Monday, December 8, 2014

3 Months

Kjære Familie,

This week is a English fast for the whole mission, which means that we will only speak Norwegian for this week.... I let ya know how that goes :) We have seen so many miracles here in Ålesund this week!  I guess that's why they like to call this place Miracle-sund :) On Wednesday, we met with Yan again (I know i know... I told you his name was Yen... but it's Yan).  Before meeting, we looked through his progress record since he was a previous investigator and it said that the missionaries had stopped meeting with him because he worked all day every Sunday and couldn't progress if he didn't come to church.  So we decided that for this lesson with him, we were going to address that.  We asked him about coming to church, expecting a little bit of a fight, but instead he said that he couldn't make it this week, and he leaves Tuesday for Shanghai, but as soon as he comes back, he's going to stop working on sundays so he can come to church!! It was so cool! He then told us that he has read in the Book of Mormon every day since meeting with us last, and he has read the Restoration pamplet over and over again.  He's so incredible!  He leaves for Shanghai on Tuesday, but we will be in touch doing skype lessons with him while he's gone.

Saturday was FULL TO THE BRIM of miracles!!! Around noon, we got a text from a girl we had given a pass along card to and she said "Hey this is Taylor, that girl you met on the bus a few weeks ago. How are you?" She is from Canada and works here in Ålesund.  We give cards to lots of people so it took me a second to remember who it was, but we got an appointment with her and hopefully all will go well with that.  

We were contacting on the street, and I kid you not, EVERYONE was listening to us.  We had a lot of really cool conversations with people.  We met one man from Morocco, who was a tourist from one of the cruise ships that come in almost everyday, he was going to be leaving, but we got his number and email and asked if our friends could visit him when he gets home.  He told us that he would love that! After about that half hour of contacting, we decided that we would try to visit one of our members named Øystein who we haven't been able to get contact with.  I have only met him once and it was shortly after I came to Ålesund.  He has really severe depression and will rarely come out of his apartment.  So for the last couple months we have been leaving notes, and general conference talks in his mailbox and just praying for him.  But Saturday, we tried going to his apartment to visit him and none of the doorbells were working, and the door to the building was locked... We waited there a few seconds longer that we normally would have, then headed back up the street to go somewhere else.  As we were walking up the street, a man came walking the other direction and I thought...Wait, is that him? I couldn't remember very well what he looked like, but Søster Buhler and I decided to go creeper status and follow this guy back to the apartment building.  It ended up being Øystein, and he smiled when he saw us and we got to talk to him for a little while!  He told us that in the last two months he has read the Book of Mormon 2 and a half times!! and that he was excited to come back to church when he gets his emotions back under control. It was SUCH a miracle!!!

After about ten minutes, he went inside, and we immediately got a text from Arthur, a guy we met about a week ago at a bus stop, saying that he was in Ålesund city and he had about 25 minutes that he could meet with us if we wanted to.  He comes from Latvia, so we ran from Øystiens apartment to ours to get a Latvian Book of Mormon for him, then we ran to meet him at the bus terminal.  Since he didn't have much time, we met right there inside the terminal with lots of people around.  We showed him the Book of Mormon and explained that we wanted to tell him more about it.  So we taught him about the Restoration and about Joseph Smith. And even though we were in a crowded bus terminal, we could all feel the Spirit so strong!  We asked him if he would commit to reading the Book of Mormon every day, and he said "Yeah, I'll definitely do that" Then we asked him if he would pray to find out if Joseph Smith was really a prophet of God, and he said, "I can promise you that".  He is SO COOL!!! Afterward, he even taught us how to read Latvian! :) 

So that was all within about 4 hours on Saturday... just miracle after miracle. Then on Sunday, Eirik received the priesthood!!!!!!!! :) It was incredible to see! He is doing so well and is one of our most active members!

So just to answer some questions: The word "Koselig" is that word that Eline told us about and it is what all Norwegians search for! It's so funny. Here in Norway, is doesn't matter how big your house is... it matters how koselig it is! the cozier the better! :) We love describing to people that that is what the spirit feels like.  I'm not sure when exactly we'll be skyping on Christmas... or even where I will be for Christmas. We might go up to Trondheim on Christmas day, since we have a Christmas conference up the on the 26th anyway... I wouldn't know how to do google hangout, but if Steve or someone can figure it out, I'm all for that! :) I'll keep ya posted on time though... it will probably be in the morning time for you guys and night time for me :) Søster Buhler is INCREDIBLE!! And we are so similar!! We work really well together and I am just so grateful for her everyday! :) I love my companion, I love Ålesund and I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!! :)

I love you all SO much! thanks for keeping me updated on everybodies mission calls, christmas trees... and uh... MY SISTER GETTING TO SING FOR APOSTALES!!???What? and meeting president Uctdorf?? So cool! I hope she never forgets that! Have an awesome week family! Vi snakkes!!!

-Søster Heywood

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Many are COLD, but few are FROZEN

December 1, 2014

Hey Familie!

Hvordan går det med dere? This last week has been fun with more and more Julelys, more and more snow on the mountains, and more and more people coming one step closer to the best message they will ever hear! :)

It's crazy to think that I've already been out 3 months. Some days it seems like I've been gone 3 years, but for the most part, I feel like I've been gone for about 3 days!! Time moves so fast, and people out here always say that your mission is like a sledding hill. It might start off slow, but when ya really get going, it goes SO FAST!  

