeah #trilingual.

The man we've been helping to quit smoking hasn't smoked in two weeks and we should be meeting with him tomorrow. Things are going well and we actually have so many investigators we have to count them on two hands!!! That's a first, not for the sisters though. They're investigator machines, ha ha I wonder why?

There are many English here and I love hearing their accents. There was a baptism of an 8 year old boy in the ward on Saturday (Elder Skoien and I were witnesses) and he has the thickest accent and it was so awesome. He got to tell me all of his favorite football (soccer) teams and favorite players. Kind of dig european life.

Love, Elder Hoopes

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015

(Jackson in his apartment, now serving in Oslo)

If you see the missionaries don't just look at them and go "hey Jackson is one of those" and just look at them. Go say hi !!! They need it in their lives !! They want to talk to normal people and have normal conversations. Tell them that your friend is in Norway serving a mission and they will be so excited to talk to you. They won't always be trying to convert you. Please go up to them because there's nothing better than having someone come talk to you and be like "I know missionaries" it really makes their day. And if you're feeling real generous invite them to go get some ice cream. Missionaries love ice cream.

We watched a little of conference on Saturday night, but then watched all Sunday and caught up on the ones we missed, on Sunday night. My boy, D. Todd Christofferson coming in clutch and President Nelson too, those were good. 

Last week we were late for an appointment so we had to drive and I'm the only one that could drive so I got to drive in Europe. And not only that, but the directions took us through the middle of the city. Yep, I drove in the busiest city in Norway in a Norwegian car after not being behind the wheel for more than three months. 

We taught this guy who came up to us on the street and told us that some missionaries helped him quit smoking ten years ago, but then five years ago he started up again. So on Tuesday last week, we went over to his house and shared with him the stop smoking program. We went over and started talking to him and his son was there too. So we went through the program step by step and he was so willing to quit, it was incredible and so cool to see the will of a man. But even more so was that his son was so ready for his dad to quit and he stayed and listened while we helped his dad through the steps. This little boy was so grateful that we were there to help his dad quit this nasty habit and be anew. What struck me is that we weren't even sharing deep principles, but simple ones such as prayer and a belief that God will help you if you allow him. I loved that we were able to help this man with something he really desired and wanted to quit. That, as a fellow man, we could assist him and really just be there to help him when it got hard. We text him every day and now he has been 7 days without a smoke. We are meeting him again tomorrow and he is so excited. So cool to just see how we can help out and be friends with people who need it.

I am so thrilled when I get to be friends to those who may not have so many. It makes me feel so good inside when these people feel a real connection to me even though I may not be able to communicate with them so well, that I can just smile and they smile back, especially if you're feeling lonely even though you're not alone. It's a terrible feeling, but I can be there to help these people. No, they're not miserable but life is so much easier when you have a couple of homies. So, even if I don't get one baptism if I can be friends with a couple of members who need it, that is more than enough for me in a lifetime.

People we stop on the street ask us all the time why bad things happen and we have no answer. But, I know that love from others can help. No it will not completely heal us, like in the priesthood session when it talked about Becky MacBeth's sister and family, I cannot imagine the pain and no one else can either, and nobody can make it alright. But, if we are that simple friend that person who can hug them and hold them close. Those who don't even need to say anything, we can help and comfort those who need it. Thanks guys for being those people.

Love you guys,
Eldste Hoopes

(Jackson back in Tromso with a member of the branch)

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 14, 2015

(The Northern Lights in Tromsø)

I made it through the transfer and am not leaving. 

Thanks for the prayers, they mean a lot. That's mostly what we do all day because that's what you can do 217 miles above the Arctic Circle. It finally stopped raining on Thursday after two weeks straight. The rainiest country in the world for sure. I believe it. But, it finally did stop raining and when it did we SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS. They were insane. They were green and white and they were dancing. We had to run down to the docks to get away from the light pollution but they were absolutely instance. It was so cool. Really out of this world. For sure crossed that off the bucket list.

We also had a sweet Catholic Phillipino lady take us to the Polaria museum and we learned all about the Northern Lights and Svalbard. Svalbard is the island on the way north of the map by the North Pole. We actually have a family, from Chile, who now lives there and skypes into church with us. 

We haven't been up to that much besides talking to people and getting rejected. My Norwegian is getting a lot better and I can understand the fisherman now. I would say he's probably my best friend and I might be his. He talks about stuff and I listen, pretty much best friendship.

I will be here for six more weeks and we are going to a members house who lives two hours away, on Thursday. Loves always,
Eldste Hoopes

Monday, September 7, 2015

September 7, 2015

(No photos this week, so he suggested a baby pic. Done.)

