Monday, January 26, 2015

"Let Your Soul Delight in Fatness"‏

Sister Heywood, Olaf, and Sister Peterson

Suited up at the oil museum

Stavanger Oil Museum fieldtrip for PDay

Hey Fam!

First before I forget, Shoutout to Hayden!!!!! Happy birthday bud!! I hope you had a SPECTACULAR day!!!!!! Also... I want to see a picture of your shaved head :) That's all.

There's been some great things happening here in Stavanger this week. It has been SUNNY!!! for the five ish hours that we get sunlight, it has been SUNNY!! AH! The sun is usually covered by clouds, so this was my first time seeing the sun in about a month!! SO NICE! On Friday, we had the APs come to do a training for us about how to contact better.  So now instead of walking up to people on the street and introducing ourselves as missionaries immediately, we are trying to focus on getting them to think immediately.  So we ask them a question like, "Where do you think we are going after this life?" or "What does family mean to you?" It has been really cool and working really great so far! In fact, the other night, Søster Peterson and I were walking home from the busstop and decided to take a different way home.  (sidenote: we also have a rule that if you smile at someone on the street, and they smile back, you HAVE to talk to them!) Anyway, we were walking down the street, and there was this younger kid, carrying a garbage sack.  We smiled at him, and he smiled and said hi, then walked past us. Søster Peterson and I stopped in our tracks.  people RARELY smile back at us and NEVER say hi, so we turned around to talk to him, and he had gone into a different building to through the trash out.  So we waited for him to come out... I know, I know... Missionaries are creeps :) He came back out and we asked him a question.  He is Christian already, and very open to learning more! He was working but he said we could come by another time and talk to him. So we'll see on that one! But yeah, hopefully that story made sense... if not... oh well!

Casper is doing just great, and a few minutes before church on Sunday, he texted us saying that he had brought a friend to church! Another one! It was awesome. Casper really is such an awesome missionary! I feel like I say that every week, but it's just true!  We will teach his friend, Ole, later this week hopefully.

Our investigator Louis is doing lot's better! He originally had a baptismal date in November, but he decided that he doesn't want to be baptized without his girlfriend(wife, but not officially married...) There's Norway for ya... no one gets married.  Anyway, but he said that she has been seeing a change in him as he's been meeting with us, and he tells her what we teach him. Our goal is to get to where we are teaching them together, but they work opposite schedules so there is always someone home to take care of their son! So keep Louis in your prayers family :)

Last Monday, we got a Media Referral about someone who wanted a visit from the missionaries... so that's awesome! We called him, and he wanted us to bring him a Book of Mormon.  So a couple days later, we went to his house, out on a smaller island, to deliver it.  He lives in an apartment complex and there was no way of telling which door was his, so we tried the first, and this SUPER nice man named Thomas opened the door and helped us figure out which door we wanted.  We thanked him as he went inside, then kicked ourselves for not talking to him more! We continued to our referral's door and actually ended up giving the Book of Mormon to his wife, because he was upstairs taking care of their sick daughter.  So we left with plans to call him back another time.
But then today, we were grocery shopping, and saw Thomas! He came up to us and started talking! In my head I was thinking... okay... you don't live here in the city, and there are probably 30 grocery stores from here to your house... why are you here?  I had no idea, but something I do know is that our mistake of not talking to him the first time, was not going to stop him from hearing about the gospel.  So we got his number and we'll try to meet with him later this week! :) Miracles happen IN THESE DAYS family!

Today we did our P-day activity before emailing and we went to the Stavanger Oil Museum!  That is the main business in Stavanger and most of our members work for an oil company. (So I know why the gas prices are so low now! haha! :) The museum was actually really cool

One thing that is a little different than Ålesund.... Member dinners!  We had 5 member dinners this week, and oh my goodness, they feed us so much! (hence the email title...) :) Just kidding, the real reason for the title this week is because of personal study today.  I've been reading in second Nephi and in 2 N 9:51 it says "Let your soul delight in fatness"  I remember reading that with Saren year ago and just laughing! But earlier in the verse it talks about feasting upon that which is unperishible.  Then I thought of the scripture that says to feast upon the word's of Christ.  We should be "feasting" upon the words of Christ until our souls are FAT! :) So keep feasting family!

