Thursday, September 25, 2014

A leap of faith is the best mode of transportation

This is Nikki's email from her first week in the Netherlands! Her Preparation Days (P days) have now been changed from Wednesdays to Mondays, so if you want to send her emails, (to she will be able to see those bright and early Monday morning!

She didn't leave captions this week for the photos so I will try to best guess what they are of!

Cool building in Almere!

(im guessing this is her church building!)

The streets of Almere, Netherlands.

(i think here she is getting her first bike!-in the Netherlands they bike everywhere)

Part of her apartment!

Part of her apartment!

Her companion who she is living with, Sister Packer!

Hallo from Almere! 

Thank you for all your emails, it was so nice to hear from everyone!

I have a lot to catch you all up on! Our flight from Detroit to Amsterdam was so long and cold, but I sat next to a woman who is a missionary from a different church. We had some really interesting chats and I gave her a passalong card. President, his wife and the Assistants to the President picked us up at the airport and we went to a hotel nearby. We traveled to Rijswijk for some legal things and the office Elders had us contact a little on our walk to and from the train station. It was a little stressful, but the first woman we talked to only spoke English, so that was good I guess--I felt like Elder Calhoun a little bit.Then we napped at the hotel (glorious), had dinner, then had a testimony meeting and found out where we were going to serve! 

The next day, Sister Packer picked me up and we had an adventure getting all of my luggage onto and off of the trains. I got to meet some other missionaries, which was really fun. We did some legality things in Leiden, which is gorgeous by the way. Then we went to the mission home and had lunch, then went to our apartment! It's a really nice apartment, we have a washer and lots of space! I unpacked a little while Sister Packer made some appointments, and then we biked to a couple houses to drop off thank you notes. It is SO gorgeous here. Even though the city is really new, the trees and water and bridges...EVERYTHING is so gorgeous. I feel like Monet would want to just hang out here and paint all day. 

The next day, we knocked doors! I was nervous, but now I'm way more comfortable! We gave away TWO Book of Mormons and both people are new potential investigators! It was so exciting. The woman, Chaya, who sent Mom a FB friend request, had us over for dinner--she sent you a message with a picture too. She's the best.

The first lesson we taught with a progressing investigator was in English (can you believe it?) There are quite a few people here who came from Africa and don't speak Dutch, and this was the situation with Aimable. It was a simple but great lesson. He has a hard time understanding the priesthood, and I told him a story about when Dad gave me a blessing when my back hurt and the pain went away! It was great. After that we went to a part-member family's house to teach the daughter and to have dinner. It was really fun--the daughter is really energetic and speaks Dutch fast, so it was hard to understand her but it was a great experience. 

We helped out Chaya with her garden on Saturday and we also got to help her neighbor with his garden. His wife just passed away and he is ill, so it was a great opportunity for us to come and help and get to know him a little. 

People keep telling me my Dutch is good, but it's hard for me to understand people fully and also to use all of the Dutch I have in my head. I love this language and having it all around me though. 

My companion is amazing. It's actually her last transfer before she goes home (Josh, you can take her out when she gets home--she's from Pleasant Grove! Nat you can all meet up with her if you want too!) She is so fun, kind, good a cooking, and all things awesome. She's really good at not stressing out, which is something that has been so helpful for me these first few days. It's really been a miracle that I've been able to transition so quickly. Heavenly Father has really blessed me. I'm happy here and I love the people.

Also, on Sunday, the Bishop had us talk in sacrament meeting and he had me introduce myself and bare my testimony--in Dutch!!!! It was kinda scary but really great. There was a break the fast after and I got to meet a lot of members. The ward here is great! There are two families from MN here! We went to a birthday party of at an inactive family's house--we got to sing the Dutch happy birthday song and have some yummy food! Then we contacted and visited potentials. 

We went shopping today and I had the best cheese I've ever had. It had pineapple in it! Also, I got a sweater and some boots--there were some good sales so I didn't spend too much, at least I think. 

I love it here! It's definitely an adjustment, but I love it. 
Zuster Thomas

P.S. We got to talk to Nikki on the phone on Monday when she was traveling in the airport to the Netherlands! It was the first time we had heard her voice since she left and it was awesome! We can't wait to skype with her on Christmas :)

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