Ik hou van jullie!! This week has overall been a great learning experience for me. There have been a lot of "growing pains" spiritually and emotionally, but Heavenly Father has never left me alone.
There really was a huge problem with socializing in our zone--our Branch Presidency talked with a lot of missionaries about focusing and such. I'm studying hard and also having a lot of fun. A couple fun things I wanted to share:
-I forgot to tell you this, but after our first lesson we taught, my companion and I were talking about what we learned, and she said "he is a brewer in Amsterdam" and I just started laughing, because "broer" in Dutch means brother--our investigator was saying that he had a brother in Amsterdam.
-Sister Robbins and I both love peanut butter, but she loves it with a passion I have not seen before ;) whenever someone says "pindakaas" she gets super excited and its really funny
This week we got a new "investigator" who is our new teacher Broeder Lewis pretending to be an investigator he had on his mission (by the way, Broeder Lewis knows Katie Haddock and Elizabeth Pankratz really well! His first name is Brian I think). Anyways, our new investigator is named Amid, and he is very logically minded, so it's been interesting and really great to teach him. Our lessons with Tony are getting better--yesterday we talked with him about God's love for him and also about faith. At one point I asked him who God is for him, and he sat there for a good couple of minutes thinking about it--it was a really powerful moment. When he answered, I felt a bit of how much God loves him.
My Dutch is coming along well, I love speaking it and learning new things about the language. Het is mooilijk maar het is mogelijk (it is difficult, but it is possible). I'm definitely being blessed beyond my own abilities with the language. One thing I have been really trying to improve is my teaching skills. Our teachers have been telling us more about how the Dutch people are and what approaches work and what approaches don't.
This week we did our first "TRC" which is pretty much like a family of members having you over and you share a message. We taught an older Dutch couple and they are so nice! It was a little hard to understand them, but it was great.
To answer some of your questions, I get to print off 5 pages of emails each p-day morning, so we wake up, put our laundry in, get a sac breakfast (there's a sac breakfast line where they have cereal and fruit and such...you don't have to be in missionary clothes for it so it's nice), then print off emails. We read while we eat, switch our laundry, then email. For exercise, I can usually work something our with the other Dutch sisters and whenever one of them wants to run or use the machines I go with them. My favorite thing to do is run around the track--I could do that for a long time, it's such good stress relief for me.
Sorry this email is so long! I really want to share a moment with you all though. Even though this week has had a lot of good things, I would say this week has been one of the hardest so far. One day, during personal study, I just prayed to Heavenly Father for help and strength, and I poured my heart out to Him in prayer. As I prayed, the sun came out through the clouds. I could see the light through my eyelids, I could feel the warmth of the sunlight, and I could feel God's love for me so strongly in that moment. It was truly a healing moment for me. We are precious to Him.
The computers here keep not letting me attach photos, but I will keep trying with the time I have left. Ik heel veel hou van jullie!!!!! Het evangelie is waar. Door Jezus Christ kunnen we worden genezen. (The gospel is true. Through Jesus Christ we can become healed).
You can email Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org where she will read and respond on Wednesdays or send her an email on DearElder.com that she will get that day as a printed off letter, where you will have to click on "Write a Missionary" and fill out information for Sister Nikki Thomas Unit #87 and SEP16 under the estimated departure date!