I love you all SO much and think about you everyday! Keep working hard, and doing little AMAZING things everyday!!!

Elsker dere!
Søster Heywood!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Troll in Bergen

Above Bergen

Beautiful last morning in Aselund!

Goodbye Alesund!

I'll shout it from the mountain top!

I want to pass it on!

Gift of Hands :)‏

Hey family!

Thanks for the update!  I loved hearing about Rachel's birthday!! Give her a BIG hug from Aunt Jess for me okay?? And Happy Birthday to Trace and Heyden too!!!! I would send you guys awesome Norwegian stuff, but.... you'll just have to wait about 14 months ;)

This last Tuesday, we had a district meeting and we focused a lot on how we can help our investigators get baptisimal dates.  Since we don't really have investigators now Søster Peterson and I were thinking, "ok, yeah, this will be useful in about two or three weeks..." But we decided on the number 3 for this transfer!  We will have three investigators with a baptismal date by about the middle of February. Hopefully... :)  That night, we had Tegn Språk class, taught by Casper of course, and before it started, his friend, Ronnie,*(also deaf) showed up.  Casper had us all sit down, and then started going into a lesson!  He was telling Ronnie all about the Book of Mormon, and how important it was to read it.  He told him about Joseph Smith, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We could understand most of it, and put in our input where we could.  Then we started to see Casper do the sign for baptism, and we were like, "What the... Casper! Slow down buddy!" haha!  After he explained baptism and why it was important, he motioned to us, and before I knew it we were inviting him to be baptized! :) It was incredible!  The look on Casper's face when Ronnie said yes was priceless!!!  He was BEAMING! We set a date for February 15th. 

Later that night, Casper texted us and asked if he could give a talk on Sunday!  So we asked the bishop, got it all arranged, and on Sunday, he gave his talk in church! (With Søster Peterson giving the translation)  He spoke (signed) about the love of Jesus Christ and how he had seen it help him in his life.  One line from his talk was, "Faith in Jesus Christ has helped me to be a better missionary. I LOVE being a missionary!".  I was so proud of him!  He really is an incredible missionary already.  We skyped with the Bergen missionaries again and taught the deaf investigator they have there.  Before too long, Casper was asking HIM the baptismal interview questions and helping him to understand anything that was confusing to him! It was just so fun to be a part of!

On Wednesday, we had our P-day in Bergen and went on a GORGEOUS hike to a lookout point that overlooks the whole city. After P-day was over at 6:00, we went on splits, and I was put with Søster Grubaugh, who I had had contact with before the mission, but never actually met.  She is AWESOME!  She and I went out contacting to a place that actually didn't have that many people, but we felt really good about going there.  We ended up finding one man who we had a really great conversation with, then found out that he already had a Book of Mormon, but hadn't ever met with missionaries before! So we taught him about the Plan of Salvation, then set up an appointment with him!  Sometimes as missionaries, we want to talk to as many people a day as possible to increase our chances of finding someone who will listen, but the Lord will sometimes send us to find the one who needs it, even if they're in an almost deserted part of the city. 

The missionaries from the North Zone, and the West Zone (about 40 missionaries, half the mission) all came to the conference on Thursday, then the missionaries in the other two zones had their conference the next day on Friday.  Elder Kopiske and his wife spoke to us.  He is an area 70 from Germany, and he is so funny!  He opened the conference by asking us to write down a question that we had, then told us that we can't learn what we aren't ready to recieve.  He then just had a few people ask questions and then held a disscussion with us.  It was really cool how he did it, and the question I had writen down at the beginning of the meeting was answered.  But I never asked it.  I wrote down the question: "How can I really know that I have done my best?" And It was actually something his wife said at the end in her really broken English.  She said, "I am convinced that we can do something small everyday."  And she is completely right.  I can try as hard as I can everyday and never really feel like I've done my best, but I CAN do something small everyday.  Something that seems small to me, can have a big impact in the long run! :)  Grakum actually just sent me an email that talked about just that!  The little things we do every day like writing a note to someone, or doing little acts of service can make a BIG difference in someones life!

