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 dark...as 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 early...like 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!!