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!

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