This week, one of our good friends (that we have been teaching) got baptized! It was really exciting! She is amazing and I’m excited to see all the great things that she will continue to do in her life. The day before the baptism, we went to the church and cleaned the font for a few hours because it was completely full of spiders. One of the elders said, “Oh wow, we have spiders in the dåp (baptism) font?” And I thought it was funny because it sounded like a metaphor for how well missionary work is going in an area. Celine asked me to speak at her baptism and I spoke about our experience teaching her and what it means to take upon yourself the name of Christ.
Christmas- We have had member dinners everyday since December 23rd. In Norway, they really celebrate Christmas on December 24th. They have special food they only eat on Christmas. In western Norway, they eat pinnekjøtt (salted and dried rack of lamb) and in east Norway, they eat ribbe (a special cut of pork rib with the skin on). On the 24th, we were lucky to have both dishes at the same member’s house. Santa Claus came to the member’s house (the dad dressed up). He was wearing a face mask and one of the kids said, “Oh look, it’s Koronanissen” (Corona Santa) Julenissen is the Norwegian name for Santa Claus. Their kids wrote their own lyrics to the 12 days of Christmas in Norwegian and they gave us a copy and we all sang together. We made origami with the two daughters (ages 10 and 12) while waiting for dinner.
Because both Sister Benedict and I did not have a companion, we joined and did all the work for both of our areas for the last 2 weeks. So we were in Oslo for December 24th and Lillistrom for December 25th. It has been really busy for both of us these last two weeks. We have had appointments in both areas and we had to do the big annual deep cleaning for both apartments. Before COVID, on the week of Christmas, we couldn’t do proselytizing. It is a very strict family time. You can’t buy anything in stores, and everyone is with their family. They take it very seriously. So in the past, this week was spent with members. When we traveled those days back and forth, there was nobody on the streets. The trains go once an hour that week like a slowed Sunday schedule. Family time is really important and they take their holidays a lot more seriously than we do so everyone is home and nobody should be bothering people during those family days. Everyone stocks up on food before that week, but we keep moving apartments. Luckily we are eating at members’ houses everyday and we have chocolate from Christmas gifts to keep us feed between meals! Missionaries often bring home a suitcase full of chocolate because Norway’s food standards are extremely high so their chocolate is delicious.
The president was thinking about closing our area for sister missionaries, because all the incoming missionaries are elders and we lost 2 sisters. But all the people we are teaching are women, so I am excited that he chose to not close my area. I’m getting a new companion tomorrow- Sister Wilson from Denver, Colorado. So it will be nice to only have Lillestrøm so I can focus back on my friends here (that is what we call people interested in learning about the church).
We got so many Christmas gifts from the members that I’m not sure how to move when I get transferred. I got a lot of wool socks! Norwegians love wool. I got a lot of chocolate, tights, scarf, gingerbread, and a jewelry box. One member gave us a hand blown glass water bottle that is really cool. Another of the member’s (who is German) dad whose profession was a gingerbread maker for many years. She made us excellent gingerbread! So I can at least eat the gingerbread and chocolate to lighten my suitcase load.
I’ve already been in this area for 4 1/2 months so after this coming transfer (another 6 weeks), I will probably transfer because half my mission in Norway will have been in this one wonderful area.
We finally got our video of me singing Hellige Natt up! One of the elders that I have served with the whole time I’ve been in Norway played the piano- Elder Fjord. Here is a link if you want to see it. https://www.facebook.com/asiawhoolery/posts/2876598099266227
- We spent Christmas morning (25th) with the mission president and his wife. It was really cozy.
- Our friend Celine who just got baptized made a traditional Norwegian dessert with meringue, vanilla custard cream and fresh fruit!
- Sister Benedict and I cleaning the baptismal font.
- Calvin and Hobbes has a different name in Norway
- Sister Benedict and I together again!
- Maria, a member here, has a dog with a lot of personality and a lot more hair than my family’s Chihuahua at home