Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 102 - Coming Home!

Raining my last week!
Last zone conference
Elders from my MTC group at zone conference

Jackson just sent photos home this week as he will return to California on June 8, completing his two year mission. 

He will be speaking in church on Sunday June 11 at 1:30pm -- 22851 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo - please join us!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Week 101

Frisbee golf - we won!

Sickkkkk so last full week. Wow - we are pretty loaded on appointments right now so the week should be pretty good and on Thursday we have zone conference so that should be fun and stuff. Excited to stick it out just one more week.

The rest of last week was ok. Pretty good but we weren't able to meet up with any investigators. The weather was way good over the weekend but then yesterday afternoon and today it kind of has been cloudy and overcast and rainy but that's life. I would say more people are out in the good weather but not necessarily more likely to talk considering they would rather enjoy the weather than us, but we try!!!

Well anyways this is going to be like my last real letter so might as well say something insightful. It's been awesome being out here and it really has been good. It has been difficult and tough and at times, long, but it has been awesome! I have learned so much, from others, about others, about myself and about God. It really is an experience that you cannot replicate in any way. I am so thankful for the experiences that I've had and for the support I have gotten. I love Norway, I love the Norwegian people, I love Norwegian and I have had an awesome time. 

As unique as it is, I know this mission was exactly for me and for that I am grateful! 

Well, that's all I've got for now, until next time.

See you next week!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week 100

17 of mai celebrations
Got to see some returned missionaries that served in Norway
Played Bean Boozled at the mission home

Did not fair well

So good to hear about Ethan receiving his Patriarchal Blessing, we actually talked about that in the lesson we taught in Sunday School! 

This week was okay. We had many appointments set up, but they had to be postponed - that's just the way it goes, I guess. Literally anything else comes before us, but you know the prepared people when they put us first, though they are few and far between - it helps to know they're out there.

This week I have my exit interview. I don't know what to think. It will be kind of odd because I will still be working two weeks after it - but I'm not too worried. Still working.

Love you all so much  - things are rocking and rolling here, trying to meet with our investigators. 

17 of mai was awesome and fun to spend it in Oslo. (Constitution Day/ Norway's birthday)

Have a great week! J

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 99

The silver sign says "Jesu Kristi Krike av Siste Dagers Hellige" (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

From mom: Last Skype with Elder Hoopes on Mother's Day

I'm not going to write a big blast - since I talked with the fam and not too much that I didn't just say. But things are good. I'm starting to get ready to get back into the swing of things...BUT at the same time I'm still loving it, so I can't complain :)

Have a great week, J

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 98

May 8th snowed.

So we had a great week of awesome weather and it was way warm all week, like 20 degrees (celsius) and stuff. Even getting some sun on the face but then as soon as it was time to run this morning, it decided to start snowing. Nothing too bad, just Norway wanting to give me a little fun - ha ha.

This week was pretty good actually! We were able to find 5 investigators!!! I don't know if I have found 5 investigators in my whole mission combined, ha ha just kidding, but it was a really good week. We were blessed when we met with 3 people that we planned to meet and they brought friends - so that was an awesome opportunity to teach them and their friends. Of course it happens to happen in the last transfer of my mission. We taught a lot about the Book of Mormon and introduced them to what we are doing as missionaries. It was just the first meeting and we are hoping to get together again to talk about the restoration.

We do help out a little with the branch, like on Sundays, but not too much - the branch is small but they are self sufficient and totally awesome. We had an awesome fast and testimony meeting yesterday where about 70% of the branch got up and bore their testimonies. Not too many congregations can say that besides small ones in Norway :)

In our district we also have Romerike, which is about an hour drive. In our zone we have Oslo, Moss, Romerike, Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg and us. Probably the closest distance in the whole mission - only a 2 1/2 hour drive between the farthest ones.

Anyways - that's about it - have an awesome week!


Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 97

Snowing and knocking
But then a sunny day!

Trying to keep the washer stable for studies

So branch life is a little different because you can get acquainted with people a little quicker which helps when you don't have a lot of time left. The youth we are working with - we're already best friends and they are totally awesome - stoked they we were all at church. I also had a talk yesterday at church and it really is the first one I've given since I was in Tromsø. Back then I had to write out my whole talk, so it was nice to go with the flow this time around - considering I can actually kind of speak Norwegian fluently now. :)

So today is Norwegian Labor Day which means that everything is closed, but that's just how it goes. Last night everyone went hard (Norwegian tradition) so we heard all the bumping going down from the hifi speakers and stuff. Haha talk about in the world, but not of the world. I would say that is exactly what Norway is, but I love it. I actually did have a super scary realization the other day, that I am one day going to leave Norway and that is not ok. I love it here so much. It just feels like my home now and I don't know what I'm going to do without the all the quirks and stuff that it holds. Like putting sour cream and brown cheese on waffles and having rush hour around 2pm. So I'm going (nyte) is the Norwegian word, but I think enjoy is the English word, but it's just not quite strong enough. Maybe savor? Whatever - I'm going to nyte my last few weeks here. I love it here in Hamar too. 