It was so great to be in Bergen and see lots of the missionaries from my group! Total from our MTC group, there were 7 of the 15 there! It was awesome! We went back to the airport Thursday night, flew back to Stavanger and got on the bus to go home. WARNING: This is the funny and kinda gross story for the week :)  We were on the bus on the way home from the airport, and about halfway home, there were three VERY drunk girls that got on the bus.  (I guess they have a tradition here in Norway where ever Thursday night of your Senior year you go out and party... I dunno...)  I didn't really notice because I was in a conversation with Elder Duncun, one of the Zone leaders.  All of a sudden we hear, "Mister Duncan! What can ya tell me about Jesus?!" in perfect English.  We ended up having a surprisingly good conversation with this girl about what she thought about the gospel and were about to get her number, when one of her friends started saying that she didn't feel so good... Before we knew it, she was throwing up all over the bus!! It got all over my shoes and Søster Petersons shoes and a little on Søster Petersons suitcase... just all over! It was SO DISGUSTING!!! After she threw up, she wanted to get off the bus so she staggered over to the door, and ran into it.  The bus was still driving, but at the next stop, all three of the girls got off the bus.  It was SO gross!!!

Okay, enough about that one... Other than that, the week really was incredible.  In personal study this week I've been reading the last few chapters of 1 Nephi.  There is actually a verse I read this morning that I wanted to share with you guys.  It's 1 Nephi 21:2. "And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;" I thought about how people always say that we are instruments in the Lord's hands, but they never say what kind.  It's totally a sword. :) We aren't just instruments in the Lord's hands, we are swords, and he has us in the shadow of his hand, by his side.  Just thought that was a cool little mental picture :)

Welp!! I love you all!! Have another fantastic week and keep being fantastic missionaries!! :) 

Ha det kjempe godt!
Søster Heywood

p.s. #1 The hike in Bergen :)
#2 Sleeping in the Airport!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hurricanes and Hobbitt Holes :)

Hey Family!!!

Ok, so there is SOOOO much to tell you all!! First of all... Stavanger address:

Verksgata 1D #101
4013 Stavanger

There ya go :) Ok, quick story to start off.  Eirik collects guitars and plays them super well, and I always told him that I wanted to hear him play before I left Ålesund, so this last Tuesday, the day before I left, he texted me and asked me what my favorite song was!  One he could learn to play before we met with him that night. I completely blanked and couldn't think of any songs!! So I asked Søster Buhler if she remembered any.  He ended up playing "Wake Me Up When September Ends" haha!! It was so great, and it meant so much to me, becuase he doesn't really like showing off his talent!  That same night, Åse Marie gave me a GORGEOUS charm necklace and a sweet goodbye card.  There were lots of tears, mostly from me... but then I was off to Stavanger the next day.

Wednesday morning, there wasa GORGEOUS sunrise (at about 10:30).  You could actually see the rays of sun coming up from behind the mountains! I'll send some pictures of it next week!  Ålesund gave me a wonderful goodbye! We took the bus under the ocean and to the airport, picked up Søster Nielsen, then I hopped on the plane to Bergen, then to Stavanger!  

Stavanger is AWESOME!! We have a couple missionary, and two pairs of elders in Stavanger, then we have two other sisters in Sandes, about a half hour north.  It's really different from living in Ålesund.  I had always heard that Ålesunds apartment was huge, but I had no idea how big... Here in Stavanger, the apartment is nicknamed the Hobbitt Hole, because it is so small. It's all pretty much one room, so nice and cozy :) (I'll send pictures next week)  The dialect here is SO DIFFERENT! In Ålesund, I could pretty much understand everyone on the street, and here it sounds like a completely different language!! So that will be something to get used to. I's crazy being with Søster Peterson because we both feel like we just barely left the MTC!  But we're doing our best and trying our hardest! :) For excercise every morning, we go on a run along the harbor where all the ships are docked! I love it.  The sight is so pretty that I almost forget that I can barely breath the freezing cold air as I run! haha!