We recently had a lady from Oslo give us refferals for three of her uncles living here in Ålesund, and when we contacted them, one of them invited us to come back another time! So this week we went to visit Uncle Martin and he invited us in, had us sit down, and we just started a nice conversation about how Søster Buhler and I love Norway and how Ålesund is so beautiful. Then he asked us about our favorite Norsk treats, and what things we liked to drink. (He wasn't sure which kind of tea we liked...) haha! But after getting our oppinion on Norwegian food, he got up and left the room. He was gone for about 5 minutes, then came back in and had us follow him to another room where he had set up a koselig little tea party with apple cider, pepperkaker, lefsa, julebrød, and a bunch of other delicious Norsk food! It was so nice!  While we sat and ate, we talked to him about the Book of Mormon that we left with him last time, and taught him about the Restoration.  It was so cool, and I'm pretty sure we'll be visiting with him again this week :)

On Saturday, we took the 2 hour bus ride to go and visit one of our members out in Vestnes, Helene.  She had been through a divorce and has two little boys named Brigham and Logan.  What? Are those American names?? Yes they are! Her ex-husband, (Who is also a member) is origianally from Logan Utah! And the man that she is dating now, John, is also from Logan Utah! Small world eh? John told us all about his mission in Illinois that he served, and asked us questions about our mission here. It was so nice, and so cool to have a little peice of home (kinda) here in Norway! :)

Our progressing investigator right now is Yen, and he was actually a former investigator that we found a few weeks ago in the area book.  He is from China, and I'm pretty sure he speaks better Norwegian, and English than me.... haha! He is so smart! He never believed in God before coming here to Norway, but then things happened in his life that he told us couldn't have been coincidences. We taught him about the Restoration and about Joseph Smith and he was like, "yeah, I think that could be true, but how do I find out?"  Well, Yen, buddy boy, we've got the answer for that!! The only hard part is that he works all day Sundays... but we'll work through that!

Fred, our Branch President was gone this Sunday and he is usually the only priesthood holder to bless and pass the sacrament, so this week we had to rely on one of our less active/new convert members to come and bless the sacrament.  Church begins at 12, and by 12:20, he still hadn't come, but as we were having Sunday school, he walked in.  So along with Thanksgiving this week I am thankful for the preisthood!! In fact, Eirik should be getting the preisthood next Sunday!! :) It will be so great!

We still don't have any snow in the city, though we do in the mountains. Last Tuesday, we had a Relief Society activity where we made things to put in the church's window display for Christmas. (I'll send pictures nest week).  We made a big nativity set in one of the windows and in the other one, we put a tree, wrapped some presents, and had signs saying "He is the Gift". Which brings me to the next thing...

EVERYONE! If you haven't already, go to christmas.mormon.org, and watch the He is the Gift video, then show it to everybody. We as missionaries are really focusing on that this month and sharing that message with everyone that we meet.  I'm so excited to see what comes of it throughout the whole world!! :)

Well, family! I love you all SOOO much and I love hearing about everything back at home!! I'm excited to talk to you all in a few weeks!! :) :) Keep up the prayers!!

Love, Søster Heywood

Many are COLD, but few are FROZEN

11/24/14

Kjære Familie,

Happy Thanksgiving this week!! Funny story with that... Here in Norway, they don't have Thanksgiving, but Åse Marie asked me a few wekks ago when it was, and I confidently answered that it was always the third Thursday in November..... But apparently that isn't true... so we had Thanksgiving a week early here in Ålesund :) Oh well! It was still fantastic.  Åse Marie made a delicious thanksgiving middag for us and Søster Buhler made a yummy apple crumble dessert and it was just incredible :) Even if it was a week early... whoops!

On Tuesday, we made the two hour trip to Molde by bus to have a district meeting. We usually do it over the phone, but once a month, the Elders from Kristiansund and the Søsters from Ålesund meet up in the middle, in Molde.  Our district leader is Elder Vause, and he is SO great!  I actually fell bad for the missionaries that don't get to have him for their district leader :)  We had an awesome meeting, ate some lunch then seperated to go back to Ålesund and Kristiansund.  Søster Buhler and I left Molde at about 2:30 in the afternoon and watched the sunset as we got on the bus... yeah... SUNSET!!! AT 2:30pm! Norway is crazy! The sun usually rises here around 9:30 ish then sets at three.  And it only gets darker... But that's ok! That just means that I get to bring light to people that are literally living in the dark! haha!

This past week was actually really hard for us.  It's exam time here in Ålesund and a lot of our appointments fell through... In fact, ALL of our appointments fell through... For the entire week.  WE did get to visit with quite a few less actives from our branch which was good, but all in all, it was a pretty discouraging week.  Yesterday we were dreading calling Elder Vause to give him our numbers for the week because we felt like complete failures.  On our way back to the apartment, we met this guy named Andreas.  We asked him if he believed in God and he told us he wasn't sure but he used to.  He asked us a lot of questions about what the purpose of life was and he really listened to what we had to say.  We showed him the Book of Mormon and told him that it strengthened our faith in God, then asked if he had ever heard of the Book before.  He said "No, but can you tell me more about it?" So right there, on the streets of Ålesund, in the POURING rain, we taught him the Restoration. He thought it was really cool and asked a lot of follow up questions. We asked if we could meet with him again soon, and he told us he was leaving the next day to go to Las Vegas to do some Christmas shopping....But that he would be back in a couple weeks, and that he would give us a call when he comes back. So we'll keep praying for that for sure. It was really a miracle to end the week.

To answer some questions: We have had snow, but just in the mountains, and it is GORGEOUS to look across the fjord and see the snow capped mountains with snow! AHH! I'll have to get ya a picture of it soon because it is just incredible! The language is coming pretty well and I can understand most of the people that we talk to. I sometimes find myself thinking in Norwegian... which is weird but good! :) Søster Buhler is doing surprisingly well understanding the dialect, though I have to tell her what some words mean because they are SO different.  For example, here they say "Ka" instead of "Hva" for "What".  It's pretty different and definitely takes some getting used to. We do have more than 5 members in the branch, there are just a lot that are less active right now, but not for long! Soon our little bakery meeting house will be filled, and they'll have to build us a chapel!  Søster Buhler and I do a musical number every week and one of us usually holds a talk as well. Giving talks in Norwegian has definitely been an adventure, but I've got to practice somehow eh?

