Monday, December 21, 2015

Julen, Julen, Julen den er her!!!‏

December 21, 2015

Hei Family!
Oh man, the Christmas season is in full swing :D And it seems like it has come out of NO WHERE!  Maybe that's because Søster Peterson and I are having too much fun ;) I mean like... appropriate, missionary, productive kind of fun :) (What other kind is there??) 
I'm just going to start with the highlight of the week.  We had zone conference on Saturday, and there were about 50ish missionaries there which was awesome as always.  But here's the fun part.  So the mission is really focusing on family history, and it has been INSPIRED!!! Everyone is interested in finding their families.  I mean, I've been looking for stories about my ancestors now for months.  I found a couple on my own, but during the conference, Sister Hill pulled out a little present from our parents, a completely filled out "My Family" book!! You guys! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  I've read the stories over and over again.  MAN! I feel like I never knew who these people are, and they are the reason I even exist!! Søster Peterson and I took some time after planning one night and just read them to each other.  I started crying! Ok, Ok, I know that's not a big shocker, but I'll have you know I had a LONG record of not crying until now.  I LOVE MY FAMILY!  I'm excited to come home so I can learn more.  But that's like... FOREVER AWAY. 
Another exciting thing about the conference: Linn Steffensen was there!! She is one of my favorite members from Stavanger and she is serving her mission in temple square.  Except, she hasn't gotten her visa yet, so she is starting her mission here with us! :) She basically attacked me when I saw her!! I LOVE HER!!!! GAH! 
we just met with Magni, like.... hmm... 15 minutes ago, and she is doing great! She's taking some time to decide for sure about everything, but that's probably just because she's Norwegian ;) haha! She is so sweet. I actually showed her my family book and without hesitation, she pulls out her iPhone (little more high tech) and showed us a picture of her grandparents who recently passed away.  I'm telling ya.  Spirit of Elijah is a real thing. 
Some other quick fun things:
-we made Julekake (Christmas cookies) with Eline and her Grandma
-we found a MONSTER in our apartment (picture to follow... shudder**)
-We had an ARMY of swans swim at us.
-President really likes singing Somewhere over the Rainbow on the ukulele :) He also laughs by saying HA really loud. just once. It's HILARIOUS!
-We are singing in church three times this week.  That's got to be a record.
-An awesome member gave us a book with Norwegian christmas songs.  Oh yeah, you know I'm singing these every year.
-Last night we SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!! and of course... my camera wasn't charged.... That's the WORST! but they were huge and green and wavy and AMAZING!
I'm reading the part of Jesus the Christ where it talks about the Atonement.  One chapter on Gethsemane, one chapter about the questioning, one chapter about Golgata, and one about the Garden tomb.  I could go on and on about the amazing things I've learned this week just from that book alone.  Right after I read about the resurrection, I turned to where I am reading in the Book of Mormon and it was 3rd Nephi 11.  Oh yeah... that happened :) Jesus Christ lives.  He loves us. He understands us.  And THAT is why we celebrate Christmas. 
Love you family!!!
Talk to ya soon!! ;)
-Søster Heywood

 Linn Steffensen and I :)

The monster we caught.  The coin is to show how HUGE that thing was... definitely the biggest I've ever seen! LOOK AT HIS EYES! AHH!

Just a swan... This was his reaction when we told him about Christ's church being restored :)

Hei Hå nå er det jul igjen!!‏

December 14, 2015

Kjære Fam!

