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!

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