:) I'm so happy to hear the play went well, and I definitely want to see lots of pictures next week :)That is SO cool that Tami was taught by the missionaries! Tell her that she can email me if she has questions too :)

I love you all SO much! and I'll talk to ya next week!!!
Ha det kjempe bra!
Love, Søster Heywood

p.s. You can just send packages to the regular Ålesund address :) and Christmas music (for the most part) is approved. 

p.p.s. The first picture is our district having it "coselig" in Molde.  The second is the picture of the 2:30 sunset :)

New Companion


11/17/14

Hei Familie!!!

This week has been insaaane! Søster Shaw is back in the US (super weird...) and my new companion is Søster Buhler!! The goodbye with Søster Shaw wasn't hard until I walked away and felt completely alone.  I had about a half hour to wait at the airport until Søster Buhler came.  It was super weird being without a companion for a little while... But yeah! I miss Søster Shaw like crazy! She is just incredible! Søster Buhler is from Washington and Oregon and she is half Japanese.  She LOVES quoting movies with me so that's pretty much spectacular, and she has such a love for missionary work.  She has been on her mission a little over a year and has served in Romerike, Oslo, and Trondheim.  We decided to use some of our finding time this week to go through the area book and call any previous investigators that we didn't know and just by doing that, we found 3 new investigators for this week!  Crazy things happening here in Ålesund.

Let's see... to answer some questions...Food!  The food here is AMAZING!!! We are never short on Norwegian chocolate, and yes I have eaten a lot of seafood!  Søster Buhler actually is an incredible cook so I'm lucky! Maybe she can teach me a thing or two eh?  The only treats I can think of write now that I miss from home are pumpkin cookies (of course) :) I always miss the pumpkin cookies! OOH! And I did finally come up with something that I would LOVE to have for this Christmas.  Lately I've been really wanting to listen to that Alabama Christmas CD (or cds... I think we have two...) So maybe a burned copy of those?  But that's about all I can think of :) haha!! 

Right now we are teaching a couple from Iceland, Thomas and Margarett.  They are super cool!! Thomas we have actually been teaching for a while, and he has really not much background as far as religion.  He asked a couple weeks ago if he could bring his girlfriend to one of our meetings and we were like... uh.... OF COURSE! haha!  She has a Christian background and is really interested in learning about our church! Thomas especially needs help right now taking a step and praying and reading the Book of Mormon.  He is a young kid (18\19ish) and he isn't much of a reader, so that's a step that's hard for him. 

A couple days before Søster Shaw left, we met a girl on the street named Iveta who comes from Slovakia.  That's one really cool thing about Ålesund... There are SO many people from all over the world! Anyway, we had a lesson with Iveta this week, and she told us that she usually never would talk to people on the street especially about religion.  She told us that she had had some Jehovahs Witnesses talk to her before and always got a scared feeling.  Then she told us "When I talked to you two girls, I didn't feel scared. I felt good."  It was so cool to see how the Spirit really works to soften the hearts of whoever we talk to so they can be open to this incredible message!  She grew up in the Catholic church, but REALLY doesn't like it.  We gave Iveta a Book of Mormon in her language, and asked her to pray abou it, and we'll hopefully be meeting with her again next week.  

Steinar has been telling us that he would like to read a little more in the Book of Mormon before he sets up a time to meet again with us.  He is really taking this seriously and wants to be sure before he continues, so keep him in your prayers as well!

One of our investigators, Oddney, (actually a former investigator who likes coming to the knitting activities we have) came to church on Sunday!! I was told that she hadn't come to church for a long time, and actually had kinda dropped the missionaries.  We still knew her through the knitting activities though.  but SHE CAME TO CHURCH!!! It was awesome!  And while Søster Buhler and I were up doing our musical number, she was sitting on the back row beaming!  I really think it was good for her, and I hope that it will open her back up to meeting with us again.  So keep Oddney in the family prayers!

One thing that I have learned this week is how important and powerful each individual person is.  Because we have such a small branch here, each member plays such a key role in it.  Every person is so important and vital to this work. We missionaries could never do this without our members that we have helping us.  They are so fantastic!

I love hearing about everything going on back at home!  And I expect to see pictures from Peter Pan soon!!! Take a video of it so I can watch it when I get home!!! I love you all SOOO much!! Keep praying for missionary oppurtunities and share the gospel with EVERYONE!  :) I'll talk to ya soon!!

glad i dere!
Søster Heywood

Monday, November 3, 2014

2 Months

Hey FAM!!!

Wow, this week has been absolutely CRAZY!!!!!!! But I guess I can start with the baptism eh?

Eirik's baptism was just INCREDIBLE!!! The morning was really stressful as we rushed to print off programs, pack towels and blankets, and get a few last minute things.  But here's the thing, because Ålesund has been FREEZING lately, we were really worried about Eirik and how cold he would be especially after being in the fjord.  But as Søster Shaw and I left the apartment in the morning, our jaws dropped, because for the first time since I've been here, it was WARM! Like really really warm.  So warm that I needed to take off the two jackets that I always have on in the mornings!  It was CRAZY! Søster Shaw and I headed over to the church and started setting up, then Eirik walked in! In a suit!! It was really different then his usual jeans and hoodie.  He looked so excited and so ready! Then he told us that he had said a prayer the night before that he wouldn't be too cold!  And did Heavenly Father answer that prayer or what?? The Elders from Kristiansund came down to be the witnesses for the baptism and when they came, they started talking to Eirik and I just got so excited for him!  This is his first step!  We all drove out to the fjord after the meeting, and he was baptized!!  And oh my goodness, when he was walking back to shore, he had the BIGGEST smile on his face!  He later told the Elders ,"I can't wait until I get to baptize someone."  Isn't that awesome!  He has a bigger goal in mind!  His baptism isn't his finish line.  He told us that he really wants to serve a mission and get to the temple as soon as he can!  He is just so cool!

