Monday, January 25, 2016

The Church of JESUS CHRIST!‏

Hey Family!!
Quote of the week: "Stupid people are not the ones that don't know anything, but the ones who CHOOSE not to know anything." -Søster Peterson.
Story behind the quote: We were out on a walk, and stopped to talk to a guy with a HUGE beard.  I mean, this guy easily puts Santa Claus to shame.  Anywho, this guy was SO SMART as far as religion goes.  We had a cool talk with him about the Bible, then he asked us what was so different about Mormons.  So we told him about prophets, and that we have a living prophet today.  His eyes got big and he said, "Seriously, you guys really believe that God's prophet leads the Mormon church?"  We said, "Well, he leads the Church of Jesus Christ."  Then he said,  "Wait,  you guys believe that Jesus Christ's church, prior to His second coming is your church?  And that this is His church in the last days?? That's a little bold to say, don't you think??" I looked at him, and said, "You're right.  That is incredibly bold to say.  But it's true.  It's 100% true.  This is the church of Jesus Christ, and it is led by a prophet who is called of God.  And the two of us have given up a lot to come to Norway and tell you this.  What if it's true?"  I almost put my hand over my mouth.  Borderline too bold don'tcha think? He looked at us and thought for a while, shook his head, said he had to go, then walked away. Just walked away.  It was one of those moments that I wanted to run after him and grab his shoulders and say, "THIS IS TRUE!! And you need it!"  But the Spirit told me that I probably shouldn't do that.... ;) During that conversation, I had the Holy Ghost testify to me again how true the church really is.  And not just the church.  God's plan for us is perfect.  Through it and ONLY through it can we live with our families forever.  Through His plan we can become better.  We can overcome impossible things.  Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can feel the peace that this world doesn't want us to feel.  It's delicious.  It is oh so good!  I want everyone to feel it. 
On Wednesday we had a missionary broadcast where David A Bednar, Bonnie Oscarsen, Neil L Andersen etc etc etc, spoke about how we can refocus on our purpose as missionaries.  One thing that was said it that we should ALWAYS have the name of Jesus Christ on our lips.  We should be testifying of His ALWAYS.  It was SO good!!! And to be honest, it was pretty humbling.  There is so much I need to be doing that I'm not doing.  There is SO much I could be doing better.  Like SO MUCH!! And I've only got 6 weeks to fix it! haha! Uff da. 
With all these thoughts stressing me out, plus investigators not answering their phones, plus other stress, the week started out a little rough.  I had a feeling even on Monday that I should ask for a priesthood blessing.  I pushed it away thinking, "Nah, it's just a little stress.  I'm fine."  Then I kept getting the same feeling everytime I said my personal prayers.  I kept thinking, "It's fine,  I've had worse stress than this over the last year and a half.  I can do this."  The feeling never went away, so I told Søster Peterson about it on Wednesday after the broadcast.  She goes, "Hello, Søster Heywood! The Lord obviously wants to tell you something!" I love my companion, did I mention that? I laughed and agreed to ask for a blessing the next day.  We had district meeting on Thursday and afterwards, the elders were in weekly planning, and I didn't want to bug them.... So Søster Peterson knocked on the door for me because I was being a chicken.  I asked them for a blessing, and they said "Of course!"  I won't go into the details of the blessing here, but it opened with, "Your Heavenly Father wanted to let you know...."  And from then on, the water works didn't stop.  Sånn er det.  I am so thankful for the priesthood.  I had no idea why I needed a blessing until after, but boy did I need it.  I am thankful for worthy priesthood holders.  I am thankful that even over here in Norway, a priesthood blessing isn't too far away.  I know that it wasn't just an elder with his hands on my head saying nice things.  Those words said were from God.  I know that.
On Friday, we decided to call through the area book and see if anyone was interested in meeting again.  We called a man named Truls and met with him on Saturday.  He loves the Book of Mormon and LOVES meeting with missionaries, just never has time to meet.  A few nights before we called him, he was looking for his Book of Mormon (Which he usually kept on his bedside table).  He couldn't find it anywhere and was pretty sure that his girlfriend had thrown it away.  (Girlfriends are dumb.  Don't get girlfriends ;)  But we called him and he took it as a sign that God wants him to have that Book! So we gave him another one and taught him about the Plan of Salvation.  He loved it!  He wants to meet again, but is worried about his work schedule getting in the way.  (You guys can send a prayer his way if ya want :)  God has literally been saving his life over and over and over again and he just "keeps running into Mormons".  Haha! Søster Peterson was like, "Uh, that's not a coincidence" :) 

