Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving with Elder Holland

Hallo Mijn Geliefde Gezin en Vrienden!

Hoe gaat het met jullie?!?! Ik ben heel goed en ik heb einige vier(4) meer dagen in de MTC!!! GEK!!! Het is belagelijk. Ik heb heel veel dingen ik moet vandaag doen!! Deze week was heel goed en ik ben heel blij dat ik een zendelinge zijn!! In de volgende week, zal ik heel lekker voedsel eten, mischien heb het heel coud, en zal op een fietz elkedaag!! Het zal heel mooi zijn! Hoopelijk ik kan met de mensen in Nederland praten!!

(How are you all? I am very good and I have only four more days here in the MTC. Crazy!! It is ridiculous!!! I have a lot of things I have to do today!! This week was very good and I and very happy that I can be a missionary!! Next week I will eat delicious food, maybe be very cold and will be on a bike every day! It will be a very beautiful thing. Hopefully I can talk with the people in the Netherlands!!)

Thanksgiving here was surprisingly awesome!! :D I was a little bummed that I didn't have my full P-day, but it was totally worth it because we got to do so many cool things. First, Elder Holland came and spoke to all of us missionaries. The first thing that came out of his mouth was that he was adopting all of us on the spot...we had no say in the just happened....sorry family. :D But his whole family came, and he had a few of his grandchildren sing and play piano. It was really cool to meet the Holland family, but my favorite part was when he spoke to us. He taught me that I need to be more grateful for everything in my life. I take it for granted that I have so many things and I don't say thank you to anyone enough for all of my good fortune in life! I think that the one thing I take for granted the most is that I am lucky to be a member of the church, to have been born in the fullness of time to parents who faithfully live the gospel. Think about it. How different would your life be if you had no hope of ever knowing who Heavenly Father is and that he really has a plan for us, to live without the priesthood in your life and be feel guilt at every corner because you don't know how to apply the atonement to your life!! I am truly thankful for everything that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with! This past week I have also gained a real testimony that Heavenly Father does answer our prayers if we are faithfully following His commandments and really pondering and thinking about everything that we need or want to know in our lives!! I have seen it this last week as I get ready to go to the Netherlands. I am so excited and yet so very scared because, let's face it, I can't speak Dutch. I have felt a lot of anxiety and I have really just been freaking myself out, but as I have prayed for strength and help with the language, and I have kept my rigorous study schedule in place and continued to better myself, I saw the Lord bless me in a lesson this week. It was really the answer I needed. I still, to this day, have no idea what in the world came out of my mouth(my teacher/ investigator) was even really surprised. The Lord blessed me with an ability beyond my own to speak the language and to express my testimony the way I have wanted to since I came here. I can't do it right now, nor will I be able to do it tomorrow. But I know that as I continue to try my best and be diligent in my studies everyday, that the Lord will bless me when He really needs my testimony. I am in His service and the only way I can do this is through Him!!

Also, on Thanksgiving, we got to watch 17 Miracles and we were all given popcorn for the movie!! I don't know what it is with me....but I am really not the person to cry in a movie....but every single one of the sisters in our district were almost dying because of the movie. I felt really bad....but I just had to laugh because, I mean, the pioneers went through a lot and all...but it's a movie :D That was really nice to have this week. A day to really be thankful and also be able to sit back a little bit and enjoy the moment. I am sad that I was not able to be at Kris's house and try the new Thanksgiving delights. I have to say, that you have one more Thanksgiving to perfect these delicious food you best get on it :D

We learned the Dutch birthday song!!!! (The real one....I found out that we have been pronouncing it wrong for a very long time....and I will be fixing this when I come home) But here it is....

Er is er een jarig, hoera, hoera!
Dat kan je wel zien dat is hij/zij.
Dat vinden wij allen zo prettig, ja, ja
en daarom zingen wij blij
Hij/zij leven land hoera, hoera
Hij/zij leven lang hoera, hoera
Hij/zij leven lang hoera, hoera
Hij/zij leven lang hoeraaaaaa

Lang zal je leven
Lang zal je leven
Lang zal je leven in de gloria
in de gloria


It is probably really cool and it makes me smile every single day. Since we have learned it...two of our teachers have had birthdays so we have had a lot of opportunity to practice it!!