We have an appointment with a connection from Drammen - got to love the connections you have all around Norway - the benefit of a small country. 

We did some Sunday school teaching too - I anticipate I will be talking and doing more in church than I have in other areas and I'm good with that. 

Even though my time is coming to an end - I'm not giving up quite yet!!! Got to love each day!!

Have an awesome week

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 96

On our way to do service

So Hamar is close to Lillehammer - in fact it's in our district and our area is humongous. Maybe we'll even be able to go there on a pday, but just as soon as we thought the weather should be fine, it snowed. Unbelievable, but got to love it. We'll see if the shoes make it. I can hear mom's voice right now which whispers "boots, boots." Don't worry yourselves, I'll make it through. 

Yesterday we went to stake conference in Oslo, so I haven't been to church in Hamar yet but it is a great branch - the members seem nice and it's fun to be back in a branch. The members are spread out and most have to come from a good distance to get to the building. There are some youth who we play soccer with. Most around here speak english really well, but most just speak Norwegian. It helps when you speak Norwegian well so they don't question whether you speak the language or not.

I'm reflecting, working and looking forward all in one. I admit, it's hard not to think about home but I"m not really longing for it, more just getting ready if that makes sense. 

This week was good. We visited some people and were able to do some service - we get to go down to Romerike for district meeting because they are in our district and we are kind of alone up here so it's always good to be surrounded by other missionaries.

It was kind of a hectic week trying to get down to Hamar with my suitcases - just had to superman it, but other than that things are peachy :)

Have an awesome week!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 95 (moves)

Snowy P-day hike
Zone conference

So just when you'd think I wouldn't get moved, here we go! Yep, I'm packing for the last transfer and on Wednesday I will be heading over to Hamar. Really the only area that I can't see the ocean.

This week was pretty good actually, despite how slow it is for Easter and stuff. Monday was a downpour (as shown in our hike). We went up and then towards the top it turned into snow which is a...pleasant...surprise. We were freezing. And then Tuesday we had a little competition with one of the areas in our zone to pump them up. And of course you have to risk something, risk it to get the biscuit :) So we bet a kilo of candy against them and had an awesome day and found some new potential investigators which is sweet. So Elder Hadley, who is replacing me, will have some people to work with. You always have to be grateful for other people's efforts too! :)

We didn't end up making it to Bodø because of some sickness, but we had some good finding here and we are ready for the next adventure. So on to the next area - should be good though, I'm willing to do whatever is asked. If you had asked me two years ago, I would have given you a selfish answer. Life is great and I can't really be bothered right now! Weird how good you feel sometimes after just doing what you're supposed to do (missionary lessons I guess.) 

So on to my next adventure.

Yes, Finishers Wanted!!!

Love, J

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 94

Elder Bleggi and I in the pouring rain
Raining why still sunny, who knows?

We were in Ålesund on Thursday and it is basically Bergen so it rains all day everyday since Adam was created. We contacted and contacted and tried to find some interested people on the streets while just getting soaked through and through. And on the last guy, when you are ready to go in and time is up, you always end up finding someone and that's what happened! So we talked with this one kid for about 20 minutes in the pouring rain. That was good and an awesome "splits"! We are actually taking another plane on Wednesday to go visit our dear friends in Bodø (boo-duh) on splits. Always jetting off to some other place. Seriously feeling like a champ when it comes to traveling. Can I put it on the resume? 

I was talking with my comp and realized how sad it is that one day we will leave Norway and not be here so I am for sure making the best out of my time left that I have. 

We also have some people we are going to try to meet up with this week to get some new investigators. But, it gets pretty slow around here because of Easter week. Everyone goes to their cabins and doesn't come back until next Monday which is frustrating, but it's a good opportunity to get Norwegians to come to church since they go two times a year - on Christmas and Easter and what better church to attend on Easter! So that will be our week.

I kind of got sick, which is a bummer and it hasn't stopped raining and kind of cold and supposed to snow tomorrow, but one day I will totally miss it. 