Last cool story.  We have an eternal investigator that comes to church every Sunday.  In fact, He drives one of the older ladies that can't drive herself.  (She has basically adopted him.) He's awesome.  I've never taught him because he has literally had all the lessons over and over, and just won't decide to be baptized.  This guy has read the Book of Mormon TWICE! And knows it's true.  He even says he'll be baptized "someday".  But the ward loves him.  We got invited to a family's house after church for dinner, and they invited him to.  We got there before he did and the family sat us down and said, "okay Sisters, What are we teaching him?"  Literally, this appointment was every missionary's dream.  We started the lesson, and everyone sitting around the table bore awesome testimony, and taught from their own experiences.  It was awesome.  He will be baptized for sure.  I just don't know when.  But I'll keep ya'll updated :)

Food for thought for the week.  Ya'know how in 3 Nephi 11, Heavenly Father introduces Jesus Christ and says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name.  Hear ye Him."?   He was so proud of His Son.  As He is proud of each of us when we follow His will.  How would Heavenly Father introduce you to a group of people?  What would He say?   
Other fun things
-The air was so cold on Monday that there were litterally ice crystals floating in the air. That's what you get when you live by the ocean way up north. It was so cool!!
-Søster Peterson and I had two service projects this week.  One of which was peeling wallpaper for a less active member, and the other was stacking a garage full of wood (for the same less active member) It was a BLAST! I love serving.
-Mom, you'll be glad to know that the childhood "Sheri Lewis 101 fun things to do" came in handy as I taught a nine year old how to make cat ears :)
I love you Family!!!! Have an AWESOME week!  Have Christ's name on your lips ALWAYS!
-Søster Heywood

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Many are COLD but few are FROZEN‏

January 18, 2016

Kjære Fam,
Whelp!  It was -17 degrees this morning and that about sums up the week :) haha! It was SO cold.  So we said a big goodbye for being on the streets for more than 15 minutes at a time.  More than that and it gets a little dangerous.
But because of the cold, we decided to go banking in our neighborhood.  Usually I assume that these houses have been tried about a million times, but that is NOT safe to assume.  DISCLAIMER FOR THE UPCOMING STORY:  I have never been let in to a house while banking.  (Except once in Drammen because the lady thought we were JWs).  So we went out, and talked to a few cool people, then we met a German guy, Thomas, that I had actually met once already.  He couldn't speak Norwegian very well back when I met him, but now he's pretty good and can understand almost everything we say!  We made a plan to come back to him another day (We couldn't go in right then... mission rules :) We continued down the street though and a few houses later, a Norwegian man answered the door and listened!  Then he told us to come in out of the cold.  #pitycard Then we taught him and his family! It was a miracle!!! Also... he thought Mormons were kinda the same thing as Amish and that this was our first time "out in the real world".  Oh man...
Before we had gone out banking, we were coming home from emailing at the library and had the hardest time getting our car up our driveway.  Just imagine driving up an ice rink with a layer of snow on it.  Uff da.  Anywhoo... I got out of the car and shoveled while Søster Peterson tried again and again and again and again.  Seriously about 15 times.  As I was shoveling, a lady (Ellen) walked by and looked at me and BUSTED up laughing.  Something about a little girl in a dress shoveling a gross slushy driveway was funny to her I guess :) Well, we chatted for about 15 minutes and near the end of it, I told her I was a missionary from America.  Her mouth dropped.  She asked if I had Norwegian parents who had taught me Norwegian my whole life.  I was like... When I told her I t been in Norway for a little over a year, she about died.  It was cool and it made me think of when I was set apart the night before going to the MTC.  In my blessing it said that Norwegians would think I was a native speaker.  #Finallyfulfilled :) 
She invited us to her house later in the week for some coffee.  So we went, didn't drink coffee, and taught her about the Restoration instead :) So koselig.  And get this.  She LOVES art and music! Like... more than I do... I think we're gonna be good friends :)
I'm emailing a little later today because we decided to go sledding as a district.  SUPER fun!  We used these little shovel-ish things as sleds and went down a huge, steep hill! I definitely never made it to the bottom without falling off.  You're welcome for that mental picture. ;)
We had ZLT this week and talked lots more about Family History and how we can use it to find people to teach.  I made a decision.  I'm going to go crazy with Family History when I come home.   I'm sorry for anyone within 50 meters of me ;) haha! I LOVE IT!!!!