The day before his baptism, Søster Shaw and I flew up to Trondheim for Zone Conference.  It was SO GREAT to see yet another beautiful Norwegian city!  But it was even better to see Søster Nielson and Søster Williams again since they are serving in Trondheim! The whole conference was just fantastic and at the end, we rode to the airport with President and Sister Evans.  Those two are INCREDIBLE!!! I just look up to them so much!

We had a Halloween party the night of Eiriks baptism and it was SUPER FUN!  Åse Marie told us to wear as much white as we could and she brought angel wings and halos for us to wear so we could be angels for Halloween! Then our branch president dressed up in Harry Potter robes and had a weeping angel (from Doctor Who) mask on. So that was super funny!! WE carved pumpkins and apparently, they don't really do that here in Norway... yeah... They all thought it was cool when I started carving a Norwegian flag instead of just a regular smiley face :)

I LOVED seeing all of the pictures this week!!! Heather's costume looks AWESOME, and I hear from Grakum that she is quite the dating machine... WEIRD!!! Heather! SEND ME AN EMAIL! ;) I'm supposed to be hearing about all of these you NUT! ;) The picture of Sarah's face is scary! Tami did such a great job with her makeup!  I want to see pictures of Dad and Hayden too! :)  

Well, family, I'll be sure and keep you updated on all of the awesome things happening here in Ålesund.  Miracles STILL HAPPEN!!! Like everyday!! Heavenly Father is in his work and Jesus Christ is our third companion here. As a mission, we are reading and studying about Christs life to prepare for Christmas so we are reading all four gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke, John) It has been incredible and if ya find some time, really study Christ's life, because that is who we need to strive to be :) This gospel is so true and so real!!! I love you all and I'll talk to ya next week!!!

Love 
Søster Heywood
Eirik's Baptism out in the Fjord

Jess has served 2 months now

Jessica carved the Norway flag

Eirik's Baptism Day

Zone Conference in Trondheim - 
Reunion with Soster Williams




Week 2 in Alesund

Kjære Familie,

This week has just been another crazy one, and I'm realizing that I need to "fill my tank" each day in order to have the motivation that I need.  I'm not sure what I would do without that personal study in the mornings!  Missionary life is HARD.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done, and sometimes, I want to jump into the ocean here and swim back to America!  But then I remember why I'm here, what I'm doing and WHO I am with.

One thing I've learned especially this week is that we  are called to walk the path that Christ walked.  All of us are, but especially as missionaries, where we are literally called as representatives of Christ.  It's just like President Monson said in his talk this conference.  Christ walked lot's of paths that were very hard, so when we are called to walk those same paths, we can get just a taste of what He felt.  For example, yesterday morning, we went to visit this lady out in Hessa, (about 2 miles from the apartment) and it was POURING RAIN.  The buses weren't running that early, so we decided to walk. This wind was so strong, that we had to stop walking sometimes just so we wouldn't lose our balance.  WE got to the bridge that we had to cross and literally just had to hold on for dear life.  Søster Shaw kept saying, "This is when we get to be like Christ!"  And she was right! (Though I wished that we could also be like Christ and calm that storm...) Haha! But it was HARD.  Christ went through hard times, so why should I as a representative of Him, expect anything less?

That being said, Christ also performed miracles in His life and OH MY GOODNESS miracles still happen, I promise you all that!  Last night, we were sitting in the apartment getting ready for bed, and we decided to call one of our new investigators that we had met with only once.  His name is Kristian, and he is from Romania!  He speaks English too though so we teach him in English (tender mercy!) But yeah, we called him to see if he had read any of the Book of Mormon we gave him last time and he said, "yes, I read it. I stayed up all night reading it, and I know it's 100% true."  WHAAAAA???? We only met him once, told him the Restoration story, and gave him the Book of Mormon.  It just goes to show that we as missionaries do .01% of this work, and our Heavenly Father does the other 99.99%.  but He allows us to feel good about that small percentage that we do.  I'll keep you all updated on him, because he sure seems promising!! :) 

I'm so happy to hear about Kasey's baptism!!! I'm SO happy for her and I want to see pictures!! I'm just so proud of her and I know that she will see SO MANY blessings come into her life following that decision.  And she has the Holy Ghost to follow now too!! Ah! just too cool!

I loved hearing about Hayden and Heather's concerts!! I'm glad it all went well, and I really wish I could have heard it in person.  I heard from Grakum that Heather had a solo too!! That's awesome girl! way to go!! Hayden is such a boss too! I can't believe that the middle school has a drum line now! That's so awesome!

I have missed Rachel and Adam especially this week for some reason... It might have been all of these little blonde norwegian girls running around that remind me of Rachel so much, so send my love to them, and just tell them that Aunt Jess loves them SOOOOO much!! I'm glad Adam still recognizes the picture of me.  That makes me feel a TON better! I'm always worried about that... haha! 

Ok, so to answer more questions, I am slowly but surely picking up on this language.  It's super hard with the dialect, but I can understand Søster Shaw almost completely when she speaks Norwegian... just not anyone else really.  I'm getting to the point that I can get the "gist" of what Eirik and Åse Marie are saying, but I still feel like I have no idea what's going on half of the time. Which probably isn't too far from the truth.  We had Stake Conference this week via broadcast and it was two hours of picking up a few words here and there... so yeah! But I just have to remind myself to be patient and that I have only been here for two weeks.  I can do it.  It's going to take time, but I can do it! As far as your question about Christmas... I don't really know. I'll be thinking but I think the only thing I really miss about America is ice.... like ice that you put into your drink! In fact, I'm not sure Dad could make it here because they NEVER put ice in their drinks... so I don't know, maybe an ice cube tray? haha!! I'll let you know if I think of anything else! haha!! Am I staying warm and dry???...... Well, it rains ALL DAY EVERYDAY right now, so not so dry or warm, but it's all ok! The apartment is warm and the church is warm! :)

EIRIK GETS BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!! We are so excited for him and more importantly, HE is so excited!!! I'll be sure to take pictures!  It will be really cool because it will be out in the fjord!  He's going to be absolutely freezing but that's okay!  He'll feel warm afterwards :) 

I had a really hard day this week and I was reading my scriptures and found Romans 8:18!  It helped SO MUCH!! In fact, read all of Chapter 8, because it is AWESOME!!

