Monday, February 9, 2015

Nikki's email from today, February 9th!

"so beautiful!"

"baby cow!"


"these posters are all over the place--no clue what it is for, but i love Eliza, so here you go!"

Hallo iedereen!

This week was great. Not necessarily because I feel better (it's pretty much the same right now) or because I can bike (not quite yet) or anything like that, but because this past week I really felt myself become a better servant of the Lord, and He let me see the fruits of that this week as well.

By the way, we are a threesome at the moment--one of the sisters in Den Haag is not doing too well, so her companion is here with me and Sister Faa for a little! It's great!

I mentioned in previous emails how I feel 'rebooted' as a missionary--the time I had not being able to work gave me the chance to step back and really think and pray about the kind of missionary/person the Lord wants me to be/become. And being able to take the steps to become that person has been a really wonderful experience. I feel more sincere while talking with people and teaching them, I feel the Spirit more, I am able to understand people more and love them more as well. 

First of all, I just have to say that Zuster Uljee came to church yesterday!!!! For all three hours. The last time she came to the church building was for the opening day (about a year ago), but the last time she came to church for the sacrament/sunday school/etc was about 5 years ago. There is a new group of four elders in our mission that are traveling around the mission singing in wards/stakes. For a month they work in one stake area, singing in one ward from the stake each week, and then at the end of the month they will be holding a fireside. They sang in our ward yesterday, which was the perfect way to get Zuster Uljee to come. 

We had dinner with Zuster Uljee this past Thursday, and for the spiritual thought, I shared scriptures about our baptismal covenants, and we talked about the sacrament and why it's important. She said 'Well, I'll just say it girls--I know I need to just go to church.' She told us she just needed to find skirts. She asked us to sing for her, so we sang
Abide With Me Tis Even tide, and she teared up--the Spirit was so strong. We then invited her to come and hear the Elders sing, and she said ''├ôk girls, we're on!'' 

One of the most powerful moments yesterday at church was sitting next to Zuster Uljee and partaking of the sacrament with her. The sacrament truly is so powerful and necessary, and I am so grateful for it. 

We had a great appointment with Angela this past week about temples. She is really excited to go into the temple one day. We talked with her about how she was feeling about baptism, and she said that the minute she feels ready to be baptized she will text/call us. She is so sweet and is just waiting to feel ready. We're trying to help her to realize how much we need to go off of faith and also how we can recognize answers.

Wouter is doing so great--we had a lesson about scripture study with him this past week, and we set up a personal study plan for him. He set an alarm on his phone everyday to read in the scriptures. He showed us three little calves, one of which is only a couple weeks old--I'll attach a picture of me with the youngest one. 

We also met with Marleny and Rumi this past week, and things are going well with them. It's been cool to see Marleny become more open as she's gotten to know me and my companions more. It's really been a blessing for me to be here for as long as I have, because being able to build real relationships with people makes all the difference. She told me that one or two times a week I can come by and she'll give me a massage to help my head feel better--when I first met her, she was pretty inconsistent and hard to get an appointment with--now she has opened her house to us whenever we need anything, and we're going to start teaching Rumi more frequently.

We taught a Hinu woman named Ilsa this past week for the first time. She's a spunky woman from Suriname, and we had our first lesson with her this past week. It went pretty well, she's very interesting and has had a very hard past. Hopefully we'll be able to meet with her this week.

Rukhsar Ehrari (Sister Ehrari) is doing so well! And Ashil is too. We challenged them to read every day in the Book of Mormon, and I sent them reminders every day--and they did it! Zuster Ehrari has been having a lot of stressful things happen with her job, and she said that reading in the scriptures and praying helped her feel more peaceful. And Ashil is really starting to take the gospel to heart more and trying to become a better person.

We met with Elfride and her kids this past week as well! They are so wonderful, and Elfride is such a wonderful mom. We talked with Samantha about how baptism cleanses us from sin. I told a story about when I got a really cool new white shirt that I loved, and one day I wore my new shirt and played outside, in the creek in our backyard. I got stuck and fell in the mud and got mud all over my new white shirt. But, because we washed it, it was white and clean again. I truly believe and know that through baptism we can be cleansed.

Irene is doing really well, we have become really close over the course of time I've been here. Mos (he comes on joint teach with us for Irene..he is hilarious and very kind and from Iran) invited us, the Elders, Irene and Wouter for dinner on Saturday, and we watched the 20 minute Restoration film with Irene. She showed me pictures and videos of her grandkids from her phone, and we had a really good chat about her beliefs and how she's doing. Mos is a really good cook, and usually he doesn't let me know about the secret ingredients his uses, but this time he let me see how he makes his famous chocolate cake. I'm going to have to try it out one of these days.

On Saturday, before our appointment with Ashil and his mom, we looked up a couple of less actives nearby, and I felt that we should knock a couple of other doors nearby one of the less actives' houses. Our second door, a middle aged man opened the door--it was my turn, so I talked with him about why we're here and talked with him about faith--he said he is very religious and quickly invited us in (since there are three of us we were allowed to go in! Hooray!) We had a great lesson with him about the Book of Mormon, faith, God, etc. He is really excited to read in the Book of Mormon and we have a lesson with him this week. I'm so excited about it!

This past week, I read in Acts 5

 But certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife,sold a possession,
 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privto it,and brought certain partand laid it at the apostles’ feet.
 But Peter said, Ananias, whhath Satan filled thine heartolie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the pricof theland?
 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it wassold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceivedthis thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
This story made me ask myself if sometimes I keep something back from the Lord. Do I hold something back because I'm 'privy to it?' This past week I've really worked on giving everything to the Lord--to really focus on my relationship with Him. As I've done this, I've felt myself becoming a better missionary, servant of the Lord, and person. I still have so far to go, but this past week I've truly learned that when you strive to give Him all that you are and all that you have, He gives us so much more. 
I love you all!
Zuster Thomas
Also, to add to my general email:

Yesterday when I was in church, I realized how at home I feel with the people here. They feel like family. All of them. We all just have such love for eachother, and it's amazing. 

Our bishopric was changed yesterday as well--Broeder Nijenhuis, who was our ward mission leader (he was awesome at his calling) is the new bishop. He helped a ton when we were trying to get an appointment with the doctors here. He is going to be a great bishop.

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