Grakum sent me an email today asking how the Holy Ghost helps us teach.  Which is super cool because that was really similar to the topic I spoke about in church yesterday.  My topic was how the Holy Ghost helps us everyday.  I focused a lot on the fact that it was EVERY day.  Not just the days that we have a really cool big spiritual experience.  As far as how the Holy Ghost helps us teach, I think that it is most important that He is both inspiring the learner and the teacher.   It doesn't matter how well the lesson is planned out.  If the learners aren't open to the Holy Ghost or the teacher hasn't followed the spirit in her preparation, the lesson will be a less effective.  Joseph Smith said that it is even vain for anyone to minister (or teach) without the Spirit. (PMG ch 4)  I have definitely seen that on my mission.  All the time.  If the Spirit is the copilot in a lesson, I need to switch seats with Him :) The Spirit is the Teacher. So really the topic should be how we help the Holy Ghost teach :) haha
A couple other fun things:
-had two crockpot meals this week.  Feels like home :)
-Started my last transfer today... weird...
-Norwegians ride their skis to school.... I'm a little jealous

I love you family! Have an AWESOME week!!!
Love Søster Heywood

Monday, January 11, 2016


Kjære Fam,
Okay, so first and coolest part of the week (other than like... missionary work):  Elsa came overnight and made a bunch of snowflakes on our car!!! Also, I thought snowflakes (like the six-sided cool stuff) were microscopic.... So that was a learning experience of the week! To quote Søster Peterson, "VERY REAL. MUST SEE".  
Then by Sunday, we were BURIED in snow.  I'm really thankful for 2 things this week.  1. A landlord that shoveled a little path to our car, and 2.  Windshield scrapers.  Oh yeah. SO much snow.   Nowadays Søster Peterson drives while I pray.  haha! It's so scary!
The STLs came this week! This transfer, it's Søster Sorensen and Søster Horner (My little girl is all grown up and being a training leader! *tear*).  I LOVE those two!! I started the day with Søster Sorensen (Who is in my group and going home at the same time as me).  We started contacting on the streets and basically talked about the parable of the wheat and the tares the whole time.  Conclusion: Asker is full of tares (people that just won't listen, rude people, etc)  But there is DEFINITELY wheat here (prepared people,  even just kind people).  We just have to find the wheat among all the tares.  So we don't get discouraged after talking to a "tare".  We're just one tare closer to a wheat.  Is that a mean analogy? I feel mean now that I'm typing it out.  I love the tares too I promise! And so does God :)
Anywho... The second half of the day I was reunited with Søster Horner!!! Man!  I have missed that sister!  It took me back to training in Stavanger except now, she was training me!  So fun!  We had a couple appointments and since the other sisters had the car, we got to go on a LONG walk in the snow after missing our bus.  Good times.  We eventually got to our appointment with an investigator Claudia.  Well, I mean she's nine so she's technically an investigator.  Her mom is a member, but wants her daughter to be sure about baptism... long story... anywho, so we taught this 9 year old about baptism and it was so fun!  She had a friend over as well and her little friend almost participated in the lesson more than she did :) When we finished the lesson, Claudia asked if I knew how to play the cup game.  (Oh yeah, all skills are used in this mission) haha!  So we played the cup game and headed home.  As we were planning with the STLs, Sister Firth and House serving in Drammen called and told us that their pipes were frozen and asked if they could come spend the night.  So long story short... we had 6 sisters in that apartment that night.  Uff da :)
Magni is doing well. Just gotta get her to be more comfortable praying... She still isn't sure if she believes in God quite yet which makes it kinda hard to pray.  If any RMs have tips let me know :) But she's still good and she's trying.  We can't expect more than that eh?
We started calling through the area book this week seeing if any former investigators would be up for meeting again, and we found a guy named Mike.  He's so cool!  And he has been taught EVERYTHING.  He told us is he gets answers to a couple of his questions, ie Baptisms for the dead, then he'll be baptized! So that's pretty awesome!  Definitely a tender mercy after the last few weeks of having almost no investigators.  We're excited to keep teaching him.
A few other fun things:
-Basically got force fed four giant Norwegian hot dogs.... And by force feed I mean it was an old Norwegian lady and I just can't say no to old Norwegian ladies.  I thought I was gonna puke.
-Applied for college... that was weird... that's enough about that...
-Went to primary with Claudia on Sunday... There is NOTHING cuter than little primary kids speaking Norwegian.  
I've been studying the Holy Ghost during personal study and learned something cool.  If you want a specific answer from the Holy Ghost, you need to ask a specific question to God.   I can't count the number of times I have prayed and asked,  "Heavenly Father, please help me be better."  That is NOT specific.  And besides, how do I know if I became better?  Better in what way?  So instead I've been asking "Heavenly Father,  how can I be a better companion?  How can I be more obedient? etc."  It's just like the talk from General Conference last October "What Lack I Yet".  When we ask specifically, we are answered specifically.  Then comes the unshakable testimony that prayers are answered through the Holy Ghost.  That testimony doesn't come through half hearted asking.  :)
I love you family!!!!!!! Have a great week!
-Søster Heywood
This was Sunday...