Oh man! A lot happened this week!  First of all, TRANSFERS.  Oh boy.  I said good bye to sweet Søster Firth, sent her off to take care of Drammen Ward, and picked up Søster Peterson! I had never met her before and she was only 6 weeks behind me in the mission.  That's not common here.  Usually you meet pretty much everyone in the mission.  You guys.... WE ARE THE SAME PERSON! Like, I'm not even kidding.  This girl is going to be a friend for a LONG time. I'll just sum up Søster Peterson for ya.
-She did choir and musicals in high school and LOVES to sing.
-We have the same coat... no one has this coat out here.  
-We're both short.... though, she kinda makes me feel like a giant! haha! Yup! She is a towering 4'10" :)
-Get this... cup stacking... she does it too! We were talking about random talents that we have and I go , "I was really into cupstacking when I was in high school", and she goes, "NO WAAAYYY!!!!!" That about sums up every conversation we have had this week.
-Same sense of humor.  Everything.  Movie quotes, weird puns, and just the good ole dry humor!  I've never laughed so hard in all my life! Where has this Søster been all my mission!
-She went to Copper Hills High School and has 4 younger siblings.

Yup! It's been an awesome week.  Since Søster Peterson and I like to sing, we got asked to sing at the special Christmas Eve church meeting we'll be having.  And then again the Sunday after.  And at the next Zone Conference.  Tis the Season eh?  but on the upside, I'm not sick anymore, so singing is finally possible!
The Christmas season is in full swing and I love it!!  Though, I have to say, Christmas as a missionary here is hard.  I'm getting so much dejavu from last year.  Investigators to busy to meet, people on the street rushing to get their shopping done, trying to fill up the planner, etc.  It gets a little rough.  So we've been trying to find some better ways to find people to teach and starting this week our district will be going caroling.  Power of music!  
There is no snow here.  And that's weird.  There is however the thickest, coolest layer of frost on the ground, and it's like walking on crystals!  Hopefully we'll be getting some snow soon! *Cross your fingers*
The awesome lesson of the week has to go to an awesome less active member that we've been visiting.  The last time that Søster Firth and I went to go and visit her, she told us that she wasn't ready to come back to church and that she just needed a "break".  We left feeling pretty sad.  Well, søster Peterson and I decided to visit her again this week and show her the Christmas video, En Frelser Er Født. (A Savior is Born). Near the end of the lesson, søster Peterson pulls out this lovely quote from C. S. Lewis, “He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.” Isn't that beautiful?? It really hit me this week what the Atonement was.  Christ didn't suffer a collective pain of all the world.  He suffered EACH of our pains.  He didn't just feel what it is like to suffer the death of a loved one, but He felt what it feels like for that specific person to go through that.  
Maybe I need an example to get what I'm saying across... bear with me here... let's see... Let's say there is a girl named Anne.  Now Anne has an okay life. She's got a cute little family, a sweet husband, is going to school at a great university.  Suddenly one day, let's say her Husband gets in a car accident and dies.  She's going to go through quite a lot of pain.  Jesus Christ felt that.  He didn't just feel the pain of having a spouse die,  he felt the pain that Anne felt.  He felt the pain of having to tell her little kids the news.  He felt the pain of suddenly having to support a family and pretend everything is okay.  He didn't just feel pain. He felt OUR pain! He knows us and how we feel perfectly.  There is nothing we will ever go through that He hasn't already experienced for us.  He makes it possible to overcome.  Because He overcame.
On a slightly lighter note, This is our favorite Norwegian Christmas song. :) We're trying to memorize it so remind me, and we'll sing it for you when we skype next week!

Julen, julen, julen den er her
med julenek og grønne juletrær.
Sneen faller hvit og lett
og blinker lunt og lett, kokkett.
Bjeller klinger over bygd og by
nå er julefesten her på ny.
Sang og spill i moroland,
der hører vi vel hjemme.
 Hei hå, nå er det jul igjen
vi lager jule-gøy og går på ball igjen.
Hei hå, bli med å syng min venn
for her er Per og Pål og julemenn
og nisser, troll og spillemenn.
Hei tomtegubber, ta i ring
vi koker julegrøt og danser rundt omkring.
Hei hå, det er vel ingenting
som kan la vær’ å være glad når det er jul!
 Jeg gikk meg over sjø og land,
der møtte jeg en gammel mann.
Han sa, han så, han spurte så:
Hvor hører du vel hjemme?
Jo, jeg hører hjemme i klappeland,
i klappeland, i klappeland.
Og alle de som klappe kan,
de hører hjemme i klappeland.
 Hei hå, vi er i klappeland
og de som klappe kan,
er hjemme i klappeland.
Kom så går vi rundt om en enebær busk
tidlig en lørdags morgen.
 Hei hå, nå er det jul igjen,
nå kommer nissen frem i fra sitt skjul igjen.
Hei hå, bli med å syng min venn,
for her er Per og Pål og julemenn
og nisser, troll og spillemenn.
Og HEI! nå er det jul igjen!
- nå er det jul, igjen!
Love you family!! The church is TRUE!!!!
-Søster Heywood

