Monday, March 30, 2015

Phenomenal Cosmic Power!!...*(itty bitty living space)

Hei Family!!

So we went on a hike to Preikestolen today, so the email is gonna be a little bit shorter... and late... sorry! But it was super fun! It was just so foggy today, but hopefully we'll be going in the next couple weeks again when it's warmer.  But ya'll should google Preikestolen. It's gorgeous :)

This week has been a little all over the place.  We had Zone Conference on Thursday and for the first time, I didn't have to fly there! It was held at Stavanger! Phew! There are definitely perks to living in bigger cities.  The conference was focused a lot on how we can raise our vision, and have a better hope for the work.  It was incredible! President Evans is so inspired and a lot of my prayers and questions were answered.

After the conference, we met with Arve and he is doing so good.  We talked to him about the Plan of Salvation and he said it was different, but he really liked it.  Earlier in the lesson he had told us that he knew that God was there, but he wanted to be better at showing it.  He told us of different experiences that he had in his life that had strengthened his testimony, and how he had prayed before to find answers.  Arve is so cool!!

That reminds me, we did have moves call this week, and luckily, Søster Horner and I will be staying in Stavanger! I'm SO relieved!! I could not imagine leaving now! I love these people way too much! :)

Casper is a champion as usual, and translating for him on Sundays is getting better and better! I'm loving Norwegian sign language... I just need to figure out how I'm going to use it after the mission... or Norwegian for that matter... haha!! I'll just have to skype a lot with Casper that's all :)

We met with Silvia this week, and it went SO well!!!! She has been keeping the Word of Wisdom! Or at least trying her best, since we actually haven't even taught her that yet... I guess her son, the one that just got baptized, got after her one day for drinking wine, and told her that she needed to repent... haha! Go Frank! So she asked us to explain it a little more and to help her look through her tea to see which kind she could and couldn't drink.  She is INCREDIBLE!!! She has become one of my best friends out here. I just LOVE Silvia! :)

So random fact about Norway... Easter is a HUGE deal here... and I'm not sure why.... because they don't really place Christ as the reason for it all. :) But it is so important that all of the stores close for a week, the kids are out the whole week of school, and every one leaves to go skiing! haha!! :)

Well Family! I love you! Sorry today was short, but I gotta run!! I love you all SOOO much!!!

Love, Søster Heywood

Mirakler skjer i disse dagene!!!‏

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 

Kjære familie,

*Congrats Kyle and Kyldi!!!!!!! That new little girl has no idea how lucky she is to get to call you guys mommy and daddy!! I'm so happy for you two!!! Keep sending me pictures, and I'm excited to be back in time for her first birthday!... weird... ;)

Lot's of miracles happening here in Stavanger this week, and I am loving it more and more here every day!  I think my heart will permanently be in two places for the rest of my life... Isn't it AWESOME!!??

On Tuesday we met with Louis and HE brought up baptism.  He told us it is definitely something that he is sure of, but he just isn't sure of when. He was mad he didn't get to come to Daniel's baptism last week, but when we told him there would be another one this week, he was happy again. But yeah! We had another baptism in the Stavanger Ward.  Brightess, a girl from the Phillipines who is working here in Norway got baptized.  The Elders taught her, and she is INCREDIBLE! She was BEAMING as she got baptized and she is already a part of the ward! Louis came to her baptism, and said that he was excited for his!! But he still doesn't know when.  I hope I can be here to see it though! Louis is one of my best friends I've made in Norway! He's the coolest!

So other than Louis, we have 6 investigators right now we are working with.  Silvia, Pawet, Arve, Sigurd, Irena(The one from Serbia) and Remus.  Silvia is doing awesome! She was out of town for the weekend and wasn't able to come to church, but we're hopefully bringing her with us to a dinner appointment later in the week :) Pawet is from Poland, and we lost contact with him for the last three weeks, then last night, HE called US and asked to meet today! So I'll update next week on him. Arve's work schedule this week was littlerally 9am-9pm every single day! He wants to meet with us again so bad and we still have contact.  He reads in the Book of Mormon and texts us about it, but hopefully we can get an actual meeting with him this week.  Sigurd is a former investigator who bought a Book of Mormon on his own long before he ever met missionaries. He's a younger guy and studies at the university here in Stavanger, and he is HILARIOUS! We asked him what he thought about a life after this one, and he told us that today he didn't believe it, but we should ask him tomorrow, because he would probably believe by then... huh? haha! 