This was last Wednesday.... Magical right??

Monday, January 4, 2016

Holidays are OVER! Let's get down to business!‏

Dear Family,

As weird as it sounds, I am SO happy for the holidays to be over.  Everything in Norway shuts down for the holidays and the work just kinda stops,... kinda.... I mean "No unhallowed hand can stop the work" right?  Right, but sometimes, a holiday or two slows it down a little.
But the week has been really fun! We have some awesome members that take care of us.  We tried to watch fireworks from our apartment on New Year's Eve, but it was too foggy, so we just closed our eyes and listened to the loud BOOMs!  It was a good time :) We had a mustache and soda party and organized the Book of Mormons in the apartment.  Then as we're doing that, we get a call from President Hill.  He was wondering how to get to our house so he and Sister Hill could bring us some banana bars.  I LOVE THEM!  The Hills not the banana bars... well, the banana bars too... yup! They're both good ;)
The next day (New Year's Day) we went to an older couple in the ward.  They had just barely served a mission as the mission president in Sweden!!! Yeah... That was an intimidating spiritual thought to give :) haha! Nah, it was great!  We talked about a topic that all mission presidents like to talk about: Setting Goals.  Here's the conclusion family:  If we don't set goals, we don't accomplish anything. If we set goals with no plan to achieve them, we'll face even bigger disappointment.  So set goals, then make a SOLID plan.  And make sure you can measure your goals.  For example, I usually have a goal to be bolder...  2 things wrong with that goal.  1. I'm setting the same goal every week because I always could have been bolder, 2. How do I know if I really achieved it?  So instead, our goal for this week is to invite everyone we meet with to baptism.  Now that can be measured.
Anywho... I'll stop with the condensed version of PMG and got on with the rest of the week.  Contacting on the street was ROUGH this week.  Like, worse than it has ever been on my mission.  It was weird.  95% of the people would just walk away and act like we weren't there... even after we made eye contact with them.. Funny how people forget to be people.  
BUT! We went banking (knocking doors), and we decided to use a family history approach.  EVERYONE WAS NICE TO US.  I mean, no one let us in, but people were so nice and really interested in FamilySearch.  It was so cool.  People just love their families!  It was so fun!
The ward had a super fun Christmas party!  I know I know it was on the second of January, but in Norway Christmas lasts technically for 13 days after the 25th.... so technically it's still Christmas time... haha!  We all danced around the Christmas tree ( Yeah, they do that here ) and Julenissen (Santa) even came!!! He's different in Norwegian... :)

I'm emailing a little later and shorter today because we decided to have an OSLO p-day.  So I'll make up for the short email by sending some pictures :)
To answer some questions... I'm 99% positive that I will finish my mission in Asker with Sister Peterson.  I'll be sure to find some kind of mountain and shout from it soon.  I've forgotten to do that the last 50 times! haha!
Welp! I love you family! Keep being examples.  Keep feelin' GROOVY (I sang that to Sister Peterson this week).  Keep up the hard work!
Søster Heywood