THEY HAVE A CHURCH HERE!!! We went there the first night to teach a recent convert and I could not get over being inside a church building again! It had been since my farewell that I had been to sacrament meeting an actual chapel! So that was super exciting! 

Yes, mom, those famous hikes are all in Stavanger and I'm so excited to go see them!!  I promise I won't get to close to the edge :) I'm you chicken child remember?? haha!! WE were going to do one of the hikes today, but we actually have a general authority coming to visit the mission, on Thursday, so we'll have our Pday in Bergen on Wednesday! I'm so excited!

This week, I learned that the Lord has been preparing me for a long time to do the things that I'm doing here.  Our new convert, Casper, is deaf so we talk to him in Tegn Språk (Norwegian Sign Language...WAY different than ASL), but it's awesome, because Søster Peterson and I both have an ASl background which definitely helps! AHHH!! Family!!! Casper is INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot even descibe that to you enough! He was baptized at the end of November, and ever since has been an incredible missionary!  In fact, this week, the Elders in Bergen were teaching a man they had found on the street who was deaf and asked if they could skype with Casper so he could help teach.  So we had us and Casper here in Stavanger skyping with the Elders and their investigator in Bergen.  And Casper just took it away!  We all barely know how to sign, (except Søster Peterson.... she's awesome) but casper was showing the investigator scriptures, telling him about Joseph Smith, and just bearing testimony like a champion!  Then when Casper found out that we were going to Bergen on Wednesday, he told us about his friend that lives there.  We made a video of us signing and sent it to his friend.  He is just SUCH and INCREDIBLE missionary already!! He's got a heart of gold! :)

A couple nights ago, we had a CRAZY storm.  We were up a lot of the night trying to sleep, but it just didn't happen.  It was hailing and the wind was SO strong!  It was sad because we had planned to contact, but after about an hour, we had to give up.  It made me think back to how I was terrified of storms when I was younger and how it was Heavenly Father that must have helped me get over that.  He must have been like, "Oh no Jessica, you can't be scared of storms. You're serving in Stavanger in a couple years!" :) Just another way I can see how I've been prepared from a long time ago.

In church yesterday, I got asked to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting and I didn't realize how many people were in there til I got up.  The first thing I said was, "Woah... this is bigger than Ålesund."  It got some laughs but I was really super nervous.  I have given tons of talks in sacrament meeting before in Norwegian, but not in front of more than about 6 people! haha! It was crazy!!

As of right now, we don't really have anyone that we're teaching, but we do already have some appointments set up for next week with some people we met on the street, so that will be awesome!  

Jeg er så veldig glad i dere og jeg savne dere ganske mye, men ikke nok å dra fra her!  Dette her er det beste stedet akkurat nå for meg!  Jeg elsker å være en misjonær!!! Jeg vet at dette kirken virkelig er Jesu Kristi gjenopprette kirke på jorden.  Gud elsker oss så utrolig mye og Han ønsker at vi skal være glad i dette livet.  Jesus Kristus er vår Frelser. Og Jeg VET det!  

Glad i dere! Vi snakkes neste uke!!!

Søster Heywood 

p.s. Pictures coming next week!!!! Promise!!

-Mom note-  That last part translated is:
I am very fond of you and I miss you a lot, but not enough to go from here! This here is the best place right now for me! I love being a missionary !!! I know that this church really is Jesus Christ restored church on earth. God loves us so much and He wants us to be happy in this life. Jesus Christ is our Savior. And I KNOW that!

Love you ! We'll talk next week !!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

God Nytt År!‏

Kjære Familie, 

Woah! I haven't seen you all since like... LAST YEAR!! Bu-dum tsh! :D But Really it's crazy that I've been out for four months! Time is flying!.... I don't like it... 

I guess I'll start with the REALLY big news... I'm getting transferred to Stavanger!!!!! It's a beautiful city, still on the coast, (Who am i kidding... everywhere in Norway is on the coast...), but it's a little more south than Ålesund is.  I'm going to mmiss Ålesund SO much! I felt like I just barely got here and when I finally started getting used to it, I'm leaving! GAH! Søster Buhler and I are especially sad because we really have become best friends.  Like really though, we will definitely be hanging out after I get home! I LOVE THIS SISTA! I don't think I've ever had so much in common with anyone in my entire life!  She loves musicals,.. like the old musicals... a favorite being Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  She is a movie fanatic and can quote movies even better than me!  She loves to sing, she is an amazing artist, and we are also both just.... awkward? But in the best way of course!  I have just loved being her companion!! 

