Here it Nikki's letter from this week on January 26th!
"The hospital--yay! This is when I got the MRI"
"The mission home"
"At the hospital"
"At "mini holland"--we went there a little while ago--it's a really cool place with tiny replicas of places all over the Netherlands"
"real or fake?"
"still mini holland--fake"
"I felt like Will Ferrel in Elf...."
Hello! I'm alive!
Well, I am currently emailing off of Zuster Robinson's computer. After my MRI appointment , Zuster and President Robinson picked us up and took us to our apartment. When we were about to get out of the car, Zuster Robinson said "Pack your bags and I'll get both of you tomorrow morning--Zuster Thomas, you're going to stay with us at the mission home, and Zuster Faasavalu, you're going to Den Haag." We were a little surprised, but we packed up, and arranged things with the elders in Zoetermeer so that they would take care of our investigators while we were gone.
So, since Thursday, I've been here at the beautiful mission home. It's very peaceful and quiet, which has been really good for me. Zuster Faasavalu was told to take the phone, so I've had no updates or communications with our investigators of Zuster Faa--well at least until yesterday when she called to update me. She is doing a great job at taking care of things in Zoetermeer while still being in Den Haag. To be honest, after we hung up, I cried like a baby (I may have cried like a baby later on as well…). I miss the people there so much, and it literally aches to not be with them and not be doing missionary work. I am very blessed to be able to stay here with President and Zuster Robinson and get to know them better and learn from the Spirit that is so present here--but it has been hard--physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.
Most of the day I spend trying to study, resting when I need to, helping Zuster Robinson or President with things they need help with (cooking, dishes, computer things, etc), Zuster Robinson and I have had some really nice chats and so have President and I. They are an amazing couple--I've really learned a lot from them. We went to Eindhoven yesterday for church because the Robinsons were invited to speak there. I think I confused a lot of people there--many people thought they had gotten sister missionaries--I had to do a lot of explaining. I felt a little bit like when I stayed with Erica and Andrew to help them move--I'm pretty sure everyone was confused when they saw two women, a man, and a little girl. But it was great to meet the people there.
Oh my gosh, I don't know why I didn't put this first. I had a really cool experience this past week! night, the Robinsons invited a man named Diedrik over for dinner (he is on the board for the netherlands lds Facebook page). He brought his girlfriend, Sofia Sosa. We were chatting and I asked where she was from--she said Ecuador. I asked where in Ecuador--she said Quito. I asked if she knew Elder Thomas. Her eyes lit up, and she said yes! She didn't know Josh super well, but she said that her brother did--Andres Sosa (he was the 1st counselor in the Stake Presidency in Laga something..he was also a bishop at some point). It was such a cool experience--we talked all about Ecuador, Josh, Elder Hess (she knew him really well). Apparently her mother always invited the missionaries over. Sofia is amazing--she was inactive for a long time, and she was in the car accident where her father passed away. She said her brother was always trying to get her to come back to church, but once he became bishop, he just focused on loving her. Then he invited her to watch General Conference, where President Monson talked about losing his wife, and it hit her. She came back to church and came to the Netherlands to be an opair.
Anyways, this week I'll be going to Zone Trainings with President and Zuster Robinson, and hopefully I can go back to Zoetermeer. Today we're going to the office and I'll help with what I can there. I still have a lot of pain, but I'm learning to work with it. Thank you all for your prayers, love and support--I love you all so much.
I've been able to study a lot (well…I'm not able to study as much as I used to yet, but you know what I mean) in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel. I feel like this experience has helped me to deepen my understanding of my purpose as a missionary--I truly have learned so much. Something I learned just today was from John 16--I would encourage you all to read it. Christ is talking to His apostles about how He is going to leave them soon, and how the Holy Ghost will come to them. The chapter has taught me more about Christ and the Holy Ghost's characters as well as trials. In verse 20, it says:
20 "Verily, verily, I saw unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy."
The apostles didn't fully understand what was going on at the time--they were sad that Christ would be leaving them--when we face trials, we often feel sorrow, pain, despair, etc..and we don't fully understand what is going on (a big reason why we we feel sadness in my opinion). However, our sorrow will be turned into joy when we realize the blessings and purposes of the trial that we faced, just as the apostles did. When they saw the resurrected Savior, when they understood why He had to leave them. So as we face trials, we are to look for understanding, to look for the purposes and blessings that are attached to the trial. There is a lesson to be learned in each situation we are placed in. There are experiences we will have, people we will meet, and lessons we will learn--and these things are only possible for us to experience as we face trials.
Ik ben dankbaar voor de beproevingen in mijn leven. Ik heb veel van hen geleerd. De Heer kent mij persoonlijk, en ik ben zeer dankbaar daarvoor.