Monday, July 20, 2015

"Sister?... So are you a priest or a nun?"‏

Hey fam!!
Shoutout to the random 12 year old on the bus that inspires the email title this week... No I am not a nun :)
This week was pretty wonderful, but let's start it out with a good ole miracle story!
Our investigator, Ricardo has been struggling to come to church. He doesn't really feel that it's necessary.  We asked him multiple times to read the Book of Mormon, and he would just skim a little. This week, it was like he dropped off the face of the planet.  Really, I'm pretty sure we called him every day and texted him a couple times too.  So we just continued praying for him until Friday when he FINALLY answered. He told us he was very sorry for not answering and that he wanted to meet up.  So we set an appointment for Saturday.  Then he called again and postponed it, so we were thinking... oh GREEEAT... But he eventually came.  We sat down to start the lesson and asked him how his week had gone. He told about a really scary experience that basically left him unconcious in his apartment for four days. He doesn't have any family here, so nobody knew. He said he didn't think he was going to wake up, but he did.  And when he woke up, he decided to turn on the TV and there was a song playing that said, "Everything you need is right in front of you..." He looked down at his coffee table where the Book of Mormon was sitting, turned off the TV, and started to read.  He read all of Moroni, and other places as well.  In fact, the reason he had postponed our appointment was because he was at a really exciting part and didn't want to put it down! He told us that he felt like God had given him a second chance to fix his life.  We bore testimony of that, then continued to teach about the Plan of Salvation.  At the end of the lesson, we asked him if he would come to church and he said, "How can I not? God saved my life!"  But he still left the answer at a "probably".  
The next day, we went to church, and the relief Society President asked us if we could translate for some Americans that were visiting, so we couldn't really wait by the door to see if Ricardo came or not. We went through all of Relief Society and neither of us had gotten any kind of message from him, so we assumed he wasn't there again.  For Sunday school, we got asked to help with the CTR 7 class for the beginning, so we were late to the investigator class.  When we did get there however, we walked into the back, and there sitting by the Elders was Ricardo!! I almost started crying! He was in a shirt and tie, slacks and dress shoes.  I almost didn't recognize him! He smiled and waved at us as we walked in.  The lesson was about "Staying in the Boat, and Holding On" -M. Russell Ballard, or enduring to the end.  The teacher asked what kind of things keep us in the boat or on the right path. Some people commented, then Ricardo raised his hand and said ,"Celestial Heaven! We need to remember where we are going!" I swear my mouth dropped open! We had just taught him about that the day before!! We continued on to Sacrament Meeting and he loved every minute.  He loved the little kids making noises, loved the talks, and even sang the hymns even though he doesn't know them.  After the meeting, he turned to me and said, "You know? I think this is like a life-time thing." I was BEAMING!I turned to talked to someone else then turned back and he was gone.  I looked around a little and he was talking to a member of the bishopric about the summer Book of Mormon reading challenge that the ward is doing.  I heard him ask, "Can I do it too?".  I'm so proud of him!! He just turned his life around since Friday and is like a completely different person! I know God really gives second chances.  Who am I kidding? He gives thousands. millions. limitless.  Not only has Ricardo been given another chance, but he recognizes it! We'll be meeting with him later today and inviting him to baptism. :) 
Another miracle that happened on Friday:  WE had a couple of hours of time before dinner, so we decided to go banking: aka knocking on doors.  We prayed, picked out an area and went there.  Now family.... One thing you may not know about Sister Heywood's mission: I have NEVER been invited in or even invited back while banking.  And I've done it A LOT on my mission. I said a silent prayer that these two hours wouldn't be a waste.  We started at the group of houses we had chosen and found out that it was an area where only elderly people lived.  Strangely, we felt good about continuing.  After about an hour, we meet an old lady named Rakel, and get this: SHE INVITED US IN!! We were able to share a little about the Restoration and she thought it was really interesting.  She said we could come back whenever we wanted, but that she wasn't really too interested in actually learning more. But it was still a little tender mercy for me :)
Mom, that is so cool to hear about President Skinner asking the ward to really sing and think about the closing hymn.  The Hymns are SO powerful! (even though they come into my head in Norwegian now :) I'm actually studying the hymns for part of my personal study each day. right now I'm on the "Sunshine Hymns" (Scatter Sunshine, you can Make the Pathway Bright, Today while the sun Shines etc...) and it really is helping me keep being positive and happy.  Which is exactly what I needed because lately I've been trying to figure out the balance between a focused missionary and a happy missionary.  I think the answer is to stop mistaking "stress" for "focus" because it isn't the same thing :) but yes! The Hymns are AWESOME!
I LOVE that picture of the Sister Missionaries being protected by the angels.  I've definitely been protected out here whether from really scary people, or just from eating coconut. (Whoops) I feel like I'm honestly in the safest place in the world. (Not just because it's Norway). :)
I'll be sure to send a picture of the apartment next week.  I would this week, but then I'd have to hike back up there and take one :)  but I do have  some other fun ones for ya!
I love you family!! Have a WONDERFUL week!! Thank you for taking the challenge and going to the temple this week! It is SO important. Never take it for granted! I know this Church is really God's church on the earth! I love being a missionary.  It never gets old :)
Love Søster Heywood