Alright Family, I'm about out of time, but I love you all SOOOO much and I miss you a ton!  Write me lots! and I'll talk to ya soon! The church is TRUE!!!!!!

Love Søster Heywood

p.s. Mom maybe for Family home Evening at The Family Tree you could buy some stamps and have them all write me letters!! :) The ones that remember me and want to! Because that would be SUPER COOL! I miss those people so much! Send my love to Rosella and everyone else!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

First email from Norway! Alesund is beautiful!

This is Jessica's first email from Norway (Oct 20, 2014).  Her companion's mom sent me a message on Facebook a few days ago.  Her daughter was actually scheduled to go home last week with a group of Sisters, but extended for one month.  She will only be with Jessica for 3 more weeks and then she will get a new companion.  She would love letters, and you will see her address in this email.  It sounds like she will be here for Christmas, maybe even up to six months.

HEI FAMILIE ! ! ! !

*Okay... Lot's and lot's to tell you.... phew! 

First of all, I've made it to Ålesund, and it is SOOO BEAUTIFUL!! I love it here.  I finally get to live by the ocean! It's crazy!! We just have a little branch here in Ålesund consisting of about 5 members... if that! Our meeting house is an old bakery on a street corner and I'll send some pictures of what it looks like next week! There is definitely work to do here and I'm so excited to be a part of it!!

oh! and my address is:

Søster Heywood
Hellegata 1 
6004 Ålesund
Norway
(I will be here for about 6ish months I think. so yeah! Packages letters, etc, come here)

Because our area has so few members right now, Søster Shaw and I are the ONLY MISSIONARIES HERE! The closest missionaries to us are about 400 miles away... so yeah! I flew from Oslo here by myself on Wednesday and got a hero's welcome from Søster Shaw and Åse Marie!  Åse Marie is the BEST! She is one of the members here and just like a second mom to me here in Ålesund.  All I have to do is say, "Åse Marie, Jeg trenger en klem," and she's right there with open arms ready to comfort whenever us Søsters need a hug! AH! She's just so great!! 

Our investigator Eirik is GOLDEN!  He is so incredible!  His friend passed away last Thursday and when he sent us the text telling us that, he asked us if there were any scriptures we knew that could help him find comfort. He already knows how to turn to the scriptures for comfort!!! How crazy cool is that??? He's amazing! He's going to be baptized NEXT WEEK on Søster Shaw's birthday, November 1st!! I'm so excited!

The first night I was here, we got a challenge from our zone leaders to set aside a time and pray to find a new investigator, ao we decided that we would do that on Saturday.  On Friday, our District Leader told us that he was fasting for us to find an investigator that day, so on Saturday morning, we left the apartment and before even turning the corner, we ran into a man from Poland who doesn't speak very much Norwegian. But that's okay, because NEITHER DO I!! haha!  We told him we had a book for him in Polish, asked him to wait there, then ran back to the apartment to grab the book for him.  WE have LOTS of people here from all over the world so we have a bookshelf in our apartment with many different languages Book of Mormons.  It's Kjempe Bra! So yeah! We ran the book back out to him and told him about it and about the church and set another appointment to meet with him! It was really cool!!

Like I said... I realized that I really don't speak Norwegian.... like at all... haha!  I felt like the Elder from The Best Two Years and thought to myself, "That's not the language they taught me in the MTC" the first time someone talked to me.  Here in Ålesund, they have a really different dialect and a lot of the words don't sound at all like they do in Oslo.  But that's ok! That's why we have the gift of tongues right?? haha! 

Søster Shaw is AMAZING!!! She is so patient with me and my weaknesses.  I am SO Lucky to have her as my trainer!! On the first night in Oslo, when the mission President told us who our companions would be, he described her as the Energizer Bunny! And I have never hear a person described to accurately!  She is so excited to be here, and really the only thing that can get her down is when she thinks about going home.  She is such an amazing missionary and she has such a love for these people.  I want to be just like her when I grow up!! :)

The other day we were contacting on the street, and I started talking to these two younger (18ish) girls, and they looked at me like I was completey stupid, gave me back the mormon.org card I had handed then and laughed and laughed.  It got me really down and discouraged, and there have been other times where similar things have happened, but, after that haappened, we decided to say a prayer, and since I was tearing up a little, I had Søster Shaw say it. I don't remember all of it, but at one point she said, "Father, please forgive them, for they don't know what they do." And then I really broke down.  We are here to be representatives of Jesus Christ, so why should we not go through some of the same trials he did?  It gave me just a small taste of how Christ looks at people. When He was hanging on the cross and asked Heavenly Father to forgive the men that put Him there, I'm sure it was hard, just like frogiving those two girls was hard for me. But I know that it helped me become a little more like Christ and move past the feelings of rejection and replace them with feelings of love. 

I remember a poem that Søster Neilson shared with us while we were in the MTC. "He's Been There Before" LOOK UP THIS POEM and you will know exactly how I feel right now! Christ really is with me through all of this and I'm so excited because I get the oppurtunity to walk with him everyday for 18 months!! I love being a missionary!!!

Well, I hope everyone has an incredible week!! I challenge you all to live in a way that if Christ were walking next to you, he would be proud of his company.  Because He does walk with us! I know that! 