On Sunday, I got to listen to Elder Brooks Butler sing a song with his cousin in front of the entire MTC!!! It was a beautiful thing!! I really love being able to see him everyday and I love being able to hear his voice and imagine all of my wonderful opera moments with all of my beautiful friends!!!

Also on Sunday, my companion and I got to watch 'Legacy' with a companionship of Elders in our district. My favorite part of the movie(other than remembering all of the times Jake was so upset that we were watching it AGAIN as children) was that Elder King did his best to make sure that we were all still being missionaries and at every single point that someone was going to kiss another person....he covered every single persons eyes. I am still to this day not sure how he managed to help three other people out....but he was. It was extremely funny!!

This week has really been the slowest week that we have had here at the MTC.....I think it is because the real deal is so close, and we are all so ready to go, but it makes having to be in class for 9 hours a day pretty tough. I am not sure if I was ever really excited for anything before.....maybe you have seen this.....but I can't really be quiet about the things that I get really excited for....and maybe people get tired of hearing about it. Yeah...well I may not have ever done th is before...but that is what it happening right now. But our entire district is on the train and every other group of missionaries around us is really tired of us!!

Ok. So here is probably the most ridiculous thing that happened this week. Yesterday, we were getting ready to sing a Christmas hymn. I was taking forever to find my hymn book and everyone else started singing. It was a wonderful rendition of 'Joy to the World' in Dutch.....but as I turned to the hymn....I realized that something was so very, very wrong. Zuster Juchau....bless her little heart...tried so hard to get everyone started that she didn't look at the music....and everything fell apart when they reached the lyric "Gloria".....It was a crash and burn as everyone started to give her an evil glare and then proceed to sing 'Angels we have heard on High' directly afterward. It was really funny and also sad because everyone now makes fun of her every single day!!

Ok, so I am now going to bear my testimony in that in the can see how much better my Dutch is getting :D

Ik weet dat de Kerk van Jezus Chrisus van de Heiligen der Laatste Dagen waar is. Ik hou van deze kerk en weet niet waar ik nieuw zouden zijn als ik niet deze kerk en evangelie in mijn leven had. Ik geloof dat Joseph Smith een profeet was. En dat door hem, onze Hemelse Vader hersteld de volheid van het evangelie. Ik ben heel dankbaar dat ik de gelegenheid heb om het evangelie te leren en te houden. Ik geloof dat door Jezus Christus we naar God kunnen terugkeren. God heeft een plan opgesteld waarmee we naar hem kunnen terugkeren. Jezus Christus staat centraal in deze plan. Hij heeft voor ons gestorven. En door zijn lijden, we kunnen van onze eigen zonden bevrijd!! Ik dank mijn Hemelse Vader voor zijn plan. Zonden zijn plan, wij kunnen geen gelluk in onze leven hebben! Ik zeggen deze dingen, in de naam van Jezus Christus, Amen.

Ik hou van jullie!!! Jullie zijn heel geweldig!! De naast keer it zal tot jullie schrijven, ik zal in Nederland zijn!!(the next time I write to you, I will be in the Netherlands!!!)

Zuster Israelsen

P.S. Mom, I have to buy a calling card today...and I am not sure how many calls I get in each call. I might just buy two so that I can call my siblings....but I don't know where they are going to be and what they are going to be doing. I would like to talk to them if I can...but I also get to call home on Christmas....we may even be able to you should start figuring out that camera thing. Let me know if they are going to have time to talk on Monday. If not...I can just send my love through letters and talk to everyone on Christmas!! You are wonderful...and I just got a slip for a I hope it is from you!!! I love you and I can't wait to talk to you on Monday!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 22, 2012

Hallo Mijn Geliefde Familie en Vrienden!!!

Gellukig Thanksgiving!!! I hope all of you are eating a ton of delicious turkey, real pie and are having a wonderful time with your families. I love Thanksgiving!!! It is a beautiful time for us to be grateful for the things that we have been so graciously given from the Lord!! I am so thankful for the opportunity He has given me to serve a mission, the ability He has given me to learn a language and be able to pick up faster on it than I have ever picked up anything before in my entire life, and I am grateful for the amazing people He has given me in my life to help me to get to where I am today!!!

