I know I know, I need to get more creative with my email titles, but this week there was a lot of Sign Language! Seriously, I took two years of ASL and there was no way I could communicate what I wanted. It HAS to be the gift of tongues! (or hands), I'm just not that good. But the Spirit is awesome.... and knows Norwegian Sign Language :)
On Thursday we went to lunch with Casper at a member's house. A lot of the members are really wanting to learn at least basic signs so it's not only the missionaries (Hallelujah!) We talked about what we all liked from Stake Conference , then got on the topic of journal writing.... family... I have a confession to make... I've been SO bad at journal writing! I did great in the MTC, ok in Ålesund, but I think I've writen a total of 7 times since coming to Stavanger. And I've been here 4 and a half months... it's bad!! But! That's why I'm telling you all, so you can hold me accountable. Because this mission and the little everyday things are too awesome to forget! Anyway, the lesson with Casper ended up with a commitment for all of us to write in our journals a little every day.
Then on Friday, we went with Casper to the Deaf Center here in Stavanger to meet some of his friends. There were about 40 people there and they were from all over Norway. (May 1st is a holiday in Norway, so they all came to Stavnger for a party.) All of them were deaf, and they all had different dialects of sign language. That's right... DIALECTS!! Even within Norway, the sign language is different based on where you live! How crazy is that?? haha! But we did our best to talk to them all, and I was able to hold conversations with each person that I talked to. So therefore..... gift of hands is real :)
One of the Young Women, Edel and I have a deal that we will bear our testimonies every fast Sunday. She is so sweet, but so shy, and it has been incredible to see how bearing her testimony has strengthened her. I was translating for Casper as usual, and she gave me the look to let me know that she was ready. I signed to Casper that I'd be right back, just like I do every fast Sunday. Then he signed to me that he wanted to go up too.I thought, OH BOY and the three of us walked up to the stand. Casper went first, so he signed to me, and I spoke for him. It was INSANE!!!! My voice was shaking so bad. He told a story of how he grew up near the church and walked past it almost every day. He always felt special walking by it, more so than when he walked by the big fancy Norwegian State churches. Then he went on to tell his whole conversion story. He was really excited and signing really fast, so hopefully I got the message accross to the congregation for him. He started tearing up as he signed "Jeg vet at denne kirken er sann, fordi jeg kan føle Ånden hver gang jeg er her" (I know that this church is true because I can feel the Spirit every time I'm here.) I started tearing up just translating! But that's not really a surprise is it? After he was finished, I walked past Edel, and she looks up at me like, "You're not done". haha! So she bore her testimony, then I got up (again) after and bore mine. It was kind of a crazy day. :) But after Edel, more and more of the youth came up and bore their testimonies. These youth are SO STRONG! It amazes me every single week. These kids have to be so stron here in Norway because there are so few of them. They are incredible!
We met with Tsigereda again, and taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She absolutely loved it and agreed to be baptized!!!!!! :) :) He baptism date will be the 6th of June! She is a miracle. Every time we meet with her, she brings her little two year old daughter. It's one of those times on the mission that I wish I could hold little kids because she is ADORABLE!!! But she loves giving us hugs, so we can do that :) We had given Tsigereda Alma 32 to read before meeting again, and when she came back this time, she had it all marked and had made notes in the margins. We read her a scripture about the nature of God in the Bible, and she says, "Wait! That reminds me of something from the Book of Mormon!" Then she pulls out Alma 26 where it talks about the strength of the Lord and how we can do all things through Him (I think it's verse 12). Our jaws dropped! This is only our second time meeting with her, and she is showing US scriptures from the Book of Mormon! #golden! :)
Other than those miracles, every single other of our appointments cancelled this week... Gotta love the ups and downs of missionary work eh??? But hey! Whenever there is miracles, there is opposition trying to convince you otherwise. DON'T EVER FORGET IT! I love being a missionary in Norway and the time is going by way too fast!!
I'm so excited to talk to you all next week. I'm not sure on the details or the times or anything, but I will let you all know as soon as I do! I love you all SO much and I miss you like crazy! Keep being missionaries. Keep praying for missionary oppurtunities, because even in Morgan, Utah, there is a BIG need for missionary work!! Keep the faith!
Love, Søster Heywood