Pic #1- So uh... I found a statue of Hayden... :) You should see the shoulder blades in the back! Uff da!

Pic #2- This fountain is only of my favorite places in Drammen.  It reminds me of a temple fountain... except this one usually has a few kids playing in it :)

Monday, July 13, 2015


Alrighty, well, to start off the email take a look at this beautiful companion of mine! Not to mention the Norwegian countryside behind her. We're just the luckiest!

I'm gonna be honest and say this week was a blur! I gotta organize my thoughts so I'll give ya some highlights:
Monday: Solberg family came to celebrate my birthday with me! Aksel and Martine had never heard me speak Norwegian before, and I've never spoken Norwegian to them.  It was AWESOME! They took us out to lunch (first time in a Norwegian restaurant), then we walked to the church to show them around.  They couldn't believe how small the chapel was in comparison with the ones in Utah.  And yet we have 250ish that come every week.... we need a new building :)
Tuesday:  Søster Trydal, a missionary who just went home came to visit and go on splits with us. (She is Norwegian so she is only a couple hours away)  She had been companions with Søster Larsen earlier this year, so that was a fun reunion for the two of them.  We walked over the bridge in the city to do some contacting and we decided it would be a little intimidating if there were three of us stopping these people, so I went on one side of the bridge to contact, and they went contacting on the other side.  I was glad to get my companion back afterwards because contacting by yourself is HARD!  "Can we meet with you another day?"  "Who is we?" "um... I mean.... I'm schizophrenic..." Just awkward... haha :)
Wednesday: We went out to visit a less active member, and Sister Larsen cut her thumb on something, so I made her a band-aid while we were sitting at the bus stop. Gotta do what ya gotta do eh?
Thursday: We met with Møyfrid, one of our investigators. She really wants an answer about whether or not this church is God's church.  She has been a member of the State Church here and doesn't really see anything wrong with it.  We promised her that the way to find out for sure is to read in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true.  We brought one of the new converts, Zofia, to help us and she bore solid testimony about how she found out that the church was true.  
Friday: Åse Marie came to Drammen to go on splits!! Man, I have missed that lady! The three of us started the day by going to the church to help a member clean it and get it ready for Sunday.  We thought it would take one hour and it ended up taking almost 3! (Maybe we don't need a bigger building...) We ate lunch at McDonalds afterwards (Which may be cheap in America but CERTAINLY IS NOT HERE!)  It still doesn't taste great, but it isn't cheap either!  But I remember back in Ålesund days when Åse would take us out to get McFlurries on hard days, so we just had to eat at McDonalds :) She helped us with a few other lessons, then she popped back on the train to go back home. LOVE HER!

​Saturday: We had Zone Conference in Tønsberg and we got to finally meet President and Sister Hill.  We actually rode with them to the conference.  They are SO awesome and President Hill's Norwegian is already so good! We had interviews with him, and he spoke Norwegian almost the whole time! He said, "Why should I expect my missionaries to speak it if I don't?" He's so good! And Sister Hill is a sweetheart! She said the hardest thing for her to leave was her grandkids and even got a little emotional talking about them :') They are just so sweet! 
And guess who else I got to see at the conference! None other than my adorable daughter, SISTER HORNER! She has grown so much and it's only been a transfer and a half since I last saw her. Still a CHAMP and SWEETHEART!
After The conference, we met with an investigator named Ricardo.  He already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he is just struggling to actually come to church.  I don't know whether he is scared to come what, but we gave him a tour of the church, then had a lesson with him in the chapel.  It was really powerful and we were both able to bear testimony of how coming to church has strengthened us. He told us he would try to come to church, but didn't end up coming... We'll see what more we can do for him, but ultimately, he's got his agency. BOO!! ;)
Sunday: We went over to dinner at a member's house.  They have two teenage daughters who...are classic teeanagers.  Really hard to get them to interact in lessons.  So we decided to play the game with them where we open up to a random scripture and have to come up with a spiritual thought.  It got really funny and we had both of them laughing by the end of it -> SUCCESS! :)

See? I told you this week was a blur!  I usually don't go day by day, but there ya go!
Random add-ons:
-Go to the temple this week, NO MATTER WHAT!
-Don't ever fall asleep on the way to Zone Conference or Sister Hill will take a picture of you. :)
-You know you're a missionary when you get a tanline where your watch goes.
-Norwegian slugs are huge... and all over the place!