Family, I am so grateful for you!!! I hope you have had an amazing trip to Utah. I hope Jake had fun taking the ACT again!! I also hope everyone had a fun time in the car!! Ik hou van jullie heel veel!!! Jullie zijn mijn lieflings mensen in de gehele wereld!! Dankjeveel!! Jullie hebben alles voor mij gedaan!! Ik ben heel dankbaar voor jullie en mijn leven is heel mooi omdat jullie in mijn leven zijn!!

Ok, so an update on this week. To be honest, it is getting to the point that when I return to my room at night I can't really remember what has happened that day because the days are always the same here. I mean, we do the exact same thing everyday....every week....and the only thing that is different are the funny things that my district and I end up doing throughout the day....but I'm getting old and can't always remember! THANKSGIVING!!! And it is also supposed to be my P-Day(notice the key word...supposed) I do not have a P-day this week because it is Thanksgiving. They didn't change our schedules so we just don't get the time to go to the temple or anything else(really naps are great!!) So, because of this, I am currently in the laundry room and have been for about an hour and a half. We had to get up extremely early to be able to get our laundry done. yes mom, I sacrificed sleep so that I could smell good and be presentable, please be proud of me!! But I am really excited for the things they have planned for us today. They have an apostle coming to speak to us, we are doing a service project with a Muslim organization, and we get a 'Thanksgiving Dinner'. It really will be a great day!!

I have learned this week that I am very stubborn. (ok, I knew this before....but it really hit home this week for some reason) I have learned that in order to have a good relationship with someone and be able to spend all day with have to let them be right some of the time!! I really had to focus on that this week. It is especially hard when your schedule and life basically depend on the other person, but you have to trust that somehow they have made it this far in life and that they can make right decisions(even if it is just when we end up going to the international office during the day!!) It really is a very big thing that I have to learn and I have noticed a difference in my companionship because I have tried to be more polite and let her make decisions without me fighting her on what is going on. She is happier, I am happier and things are really starting to pick up within our companionship!! I have realized that this is probably a really good thing for me to learn now so that I can have a happy family in the future....I guess the Lord has a plan for everything.

This last week, my friend Sister Chelsea Shumway came into the MTC!! I literally see her everyday because her classroom is in my hallway, she has my same schedule, and she lives down the hall!! It is an amazing thing to see the difference between our first week here in the MTC and now. I feel like I have grown up a lot here and have learned so much. As I have been around Sister Shumway, I have been reminded of the most frustrating time in my life, the first week as a missionary. There are so many things to worry about. A language? am I reaching right? what is going on here!!! It really is a little ridiculous but it is a rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!!

Our new Dutchie is really great. His name is Elder Endicot and he is from Hooper, UT. He went to Utah State for a year before coming out here. so now I am no longer the lone Aggie!!! We were supposed to get two....but one didn't we have one!! He is really overwhelmed!! But my favorite thing that we get to do with him during the week is he writes sentences of things that he wants to be able to say to his investigators and we get an opportunity to correct him and to explain to him why things are the way they are in Dutch. I love it because I am able to learn exactly where I am with the language and what I have really mastered and the things that I still need to work on!! It really has helped me to set new goals and get better at studying!!

One frustrating thing about this week though, is that there are way too many people here in the MTC....there is no way to really play volleyball or anything here because there are literally 20 people in line on every court. I have actually started running laps(I know....shocking!!) But it is true. I have found that I feel a lot better(especially my tummy and this with this MTC food) when I do this. So even though I hate running....I do it anyway!! I hope that biking will have the same result in the Netherlands...but we will see.

Ok, so the most exciting part of my week came yesterday!!! WE RECEIVED OUR FLIGHT PLANS!!!! I am really going to the Netherlands!!! AHHHHHHH!!! I am so excited!!! With this amazing event, we were also told that our last English endowment session would be this next week and that when we are allowed to go to the temple in Den Hague...we will be doing our sessions in Dutch!! Crazy, Right?!?! But really exciting. It also made me realize that I actually have to pack and get ready to travel....again. But such is the life of a missionary. Ok, here are my flight plans:

We leave Salt Lake at 11:11 AM on December 3,
land in Detroit at 4:42 PM.
We then have a 2 ish hour layover and leave Detroit at 6:10 PM...and
arrive in the NETHERLANDS at 8:05 the morning of December 4.