Irena is the lady from Serbia we met last week and she is so funny! She called us on Saturday after the baptism, apologized that she couldn't come, then asked us if we could come visit her in an hour.  We of course said yes, and headed to her house. When we walked into her house, she was there with two of her other friends from Serbia.  There was beer, cigarettes, and wine everywhere, and really loud kinda inappropriate music videos playing on the big screen tv.  So not exactly the ideal teaching environment.  We sat down on the couch, and her friends introduced themselves.  Since we were just meeting there for the first time, we felt really uncomfortable about asking them to stop it all.  I just remember thinking in my head, "Heavenly Father, I don't know what to do.  The spirit needs to be here, but I have no idea how to bring it in."  It became obvious that Irena didn't invite us over for us to teach her.  But hey! we're missionaries! It's what we do.  So we asked them if we could show them a video instead of watching that one.  We showed them a few mormon messages, and it was able to bring the spirit a little more.  They had offered us drinks and cigarettes multiple times and finally one of her friends said, "Wait a minute, you girls don't drink, or smoke? And you talk to people about God all day?" We were like... uh... yep! That about sums up our lives! haha! He got more serious and told us how much he respected that.  We asked Irena to bring out her Book of Mormon that we had given her last time, and taught the first lesson to both of her friends.  By some miracle, the spirit was SO strong.  They were still smoking, and taking sips of their drinks, but when they held that Book of Mormon, you could tell they handled it like a treasure.  It was a pretty neat experience! Even if our clothes smelled like smoke afterwards... Æsj!

On Saturday, before Brightess's baptism, the Relief Society had a hiking activity and we went with Brightess.  Man, they hike a lot here! haha! The warmer and warmer it gets, the more they hike! :) It was SO beautiful and it was so fun to see Brightess interacting with the other sisters in the ward. 

We met with Casper on Saturday as well, and he told us that he wants to receive his Patriarchal blessing! :) He signed, I need to know if the Lord has a plan for me to go on a mission! We were like, WOAH! Casper! No way!! So on Sunday, I went in with him to translate his interveiw with the bishop.  I'm so excited for him! Can everyone just be as cool as Casper!? haha!

On sunday, we got to teach the young women! We did the object lesson where we offered everyone a brownie, and for each person that took a brownie, one of the girls had to do 5 pushups.  But then when one girl didn't want a brownie, the girl doing the pushups still had to do them.  We taught about how the atonement is already there for us, and whether we accept Christ or not, He still paid for all of our sins and felt all of our pain.  It was a really cool lesson, and I love the girls so much!

It is so crazy that this transfer is almost over!! Our district leader is going home this transfer as well as Søster Buhler, my companion 2 transfers ago. I'm gonna miss her so much! She's a CHAMP!! :) Hopefully I'm looking forward to another transfer in Stavanger with Søster Horner, because I don't think either of us are ready to leave. I told her if I get transferred, they'll have to come into our hobbitt hole apartment and drag me out! haha!

I love you family!! Thank you so much for all of your prayers! We can feel them! There's no way these miracles just happen! Heavenly Father is in His work and He loves these people SO much! :) Have a SPECTACULAR week!!!

Love, Søster Heywood

p.s. Our attempt at a green St. Patty's breakfast... There ya go mom ;)

Monday, March 16, 2015

"I will boast of my God" <- Cuz He's AWESOME!‏

Hey Family!!!

