Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Surprise, Surprise!

October 26, 2015

Kjære Familie,
This week has felt like three.  There was SO MUCH that has happened.  Lot's of surprises.  
Surprise #1- I'M MOVING TO ASKER!! *okay, okay, I know it's not a surprise to most of you since Eline has Facebook and I don't, but basically, that is where Eline and her family live.  Here's how that happened.  We have been preparing for Sister Randall to leave for the past two weeks, and making sure that I meet everybody so I could be ready to take over the area and lead it out.  It's kept us pretty busy lately.  Then moves call was on Sunday.  How it works in this mission is everyone calls in and the assistants tell us where we will be going. (If we're moving).  Asker is read off before Oslo, so when I heard, "Sister Firth will be serving in Asker with her new companion Sister Heywood", my jaw literally dropped! WHAT?  We had been preparing all week thinking that I would be staying.  President hinted a lot that I was staying.  I've only been here for a transfer and a half! WHAT?? So basically, both of us are leaving, so now our apartment is crazy messy as we are both trying to pack. Uff da.  Have I been saying goodbye to my favorite members? nope! So... church was stressful as I tried to say goodbye to everyone I could.  On the other hand... I AM SO EXCITED FOR ASKER!! My companion will be Sister Firth, (mom, it was her and Sister Boud that I met up with in Salt Lake for lunch before we left for Norway).  She's a champ and I'm SO excited to be her companion! (And she has served in Ålesund so we can talk about that all day long).  I'm so excited to meet and love the members in the Sandvika ward.  And I get to hold Eline to her promise she made to me that she would come to church with me if I ever served in that ward. :)
New Address (Take note of this. I got a total of two letters in Oslo. Empty mailboxes are no fun. *Cough* write me letters! *coughcough* ;)
-Røykenveien 213
 1386 Asker
Surprise #2-  We got to go to the Solbergs house for dinner this week, with permission from President.  But that wasn't the surprise.  I walked into the kitchen and Eline was making PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!! AHH!! I literally started crying. Well, at least tearing up.  For some reason, nothing says home to me like those cookies. mmmm yup! basically a bite of childhood.  And not only did they make the cookies, but they bought me the ingredients so I could make them again.  I hadn't made them before because the ingredients are RIDICULOUSLY expensive here, and let's be honest.... I'm a missionary.  I eat hotdogs and pasta all day :) But in Sweden, everything is way cheaper, so everyone goes there to get the expensive foods (like pumpkin)  But yeah! That was WAY nice! 
Surprise #3-  Okay, this one wasn't a surprise for me, but I got asked to go on splits in Drammen for a day this week, so they set up an appointment with Ricardo, and I surprised him by being there.  He's doing so well!  He studies scriptures for an hour with his neighbor every day, finally found a job where he doesn't have to work on sundays, and has family home evening every Monday with a Portuguese family in the ward.  He is reading the Book of Mormon in three languages (Norwegian, Portuguese, and English) so that way, he "can be ready for anyone who needs to hear the gospel from him".  What a champ! 
Answering moms questions:
1. The mission headquarters is in Oslo now, but President still lives in Sandvika.
2. Christmas..... hmm...lot's of pictures...letters.... is sending your salsa possible? I can't really think of anything I want...Surprise me :)
3.  Studying in Norway a little fantasy.  Nothing more.  I would miss you all WAY TOO MUCH!  It's fun to think about, but I think 18 months away is just fine. :) It would be great if you could look up some speech therapy programs.  In Utah :)
4.  You, dad, and Grakum are the fist on the list to come back with me. :)
I've been thinking a lot this week about why I love being a missionary.  Why do I keep getting up at 6:30 every day and talk to strangers.  Why do I keep going when all I want to do is cuddle up in my dyne?  2 reasons. First,  I love my Heavenly Father so much.  I could never ever ever ever EVER repay Him for what He has given me, but I'm sure going to try.  He has blessed me so much, and it's not fair.  I have to give back. Second, THESE PEOPLE.  I love these people so much.  Every single one of them. Members, people who are investigating the church, complete strangers.  I love these people so much. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  I'm not asked to die for these people, but I have learned to set down my own life, and stop worrying about myself. And when I do that, I'm in a position where I want the best for the people around me.  I want them to know like I do how much God loves them.  I want them to know that they will live again, and that families are forever.  I want them to know that because I love them.  I felt like I have received that love all my life from my family, but I think this is my first time experiencing it. I love the Norwegian people.  Every last stubborn one of them!  That's why I'm here.
We had the Primary program in church yesterday and it was my first and last primary program in Norway.  (Since I was in Ålesund last time, and primary doesn't really exist there...) OH MY GOODNESS!! Kids are the cutest and so close to our Heavenly Father.  The songs and the testimonies were beautiful! After church, we went to a member's house for dinner, and we talked a lot about missionary work, and being an example.  We asked the 15 yearold boy, who is the only member in his whole school, why he kept going.  Why he kept coming to church.  He just looked at us, and simply said, "Because it's true." FROM A 15 year old!!! The testimonies of the youth and kids here blow me away.  It really is that simple.  Why does a young mother carry her three screaming kids to church?  Why do countless parents send there kids away for two years or 18 months? Why did the pioneers risk their lives to build up the church?  Why would Joseph Smith be willing to go through what he did?  And Why do these Norwegians stand up completely alone, as children and adults? BECAUSE IT'S TRUE.  I know it's true.  With all my heart.
I love you all so much!! Have an awesome week!
Love, Søster Heywood