We get an opportunity to call home sometime during that day. I have two options family, so communication is necessary. I have that morning....I think, as long as security is quick, around 9 or 9:30 until I fly out....or during my layover in Detroit. I just have this feeling that we really need to try for the morning option just in case my flight is late or there are reasons that I have to run from one gate to the next in Detroit...but dad, you let me know. We could even talk twice if we needed to. We are technically allowed an hour to talk to our if we need to split it up, we can. I was thinking I would call you quickly in Detroit anyway to let you know that I have made it!! I would really like everyone to be there so that I can talk to everyone!!! So, yeah...communication :D

We had our last TRC last week and I met my second cousin. Remember how Grandma Anderson kept saying that I had a cousin in the mission? Well....I did but he came home 3 weeks ago. He went and talked to Grandpa Israelsen and came to the TRC just to meet me!! It was a really amazing experience. He said,"Zuster Israelsen, I really love the people in the Netherlands. Work hard for me and learn to love them as I do!!" And I intend to do that!! If you have an opportunity to talk to Matt J. He is an amazing second cousin and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to meet him and to serve in the same mission as he did!!

We learned the ABC's in Dutch this week!! (like the song ok :D) The alphabet part looks the same..but is pronounced differently. Here it is:

A B C D E F G, H I J K L M N O P, Q R S T U V W, X Y Z doen ook nog mee, Als je goed hebt opgelet, ken je nu het alfabet!!!

This next week we are going to learn the whole birthday song!! And when I come home we can really sing our Dutch birthday song!!! I can't wait!!!

I love being a missionary, and most of all I really love Dutch. As hard as it is to learn a different language, I still love it. I am beginning to think in Dutch and answer to people who don't even speak the language in Dutch!! I really am thankful that the Lord has given me this opportunity and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life being able to learn Dutch and speak with people that I wouldn't be able to communicate with without the blessing of a language!! Ik HOU van het Nederlands!!! Ik HOU van zendelingen werk!! Ik HOU van het evangelie!!

Ik HOU van jullie!!! Ik heb een meer week in de MTC!!! Yahoo!!!

Keep the letters coming!!! I love all of you so much!!!

Zuster Israelsen

Thursday, November 15, 2012



This week has been quite an adventure. I have done and learned so much it is crazy!!! I love all of the time that I get to spend learning the gospel!! There really is so much to learn and I have found that I am learning more than I ever have in the past. Part of it is that I am studying more gospel doctrine on a regular basis that I have in the past but it is also because we try to study for our investigators. It's like I take a new outlook on things. I begin to have their same questions and then my study is way more enlightening because I am not learning the gospel as it relates to the beautifully amazing Zuster Israelsen, but I am learning it through others eyes!!! It's pretty much extremely awesome!!

So this week I received my mission t-shirt. Our entire district ordered them(and they were only like $8 mom :D) But they have the flag of the country we are going to on them as well as some information. It's really cool cause (well in Dutch it says) The Netherlands: land of the tulips. Yeah, it is a beautiful thing!!! And I wear it to bed every night to give me hope of actually getting to the country someday!!! Which, by the way, only 19 more days!!!! (Yes everyone(especially Allysa) the countdown is back!!!)

Oh, the doctors can't figure out what is wrong with Zuster Nogueira, and she hasn't fainted for a I think that they have given her permission to keep her call....but now it is up to the priesthood to make the we are still waiting.