Shoutout to Kyle!!! Now he can be old enough to be a dad ;)

Holy Guacamole! Where do I even begin this week...I guess I could sum up the whole week just by saying that it is AWESOME to have a front row seat to Heavenly Father preforming His miracles! Yep! That About sums it up! I'll just end the email here! ;)

Nah, but really, this week was one of those weeks where I'm just so grateful to be a missionary.  I guess I can start with how Silvia is doing.  She has been really sick this last week and not able to meet a whole lot, but when we did meet with her, we felt prompted to talk about preisthood blessings.  Her son got baptized a few months ago and now has the priesthood so she is really interested in learning more about it.  Then we brought up how one of the "jobs" of the priesthood is to heal the sick.  We asked her if she would like a blessing, and she started getting tears in her eyes, and said, "Yes, I KNOW that would help me."  She is so amazing and one of the most faithful people I have ever met in my life.  She is an incredible example of comepletely turning life over to God and His plan.

On Wednesday, we had the sister training leaders come.  I LOVE having them come.  We met some incredible people on the street and now one of them is a new investigator! The next day, after they left, Søster Horner and I were about to go and visit a less active member.  We decided to call to confirm the appointment, and she had forgotten about it, and cancelled.  So with the hour of time that we had, we decided to keep going with our bus contacting idea.  So we said a prayer, got on a random bus, and after a few stops, this lady came and sat down by me.  We got talking and she is from Serbia, and had only been in Norway for three days. I told her a little bit about the church, got her number and she got off a few stops later.  I called the next day to set up an appointment with her, and she told me, "I'll call you when I have time."..... yeeeaaahhh..... that's promising right?? We went back to the apartment later to do some weekly planning for next week, and as soon as we were finished with our prayer to open, she called! It was TOTALLY a "Best Two Years" moment!! haha! She said, "Hi! I'm in Sentrum right now by the pond with my friend.  Can you come find us?"  So we got all of our things together, went back outside and found her and her friend.  We ascked them if they wanted to see our church, and they said yes! So we all got on a bus, went to the church and had a lesson with them both. Her name is Irena btws... :) I had brought a Serbian Book of Mormon for her, and when I showed it to her, she grabbed it and held it against her chest like a treasure! She is SO AWESOME!

Then on Saturday night, we got a text from Arve, our new investigator who has been out of town this week on business.  He is Norwegian, but he sent us this text in English to make sure we would understand, "Sometimes God sends us angels for a reason, anyway, he sent you this time.  I'll pray for you and see you on Tuesday." Our mouths dropped!  We have only met with this guy once, and given him the Book of Mormon. Then he went out of town, and we hadn't heard from him until then. I'm so excited to meet with him again tomorrow! So send some prayers our way family! ;)

On Saturday, we had a baptism in the ward! :) The sisters in Sandes have been teaching Daniel only for about a month and a half.  He is so cool though! I always love seeing people get baptized and seeing their faces when they come up out of the water.  I reminded me of Eirik's baptism back in Ålesund and how I had never seen him smile bigger! AH!! I just love the gospel!!

On a different note, Norway is getting warm fast! well... warmer... :) But the sun now rises before we're even out of bed, and sets right before we go back to bed! It's normal.... and it's weird.  We went outside to the playground to exercise this morning and it was light! But then in a couple months, it will start getting lighter and lighter until the sun starts rising at 3 am then sets after midnight! Norway is weird family... it's just weird... :) haha!!

This morning in personal study, I read about Ammon and the sons of Mosiah and the "end of their mission" (Alma 26) Ammon starts by turning to his brethren and saying, "Did you ever think we'd see this many blessings??" (or something along those lines... ;) haha! It made me think.  Seven months ago, I had no idea how much these strangers out here would change my life.  I had no idea about the miracles I would see or even get to be a part of.  I had no idea how my life would be changed by people I had never met before.  But I can't imagine my life without these people now.  I thank Heavenly Father every day for helping me make the decision to come on a mission, because if I hadn't, I would have never met Casper, or Silvia, or Åse Marie, or Eirik, or any of these people who have changed my life! Isn't that crazy? haha!I guess that's how most missionaries feel, and this probably sounds cliche... haha!