Transfers are next week and we'll see if I get transferred since there are 14 new elders coming in so stay updated. I would move next week.

I wish I had more things to update with but nothing really happening and that's probably what being a missionary would be like in Laguna Niguel if Laguna Niguel was a bunch of grumpy Norwegian ladies. But sånn er det.

It hasn't stopped raining in Tromsø for two weeks and that is kind of weird because it hasn't started raining in Southern California for as long as I've been alive. A nice change of pace, but at the same time it is cold and it's only September. It gets to like 3-5 Celsius in the night and early morning. But just because it hasn't stopped raining doesn't mean we stop. We pushed the fisherman to church in the rain, on the way there it was just mist but on the way back you know it was raining. A lot of time here is mostly just fellowshipping and talking to our few members, it's fun but only so much you can do.

My norsk is getting a little better and I work on it every day, I'm always asking Eldste Gingrich for tips.

Our one investigator got dropped before we could even meet with him. 

We bought a flood light last week so we don't have to study in the dark anymore, so that's good.

We eat these things called kebabs that are so good! They're a street food that not too good on your stomach but they taste sooooooo good. Every missionary in Norway knows about them, but other than that we make our own meals. And we eat lots of ice cream called Softis. Oh Norwegian ice cream and chocolate is the best. I think it's because their cows aren't genetically engineered.

Love ya have a good one.

Eldste Hoopes

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

Bergen, Norway

We took a plane to Bergen! It was way cool and is a huge city especially compared to Tromso which has the population of Laguna Niguel and is the size of Manhattan. It was rainy most of the time. We went to a member's house and he spoke the most crazy Norwegian I have ever heard. It wasn't even that bad, I just had no idea what they were saying. I also asked these teenage girls what fun things there were to do in Bergen in English (because Norwegians love English) and they responded with some answer, I don't know what. The best part was they continued their conversation in Norwegian and were talking about English boys and I totally knew what they were saying. Kind of felt like Jason Bourne, just saying.

We are in an apartment which are among some of the most expensive apartments in the world and top three among missionaries along with Tokyo and London. It's pretty nice, it has a kitchen, living room and a bedroom and bathroom. It is really dark because there are no lights anywhere - I guess it's a Norwegian thing. We get on the computer at the library, but some of the areas in Norway have them in the house. It just depends on where you are.

Life is good here. Went to Bergen for Wednesday and Thursday. Crazy news - we got our first investigator in four weeks. That's what it's like being in Tromso and in Norway in general. 

It's been raining here for the past few days which makes contacting a little hard. Maybe contacting in South America is not hard, but here it's mostly older women laughing in our face and atheists proclaiming it. But, got to put in the work and try.

Eldste Hoopes

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015

(Jackson with two members of the branch whose birthdays were also this week)

So this week was swell, but a little slow. So life is good. We had church yesterday and we wheeled the fisherman up and down the hill once more, he's a jolly guy once you can understand him. 

Mostly we go searching for people in the area who are on our list but don't come to church, so far no luck. I"m really thinking we're here so we can strengthen the members and keep them going strong. Unfortunately we don't get much time this week because we are going to Bergen on Wednesday for a conference. That should be pretty cool.

Haven't seen the night time in a month so that's weird but I'm told it is coming soon. And when that comes it means winter so we are just embracing for that.

Norwegian is okay, a little rough but it comes and comes and comes.

My birthday was yesterday and it was nice. Thanks for all the wishes from everyone and I have for sure felt the love. Kind of weird having a birthday out here, we didn't do much. We went to church and looked for some people but just when I thought all was over and we were heading to church to drop some stuff off the sisters surprised me and had a little set up going. It was super nice and we had some Norwegian waffles (with sour cream and jam, it's real good.) So that was nice and I for sure do not feel 19. It's just another number but I feel a little closer to the big 2-0 where I'm not a teenager. 

Have a good week and thanks for all.

Love ya lots, Eldste Hoopes

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015

So this week we were talking to a Muslim man and sometimes we want to hear about Muhammad for a little bit and as we were talking and listening to the 7 pillars this quite attractive girl comes over to us in a dress and a sash that says "Bride to be." I may not know too much Norwegian but I do know the phrase for "can I have a kiss." My companion and I just looked at each other with such fear and anticipation for what the following events were going to be. We didn't say anything for a little bit because we were stunned but just kind of looked at her. She must have thought we didn't know Norwegian because she asked us again in English. And I'm just sitting there thinking "lady I know what you asked but I do not know how to answer your question." After all her friends were done laughing we finally responded that we were missionaries. They all sighed and walked down the street a little more and the next (extremely lucky) guy she asked gave her a kiss.