Two of my favorite members, Cora and Ana.  It was their last Sunday before going back to Brazil. 

I'll have to say that one of my favorite traditions is that they light a candle the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.  :) They light one more each week, so by the week of christmas, all 4 are lit. 

Søster Peterson and I in our matching coats!

No snow on the ground... just ICE CRYSTALS!! 

Miracles!!!!!!!! :)‏

December 7, 2015

Hallo Familie!
Welp! As you've probably all heard from Brede, we have transfers this week and Søster Firth is getting transfered to Drammen! These last 6 weeks have gone by so fast, and I can't believe it!  Søster Petersen will be coming to Asker from Kristiansand, and I'm way excited! She is one of the three sisters in the whole mission who I haven't met yet! And I hear she likes musicals! LET'S GO!
We met with Magni this week in the church, and gave her a tour. As we were passing the bulletin board she stopped and asked what a Liahona was. We explained that it was a magazine that the church gives out with stories and messages from our church leaders. We go on with the tour and we make it to the library. We saw a Liahona that's just laying on the table and without thinking, Søster Firth just gave it to her. At the end we asked if she had any questions and she asked about the organization of the church so we told her about apostles and the prophet. She then asked about women and why we don't have women apostles. We tell her about the priesthood and how women have different roles. She seemed to understand everything and asked at the end if she could come to church on Sunday! After she left we had to find the Liahona Søster Firth gave her and make sure there wasn't anything too deep for her. We found one and it was from a few years ago and it was all on Prophets, women roles, and the priesthood. It was everything she had questions about! I don't think there would have been a better magazine for her to have. It was a huge blessing! She also came to church and loved it!
We have been SUPER sick this week. I've hardly been able to hear because I'm so stuffed up.  So on Tuesday, we decided to take it a little easy and not be out in the freezing cold.  We got on the train to come home, and I sat down next to a lady, Diren, who was on her phone.  Now, just so you know.  I had absolutely no intention to talk to her.  I know I know.  Bad Søster Heywood.  But I'm telling you, I could barely see that day. I was DYING!  Before I knew it, we were talking about her family and her kids, and her faith in Christ.  Talk about finding strength beyond my own eh? Absolute miracle! and now we are teaching both her and her daughter, July.  I already love them so much!  
So, I've been reading Jesus the Christ lately during personal study, and I just gotta share a little bit.  First of all, remember that one time that the Pharisees are like, "Hey, is it alright to pay tribute to Caesar?" and Christ shows them the image of Caesar on the coin and says, "Give that which is Caesars to Caesar and that which is God's give to God." I usually read that and was like, yeah, that makes sense I guess... church and state... sure... But this time reading about it, it hit me.  When Christ said to give God that which is His, He was talking about us.  Just as the coin was stamped with the image of Caesar, we are stamped with the image of God.  We are His.  We are of GREAT value to Him.  Our job is to give to God that which is His, by giving of ourselves.  I just loved that.  God loves us so much and the only thing He wants, His whole purpose is to have us back in His presence.

Today's email is a little shorter, sorry bout that.  Gotta get Søster Firth packed. :) But I love you all SO much and I'll talk to ya next week!
Ha det!
-Søster Heywood