 Dancing around the Christmas tree

 Søster Peterson and I at the Oslo Opera house

We thought this was pretty great :)

And more photos of our pday in Oslo:

It's Christmas. No it's not. Yes it is. No it's not where's the snow???‏

December 28, 2015

Dear Family,
I would like to formally give credit to Buddy the Elf for my email title.  This is basically what was going through my head all week.  To sum it up... I HAVE OFFICIALLY HAD MY FIRST GREEN CHRISTMAS! ........and it's the worst....yup!  But what do ya know, we wake up on the 27th and POOF! TONS of snow.  I guess it was just being a little shy.  Boo.
Short email for this week, but I'll sum up the most Norwegian week I've had.
Monday: Went to Eline's house and watched the Lion King in Norwegian.  She's right. It's the best. ;) (I have to say that because she is probably reading this right now ;)
Tuesday: We made a TON of cookies and took them around to some members.  Andto Sister Hill since it was her birthday.  Just imagine a ton of sugar cookies drowning two little girls in an even smaller kitchen:) 
Wednesday (Lille Julaften):  We went to the Bishop's house and ate risgrøt (basically rice pudding),and dancedand sang around the Christmas tree.
Thursday (Julaften): The ward had a Christmas Eve church meeting (without the sacrament),and Søster Peterson and I did two musical numbers.  After Church it was off to Familien Wyssenbach's house for some Christmas pinnekjøtt (lamb).  I LOVE IT.  SO YUMMY! mmm....  Then they let us know that they had volunteered to serve Christmas dinner to some refugees and we wouldn't be able to stay too long.   We asked if we could come, and it was so much fun.  Imagine a room full of middle easterners trying to sing Norwegian songs :)  It was the best! And they were all SO thankful.  It was the perfect way to spend Christmas Eve.
Friday (JUL):  Let's see... Nothing too exciting.... Oh yeah!  I got to talk to ya'll!!! ;)  It was the best!  And then of course Sister Peterson and I opened presents first thing, and boy were we spoiled this year!  Between our families, the ward, and Eline's family our little present corner was PACKED! WAY too many presents.  I just have to give some shoutouts for my favorites though!
Sister Buhler (Hana) gave me a autobiography about Al Fox.  AND SHE HAD IT SIGNED!!!! On the inside cover it says, "Jessica, Keep going, and don't ever stop! xo Al"  I was DYING!!!!! Oh man! That was a good one.  Good good good.  The ward gave us a total of 12 Chocolate bars. And for any of you who don't know how big one Norwegian chocolate bar is... it's about 4 Herseys bars.  That is a TON of chocolate. OI!  Eline gave me Cinderella in Norwegian and The Little Mermaid for Søster Peterson. Then a little dvd player that can hook up to any computer!  One for each of us! Her family gave us each a Marius patterned thermal. Martine gave some knitted socks and mittens, (Which are THE BEST!!!) And then of course comes the family:  Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, Pajamas (MUCH NEEDED!), a necklace, long socks, an art kit(wouldn't be Christmas without something artsy fartsy eh?) etc etc etc.  Then Søster Peterson somehow sneakily bought me Frozen in Norwegian!  And it's a sing along version... family: I hope you're all ready to learn thesongs in Norwegian when I come home ;) WE went over to an awesome cute member familly to finish the great day!
Saturday: We played soccer,  drove to hønefoss, ate CRAZY typical Norwegian food (pickled herring, liver, rotten cheese, etc....) Then came back to our mission leader's house for one last Christmas dinner.  So yummy as usual!  
Sunday:  Awesome day at church.  Then President Hill invited us over for dinner.  He had us sing Somewhere over the rainbow for him.... again :) He loves that song.  Oh man.  Then we came back to the apartment andhad probably the deepest heart to heart that I have ever had with a companion.  If anyone had any doubts.... I LOVE MY COMPANION SO MUCH!  She is one of the strongest people I know.
That about sums up this week.  Norwegian Christmas traditions are the best! I love my mission so much!!!!!!!
I love you all! The Church is true!
-Søster Heywood

Spoiled... I'm telling ya!