Later in the same chapter, as Ammon is telling of all of the great miracles and things that the Lord has done, his brother Aaron comes up to him and says, "Ammon... buddy... calm down a little, you're bragging a little bit." (Or something like that ;) And Ammon just brushes it off and says, "I'm boasting of my God! Cuz He's awesome!" (or something like that) :) That about sums up how I've been feeling this week.  God is awesome, His work is awesome, and His children are AWESOME!

I sure love you family!! Jeg vet at denne kirken virkelig er Jesu Kristi Gjenopprettet Kirke på jorden.  Jeg vet at Han lever og at han elsker oss og alle sine barn. Uansett hvor vanskelig vi kan ha det, elsker Gud oss.  Han er perfekt.  Planen hans er perfekt.  Når vi prøve vår best å følge Hans sønn Jesus Kristus, kan vi få mer velsignelser enn vi kan tenke om ennå.  Jeg elsker min Frelser. Jeg elsker hans arbeid. :)

Love, Søster Heywood

Translation of last paragraph:

I know that this church really is Jesus Christ Restored Church on earth. I know that He lives and that He loves us and all children. No matter how difficult we can have it, God loves us . He is perfect. His plan is perfect. When we try our best to follow His Son Jesus Christ , we can get more blessings than we can think about yet . I love my Savior. I love his work. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Six months!

Hey Family!

Have I seriously been out for six months?? That doesn't seem real.  I tell Søster Horner every night that I feel like she's training me! I mean, I just got here!! Crazy!  This week has been a good one with lots of miracles!!  

At the beginning of the week, we were getting a little discouraged because we'd have hours at a time where we would just walk around the street and contact.  And in Norway, about one in every 50 people want to talk about religion with you. But that's okay!  We kept plugging away, until we realized something later in the week.  We really love bus contacting!! So on Wednesday, we decided that instead of talking to people on the streets for 2 hours, we were going to go and hop on a random city bus and talk to people there.  We take a bus everywhere we go anyway and we never sit by each other, so we can talk to other people! So we said a prayer, got on a bus, and started talking to people.  About halfway through the ride, a man named Arve sat down next to me and after about 15 minutes, I had my scriptures out talking about how faith is something not seen.  Søster Horner looked at me across the bus and just started silently laughing.  It was a little funny to teach that deep of a lesson on a crowded city bus, but to keep a long story short, we got his number and met with him the next morning to give him a Book of Mormon and explain more.  After that experience and some others, Søster Horner and I came to the conclusion that we are called on our missions to learn skills, but also to use the skills that we already have.  So in the process of leaning to talk to people on the street better, we can play our strength of contacting on the bus! :)

The work with members this week has been awesome and I am really loving this ward so much!  I feel like I have a big family here.  Sometimes as a missionary, I feel like I have to squeeze a referral out of any member, but as this week has gone on, I have just focused on the members needs instead of my need for referrals.  For example, we ate dinner with a family this week and afterward, we asked the mom to tell us how she came to find that the church was true.  She told us her conversion story, and the spirit was so strong!! After she was done telling her story, she said, "Ya know, now that I think about it... I have a friend that I could invite over to have a lesson with you guys!" She had that idea on her own, because we made the lesson about her and her needs and her testimony!  It was incredible! I LOVE working with members!!!

Silvia is doing great, and she even came to church yesterday!!! :) It was so great to see her there and I think she really liked it. We'll be meeting with her more this week, so I'll keep you all updated!

Sorry this email is a little bit short this week! We're going on a hike today and we have to be on the boat soon!  I loved seeing Heather and Tami's prom pictures!! They both looked GORGEOUS!!! I'm glad they had fun!! Give Kayli and Steve and the kids a big hug for me this week! Moving is hard, especially leaving a ward that feels like your family! I don't EVER want to leave Stavanger!! haha :) I love you all SOO much!! Talk to you next week!

Love, Søster Heywood

Pic- What do Sister Missionaries eat during training? Make-up? or Chocolate?? :)

Seaside with Sister Horner, and it's warm today!