My favorite part of my day, well besides bed time at the very end of the day, is being able to see Elder Brooks Butler. I see him every single day...and we have yet to take a picture together.....but we will make it happen. It is always an interesting meeting when we do see each other. Because neither one of us will speak in English. I speak in Dutch and my companion(or another Dutchie) translates for me and he speaks whatever crazy language he is speaking (I can never remember the name) and his companion has to translate for him. It's probably the best thing I have ever seen in my life!!! It is too much fun to speak in Dutch. One of our teachers told us the other day that the Germans consider Dutch a dirty language and sometime after World War 2 the Dutch started to spit more as they talked(mostly with the gutteral sounds) just to rub it into the Germans faces.....or more for the Germans to FEEL the dirtyness of Dutch :D I have a feeling I am really going to get along with the Dutch people :D

This week, one of the Elder's moms sent each and every single one of us a package. It was so cute. And the beehives in her ward helped her out. It was so nice and she sent us a real lunch in the packages(well was still sack...but better than MTC food) and it was delicious!!! Go Elder Muse and his mom!!! ALSO, my favorite package arrived yesterday!!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!! For the package with the fiber one bars and the fruit snacks!!! Now I can have food that I know I won't regret later. I even had a Fiber one bar today for breakfast!!! Delightful!!!

On Friday, we had TRC again. And there was this ridiculous snowstorm so many of the volunteers could not come. So we had appointments with three companionships in a room...which was a little weird. BUT Sean Lundgren was there. The great thing is, is that this summer when he would speak to me in Dutch I couldn't understand a word. But now, he can't do anything about it!!! I am just that good :D I can even pick up better on his sarcasm in Dutch!! Yes, my life as I know it is changing!!

So, here at the MTC, there are a lot of things that are new and crazy that are thrown at you that can get you down. I have found that in recent weeks I have been focusing a little too much on the negatives like, "I can't speak Dutch, I feel like I don't know the gospel at all" And you have many opportunities to compare yourself and sometimes lack of progress with other missionaries. I cam to the conclusion that this was not the way to live life. Life is supposed to be happy. I am supposed to be here to serve the Lord, but also, isn't this a gospel of happiness? How am I supposed to proclaim the gospel of happiness if I am not happy myself? I came to a conclusion, and mom I am sure you will be happy about this because your influence really has rubbed off on me, but I have been writing down every single good thing that happens to me within a day. Whether it is that there was just enough chulula sauce left for my breakfast potatoes to me learning and mastering a principle of the Dutch language. I have really seen the change in my life. I am happier, and I am more willing to accept the Lord's timeline (especially with the Dutch)

One of the great things that happened this week was during gym. Now, the field is closed because I guess there is snow.....but I'm not sure i belive them because I can't go and actually see for myself....I guess I am going to have to have faith. But because the field is closed everyone during our gym time is in the gym. There are a billion people who like to play volleyball(myself included) so there is a little bit of a rotation line. This last week the Elders started having this push-up/sit-up/wall sit competition. I was reserved for the Elders in our district but I gladly inserted myself into said competition. The Elders still don't understand how I can do real man push-ups and keep up with a few of them as we continue to strengthen our upper body. Elder Liang said,"Sister are a beast....I mean...I know you are a girl and all...ok you are a womanly beast" That was the best compliment yet because it reminds me of what Jake would say. :D

We finally got new sisters into our zone!!! They are all English speaking and two of them are going to Salt Lake South and two are going somewhere in California.....It is a beautiful thing to have new sister faces around, more sisters we know in Relief Society, and not only four sisters in sacrament meeting!!! I love them all and we get to leave on the same week....I think.

I also had to say a very hard goodbye this week. Sister Kat Harward left for Italy!!! It was so sad to see her go!!! It was probably my favorite thing to see her beautiful face, share inside jokes and just be friends!!! She left on Tuesday and I told her she had to be safe and that hopefully we could write each other for the rest of this adventure!!! But I also got to say a very happy hello to Sister Chelsea Shumway. She is going to Norway and guess what?!?!? The Norwegians have the same exact schedule as I do and they reside just down the hall!!! I am so glad that I will continue to have friends here at the MTC and I hope to be able to support her the way that Sister Kat Harward supported me!!!

Ok, I know I kept talking about the Cream Soda tree before my mission and that I was so excited to go and see if it really exsisted. And I am here to tell you folks....that it does!!! It is a real thing!!! The Elders in my district and I went to the bookstore and bought a cream soda, took it to the tree that everyone always points at and compared the smell of the tree. We have three different people do it, and everyone knows that by the word of two or three witnesses shall the word be established. So it is real!!! I just thought you would like to know!!