Well, hope you all have an awesome week!!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 93

Plant life

City life

So this week was pretty hectic. We had zone conference and splits which meant that people had to come in the day before and then didn't leave until the day after. It really makes for craziness which we have to account for and getting everyone to and from, but it turned out well. I think it went well. I guess you would have to ask someone who was in attendance - ha ha.

We will be traveling this week to Ålesund (oh-le-soond) on Wednesday to Friday and the assistants to the president are coming from Oslo tonight so it will be another really busy week. I imagine only busy weeks from now on. 

We watched most of General Conference but still have to watch the Sunday afternoon's. I liked Elder Bednar's talk in reference to being a full time missionary about it being the willingness to serve not the place you get called to, necessarily. Although - shout out to Chad Ames and his call to Cancun - pretty dope and what a dream!

It will be fun to speak some Swedish with President Davis when I complete my mission - a lot of times the Swedes can't understand Norwegians but the Norwegians can always understand the Swedes. It's like the master key of Scandinavian languages :)

We actually are giving another tour of the church to some high schoolers in a few minutes so that should be fun and so that's all from me for today :) Have an awesome week!


Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 92

Me and my plant. My plant and I. 

Now that our missionary schedule got changed, we are using a whole hour to work out and I am using every second of it - helps to get out of bed in the morning because with the time change the light in the morning is kind of lacking. But...super nice with the light at night. It's not dark at 2pm anymore which helps a ton with motivation. Now we are just waiting for the snow to stop. We had a huge blizzard at the beginning of the week - I know, it's the end of March and it snows - though it is kind of warm which I am grateful for - it's all about the little wins. 

This week was pretty good. Pretty busy. It seems like we are always running around to do something or other. We have a lot of prep for this week's zone leader training. We have to fly two more times before the end of the transfer - crazy. We have done a lot of prep for the ZLT and I will tell you more about it when it actually gets done.

Elder Wandtke and I are doing well, we did have a fun mishap where we were late for our plane back from Oslo which we had to pay the consequences and pay for it ourselves. Whoohoo. Now I know why we are supposed to leave with good time for the airport. Wow, what a very...pricey experience.

The best thing about Trondheim is the demographic of the people in the city. There are a lot of young students who are all over the place. The toughest thing about Trondheim is the demographic of the people in the city - ha ha. Because there are a lot of students there are a lot of people who "know everything" - I have had some pretty good conversations with people on the street about scientific evidence and how when God shows up - that's when they will believe. That kind of stuff - but that's the fun part of being in Norway :)

Hope you all have an awesome week!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 91

On the ferry to Kristiansund

This week was pretty good. It was weird that Nelson went home and is now chilling with his family and friends but it put into perspective how much of a time I actually have left on the mission. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit excited but I am NOT ready to leave Norway! It is just such an awesome place and people. 

We were way busy this week and will continue to be this whole transfer. We have zone conference coming up and appointments with people and trying to teach people we found this week. Should be hectic, but that's aways good! 

I got a plant. We were in Sunday School a couple of weeks ago and were talking about faith being like a seed, the teacher gave us all seeds that we were supposed to plant. After two weeks mine wasn't growing at all. I was ready to toss in the towel, when we went to a member's house and his plant was growing like crazy! We talked about it and I was telling him how mine was broken and ready to throw away. Anyways, we got home and there it was - my plant had sprouted! Wow, this is what being what a father is like - ha ha. (a metaphor with the plant here and faith.) Anyways, now I'm kind of pretentious with a spray bottle watering my plant.

Yesterday we didn't go to our ward, but with the senior couple to a city called Kristiansund where we have one active member but no missionaries or anything. It was so awesome - we got to go down and administer the sacrament to her and have a spiritual meeting all together in her home. I even gave a talk - all in all the whole thing was really great. 

My friend from another area is now here permanently - he's coming to activities and stuff - it's so awesome - sometimes you just got to water the seed of faith with a spray bottle :)

That's about it for the week - hope you all have an awesome one too! Life here is good so don't worry about me :)


My plant!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week 90

The illuminati is real

Nice 90, am I right? Not trunky at all, just weird because Elder Nelson is going home in a couple of days so it makes it more of a real experience.

So a lot of missionaries are finishing up this summer, which should mean we are getting a lot of new missionaries this summer but actually we are not. So the missionaries are mostly coming a couple of transfers after us. I mean there really isn't too much we can do. It's just how it goes but we can just work to the end and hope for the best. That's really all I can think of - work to the end. But it should be good :)

This week we focused on working with some less actives to get them to church and we actually did! A friend actually from Tromsø so that was pretty sweet. It has been a while since we had him here so that was an awesome experience. This week we have some good appointments lined up so hopefully we can get some new investigators. WE have been doing a good amount of finding - so that's awesome.

