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 :)

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