 The Solbergs made me Pumpkin chocolate cookies!!!!! I literally started crying! Then they gave me ingredients to make more. So I did the following night!

The cutest little Norwegian girl I know! Just look at that smile!

Some missionaries and some YSA

 More of beautiful Norway in the Fall!

Finally Can Email!

October 19, 2015

Hey fam!
Quick fact about this morning.  We had to go to FIVE different libraries in order to get where we could email. uff da. That was ridiculous! But Now I can email! YAY!!!
This week... This week... What even happened this week?... I know it felt long, but let's see... OH! I finished the Book of Mormon for the third time since being on the mission. I'm going to try and finish it one more.  This time around I chose to focus on how The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ (Which I think I mentioned in last weeks email).  Every time someone mentioned Christ, or Christ spoke, I marked it with a red pencil.  I can now flip through and see red on just about every page!  The Book of Mormon is a complete witmess of Christ, who He is, and what His purpose is.  I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I'm not just saying that because it sounds nice.  I'm not saying it because a million people have said it before.  I'm saying that because I have received a witness that The Book is 100% true.  I don't know if it was a warm feeling, or a peaceful thought, but I know it's true.  That stays steady in my mind among all the other doubts and questions.  Every question we have goes back to A. Is the Book of Mormon true? and B. If it's true, what else mst be true? Prophets who live today?  Jesus Christ? Preisthood Authority? All true. 
We had a cool experience yesterday.  We were invited by one of our investigators to visit her church, and I went in thinking... ok,... let's look for what's wrong here.  It was very different from our church, had a band, some really awesome Christian rock, and a really talented pastor.  I surprisingly felt the Holy Ghost a lot during that meeting, and I was a little confused as to why.  Then I realized something.  They had a LOT of truth.   The way they were praising God wasn't wrong, and God was hearing their prayers just as much as He hears mine.  I couldn't find anything wrong in what they were doing.  They were only missing peices.  Some churches have only a couple peices of the puzzle, then add in more peices from a totally different puzzle hoping to make the original picture.  That doesn't work.  But some churches are simply missing peices and doing their best with what they have.  These people last night were really good, but there were truths missing.  They didn't know or care to know what happens after this life or what happened before this life.  They hold to the truth they do have, and they're content with it.  The whole experience strngthened my testimony that this it God's complete true church on the earth today.  He reveals His teachings through His prophets.  
I feel like this week was a strengthening week.  We visited a member on Tuesday and talked about the Atonement.  I think that was one of the most powerful discussions I've been a part of.  One of the reasons Christ went through the Atonement was so that He could really know and understand us.  And He does.  He knows and understands us completely. Those times when we're down and thinking to ourselves, "No one understands how I feel" or "No one has felt this kind of pain before", a quiet something whispers that someone has.  He completed the Atonement so NO ONE ever needs to feel alone.  I learned that lesson 4 years ago, and need to relearn it all the time.
On a lighter note, the fjord cruise last week was AMAZING!!!! and..... the picture uploading isn't working this week so you will all have to sit in suspense for a little bit longer... sorry :) But OH MAN!!! Norway is gorgeous and the Oslo fjord is gorgeous! I won't try to describe it too much with words, but just imagine sitting on a pirate ship, eating a Norwegian Waffle, sailing through islands with fall leaves spotting the coasts.  Yup. I was in pure paradise.  I'm pretty sure that's what the Celestial Kindom will be like ;) haha!
A couple more fun things:
-Our investigator Eystein is getting baptized on Dec 19 in UTAH! It will be in the morningish (over there) so if anyone wants to go, let me know.   He would love it :)
-Norwegians get CRAZY with soccer.  We play with the members every Saturday, and it gets INTENSE!!! I'm getting pretty good. Who knows? maybe I'll give Jaden a run for his money when we're both home ;) haha!
-tunnels.... There are so many tunnels here.  I swear, there are more streets under Oslo than on Oslo.  uff da.
-We teach a Norwegian class twice a week, and I've decided that there is only one thing harder than learning Norwegian-teaching it.  This language has crazy grammar... and it doesn't make sense... but I LOVE IT!
Love you family!!!! Have an awesome week!
Ponderize scripture for the week: Romans 8:28 
Love, Søster Heywood