We went to Alta on Wednesday and Thursday and that was sick. I was the most north missionary for a whole 24 hours. Elder Cheney and I went out into a town called Nyvoll. Which is even higher than Alta and knocked on doors. No one was home but we got the most incredible views. We probably hiked three miles into the hills looking for houses. Only one person opened the door and looked at us and must have thought we were crazy walking in the rain in a town where she probably thought she was alone.

There's a man in our ward who has serious dementia and is a fisherman. The fishermen in Norway speak the most insane Norwegian you have ever heard. So, he speaks a language I barely understand in a dialect that I have no idea about. He talks a lot about WWII, Putin, Obama, his brother and how someone cheated him out of some money. I know when he is speaking about WWII because he uses words such as "bombe" and "torpedo" so I have some context clues. He lives in a nursing care facility. So we decided to get him to church. We had to wheel him to church which is down a giant hill. On the way down we just had to pull back big time, but that was no problem. As soon as church started he didn't talk about explosions at all, which was awesome. After church we had to take him back up the hill to his place so Elder Gingrich and I got in some good leg work.

One thing I noticed is that in Norway the stores are not nearly as inviting as they are in America. If you see a Costco from a mile away you know you're getting some good stuff in there. But here, all the grocery stores have blacked out windows and the stores are small and tiny. I guess that's Europe.

The language is tough, just when you think you got it, you don't. But my companion has been out for 10 months and knows Norwegian well.

Have a good week, love ya'll keep the info coming.
Eldste Hoopes

Nyvoll - northern most missionary spot in the world

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 2015

So we finally got here to Tromso which is crazy but we made it. It's hard because I have to carry absolutely everything in two suitcases for two years but whatever. So to get here we had to take a flight from Oslo to Tromso, which seems easy enough but the Assistant to the Mission President (AP) booked the flight and thought my name was Clayton??? So super chill. So had to haggle at the ticket window for like 30 minutes with a Norweigian but after a while another guy came along and was like "your nickname is Clayton" and pushed me through security. And then after that no problems so that was super cool on my first day in the country.

All I have to say is wow. Everyone is absolutely gorgeous. It's kind of cold but it feels so good. I hate it being too hot and since we have to wear white shirts all day it's nice being cold.

I probably will leave before Christmas time but I might be here for Morketid (dark time) in which the sun doesn't come up. But as for right now the sun doesn't go down. Literally ever. No matter what time I wake up in the night the sun is up. Yeah it's insane but so is this country.

When it gets dark I will probably get to see the northern lights but that really isn't for a while. There's 6 active Norwegians in the branch and then an American family of 6 that's here until December. So basically no one. And no one wants to talk but they are all so uncomfortable so I just laugh all the time.

You can see and smell the ocean from just about anywhere, it's just a tiny little island with a pretty small population compared to anything in the States. It's also the most expensive place ever, FYI! And as missionaries we're poor so that's a fantastic conversation.

Loads of muslims who like to talk your ear off about Mohammad so that's cool. I guess it's kind of how everyone else feels when we talk to them.

We'll talk to people half in English half in Norwegian. Whenever we stop someone on the street in Norwegian they always pretend like they don't know norsk, but then we start speaking in English they run away because they know we caught them in their lie.

My companion is Elder Gingrich from Virginia, he's cool and he's teaching me loads of stuff. I learn a lot. On Wednesday night we're going to Alta, and I will be one of the highest (northernmost) missionaries in the world.

We also have two sisters here in Tromso. They're super cool too. Soster Peterson and Soster Nielsen.

Everyone is super weird here and I just love it. The other missionaries will always be like "wow that was so weird I don't even know what happened" and I will just go on and on about how cool they are. Maybe I'm just here to be friends with the weird people. Mainly because the mission president told us our main focus is just keeping members going to church. And I see why. It's a struggle for these people and four of them Skype in to go to church.

Norwegian is great, it's coming along but we'll see how well I actually do.

You'd all get a kick out of this place. It's absolutely breathtaking, just like everything here. What a great place and what a great time. Hope all is well. Also Glenn Martin GBS (Jackson wanted this included on the blog.)

Ha Det!
Much love, Eldste Hoopes

                                    Jackson with Eldste Gingrich, Soster Nielsen and Soster Peterson

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 6, 2015

Note from Jackson's mom: After waiting at the airport on Monday August 3, trying to fly out to Norway, the flight was cancelled and Jackson and the other missionaries heading out to Norway had to go back to the MTC. They flew out Wednesday August 5, in the afternoon. The letter below is from Jackson after he arrived:

I finally made it to Norway. Wow absolutely incredible. It smells like ocean and cigarettes, so basically home.