​Jeg vet at Gud elsker oss.  Jeg vet at dette er Herrens arbeid.  Jeg vet Mormons Bok er sann.  Jeg vet at vi har jo en profet som lever idag.

I love you family!! Keep being amazing, read your scriptures, pray, go to the temple, eat Otter Pops, sing campfire songs, and most importantly remember that I LOVE YOU!!!!
-Søster Heywood

Here are some more photos...from Monday, July 6, with the Solbergs:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Like a Fire(work) is Burning!‏

Kjære Familie,
Just kidding, no fireworks for us on the Fourth of July, but we aren't allowed to handle them anyway so it wasn't too sad.  I did however get the package on the third of July, so it was PERFECT!  We both loved it!  And it was nice to have some good ole 'Murica candy! :) and I LOVE the jewelry! The Young Women here have been wearing anchor things to "Embark" so now I can fit right in!
But Drammen has been burning up like a fire.... literally... it is SO HOT!!!  I guess the only good part of it is that we got permission to not wear nylons for the month of July. But really, it has been just BURNING! And since it's humid here, I just feel gross and sticky all of the time!  I'll take winter back anytime!  On the up side, Norwegians are really happy when the sun is out, so it's easier to talk to them.  Norwegians love their vacation time.  Half the ward is gone at a time just traveling the rest of Europe. It's crazy! Quite a few of our investigators are away as well, but they'll be back soon.
I do get to spend my birthday with the Solbergs!!! They are coming to Drammen after we're done emailing and I am SOO excited.  I also just got an email from Åse Marie asking if she can come down friday and go on splits! I miss her so much! I love these people!!!
We got to do some service this week which is always my favorite because we get to wear pants! We helps a member finish scraping the paint off of her house to get it ready for painting.  Sister Smith and I did it a couple of weeks ago, but this time it was the whole district (6 missionaries) that came to help.  It was a lot of fun, but a little scary because the scaffolding we were standing on was about a foot and a half from the house, and we were working on the third level.  But despite my past record, I did not fall and I'm still alive. Miracles happen! haha! :)
This week has been a little weird as well.  On the way home from the service project I was on the bus, (Sister Larsen on the other end of the bus), and this kid walked up to me and started a conversation.  Norwegians NEVER start conversations with random strangers, so it caught me off guard.... then I realized he was flirting.... then he asked for my number... way awkward.  I told him I was a missionary and that he could only have my number if he was interested in talking about God and Jesus Christ. He said, "We can talk about whatever you want." *Insert puke noise here* I gave him a pass-along card and luckily it was time to get off anyway.  Uff da!  We got off the bus and Sister Larsen goes, "What's wrong?" And I said, "uhm... I think I just got flirted with..." Then we just laughed about it. Sometimes being a missionary is just awkward.  The next day we had a lesson with one of our investigators and we were talking to him about baptism and he just got this serious face and said, "I want to marry you." I was like "uh.......... wait what?" Then I just looked at Sister Larsen and she was speechless too.  Then he said, "wait, but if I join your church couldn't I marry both of you?" We quickly explained that that is not okay... at all... then went on with the lesson.... we'll probably let the Elders teach him from now on... BUMMER!
We visited the family again that we met last week, and they seem interested, but more in comparing their religion to ours.  They are Bahai, which means that they accept every religion.  They believe that God gives us a new set of rules every 100 years or so because the world is constantly changing.  We explained that that is why we need a prophet so we can be guided today.  They are such a sweet family, and I really hope we can start making progress with them soon.
I haven't met President Hill and Sister Hill yet.  I mean, I knew them from the MTC, so I have met them, but not since being in Norway.  We have interviews this Saturday, so hopefully I pass ;) They did call me this morning to wish me a Happy Birthday and to sing to me.  They are just so sweet!
Sister Larsen and I are getting along great!  We sing songs from musicals together and debate favorites.  We are so alike as far as personality, which is hard because when it comes to missionary work, we have the same weaknesses.  But I like to think of them as opportunities. :) 
I love the picture of the whole family together! I miss you all so much. I love you! I know the church is true!
Love, Søster Heywood

p.s. Package time!!!

p.p.s. Our Elders were in the NEWS! Front page!