Also, I figured out how to get all of the conference talks online in Dutch and I can also listen to them in Dutch. It is really helping my accent to come along(so I don't sound like Elder Calhoun when I get to the field) and it is super cool to see how much I actually understand already!!! I can read in Dutch!!! (well at least modern Dutch....we are still working on the scriptures) But if you would like to hear what I am going to sound like when I come home....just go onto to, find the liitle world at the top and select 'Nederlands' It's a great experience!!

I am loving being on a mission. I am learning how to exercise faith and trust in the Lord to help me when I am in need and I am just loving it!!! This experience is going to helpme for the rest of my life and I am so grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity. I am so grateful that He trusts me enough to go out into the world and represent Him!! I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!



Zuster Israelsen

November 8, 2012


I have officially been in the MTC for more than a month!!! CRAZYNESS!!! I am so ready to get out of here though. (Not because I am fluent in the language by any means....) BUT I am a little tired of doing the same thing everyday. So now....just 4 more weeks until I freeze to death in the Netherlands!!

So this last week, they forced us to move rooms. It was rude. Apparently there were problems with the fire alarms on our floor.....but I think it was because they wanted to make it absolutely impossible for sisters to get a shower in the morning. It is literally a race to the bathroom every morning here in this new building. Unfortunately I have a problem with the getting out of bed before 6:00 I usually end up waiting for a shower. Now I really understand how annoying it is when you have people taking 20 minute showers (sorry mom and dad! I promise I will be better) This also became a huge problem this week because, as a district, we set our new goals for the week. We have been having a really hard time getting everyone into the classroom at 7:00 in the morning like we have been asked to do. (Let me just say that the Elders are always there after the we totally win!!) But we made a goal for everyone to get into the classroom at 7:00....the only problem that we have done that before and it hasn't worked. So this time....we decided to add a punishment to anyone who is in the classroom after 7:00(according to Elder Jex's atomic watch) That punishment is known as the CRACKED WHEAT FIASCO!!! Yeah....if you are late in the have to eat cracked wheat, and only cracked wheat for breakfast. Some would say,"Oh, that's not that bad....all you have to do is put brown suger in it." My friends, it is that bad. Even with the brown sugar, it is that bad. BUT we can't have brown sugar with it either. I WILL NOT be eating cracked wheat at any time in my life. It is all of the sisters have been getting up at 5:30 to make sure that we get there on time!!

Also, I asked Sister Juchau where her dad served....and also his first name but I can't remember that off of the top of my head. He served in I don't know if Uncle Steve served with him but she is writing home to see if someone she is closely related to knows Uncle Steve.

This last week we had TRC again. I love TRC. This week we taught Sister Hoole(yes she is Elder Hoole's vrouw!!) She was super nice and spoke a lot more Dutch than her husband. I really like these experiences where you get to meet people who are actually from the Netherlands and you get to learn how nice and understanding they are. And also how much they want to help you. I also got to teach Brother Kromenhoek. This man is notorious for mumbling and absolutely no missionary can understand what in the world he was when we found out we had him....we were really scared. BUT I felt super cool because I understood almost every word he had to say (I think it is because I am used to listening to Sister Raun....she mumbles a lot) and we had a great lesson!!! I look for Sean Lundgren every week at the TRC....but I haven't seen him yet. should get Sister Lundgren on that :D

Our teacher, Broeder Robinson, had this really sweet activity for us this last week. There are so many weird rules in the Dutch of them being whether or not you use 'zijn' or 'hebben' in a past tense conversation and we can't seem to remember which verbs go where. So, he came up with a song, with actions, that we all had to get up and do by ourselves. It goes like this:

zijn gestorven

zijn geworden

zijn gelopen

zijn geweest

zijn gegaan


zijn gefiest

zijn gekomen

And yes...everyone who knows me, knows I have a competitive side! We made it into a competition. We timed ourselves to see who could say the words and do the actions in the fastest amount of time. Unfortunately....there is walking and sitting and things that aren't very easy to do in a skirt required so the sisters haven't quite figured it out yet. But I hold the record for the sisters with 4.0 seconds and Broeder Robinson holds the male record at 2.8 seconds. (But he speaks Dutch people!!! Don't be dissapointed in me yet!!)