My new companion will be Søster Petersen, one of the sisters from my group.  She has been in Stavanger the whole time, but I will be the Senior Companion.... woah. Yeah, but she is spectacular and I'm so excited to get to know her even better and really get to work down in Stavanger!  I'm pumped!! OOH!! and Søster Haylee Neilsen is coming to Ålesund to take my spot! So I know my city is in good hands :)

Other than that exciting news... We had a miracle week to start off our new year and I'm so excited for 2015!  On Thursday, we met with two former investigators, Karlis and Antra who both come from Latvia.  They have met with the missionaries SO much, then just got busy with their work and couldn't meet anymore. They've been taught all of the lessons (almost) and now just need to get married and get baptized :) 

Friday was weird.  We decided to go through our area book, from the back, and call all of the former investigators to see if they were ready to continue learning about the gospel, and most of the people we called had a really positive response!  At the same time we took our ward list (of about 62 names) and called everyone on that as well.  We ended up filling up Saturday and most of the next week with appointments with both investigators and inactive\less active members.  It took some time, but it was totally worth it!  The next day was full of miracles!  We met first with a former investigator who had decided to bring his friend along.  When we asked him why he brought his friend, he just said, "I don't know, it felt good to bring him!" His friend's name is Daniel and he is SO cool! He doesn't speak very good Norwegian, and VERY little english, so his friend would just translate as we taught both of them.  It was so incredible!

As we left that appointment, we got a call from the Elders in Mo i Rana area, giving us a refferal of someone they had taught, but had now moved to Ålesund.  So we called him, and set an appointment up for later in the week.  We continued to our next appointment with a inactive member named Harald.  Åse Marie had told us that he would usually say he would meet but never show up.  BUT HE CAME!  When we first sat down to visit with him, he asked if Søster Buhler and I liked to sing, because that was the only thing he remembered from church, was that we would sing. We talked with him and found out that he hasn't been to church in over 30 years! So we sang I Need Thee Every Hour in Norwegian and he absolutely loved it. He told us about the missionary that first taught him and how he had wanted to come back to church, but had forgotten about everything.  We actually taught him the first lesson, and it was really cool to see the lightbulbs go off as we taught him about the Restoration.  

Right after he walked out the door, we started putting on our jackets to go to another appointment, when we heard a knock at the door.  We opened it, and this guy walked in.  We assumed it was Omar, the man we were about to go meet with and assumed thathe had just decided to meet us in the church instead.  But after sitting down and talking to him, we found out that it was a man we had given a pass along card to on the street, but he hadn't had time to talk then. He saw the lights were on in the church and decided to come in.  Søster Buhler went to go call Omar and tell him we would be late while Åse Marie and I talked with Chol.  He told us that again he didn't have a lot of time, but that he had grown up Christian, fallen away, and wanted to find truth again.  It was so cool!! I just love seeing from a front row seat how the Lord really does preform miracles today.  Thank you for praying for Søster Buhler and I to find new investigators, because after 3 weeks without one, we found 5 this week!!!! Prayer works eh?? :)

Well family, I guess I'll answer some of your questions before I sign off :) haha! 1. The weather in Ålesund this week has been FREEZING with a 99% chance of dime-sized hail :) so that's exciting! 2. About the picture on facebook, and I'll send one too, Åse Marie gave us nicknames. haha! I'm Søster Love becuase she says that I just love people immediately and I love everyone.  Søster Buhler is Søster Take Your Time, because when we play yatzy, she takes forever to roll! haha!! :) Åse Marie is Søster Powers because....she's just powerful!!

I love you all family!!!! I'll talk to ya next week from STAVANGER!!!!!!