Norway is kind of like a cloudy Orange County. At the airport it kind of looked like everyone was related to me and Ethan. Wow I am amongst my people after such a long separation.

So my first area will be Tromso. Way north, way cold, way rainy. You have no idea how stoked I am. They sound like Norwegian James Bond.

Much love, Eldste Hoopes

On the layover in Dallas, a random lady took and sent this picture to us

In Norway at the mission home once they arrived!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

A long week this one has been. We have just been reviewing so it kinda feels like we're stuck in reverse. Pretty sure that's a song, if not contact Taylor Swift and get it done.

Angels look like they are stacked, glad they're spending more money than they need, but that's sweet that the Red Sox are paying for Victorino's contract. I assume he'll be out in left.

Yeah Jeppson and I got along real well and him and another elder who is also going to Denmark got really close and they're both going to BYU after the mission so that'll be good to have more homies in Provo.

Wow it feels good to say I've been here 6 weeks. On P-day Elder Killpack and I stand at the curb with a cream soda and watch these young men and women get ripped from their families as they ball their eyes out. I'm kinda glad I had Chris drop me off. It's so entertaining to watch though. Because they are being separated from their families for a whole 2 years without being able to touch them again. The worst is seeing the girl missionaries being dropped off. Usually the mom cries and siblings cry but with the girls you can see the dad keep on his sunglasses because he sees his precious little girl leave and no man can hold back those tears. I couldn't even imagine.

Got the ties and the Cherry cola tic tacs. THOSE THINGS ARE BOMB. I love them so much. At first I was like these things are okay, they're just cherry but then as soon as i bit into them I was like WOAH Cola!

I leave on Monday. I am so stoked you have no idea. And from what the weather says it's been raining for the past two years basically, so I am so stoked. I love the rain and the cold especially when I get to layer up in winter clothes. Kinda looking like James Bond and such. But instead of a gun we have a killer message that will convert others to come unto Christ. Wow that was a terrible analogy but what do you expect when I'm locked up learning a language.

Yesterday I learned the average elder only serves in about 4-5 places in Norway. Which is way lower than I expected. So the first place I go to will be my home for quite some time. There is this place in the north called Bodo. It's kinda awesome because it sounds like Greedo from Star Wars. Our teacher did impersonations of the different dialects and some of them are absolutely incredible. You know I'm going to have the best time imitating them and becoming a true native. So then I can come back and go, yes, I did fit in while I was in Norway and it was fantastic.

Unfortunately I don't know if I will be able to email next week because when you're in your mission they're usually on Mondays and I won't be getting to Norway until Tuesday. It will be a long week. Oh man it's getting way more real. But I am so ready to go. I get teachers and others coming up to me and telling me about how my language sounds really fluid even if it isn't the correct grammar.

One thing that I have learned is that the gift of tongues is way more than just being able to speak the language. It's about speaking in the way that the people will be perceptive to you. Anyone can speak the language fluently but I truly believe it takes a special gift to be able to talk to different people in different ways. Everyone is totally different and if you talk to everyone the same it may work on 1 out of 100 people. That doesn't do any good. That's why some people like some movies and others don't. Because people receive everything differently. You are trying to get 100 out of 100 people. So I talk to everyone individually. Cater to their needs. This is one thing I think I will be quite effective at because I can read people and understand their problems. It is so much more than just speaking. You gotta preach baby preach.

Quote of the week: "The past is in the past, that is unchanging. But the future is where the imagination lies, for the possibilities are endless and the creativity is everlasting." --Me

Elder Jeppson and Jackson 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015

A month down!!! Wooo!!! Less than two weeks and I'll be in Norway. Unfortunately my teachers say that all the Norwegians will expect me to speak Norwegian considering my blonde and fair skin. I guess it's the price I pay. I have a Swiss guy in my zone who is super cool. His name is Elder Ziegler. He's straight out of Switzerland.

Not much has happened this week, just class as usual. I did learn that most people in Norway don't want to hear what we have to say. Which doesn't surprise me at all. But the fun part is that our teacher said we're going to have to get creative if we want people to listen. Those were my magic words. What better than for someone to listen to me? I have a million ideas, most of which include yelling things and as soon as they turn to look at me running after them and telling them what I believe. I'm so stoked. Each day is one day closer to leaving here. I've learned a lot but ready to leave.