Glad i dere!!
-Søster Heywood
Sister Jessica Heywood with Sister Chloe Shaw, her first companion and trainer!  

This is the beautiful Alesund, where Soster Heywood gets to live and teach for the next several months!


Jessica's post from the MTC Oct 11.


Kjære familie,

This is one of my two email times today, so I'll get on again at about 1:30 ish.  We're going to split up our hour so we can respond back if you have any more questions.  MOM! Please tell MO to email me! I want to talk to her SO bad!!  I can't even believe that she is home!

I figured the time change already, so it is 3-5 your time.  and I already allowed time for boarding, because our flight from Texas leaves at about 6 Utah time. I'll plan on calling at 4:00 your time.  OH! and we can make more than one call too.  so if Daddy wants to not drive back, tell him he can get his own call from me :) But it's up to you, as long as you both answer the first time, I can call twice! I'll be sure to call your cell phone though. just make sure its all charged! ;)

I'm so jealous of the jalapeno jelly!! I miss that stuff!  But yeah! all of us girls LOVED that package! we had  a nice feast then gave whatever we didn't eat to the Elders and they finished it off quite nicely. I'm glad Hayden and Sarah got the letters!  I decided that I really love writing letters! It's much less stressful than emailing everyone.  I've got a few letters from Blake and Landon, so you can tell Heather that even they are beating her as far as sending letters ;) But yeah! she can just sent those to the address that is on fb for now, then when i get my actual address, I'll let you know what that is. But for now, just go ahead and send them to the one you have. Tyson wrote me?? WHAAAA??  Cool! I guess he didn't know I was on a mission! haha!

I'll keep Daddy in my prayers.  This is so cool for him and it's something that he will really enjoy doing!  I just remember back and how happy he was doing real estate!  I know how hard he has worked for this and he's almost there!! Just keep pushing through Dad! :)

Today is the day that we have to say goodbye to our teachers, because this is our last class :( I love my teachers so much!!! I didn't think before coming that I would get so close to them, but they are a big reason that my experience at the MTC has been so incredible.  I didn't think I could be any more excited to get to Norway, but the way they have each talked about their missions and experiences there, just makes me that much more excited for the missionary work there!  In fact, once Norway gets a third stake, we can be considered for a TEMPLE!!!! :) not saying anything yet.... but it is definitely in the (hopefully) near future. So that's really cool! But yeah, I'll definitely let loose some of those famous Heywood tears as I say goodbye to all of them.

I'll get on again like I said around 1:30, but for now, I think that's all!  Let me know about calling and whether or not dad just wants me to call him seperately so he doesn't have to drive down.

I love you all SOOOO much!!

Love
Søster Heywood!
This is Jessica at her one month mark in the MTC.

This is Jessica enjoying our Fall Harvest Care Package at the MTC  (pumpkin cookies, bread and homemade apple butter, chips and homemade salsa, zucchini bread, etc.)
This is Jessica's email dated October 8, 2014...

Hei Familie!!!! :) :)

This week was CRAZY!!! So I'll try to type fast!

OH MY GENERAL CONFERENCE!  It is unbelievable to me how much EVERY talk applied to what we are experiencing here at the MTC.  Søster Williams and I kept looking at each other like... WHAT??? Before Conference, we wrote down personal questions and concerns that we had as well as the concerns of each of our investigators.  We tried hard to listen for answers but we didn't have to listen too hard because they we all answered perfectly! It's just another testimony to me that God really does speak to us today.  They are His words coming through His prophets!  We have been telling two of our investigators that prayers really can be answered and we saw it in action this week.

We had invited one of our investigators, Linn to watch General Conference.  She seemed interested, so as we were watching it, we kept thinking, "OH! I hope she heard that one!".  We had our lesson with her yesterday and decided to go into it with no plan and just talk about what she felt as she watched conference.  She was BEAMING! She told us that she had a question about why we call Heavenly Father  "Kjære" (Dear).  She talked about President Uchtdorf's talk and how he showed how Heavenly Father really does care for His children.  She had her prayer answered, and the best part about it was she knew it had been answered! So neat to see that.  We asked her to pray to open the lesson, and instead of her usual repetitious prayer, she really asked to feel God's love for her personally.  I just love it when we get to hear an investigator pray like that!

We got our flight plans last Friday!!!!!!!!!!! We, as a whole district will be leaving early Monday morning for Salt Lake, then we will take a flight to TEXAS, then to ENGLAND, then up to NORWAY!!! We are all so excited, and when they handed us our papers, all of us sisters just started BAWLING!  WE had a scare earlier in the week where half of the sisters going to Denmark hadn't gotten their visas, so we were pretty worried for ours.  But alas, ALL 15 of us Nord missionaries will be traveling together!  We are SO happy, and SO excited to go! (Though none of them can believe that I've never been on a plane before.... haha!)

I got the package yesterday and EVERYTHING in it was much needed and MUCH craved! :)  You can even ask Søster Williams, I have been craving Mom's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ALL WEEK! I LOVE THEM!!!! And the salsa?? Kjempe Bra!!!! :) So Takk!!! 

OH! Another fun thing... Here at the MTC they have what they call the "Tower Challenge".  A zone tries to drain and eat a whole tower of cereal all together! (About 10 boxes).  So we, as the biggest zone currently in the MTC decided to try it! AND WE DID IT! In fact... WE drained not one, not two, but THREE towers of cereal! So crazy and we were all SO FULL!! One Elder counted and as a zone of 55 people, we ate 217 bowls of cereal! So yeah.... that happened :)

Hosting last Wednesday was SO fun! I hosted one girl, Sister Haws going to France on her mission.  I asked her if she knew the Haws in Morgan and she said yes! I guess she is Micheal Haws' cousin! So that was fun! I loved hosting.  It just made me think back to five weeks ago when I first came here.  The hardest part was saying, "Time to go" while they were saying goodbye to their families! Ugh!!  Yeah, I hated that, but I know that they are going to change people's lives and it is SO worth the sacrifice!

