Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You can grow without rain

Nikki's email from this week on November 10th. She sent lots of pictures this week!  There are quite a few pictures that she sent from her last area (Almere) in Almere since she couldn't send pictures while she was there! The rest are from her new area (Zoetermeer).

"Temple conference"

"Belgium! I have a belgian waffle (two actually...one was to bring back to my companion)"
"Belgium! (sorry these are so random!)"

"from Almere-Yarina (awesome member missionary-Michelle's best friend) with the Elders and Sister Packer"
"Almere-this sweet woman taught us how to make skirts,she's awesome"

"Almere-Margreet's baptism!"
"Almere--Margreet's family--her mom is from Brazil (she was baptized there and talked about how the missionary who baptized her is in the Sao Paulo area and is inactive-I tolder her that I knew someone serving in the area and she gave me his info and I gave it to Elder Lowe! We'll see what happens!)"

"Almere-the Bishop from Almere and his family--so nice"
"Almere--Sister Van der Put--she is so wonderful"

"Almere--Chaya and Rubin--LOVE them. Chaya was so good to us"
"Almere--the girl on the left is our mini-missionary. This was from when we went on splits with these two girls"

"Almere--matching sweaters. Awesome"
"Johan! My bike."
"Zoetermeer--this past week we went to Den Haag for a "splits avond".  We split up with a member from Den Haag and looked up inactives.  This woman is so cool!  We walked all over Den Haag and she's wonderful."

"Zoetermeer--me in Nederland!"


Well, we found out what will be happening once Sister Hoff leaves! We're getting a "mini-missionary" today and she will be staying here until the end of the transfer, so she'll stay with me as my companion once Sister Hoff leaves. It's a girl named Heidi, who I knew in Almere! It'll be pretty interesting, I'm nervous but excited about the new adventure.

Well, this week was pretty hard, but totally filled with tender mercies and miracles. First off, we went to Bagels and Beans last p-day (love that place), and we had dinner at Familie Rahman Van Eeden. They are a really nice family in our ward. We were just starting dinner and Sister Rahman Van Eeden mentioned that she served in Temple Square. I asked her if she knew Sister Cheney, and she did! And it gets cooler--remember that woman I emailed a few months ago--the woman who Sister Cheney gave me the email address for? Sister Rahman Van Eeden is that same woman!!! It was so cool, she is really kind and sent a picture of us to Sister Cheney. 

Things with our investigators went pretty well this past week--they all just need to pray!!! We are hoping/thinking that Wouter will keep his baptismal date. Irek told us that he prayed about the Book of Mormon and felt really good! And he prayed for us in our lesson, which hadn't happened before. It was simple, in broken English, but it it was wonderful. 

One of our investigators, Jimmy, made us peanut soup with his wife the other day. It was so fun! I got the recipe from his wife and we talked about cooking and recipes and such, and we also got to talk with them about prayer, which was really cool. Their son came in during dinner (the missionaries haven't met with him before) and he started asking us all of these really great questions, like what the Bible means to us and why bad things happen to good people, etc. It was a really cool experience! 

We did exchanges this past week and Sister Frederickson (I met her at BYU, she wasn't in my group in the MTC though) came to Zoetermeer with me! It was so fun and so nice to work with her. 

The day after exchanges, I planned out our day with some lookups I felt like we should do. It was a miracle because all of the people were home! We made 7 appointments for this coming week and it was just wonderful.

Like I said earlier, this week was really hard--from all the I've written so far it probably doesn't seem like a hard week, but it was. I won't go into too much detail, but there have been a lot of discouraging moments. I asked the Elders in our ward for a preisthood blessing, and I am so grateful that I did. It brought comfort to me and helped strenghten me. 

The title for this week was a thought I had this morning--it's pretty appropriate for this mission area too because it rains so much...but anyways, even though this week was filled with "rain"/hard things, I saw a lot of growth in myself and I saw a lot of tender mercies from Heavenly Father, helping me know that He loves me and that I'm doing what He wants me to.