Love, Søster Heywood

p.s. Picture #1- Nicknames Picture #2 - Ålesund with SNØ!
Our Nicknames  

Snow in Alesund

Sunday, January 4, 2015

GOD JUL ALLE!! :D‏ December 30, 2014

Hei family! I loved talking with you all on Christmas!!!! Holy moly! I felt like I wanted to give an hour to each person! I just love you all so much! It was perfect!

This week has sorta been a blur. On Tuesday we had our interviews with President Evans... over the phone... :)Gotta love living in isolation eh? But at the end of it, he asked me if I had any questions and I asked if I could just stay in Alesund my whole mission... he said no... :) But hopefully there won't be any transfer for me happening soon!

Later that day, Sister Buhler and I made cookies to take to people! We brought some to one of our less active members, Liv and she just held them to her heart and said Takk! Then asked if we would be coming to visit her next week. We said of course! and actually visited her today and got her started on personal progress, and again, when we gave her the book for it, she hugged it to her heart and said, "I just love you girls!" It was awesome! She is just fantastic! just gotta get her to church! :) We also took cookies to Uncle Martin, because every time we visit him, he makes us some kind of food. But then when we gave him the cookies, he wanted to give us something back so he gave us a bag of German chocolate! haha! He's awesome! WE didn't want to have any leftover cookie packages, so we delivered more, gave one to our bus driver, and then just to people on the street. Seeing people's faces light up was so much fun! 

The next day was Christmas Eve, and since we're a little short on members here, Sister Buhler and I just stayed in the apartment, made ribbe, listened to Christmas music and opened our presents laying under our Christmas tree.... slash scarf that we sticky tacked to the wall to look like a tree.... I'll send a picture... :) Thank you all so much!! like I told you over skype, I was REALLY spoiled this Christmas!!! 

The next day, on Christmas, we spent the day with Ase Marie and watched Frost (Frozen) in Norwegian!! It was awesome!! The language finally matched the awesome scenery! haha!

Yesterday we had a Zone Christmas Party/Talent Show up in Trondheim! Sister Buhler and I wrote a parody to the song "In Summer" from frozen, but made it "In Alesund" :) 

"Tourists come, I can't believe where they come from,
"Snakker du Norsk? English? Ummmm..." In Alesund.
Some cards in my hand, Books of Mormon from every land,
probably getting appointments planned in Alesund!
Finally see the northern lights light up the winter sky, 
the alarm goes off, it was just a dream so then we cry,
But we can't wait to see, what today's gonna bring, just imagine the miracles that we're gonna see in Alesund!
The "ja"s and the "nei"s are both so intense, put them together it just.... wait what?
(more scatting)
Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle, but us på gaten and we'll be - "nei takk".... Happy missionaries!!
When life gets rough we get a kebab from the stand, 
remembering that joy and trials go hand in hand!
Cause the font will be blue, I guess the fjord works too,
when we get up and do, what good sisters do in Alesund!
"You're getting transfered" "Don't you dare!"
In Alesuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuund!!

So yeah! There's that for ya! That basically sums up the area :) The rest of the party in Trondheim was full of awesome food from the couple missionaries there, and some pretty funny games.  There was one that we had to sit in a circle and pop balloons and one in the circle had a balloon filled with shaving cream. If you got that one, then you were eliminated. and then someone else would get one next time.... and we were blindfolded too.... yeah, by the end of it, we were all covered in shaving cream.... super funny! :) 

I think that's about all for this week, it's just been a fun one, but we're ready to hit the ground running this week and set some new goals for the new year!!! :) I love you all! have another awesome week!!!