So we got to watch our Elders sing in the priesthood session on Saturday and weren't they spectacular???  the Elder who sang the solo is in our zone going to the Netherlands! He is from Scotland, and kinda has the best accent ever.  I guess he has done some movies with the church and has acted in a lot of movies!  He's the one playing the piano in the Come Unto Christ video as well, so that's definitely a claim to fame for our zone! haha!!

Well, my time is running a little short and this computer is kinda slow so I'll be off!

Jeg vet a Gud elsker oss.  Vår himmelske Fader elsker alle Hans barn.  Jeg vet at Jesus Kristus er min Frelser.  Jeg vet at Jesu Kristi evangelium er sant.  Jeg vet at Gud sendte oss til jorden for å bli prøve her.  Jeg vil å komme tilbake til ham, og jeg vil å bringe andre menneskene til ham også.  Jeg er so glad i dette kirken.  Jeg vet at vi kan bli lykkelig gjennom Jesu Kristi Forsoningen.  Jeg er glad i dere og Jeg skal snakke til dere snart!  Ha det bra! Vi sees!

Søster Heywood!

Friday, September 26, 2014

MTC Hump Day



On Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM, Jessica Heywood <jessica.heywood@myldsmail.net> wrote:
Hey there min vakker familie! :)

It was so great to hear from you all.  I loved seeing the pictures of the kids in the cultural event!! I bet that was so fun to watch.  Here at the MTC we got so see the first session of the dedication and it was SO great!  I actually saw President Skinner sitting in the Celestial room right with the prophet! So you can tell him I saw him there! :)

I am SOOOO happy to hear about Kasey and her decision to be baptized!!!! I am so proud of her! 
That's a bummer about Grakum going to the hospital too! I'm glad she only had to spend one night there, and tell her not to worry, we don't get coke here at the MTC either ;) haha!

Yesterday was MTC HUMP DAY!!!!!!!  So great! Three weeks down, and three to go until I can hop on the plane to NORGE!!!! I'm so excited!!! Sister Petersen got a package with some Martinellis from her mom so we could all celebrate properly :) We decided that our goal as a district once we get over there is to work hard enough to get a third stake in Norway. (That way, they can be considered for a temple) Can you just imagine how cool it would be to get to have a temple there?? or even have one announced by the time I leave?  

Classes are going great here.  To answer your question mom, gospel and language class is the same thing.  The gospel class is taught in Norsk.  We have two new investigators that we have been teaching: Pralad, and Linn.  Pralad is a refugee from Napal, and his family and he are Hindu.  So he's a fun one to teach! :)  Linn is really interested in the sciences and is studying health at a university in Oslo, so I got to relate to her in that way!  She is so great.  She wants to learn more about Joseph Smith and our church and she really likes reading from Mormons Bok.  The only thing is, she has no desire to believe in a God.... which is kinda important in this gospel... but she is a great learner and very open, so we shall see :)

OOH!! Cool thing!! Yesterday at Tuesday Devotional, we got to hear from M. Russell Ballard!  He is so awesome!! He talked a lot about how to be the most effective missionary we can possibly be! It was so great! The choir sang Joseph Smiths first prayer, and as we sang it the spirit was so thick in the air, I'm pretty sure you could touch it! haha!!

Last Wednesday after we emailed, we went to the temple.  Sister Williams and I did a session and afterwards we were sitting in the Celestial room.  I had had a really specific thing on my mind, and was praying for an answer to my question.  As a looked up after my prayer, I made eye contact with a lady from across the room who was just smiling at me... I just thought, "hmm... tat's weird," and didn't worry about it.  Later, in the changing rooms, she came up to ma and said, "You probably think I'm crazy, but I kept getting the feeling that I needed to tell you something."  Then she told me the exact answer to the question I had asked Heavenly Father.  And you know me family.... I started bawling.  I know that God really does answer prayers, and sometimes, He uses other people to do it.  I never EVER want to forget that experience, it was just so great!!

Brother Williams told me that Brede had messaged him on Facebook. That is SO cool!!!  All of our teachers here are SO amazing!! I love them all so much!  There's Brother Smith, who is just so inspired to teach us exactly what we need to hear for the day.  He tells us mission stories and gets us excited to go experience those things for ourselves.  Sister Landry is so understanding and great with making sure that we understand her before we move on.  She is so funny and didn't get off her mission too long ago.  There's Brother Bartholomew, who we like to call the battery.  He is SO full of energy and a class is never complete without him jumping around the room in excitement.  He's one of those people who makes you want to take a nap after talking to them :) haha! Then of course Brother Williams who just brings a spirit into the classroom like none other!  Man! I just love them all!!

I love Sister Williams! She is such a great teacher and SO in tune with the spirit!  I learn so much from her everyday.  It's not to hard having a companion all the time, except for when I'm grumpy because I usually like to be alone for that, and I can't :) haha!! but luckily, I'm not really ever grumpy!  Being a missionary just has its perks like that I guess ;)

Well family, my time is almost up, I love you all SOOOOO much!  Jeg vet at Jesu Kristi Kirke av Siste Dagers Hellige er sann.  Jeg vet at Jesus Kristus og himmelske Fader elsker oss.  Vi er hans barn.  Jeg vet dette!

Ha det bra!!
Soster Heywood!


OH! and pppppp.sssssss. The MTC Choir does get to sing.... in the Priesthood session.... So..... Just the Elders! Lame huh? Oh well! That's still so cool!! So tell Hayden and dad that they can see the elders from my district! :) haha!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1st MTC Email

Hello!!!!!

So my P day here at the MTC is Wednesday, and I'll usually do my emailing in the morning.  Mom, I am unit #83, but I did get your DearElder letter!  Those are SO GREAT!!! Tell everyone to write me them! ;)  Sister Williams is great!  we balance each other out perfectly!  