I love you all and I pray for you every day.
Zuster Thomas

Prayer is powerful, and prayer is needed

Nikki's email from November 3rd.  Sorry I am still behind, but we finally have pictures from her! These are her pictures from the last several weeks since she couldn't get the pictures to send before. The captions in the quotations are the captions she sent in her email :)
"Sister's Conference with Sister Packer"

"Random selfie.."
"at the Pantophlet's in Almere--they fed us every Friday (btw the Elders did service for them right after dinner...thus the normal clothes."
"Sister Hoff and I (her new companion) at the Trunk or Treat activity" 

"Beautiful Zoetermeer" (her new area where she is)
"Our beautiful church building!"

"Irek at the Halloween Institute--this was the first time he's ever carved a pumpkin! He loved it."
"Sister Hoff and Irek with their pumpkins"

"at wouter's farm"

"at wouter's farm"
"I made pumpkin bread! It was lekker"
"My first fresh stroopwaffle!! Yum"

Hallo familie! Hoe is it?
Well, this week was full of lots of new things.

So, for the last couple of days in Almere:
Sister Packer and I went on splits with two older young women in Almere, which was really cool, I was with a sweet girl named Victoria, and we found a potential investigator while knocking doors! Sister Packer and I also said goodbye to a few members--the members weren't too happy with Sisters leaving Almere (they replaced us with Elders, so Almere has 4 Elders now). We had dinner our last night with familie Herrebrugh (the Mother is from Minnesota!).
Transfer day was a little nuts, it was sad to say bye to Sister Packer, but I'm excited for her and all the new adventures in her path. Also, on transfer day I tried this amazing drink from Starbucks--the pumpkin spice latte without coffee--they just made it with milk--it was amazing, you have to try it in America! Also I saw Sister Fleming!! And Elder Cook, who was in my MTC group but didn't get his visa at first--he was in Reno and met Sister Eberhard! Anyways, Sister Hoff and I eventually got back to Zoetermeer, I unpacked, and we went to the Ward's trunk or treat activity! It was so fun--I was really grateful I got to go. And we saw the temple on our way home! I love having the temple here, it's so comforting to bike past it and just know that it's close by.

And I love Sister Hoff. She extended, so she's just here until the 19th of November, so I have no idea what they'll do with me after she leaves. She's wonderful though, we have a lot of fun together. She's from Colorado and is hilarious and really good at contacting.
Also, one of the ward missionaries here does yoga every Thursday morning--she does it for free and it's a great way for members to invite non-member friends and for us to get to know them without there being too much pressure. I love yoga! It's so great. Also, on Thursday night there was a Halloween institute, and it was awesome.
We've done a lot of work here the past few days in Zoetermeer--we're finding a lot of potential investigators and our investigators are doing really well. Wouter, one the people we're teaching, is a farmer--he has tons of cows. We got to sample some raw milk (that's the translation from Dutch...basically it's fresh from the cow milk) and had a great lesson with him. We set a baptismal date with him and we're really hoping it all works out!
We're also teaching a man named Irek, who is from Poland--he is so interesting and really great. He's been working on stopping one bad thing a week (with things like smoking and drugs). He had told the Sisters previously that he couldn't give up drinking because it was such a big part of his culture, but the other day, he told us that he had just stopped drinking. It was amazing. He went to institute with us the other day and he had a great time. A funny quote from him from our lesson on Friday came after I bore testimony about Christ and how He understands us perfectly...he said "Nice guy, Jesus.'' It was really funny with his Polish accent.
Also, I found my new Dutch Grandma.....haha, just kidding...kind of. We had dinner at Sister Van de Scheer's house on Friday (she feeds us every friday). She had Frankie Sinatra playing in the background, and she has tons of books--especially church books. She lets us read while she finishes cooking, and she is just super classy and lovely.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!! My subject title is really something I learned more about this week. It was really hard adjusting to everything and saying goodbye to so many people, but as I prayed, I was given energy, motivation, peace, comfort, love and guidance. Also, we've been working with our investigators, trying to help them see the importance of prayer. It is oh so needed, and Heavenly Father wants to hear from us so much.
Zuster Thomas