Love Sister Heywood :)
Our cute Christmas Tree made from one of our scarves

GOD JUL :D December 22, 2014

Kjære Familie,

Woah... So I'm going to be talking to you all in like... three days!!!! HVAAAA??? Crazy! I'm so excited to see you all! I'll keep this email a little shorter since I'll be talking to you all soon! Speaking of that, we'll be at Åse Marie's house from 2ish in the afternoon until around 8:00ish... so anytime in between there I can call. So I'm thinking about 5:00 my time, or I guess 9:00 your time? Does that sound alright? If not, just tell Åse, and she'll get the message to me :)

This week was a little crazy with everyone getting ready for Jul.  Arthur and Yan are out of town as well as many of our other investigators.  It's crazy! Everybody is traveling away for Christmas and I just feel like saying, "HELLOOOO! You live in the most beautiful place in the whole world! Why are you leaving at the most beautiful time??" haha! But I might just be biased... :)

We had our Christmas party (Nissefest) on Friday and it was so fun :) We ate some sjokolade (chocolate), and pepperkaker (Gingerbread...ish...stuff..),  and played some Yatzy! :) It made me remember those famous Heywood game nights :) 

On Wednesday, we went banking, and one of the doors that we knocked on  was answered by a young Norsk kid named Jostein.  We told him that we were out to share a Jul message about Jesus Christ, and he said "Oh yeah, I'm Christian!". So we talked with him, taught him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Christ's gospel, and gave him a Mormons Bok. Then when we asked if we could come back and meet with him again he told us that he was actually going to school up in Trondheim and he was just visiting his family for Christmas... So that was a referral for the Trondheim missionaries! haha! 

Yesterday in church, we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional for Sunday School.  I loved Bonnie Oscarsen's talk that she gave and the story of the little act  of kindness her ancestor had done.  It reminded me of all of the little acts of kindness that have made a big difference for me while I've been on my mission, whether it's a little note from a companion, or a text from a member.  There was one time a week or two ago that we got a call from Simon, one of our members, during our language study.  He asked us if we were in our apartment, then said, "I have some fish for you!"  We went down the two flights of stairs and out the front door to find him sitting there with 2 HUGE salmon.  Little did he know that we had a few days until we could shop again, and we had run out of meat for that week.  It was so funny! And now we have more salmon than the two of us can handle! haha!

Oh! Mom, to finally answer your question, I did get the card and the packages on the same day... actually about a week and a half ago... I just forgot to mention it last week... sorry! But oh my goodness, thank you SOOOO much!!!!! I loved all of the pictures and now have them hanging up by my bed! Those two CDs you sent are incredible! Especially "Redeemer". Søster Buhler and I listen to that one constantly! It's SOO good! I have a mini heart attack when I saw the ingredients for pumpkin cookies!! Søster Buhler had to tell me to breathe... haha! We're saving those for Christmas Eve so we can eat them while we open our presents.  Oh yeah, that's another thing.  Here in Norway, they open their presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning!  I guess it's just because Santa lives so close that he gets a little bit of his work done the day before :) haha!!

I love ya family! and I'm SO excited to see you all on Thursday!!! :)

Love, Søster Heywood
p.s. I'm finally including a picture of our adorable bakery church :)
p.p.s. Also... I found a little piece of Morgan here... you can't hide from the camo... :)
Our little corner bakery church.

Camo Sister!


Hei Familie!

Lots and lots going on this week! On Wednesday we had Sister Training Leaders come to Ålesund so we could do splits. One of them, Søster Campbell had actually served in Ålesund earlier in her mission so she was SO excited to be here. She is so funny!  I went on splits with her first and we visited Bente, an awesome new convert, and Åse Marie.  It was wonderful and I really learned a lot from her.  Afterwards, we switched and I was with Søster Frampton who will actually be leaving to go home in about three weeks!  She is incredible.  We went contacting in the rain for an hour or two and didn't have much luck, but she had such a good attitude about it.  She is a Champion! They both left around 5:00 to catch their plane to Trondheim, while we went to go meet with Taylor, the girl from Canada. :) Taylor is awesome.  She was really interested in what we do as missionaries.  She will actually be going back to Canada to be with her family for Christmas, so we'll probably meet up with her again when she gets back.