A charming street in Stavanger.

Gift of Hands Part 2

Hey Family!

This week has been hard, crazy, fun, and tiring, with lot's of miracles! Yep that about sums it up! :) I guess I could just end the email there eh?? :) Nah... Jeg bare tuller.  This week Søster Horner and I started reading a case study about a sister missionary who was basically a CHAMP at working with the members in the ward where she served.  We got a lot of ideas from it and set a goal to focus on working with members.  Here in Norway, since the church is so small, every member has friends that aren't members of the church.  And working with the members will hopefully lead us to even more people we can teach who are already fellowshipped! So that's awesome! :) We wanted to try visiting with one member or member family each day this week, and I realized something. I LOVE the Stavanger ward!! These members are some of the most incredible people I have met in my whole life.  

Last Sunday, we actually had one of the members, a girl in her early 20s come and ask us if she could go out on teaches with us.  Family, missionaries LOVE it when members come on teaches! It is the BEST! So she helped us teach Silvia on Wednesday and it went really well.  We taught Silvia about the Plan of Salvation and she was on the edge of her seat the whole time.  When we were done, she just smiled and said, "That is a beautiful plan".  

It reminded me that as missionaries, we are just reminding people of what they already know.  As we were telling Silvia about the plan, it was just so familiar to her and she loved every bit of it! I mean, how couldn't you? It's God's PERFECT plan for His imperfect children :) But yes, Silvia opened up more to us, and told us that she would come to church this week.  On Sunday, however, as she was walking out the door with her 8-year-old son to go to church, her ex husband had come over to fix some lights.  I guess he is REALLY against them going to church, so they ended up not coming.  She was so sad about it and sent us a big long apology text telling us how much she wanted to come.  So we decided to visit her that night instead.  Her little son was there, and HE IS THE CUTEST!!! Oh my goodness, and he treats her like a queen! It is incredible.  I wish everyone had the light of Christ like little kids do.  He's just so good!

Mom, to answer your question from last week, I do translate church for Casper now.  The zone leaders called me one day last week, and asked if I wanted them to take over teaching Casper since they had been there and been learning TegnSpråk longer.  I told them that it would be best to ask Casper.  So we did, and he told us that he still wants us to teach him.  So Søster Horner and I have continued teaching him and translating for him.  Søster Horner is SUCH a champion, learning two languages at the same time! :) Though, honestly, I think the sign language really helps us learn Norwegian too. So it's just fantastic!  

Earlier this week, Søster Horner and I were at a bus stop and a girl came up, so of course we started talking with her.  She did the sign for "deaf" and I started signing that I knew tegnspråk too :) She is only fifteen years old and I guess her parents are actually members of the church in a different city, and the missionaries had taught her before, but since she is under 18, and her birth dad I think wont let her get baptized.... she stopped meeting with them.  We asked Casper about her and he said the best thing to do is to keep contact until she's 18 :) So we'll see in a few years then :)

Tell Tamy congrats on making the softball team! I always wanted to play in high school! She'll love it!  Tell Heather Congrats on the first kiss!!! WHAAA???? Give everyone BIG hugs from me! I love hearing all about what's going on at home. I love you all SOO much!

Jeg ELSKER å være en misjonær! Noen ganger det er jo vanskelig, men jeg VET at jeg er her for å hjelpe Guds barn for å komme nærmere til Ham.  Jeg vet at den gleden som alle ønsker i livet finnes bare i Jesu Kristi evangelium.  Jeg elsker å dele dette budskapet med ALLE! :) Selv om der er ikke så mange som vil lytte, vet jeg at der er flere som er forberedt å høre sannheten akkurat nå! Jeg vet at Mormons Bok er sann. Og hver gang jeg leser i den, føler jeg sterkere og sterkere.  Jeg vet at Kristus lever.  Han er min frelser.  Jeg vet at Gud elsker alle sine barn her i Norge og overalt på jorden. :)

Have an AWESOME week fam!

Love, Søster Heywood