Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monday, December 9th, 2013

We have snow now and a lot of it. It was quite crazy. I just woke up yesterday and we had snow, so I am glad that I am going to have a white Christmas just like the ones I have never known. I fear for Elder Linge's sake though as he will have to bear with me as I learn to walk in the snow. One thing that is really cool though is that the streets are heated, so there is no snow on the sidewalks. It is always amazing to me how profound it can be to be reminded of fundamental truths of the gospel and to see them in a new light. It is truly incredible how much of what we are taught in the church is repetition and yet how much we grow and how much there is to understand.

I feel that this year I am more grateful than I have ever been approaching the Christmas season for the great gift Christ is and was for the world. One thing I have noticed more this year than ever before is that you can literally feel a change in the air when Christmas time comes. As I ponder the gift Christ is, I am reminded of the simple truths of the gospel that are indeed the most important. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us beyond human comprehension and because of that they want us to learn and grow and become like them so that we can experience a fullness of joy. The reality is that we cannot do this alone. We need a Savior, a Redeemer, someone to take upon Himself that which we are incapable of overcoming. This is what Christ did. Through the atonement, we can continually improve and overcome our weaknesses and challenges. Christ came because He loves us and He loves His father. We show Him our love for Him by using the gifts He has given us, including keeping His commandments. I am so thankful for my testimony of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the knowledge I have of Him, for the knowledge I have that we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven, and for the knowledge I have that the gospel has been restored and Christ's church reestablished in these the latter-days.

There was a concert in the church building in Romerike yesterday that we went to. It was really awesome, and there were a lot of incredibly nice people. Christmas music is a really special thing. They also played a song by Eric Whitacre that Chamber Singers did called Lux Aurumque, but they did an instrumental version. The assistants brought a guitar home for me to have until Christmas, so that is a great blessing. I do not get to play it too much though because we have things we need to be doing. It is nice to feel though that I have not lost as much as I would have feared. We are not having moves until early January, so I know I will be in Oslo for Christmas. I hope you are excited for Christmas and are able to take some time to ponder and study the remarkable gift Christ is for us all. I am thankful for all of your testimonies and for your love and support. The Norwegian word of the week is å take, which means to thank.

I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Nelson Mandela this past week. I would like to include a quote from Nelson Mandela, which I feel applies perfectly to my Norwegian-speaking mission. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.

Elder Ankenman

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