On Thursday, we decided to go out "banking" aka, knocking doors, and we were invited in by a man named Arnt Roger.  We showed him the He is the Gift video and he really liked it.  Then we told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy.  He told us that he wasn't too interested, but that he liked having people in his home and that's why he invited us in.  He did say that he would ready the book and if he had questions, he would call. So we'll see on that one :)

As we were walking back to the bus stop, a man walking in front of us turned around and said, "Sisters, is that you?" It was Simon, a new convert who we haven't been able to meet with very much recently.  He told us that he saw our silhouettes, (it was really usual) and saw that our skirts went to our knees, and that's how he knew it was us! hahahaa! It was so funny! We had a little bit of extra time, so we met with him, and had dinner.  After we got back to our apartment, we texted Arthur to see how it was going reading in the Book of Mormon.  He told us that he hadn't gotten very far, then when we asked him where he was in it, he said, "I'm only in Alma 6"..... ONLY in Alma 6?!?!?!! WHAT? He started reading 5 days before that! We asked him if he had prayed about it and he said "Of course" :) Then he told us that he knew the Book of Mormon is true!!! He will be going back to Latvia for Christmas and won't be back until the middle of July. Please keep Arthur in your prayers. He is SO fantastic! :)

On Friday, we woke up at 5:00 to catch our 7:00 plane to Trondheim for Zone Leader Training.  It's always so great to see everyone especially those from the MTC! Søster Williams is doing just great and I am so proud of her.  Since it was our "English fast" we were all speaking Norwegian and hers is just incredible! I was so impressed!!! Her companion right now is Søster Hoggard, another sister from our MTC group... So they're training each other!! They are CHAMPIONS!!  And it was just awesome to see Søster Neilson again too! She is just SO awesome!

Yesterday for church, we didn't have Fred, (Branch President) or Åse Marie there... Åse Marie lives far out, and for some reason, the busses weren't running that at noon... So yeah! Luckily we had Simon and Eirik there to bless and pass the sacrament for us.  I am just so grateful for both of them, and that they are both worthy to have the priesthood. That is something I really took advantage of back home.  Søster Buhler and I got really discouraged after church because none of our investigators and none of our less active members that we invited ended up coming to church.  So it was only the four of us there.  I gave the Sunday school lesson and felt really self conscious about my Norwegian the whole time.  Not too fun... But afterward, I decided to text Eirik just to tell him thank you for always setting church as a priority and that he was such a big example to us.  He sent us back a big long message telling us how proud he was of how well I speak Norwegian already (yeah...right) and that he could see how hard we were working.  He said, "We should have been more in church, but just wait! I am sure that you both will manage to get lots of people here soon!" (of course in Norwegian) :) It just raised us up so much to know that someone has faith in us.  Someone things that these two girls from America can actually help Ålesund Branch grow and someday become a ward!  Eirik is so strong! I can't even believe it!

One more thing that happened this week.  We were contacting on the street, talking to a man about Jesus Christ, when his friend, a Muslim, walked up behind him, and started drilling into us that Christ was not the Son of God and that we needed to stop telling people that.  He told us all of the "evidence" that Jesus Christ was really just another prophet.  Then he said that we needed to do more research and really find out what was true.  That went on for about 5 minutes before Søster Buhler and I walked away feeling VERY discouraged, but I mostly felt angry.  Not only because this guy had interrupted a really good contact, but because he was denying my Savior and the truth that He is the Son of God.  I started crying I was so angry with him.  We decided to say a prayer so we could get on with the rest of the day alright. After we finished, I felt more grateful than angry.  I felt grateful that unlike that man, I do have a knowledge of my Savior Jesus Christ.  I'm thankful that my testimony could be strong enough to withstand the attacks.  I'm thankful that I can be here and share my testimony of the Savior with all who are willing to listen to me. I finished the mission's Christmas reading Challenge this morning and read the last few chapters in John. I am so grateful that I have been doing that.  I love reading about my Savior and Redeemer every day!  I know that He lives.  I know that He loves us and it is because of him that we can overcome any hardship we have in life. 

Well family!! I love you all SOOO much and I know this church is true!!!  I'm excited to talk to you all on Christmas! (mom, anytime between 3-6 Norway time works great!) So like... 7am-10am?? yeah! I let you know specific details next week.  We'll be at Åse Marie's house that day having Jul Middag with her! :) Og Jeg er så spent for det vet du! Jeg gleder meg for når jeg kan snakke norske til dere og du skal ikke kjenne hva jeg sier!! haha!! :)

Glad i dere!!!

Love Søster Heywood!!