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tegn språk killed my ASL...‏

Hey family!
Ok, so first of all, I have to tell you about an AWESOME activity we had with the Young Men and Young Women this week.  The leaders asked 4 of the 8 missionaries to come help with a mini-mission.  All of the kids got a mission call, and were assigned to learn a language.  The leaders asked us earlier if any of us knew other languages. One Elder knew Spanish, and I know Sign language.  They asked if I could teach them American Sign Language... I said yes, totally convinced that I could still teach a few phrases.  Uff da. Have you ever tried speaking one language, then teaching sign language in another language? Harder than it seems. But it was fun! I kept switching over to Norwegian Sign Language on accident... oh well. After we taught them their language, they went to the other half of the MTC where we taught them how to teach the first lesson.  Then we headed down to the basement of the church (where all the classrooms are) and knocked on some doors.  The leaders played investigators and a few of them played the classic stubborn "Nei takk", but eventually, we got to teach a lesson to one of them. It was so fun, and honestly, I don't think the youth over here will ever cease to amaze me.  My "companion" for the hour, who is 14, is practically ready for the MTC!! :)
We taught a super sweet member family this week, and the 8-year old son is going to be baptized in a couple weeks.  So the mom asked us to prepare a spiritual thought about baptism.  After we ate dinner, we had a competition to see who of all the kids could clean their bowls the best.  The rule was that they weren't allowed to use water.  Their eyes got big and their jaws dropped.  We said GO, and they quickly started licking their bowls clean.  The rest of us were laughing so hard.  When the time was up, we judged the bowls but of course discovered them to still be pretty gross.  Then we had them go to the sink, and use soap and water. They came back a few minutes later with beaming faces and perfectly clean bowls.  We talked about baptism and how we can be clean, and how the sacrament makes it possible for us to "wash our bowls" over and over and over again.  The kids had this ah ha moment and the mom loved it too. (Though I think it helped that dishes were washed for her :)
Speaking of baptism, we had another 8-year-old get baptized on Saturday. They heard that I play the piano, so they asked me to play for it.  They (Some kids and a few adults in his family) did a beautiful arrangement of I am a child of God, and I played the accompaniment for them.  Though, throughout the week, I felt guilty every time I sat down to practice.  I just wanted to get out and do more missionary work... so the practicing was a little neglected, but it's all good.  It turned out fine I think.  It was just nice to get to play the piano again. :) 

This email is going to be a little short because we're going on a fjord cruise today, but I love you LOTS!!!! I know the church is true! I know God answers prayers.  I'm not sure exactly how or why, but I know He does.  He loves us so much.  We can't possibly begin to understand the how or why.  But He does.  Yep! The Book of Mormon is true.  I'll finish it for the third time this week.  I LOVE that book.  SO much! This time reading it through, I decided to focus on Jesus Christ and how the Book of Mormon testifies of Him. Spoiler alert!  It does. :)

-Sister Heywood

Pictures of fall paradise from last week :)‏

I love this quote...Try to be faithful to the best in yourself. :) 

I love this girl!...Tora Nyman, the one that served in Finland with the Londons. 

Monday, October 5, 2015


Hei Fam!

So Norwegians do this awesome thing when they are agreeing with what you say.  Where we would usually just nod, they gasp! So sometimes Sister Randall and I just gasp everything that we say... yep!

