Monday, December 29, 2014

Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this earth

Nikki's email from December 15th!
"Elfride and her girls (she also has a little son)"

"Me and Zuster Faa!"
"Zuster Uljee--oh how I love this woman.  We helped her set up her Christmas decorations and she has the SAME nativity from Jerusalem that we have--the one that we set up together every year. (pictured below)"


"Look who lives in our building!"

"Zuster Van der Scheer!!!! My Dutch grandma--she has us over every Friday for dinner.  I LOVE HER SO MUCH"

"Oh yeah, we went to Delft last p-day! It was super beautiful--we climbed this huge old church ( to the top of the tower) and we got some delt blauw things (which are coming to you in the mail :) )"

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I hope it was wonderful! I sent you a letter with all the things I love about you, but I'll send you an email with some more :)
Also, CHRISTMAS! I get to see you all! We will be going to Familie Kaaijk's house to skype--we will be going there at 4, then we will set stuff up and skype at 4:30 PM my time? I think that's 9:30 AM your time--if  you could send me your skype username that would be great. I'm so excited to see all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, this week was pretty great! I'm training Zuster Faasavalu, who I met on facebook a little before I started my mission. She is from Utah and we're doing great! She just graduated high school this past spring and came with a huge group of new missionaries. There is another Zuster in her group that I knew from BYU--Zuster Goodman--we had a class together and we became good friends through that.
First of all, Ehrari's son, Ashu, is getting baptized!!!!! January 3rd! I'm so excited. They came to English lessons this past Wednesday (I taught it! It was kinda funny to teach Dutch people English). He told his Mom when they were walking into the church "Whenever I come here I feel like I'm coming home." We taught him about the Restoration and invited him to be baptized--he totally understands what baptism means, and he is really excited to make that promise with God and to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost with him always. He wanted to schedule it really soon--so we have to get through all the lessons before then--but we are so excited for him. He is so sweet and so sincere--he reads in the children's Book of Mormon every day and asks really good questions. We're hoping to set a baptismal goal date with Ehrari soon--she doesn't feel ready yet, but she wants to be baptized!
We got to go to the temple with Wouter this past Tuesday--it was his first time! It was wonderful, I love feeling the Spirit in the temple. We had a great lesson with Wouter later in the week--he is so wonderful, he has really grown so much and is so much happier.
We had Stake Conference this past weekend, and the Stake presidency was changed--our Bishop from Zoetermeer is the second counselor, so we'll be getting a new bishop! We got a ride with the Muntigas--a sweet older woman and her son. They are so kind! I got to see a lot of people from Almere at Stake Conference--it was wonderful.
Last night we had dinner at the Brouwers --a really nice young married couple in our ward--with some of their family members and the Elders. I'm singing a Christmas song with Zuster Brouwer for the church's Christmas program (I'm also singing in Zone training this week and twice in the Stake Christmas program--it'll be so fun!) so we practiced then. After dinner we had our first lesson with Jan, who told us that he thinks Christ uses his body to do things on the earth--it was interesting. I was a little frazzled, but I did my best and in the end the Spirit was there, especially when we gave him a tour of the church--I was able to show him all the paintings in the building, and the baptismal font, and I was able to explain and testify of important things that I believe and know to be true. It was definitely something I'll never forget.
It's been a great week working with the members, I really feel like I've formed really good friendships here with the members and with the investigators. I love these people so much--my heart is so full. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father has put these people in my path, and that we're able to learn from and love each other. There are people here that I know I met before this life--I can't really explain the feeling, but we just click.

Elfride, a less active member, is so wonderful--she's been coming to church and bringing her kids! Jimmy and Jetti are so great--they always feed us when we go there, and I really click well with Jetti, it's really fun to be with and teach them. Lucie and I have gotten to know eachother better and I really love her--she's so calm and loving to her children. Wouter is so amazing--it's been a privilege to see him grow closer to our Savior, and he has become such a better and happier person because of it. He sometimes calls just to chat and ask some questions about church or the scriptures, and it's great. Souad is really opening up and she really loves having us over. Zuster Uljee is like my awesome South African grandma--she's so kind and wise. Marleny (a less active from Peru) is really kind and humble, and her son Rumi is going to start meeting with us! And the members in the ward are so wonderful--I could go on for a long time about each member I've gotten to know--they are amazing.
I am so grateful for the blessing I have of being a full time missionary for the Lord. As I have been introducing my "greenie" to the area and the people, I have realized more of how blessed I am to know these people and to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was thinking about a quote from Elder Holland--I think I got it right (I put it as the title)--today, about how Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this earth--and it's true. As I love people and try to treat them as Christ would, it makes everything better--it makes life better. We are here to feel God's love and to share God's love by loving others and helping them know how much God loves them. And I love that.
Sorry this was such a long email--I sure love you all!
Zuster Thomas

these are the songs I'm singing the next couple weeks:
zone training: he'll carry you
stake christmas program: savior redeemer, ere zijn God (dutch christmas song)
ward christmas program: star carol
I'm excited! Also, the stake christmas program is in haarlem--which was where stake conference was too--it's where they filmed a lot of best 2 years. I got to go in the church that they used in the movie! it was cool! also I was in the train station they used for the movie too! Super fun

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