Our investigator is technically a fake one, but we treat him completely as if he were real.  His name is Lars, and he is so fantastic.  He came here from Norway to study Engelsk at BYU.  His fiance is LDS so he wanted to find out more about our church, and what his fiance believes in.  Right now, his biggest struggle is just trying to figure out what the gospel could do for him.  He doesn't see any reason to change the life he has now, but he does want to learn. We are really trying right now to help him feel the Holy Ghost in our lessons.  So keep Lars in your prayers!! :)

You'll have to tell me about Stake Conference.  I bet President Tibbitts and President Glover kept ya laughing right?  Those two are fantastic, and I just love President Skinner too.  I want to see pictures of Heather and Tamy in their dresses!!!! I bet they'll just look AMAZING!!! I''m so glad to hear that Tamy is more interested!! Continue to tell her about our church!  Missionary work is CONTAGIOUS!! 

The language is coming along really well for me.  I may not have finished my Norwegian CD course, but I have been able to do really well with pronunciation because I have heard it spoken so much, so thats GREAT!!! OOH! Side note, Make sure Eline has my email, so I can email her as well :) 

Our district is HUGE!!! We have the biggest district they have ever had in the MTC.  They usually cut of around twelve, then if there is more, they split them into two districts.  But in our case, we only have one Norske teacher, so we can't exactly split... Our district has 15 Elders and Sisters! (4 Elders, 11 Sisters).  We are all learning the language at different speeds and some of the members of the district are really getting discouraged. (Including Sister Williams, so keep her in your prayers please. Our teacher, Brother Smith saw that she was struggling, and took her out of class for a bit, and then didn't come back for about 45 minutes. Long story short, we got excused from the rest of our class for the day, so I could help her as much as I could. so keep her in your prayers) Takk! we actually have an Elder in our district (the DL) who lived in Sweden for 7 years of his life, and since those two languages are close, he really helps us with the Norwegian! Like A LOT!!!

I love you all SOOO much! The church is true, and God is SO REAL!!!

Love,
Soster Heywood!!!!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAYLI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you had a fantastic day and got pampered by Steve and the Kids! I'm waiting for those coloring pictures from Rachel ;) Haha!

Soster Heywood the morning she left for the MTC!

2nd MTC Email

Hallo!!
Oh my goodness, this week has been INSANE!!! I have so much to tell you and just not enough time! My hands just aren't fast enough!!! Things are going GREAT here in the MTC.  We got to hear from Richard G. Scott yesterday for our Tuesday Devotional.  He is so spectacular!!!  I'm in the MTC Choir, and we got to sing Be Still My Soul for him! (You can tell Mr. Mills how much I LOVE being in an actual choir again)  Our director is SO FUNNY!  Everytime we go to choir, he has an awesome messageto go along with whatever song we are singing.  this time, he gave us some statistics of how big the universe really is, blowing our minds of course.  Then he told us that all that is controlled by God, and our souls have no reason to not be still.  We can do ANYTHING when our will matches that of the Father's.  We are unstoppable!

So, really cool story:  One of our teachers, Bror Williams (also played Lars, our first investigator),  served his mission in Norway. Actually all four of our teachers did.  I was talking to him and asked which areas he had served in, and one of the areas was Sandvika.  I asked him if he knew Eline Solberg, and he said, "Is her dad's name Brede?" I was like YES!! Apparently, Brede helped them with some car stuff, and Bror Williams even taught them a couple times I think... It was all in Norwegian, so thats what I gathered, but YEAH!! Cool stuff! I started freaking out. connections are awesome!

Our new investigator for this week is Linn.  we've only had one lesson with her,so we don't know much, but I was able to connect with her because she is going to school studying health just like I was.  Very cool!  Her parents divorced when she was ten, and she lost her faith because she had prayed to keep her family together, and it didn't happen.  So she's had a rough time, but I know that this gospel can make her so happy! More than she realizes now :)

To answer everyone's questions: Yes, I have gotten the DearElder letters, and I LOVE them!! we get mail delivered twice a day and it's always so awesome to hear from home! I didn't get dad's as you know, but I got his email, and yes dad..... You made me BAWL! But luckily for me, my companion gives good hugs :) haha!

I loved seeing the homecoming pictures! The girls looked simply GORGEOUS!!!!! I'm so glad they had fun, and had awesome rides!  I don't know if I ever told Heather about the police escort I got for my Junior year homecoming.... haha! but yeah!  I'm glad they got to ride in style!

We are all SO EXCITED for the temple dedication on Sunday.  And the bookstore has plenty of white handkerchiefs for then.  They've got to with all us missionaries! OOH!!!! That reminds me along with the choir I mentioned earlier, WE MIGHT GET TO SING IN GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!! Might... just might... we'll know for sure by next Sunday! so I'll let ya know!

The language is coming great!  It's really great that I was exposed to some Norwegian before I came here so I can pick up on most of the pronunciation.  It is SUCH a fun language! I find myself even dreaming in Norwegian now... haha!!! The food is fantastic, but having to climb 5 stories to class three times a day is keeping off the weight, so that's good ;) haha!!

I heard from Miranda that Rachel got her glasses!!!!! I want to see a picture! I bet she just looks GORGEOUS!!! :) Man I miss those kids.  Give them BIG HUGS from Aunt Jess for me!

Welp!! That's about all I can think to tell ya this time, but I love you all SOOOO MUCH, and I can't wait to get to Norway! LESS THAN A MONTH LEFT!!

Jeg er glad i deg,
Soster Heywood

Jessica said this was "Bee-Day".  These three sisters all showed up  in yellow and black to class one morning.












This is Jessica's District.  They are all the missionaries going to Norway who entered the MTC  Sept. 3.  There are 11 Sisters and 4 Elders.