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.


*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
(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!!

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!