Conference!!! OH my goodness! So many prayers and questions were answered this weekend.  Some favorites though:
-Ponderize a scripture every week.
-This work is not about me, it is about the Lord and the people who I serve.
-We need women who teach FEARLESSLY
-Focus on what you CAN DO instead of being discouraged by what you CANNOT DO.
-Many are the afflictions of the righteous 
-Mortal life is not easy for anyone
-No darkness is stronger than LIGHT.
-We cannot let our family be defined by society

There's so much more I could add.  I'm really excited to get the issue in the Ensign so I can study them more fully. :)

But as far as the rest of the week, it has been filled with some awesome tender mercies.  On Monday, we went to the Munch art museum!  A lot of the exhibits were closed including The Scream (That was sad) but as we were walking out of the museum, Eline found a little area with some oil crayons an big pieces of paper to draw on.  I was in HEAVEN for about a half hour after that.  I miss art! MAN! That was real nice.  By the end of it my hands were all messy from the oils. YES! 

Cool story though!  On Tuesday, I went on splits with Sister Hoggard, and we talked to this really cool YSA aged girl on the street.  We told her about the Book of Mormon and she asked if we had one on us.  OF COURSE!  She got really excited as we handed her a copy.  I love it when peoples' faces light up becuase of the Book of Mormon.  Even if they don't even know what it is yet.  She was really cool. We also met this other girl who loves the Bible, and is open to listening, but not at all open to the Book of Mormon yet.  We've been meeting with quite a few people lately who have been really stuck on the Bible and unwilling to try to read from the Book of Mormon.  They say things like, "I'll read it once you convince me that it's true." Uhmmm..... that's not how the Book of Mormon works.  To gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, one has to read from it's pages, and pray to ask God.  No missionary can simply convince someone of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  My testimony cannot convince someone else.  My testimony can convince me.  So many people lately have been asking for us to show them evidence and it's getting a little old... :) Yup! But hey! that's how it is :)

The good news is, one of our investigators who has been gone on vacation came back and told us that she had read in the Book of Mormon, and wanted to meet again, (We had only met with her once before). She asked if we could meet on Sunday and we told her about General Conference.  THEN SHE ASKED IF SHE COULD COME!  We didn't even get to inviting her yet.  But sure enough, she came for the Sunday morning session of conference (which we watched Sunday night) and the whole time, I was praying that she would like it, and that something would touch her.  One of the talks quoted Alma 32 which just happened to be the chapter she had read in the Book of Mormon already.  She loved the whole conference and all of the inspiring stories!  I mean, who wouldn't? :)

On wednesday, ALL of our appointments cancelled clear up until 6 o'clock.  It's the WORST!!! We left the apartment not quite knowing what we were going to do.  Even our backup plans fell through.  We concluded that the best thing to do was to get started in the best way that we knew how.  Contacting.  Now we had no intention on contacting for 6 hours, but we were running on pure faith that Heavenly Father had a plan for the day.  And He did!  As we were contacting, we both got the feeling to travel out to an island to visit a less active who we hadn't tried before because it took too much time to get out there. We took a ferry, then a bus for about an hour, and visited this lady.  After a few minutes of talking to her, she referred us across the field to her nonmember exhusband.  So we went over, and he wants to learn more about the church!  Now that we could see it all in perspective, we realized that we had kept putting off going out to the island for a day that we had no plans.  But we always had plans.  So God in His wisdom, cleared our plans, and gave us a little stress so we could have the time to go to this prepared man.  God is awesome. And so smart.

While we were on the island, we found a BEAUTIFUL little lake that was surrounded by yellow, orange, and bright read trees.  The water was SO STILL, it was like walking into a little autumn paradise! SO GORGEOUS! (I can't send pictures this week, but I'll send them next week for sure! It was breathtaking!

We had an AMAZING service oppurtunity this week.  We went to the poor house here in Oslo, and gave food to people who couldn't afford it themselves.  I came expecting to be amazed by the humble people who came through the line, but what I didn't expect was to be humbled by the amazing people who were volunteering their time to be there.  These are people who vonunteer there every week.  One of the volunteers in particular, had just recently finished a long and rigorous bike race where the prize was 10,000 Kroner.  He won, and donated every bit if it to the poor house.  When he saw our name tags, he told us that he had prayed that morning to be led to truth!  He came with us that night to the center to watch Meet the Mormons with some other YSA.  The Oslo sisters are teaching him now.  He's my hero.  What a champion!

Something I learned about the Atonement this week:  The fact that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings makes the Atonement even more meaningful.  I mean, if it was God giving Himself for us, that would be great and all, but it becomes even more powerful when you realize that He gave His Son.  How incredible is that.  Of course they are two separate beings.  The sacrifice was not God giving himself, but giving His Son.  God gave His Son for us to pay the price so that we can return back to Him.  

Has the gospel always been this TRUE?? Or could I just not see it before? hmm.

I love you all SO much! remember to Ponderize a scripture this week!

Sister Heywood