Making Friends:

Heidi Pedersen of Hallingby, Norway

By Lawrence Cummins

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    Whether she’s organizing her own second-hand market to raise money for the needy or playing Queen of the Woods in a “secret” green hideaway, Heidi Irene Pedersen is always full of enthusiasm. She lives with her family in Hallingby, a hilly, wooded area about 80 kilometers northwest of Oslo, Norway’s capital city. Like many wooden homes in Norway—old and new—the Pedersens’ house has a ladder permanently attached to one of its outside walls, which allows quick and easy access for the skorsteinsfeir (chimney sweep) to reach the rooftop.

    Besides Heidi (7), the Pedersens have a son, Thor Arne (15), and daughters, Ragnhild Marie (9) and Inger Helene (18). Inger lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, as an exchange student when she was in high school. Both parents are registered nurses; however, Heidi’s mother, Gerd, spends much of her time at home now with her busy family. She is a home seminary teacher to her own children and those of nearby neighbors. Arne, Heidi’s father, is now a salesman for an Italian pharmaceutical company. He serves as ward librarian at their meetinghouse in Oslo.

    Heidi and Ragnhild gather woodland greens and tasty carrot tops for their pet rabbits, Pelle and Sweetie, between excursions into the trees to play Queen of the Woods. The upturned roots of a fallen pine tree make a perfect throne where “Queen” Heidi summons her subjects to do her bidding.

    One day, while waiting her turn at the dentist’s office, Heidi felt impressed to give a copy of the Book of Mormon, with her picture and testimony inside, to a neighbor lady who was also waiting. “You can have this,” Heidi said, handing the woman the book. “It’s a true book, and ours is the true church.”

    The spirit of truth worked quickly. The next day the neighbor lady, Lajla Pedersen, phoned and asked if she could go to church with the Pedersens the next Sunday. Soon Lajla and her husband, Jan, were converted to the Church. Within weeks he was baptized, ordained a priest, and was able to baptize his wife, his daughter, Lisabeth, and his son, Kim.

    Touched by pleas to help poor people in poor countries, Heidi got the idea one day to hold a secondhand market to earn some money. Afterward, she and her friend Kim Pedersen, who helped her, sent the $21.00 that they had earned to an organization that helps children in need.

    In school, Heidi especially likes math. But when she’s outside with he classmates, she enjoys playing European handball, a field game that’s played with a ball a little smaller than a soccer ball.

    A girl with many interests, Heidi enjoys music, plays the recorder, works in the garden, climbs trees, collects dolls, knits, and makes dinosaurs out of rocks. One thing that you can be sure of is that whatever Heidi is doing, she’s doing it with imagination and purpose.

    Photography by Richard M. Romney

    Far left: Heidi in traditional Norwegian costume. Top: Heidi with her mother and sisters, Inger Helene and Ragnhild. Left: Heidi and her friend Kim, bicycle by her home. Above: Heidi eating tomatoes from the family garden.

    Playing Queen of the Woods with her sister Ragnhild.