I will be staying in Trondheim, which is good. I'll be with Elder Wandtke who has been the district leader in Alta, so we have been around each other a little, so that should be pretty good.

Things are good here and rolling. The attitude is good and so that's what's important. It's all about the way you look at things - that was part of the Sunday School lesson I got to teach on Sunday. 

Have an awesome week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 89

"Picolas Cage" - ha ha

So this week we had an area conference of Northern Europe which was pretty cool. It was a broadcast from Salt Lake and there was a cool talk by Elder Ballard about going way hard and about avoiding anti things and that kind of stuff. So good. We will have our fast and testimony meeting next Sunday.

Tromsø is getting a new senior couple - so including this new couple arriving I will have met 3 different senior couples that have served there. That's when it makes me feel like I've been here a long time :)

This week was good. We had the missionaries from Ålesund come to Trondheim for splits. We found a lot of people to call and meet up with. When we have missionaries come here we usually try to have appointments, but a lot of times we just go out finding people which is great because it means double manpower in the city to hopefully find some potential investigators. 

It's Elder Nelson's last week here, which is weird. I most likely won't be moving but I won't know until next Monday. Hope all is well on the western front :) (The biggest killer of winter is the fact that the sun doesn't feel warm at all. It's high in the sky but still -7.)


Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 88

Up in Alta

This week was good! We went up to Alta, went up Monday morning and we were traveling from 7am to around 3pm in Alta. It was lots of fun, barely got some emails sent out but good thing I don't have too many people to write ;) We had an awesome time and it was pretty cold, but the missionaries up there are studs and are working really hard. They have a new missionary with them, so it's kind of cool to see him adapt especially so far up north. Then we got home on Wednesday afternoon - so it was a lot of traveling. We actually had to switch our day to Saturday so we could go to a place called Røros. It's out in the middle of nowhere and has a winter festival.

Zone conference were the week before, it really is nice in the north because we are so spread out but we get to see each other often and catch up.

This week should be good, we have Ålesund coming in on splits so we are done traveling for the transfer, at least. They are another of couple of studs and so we are looking forward to seeing them. Other than that we have some investigators to get in touch with.

I'm learning a lot even though it does seem like I've been here for a while. Some days are longer than others, but really enjoying it and feel like I'm growing. We also looked at some photos from the early blog from Sister Hill and man have we changed! We looked like children. I thought I was so grown and mature at 19, but man did I have a long way to go. I guess that's probably the same now and will continue to be for the rest of my life.

Anyway, have a great week!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 87 Live from Alta

From our hike last week
Me and Elder Nelson

Right now I'm writing this from Alta. We woke up pretty early this morning and got on our train and then took two planes to get over to the great white north. It's pretty good right now. Mom would have pooped her pants because first off the landing into Tromsø for our layover, was super sketch and to make it even more fun - we took the plane to Alta in a nice little bush propeller plane in the middle of a giant snow storm. Wow, life is exciting - so still a lot of traveling but I love it!

I wish I could write more today but really I don't have much time. Our goals are getting investigators and people in church. Something that is a little different is the distance and keeping unity even though so many are isolated and alone in whatever city they are in. So we have been focused on unifying the zone through Skype and stuff. It should be good because we will going to district meeting tomorrow in Alta and that should be fun to have four of us there and the rest on Skype. 

Things are all good and well and rolling on smoothly. It gets faster and faster every week - even though some days are longer than others :)

Have an awesome week!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 86

So our zone is literally from Ålesund to the top of Norway but those areas really only cover the cities. If we ever go on splits to any of those places or if they ever come to us then it has to be by plane, otherwise it would take an eternity and some of the places aren't even accessible by train. For example, next week we go to Alta and it will be a 6 hour trip including a layover in Oslo, so pretty interesting. We are teaching one man, but besides that lots of finding. Which is awesome because Elder Nelson and I get along really well and we are always laughing which makes it easy to talk to people.

The days are fine now, pretty light when we are out and the sun sets around 4:15pm, but just ok on the warmth - hopefully by March things jump up. It also helps being more north because then we have a lot more light in the summer than in the east or the south.

This week was pretty full...just really bad about giving you details...sorry.