Already I can see how dad says it's the most free time you'll have in your life. We have a ton of personal time and sometimes I study scriptures other times I just think about life and it's so nice because it's my wildest imagination.

The good part about being in the country is that you can be sent to places in the north where you can see the northern lights and not see the sun forever. But since it's summer I'll see if allll dayyyy. But Norway has some cool spots. For the Disney fans, Frozen takes place in Arendale, which is a town in Norway properly called Arendal. So that'll be awesome to meet Elsa. There's also Thor and the legend of Thor is Norse mythology. So yes I will be going to Aasgard, as that is a place in Norway (more of a state of mind, though, we read a whole thing on it.) Or if you're really bad they send you to a place called Finse. Where the planet Hoth was filmed for Star Wars. JK, it's a glacier but I wonder if you could still go there. Also in the New Avengers movie there's a place where it filmed in Norway. I hope they have some statues of Loki or Thor or something. That'd be incredible.

Eldste Hoopes

(Jackson and his companion, Eldste Killpack)

July 15, 2015

This week has been pretty good. Gone by super fast. We do the same thing each and everyday. Class for 10 hours gets a little much but I'll only be here for a couple more weeks so I can make it. And next Friday I'll get my travel plans so that will be exciting.

The language is coming along well and we're learning more and more about the culture. Mostly I just use sound effects and large hand gestures to make them laugh because that's the way to make people soften up. Basically the Norwegians don't really talk to anyone but if they do talk to you and become your friend they're your friend for life. Sounds like my kind of people. The country is beautiful and I can't wait to finally get out there. it's going to be incredible.

Advice you should keep with you for the rest of your life: EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS

(the missionaries going to Norway)

July 8, 2015

So I made it to week 2, which comes after week 1. I learned a lot of language since Wednesday, crazy how fast time flies (I feel like a 75 year old recently married woman saying that) and how much we can learn in such a short time.

This week was a lot of sitting around but also bonding with the zone and district. I'm a little more outgoing than the rest of the guys. Just a random thought, one of the mission presidents (President Bertasso) looks like Martin Scorsese with a less full head of hair, especially when he wears those glasses. I get a kick out of it every time he conducts or anything. I bet no one else in the entire MTC knows who Martin Scorsese is but it's comforting that I do.

The lessons are good and sometimes Eldste Killpack (Jackson's companion) and I start cracking up in the middle of the lesson because we have not one clue of what to say, but other times are calm and collected.

I really love writing in my diary. I would call it a journal but come on we all know that it's my personal little diary. It provides some solace and alone time even though my companion is right there next to me.

It's crazy how close I've gotten with these guys, yes they drive me crazy sometimes and I'm baffled at what is said sometimes but for the most part we're good.

P dag (P-day in Norwegian) is basically Christmas and we all call the day before PEve or P Day eve. What a wonderful time to be alive (Pday is short for preparation day where he does things like email, laundry, play soccer, etc.)

And I am finally sad to say that after almost 4 years of the same hair cut they lopped some off. One counselor in the district told me to cut it.

Saw "Meet the Mormons", not half bad.

Eldste Hoopes
(Jackson with his roommate and friend from BYU, Carter Lybert)

July 1, 2015

Sup. Yeah I made it. I know such a surprise. A week in and I haven't even called home!

First day and we're talking to an "investigator" in a big group and a kid was like "well we only believe the really bad people go to 'heck'" I kid you not! I lost it in the silent room, that's just too good.

Second day was long. I for sure will work for myself or at least have loose management when I am older. I can't have people tell me what to do.

I'm good at finding ways to pass time. We do NOT have enough time to sleep especially working 16 hour days. I'm sure it doesn't get better. We find many different places to sleep in.

The guys are super cool here. My district is huge and they say they've never had a district like ours. Usually I take that with a grain of salt, but this time it's true.

Yes I have the flow strong but I have been asked to get it cut. Right now I am currently playing "let's see how long I can let it go because people seem to not be able to find the spirit because a kid with blonde hair has awesome hair." Yes, a mouthful but the game is fun. Ages 18-21. I am currently winning. Hopefully I don't draw a "Go Straight to Barber Shop" card. I know I should listen but I can feel the spirit with my hair, and last time I checked Jesus had a man and I'm sure if he was alive now he'd have my haircut too. Or maybe the Brad Pitt slick back.

My companion is cool, we've bonded pretty well so far. Norweigian is tough but mostly it's just the vocab. Mentally I'm doing well so far so that's good.

Eldste Hoopes (Elder in Norweigian)
(after a haircut)