Last Monday was awesome, though. There is a huge Sami festival in Trondheim going on and we were just walking around and I heard someone speaking Bergensk (dialect of someone that lives in Bergen, Norway) in the town square and because I have heard political talks in Norwegian to help with the language, I recognized the voice. It was the Prime Minister of Norway! Erna Solberg! Way cool. Then we decided to go to the special Sami mass that was happening at the giant Cathedral. It was super cool and we were singing Sami songs and we saw the King of Norway! We stood up and were like "oh, hey, there's the king". The mass was awesome with a lot of traditions and at the end all the dignitaries were walking out and we were standing waiting to go out, then Erna walked by again. Wow!

Where we live, it's an apartment building with another companionship - it's pretty big.

Something that wasn't so great - I packed a suitcase of stuff that I didn't need to take to Trondheim and I could leave in the mission home to save weight and space, so I gave it to the APs and they put it in their van. Then that day their van got broken into and my suitcase full of stuff was stolen! So that was kind of sad, they went to the police and filed a report but I don't think it will be found. Way lame, but life is unfair sometimes - BUT don't worry because I'm not down! Life is good and I'm smiling so you guys have an awesome week!!!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 85

So this week was actually pretty hectic. Monday and Tuesday was packing all day and saying goodbye to everyone. Then Wednesday I took a train, then a plane, then a train to finally arrive in Trondheim. On Thursday we got some missionary work done, but had to take another train and plane back down to Oslo for a meeting followed by a train to get to Sentrum. Yep, 5 trains and 2 planes in two days! Friday we had our meeting, and afterwards took another train to the airport, a plane back to Trondheim and then a train into the city. For a grand total of 7 trains and 3 planes in three days. Wow - so accomplished especially with a Scandinavian airlines silver card.

The cities in the north in our zone are Ålesund, Trondheim, Bodø, Jarvik, Mo i Rana, Tromsø and Alta. This transfer we will be going to Alta and Ålesund, and Narvik will be coming here. And then flip flopped. If I'm lucky the district leader will be in Tromsø so I can go back to my old stomping grounds. We have splits about every week this transfer. There's only one ward in the zone and the rest are branches.

Trondheim is great. There are a lot of people on the streets and stuff, and great to see people to talk to. We've already had a ton of great conversations and have some good appointments lined up for this week already.

The ward is great, it's super cozy and everyone is really nice. My companion is awesome and since we have been on lots of splits together in the past, it's almost like this is our second transfer together. We have six missionaries in the ward - it's going to be great.

Have a great week!!!

Saying goodbye in Drammen

Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 84

So I just found out while writing this that I will be moving to Trondheim. Wow, this will just about complete my tour of Norway. Should be exciting. I will be with Elder Nelson who I was with earlier while I was in Drammen and he was in another city. He's a great guy and I'm excited for it. I will be able to travel around the north zone while I am there. 

Crazy stuff this week - mostly because I rolled my ankle when I took a step in the wrong direction. I heard a bad pop and knew it wasn't going to be the most fun thing. Then it just didn't really move. I look down and it looked like a good old baseball. It hurt pretty bad and I couldn't really move. I got an Xray, not broken, so that's good. Might be sprained, could be torn but I don't think so, it does feel better each day. 

It was really hard to say goodbye to people yesterday. I truly felt like I have fallen into my niche here, it feels like home. It was especially hard because at church I didn't know for sure if I was moving, but still hard regardless. I'm excited to keep going, though. 

I hope you all have an awesome week!
Love, J

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 83

Zone Leader training
Perfecting the double chin

So we have about 20 missionaries in our zone, give or take. That's pretty much standard over the four zones in the mission. We have zone leader training every other transfer and on the other months there are zone conferences. We had a good zone leader training this last week - teaching about finding through service and members.

We had crazy weather where it rained and immediately touched the ground and froze. The busses were canceled and we had a member appointment, so unfortunately that had to be canceled. But afterwards, we had an appointment to teach an investigator and we had to walk from the church, talk about deceiving. No matter how many spikes people had on their boots, everyone was slipping and sliding everywhere!!! So we had an awesome time and were able to go skating without some blades :)

After slipping on the ice we were able to teach our investigator - which was good. We had another lesson with someone else and had an awesome Plan of Salvation lesson. We taught him all about it and we titled it Frelsesplanen (the saving plan) Lykkesplanen (the plan of happiness) and then I also trademarked the title - Best Plan ever. It was awesome.

Not too much travel this week, but will most likely be transferred this week which is sad and then even more heart warming when people say they're going to miss me and stuff. I don't know exactly or even for sure that I'm transferring - but just a guess.

Just going through things and they are good, nothing much else to comment on - I am tired but good.

Make it a great week!!