I had my first mission conference this last week. It was super cool. I have started to learn more about how the spirit speaks to me to let me know what it is the Lord has to tell me with reguards to a lot of things in my life as a missionary and beyond. I noticed this last week that I was listening the the talks that were given, I really was, but when we had our reviews as a district I did not have anything similar written down as the rest of the district!! Ever since I have realized this, I have tried to go into the meeting with ears for the spirit. I have learned so much more through him than I ever will by listening and taking maticulous notes on a million talks. I have realized that while I haev been here, there are a lot of expectations. And it seems like everywhere you turn, there is something or someone there reminding you of all of the things you need to do in your life, of all of the things you need to change. The problem starts when you have an expectation of yourself to be perfect(*guilty) and feel like you need to change everything at once. But as you listen to the spirit you learn that there is only one thing you can focus on at a time. You can only learn line upon line. That's why we attend the temple throughout our life, that is why we go to church every week, that is why we study our scriptures(and Dutch) everyday. Because we can't learn everything at once and we can't expect that of ourselves. That has helped me a lot this week as I have really focused on learning about one aspect of the gospel for myself and focusing on one thing the the language that I want to master by the end of the week.

My Denver North Elders left me this week. That was really, extremely sad because I got along really well with them and also....they were really good at volleyball and they liked having me on their team(that made me feel cool!!) So momma, if you see an Elder Wiggins or and Elder Flemming, say HI for me and feed them some really good food :D Also, they really like deep, dirty secrets you can get about the mission president(don't worry President Toombs....I didn't have any) just a warning though. :D

This week we had to become investigators ourselves. We all now have three progressing investigators and we are teaching another missionary. It is really cool because we are getting more practice with the language, but also, we get to kind of feel what it is like to be an investigator in the church. I have learned more about teaching by being the investigator and seeing what techniques really work to help me learn the gospel for myself and not just having someone tell me about it. I related this back to my lifeguarding bear with me for a minute :D

When a little kid is drowning in the deep end, as a lifeguard, I don't stand up and point and tell them what they must do in order to get to safety. I am not there to yell at them and demand that they go there in order to be saved. Rather, I jump in with them. I go where they are and we get to the wall together. This is how the gospel should be taught. It is not me telling them everything that is a part of the gospel, but rather, it requires me to jump in to where they are. Try to see how they feel and we experience the gospel together to help both of us get to the wall safely.

So....this is probably the best thing that happened to me this week. We have a new district of Dutchies coming in next week and the Elders decided that they wanted to scare them half-to-death(as if the fact that their teachers are only going to speak to them in Dutch isn't scary enough) But they have begun to write a RAP in Dutch that they will perform for the new district. Our entire district is involved in this whole process. There are actions, We though a couple *Woorde*'s out there(translates into WORD for those of you who don't speak Dutch :D) It is probably the best thing of my entire life!!! Rachel, it seems I will be making the NMN Rap record before you get there....sorry. You snooze, you lose :D

I love you all!!! Keep writing!! If you don't, I will surely be one of those awkward missionaries that no one wants to talk to when they get home :D

Ik hou van jullie!!! Jullie zijn geweldig en mooi!!!!

Tot Ziens,

Zuster Israelsen

P.S. Mom, I can't get pictures through DearElder....and I got a short email from you today...or someday.....I am not sure waroom it did not work....but I would really like some hard copies so that I can see your beautiful faces everyday instead of just when I can get on the computer. Also....can I get one of those pretty family pictures we took.....or something :D..... that would be beautiful.

For Christmas....I am not sure what I want to do. I have a bit of room in my suitcases...I found that out because of my moving adventure....but yeah...I don't know what you want to do...

And if you send something this week.....I would really like some fiber one bars....the food here is not making me a happy camper. And also.....I don't know me :D I like food, stamps and things that show your love :D which is everything!!!

Ik hou van jullie!!! I will be sending pictures later today.....and also....I will be writing each of you a look forward to more!!!

Tot Ziens!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

HOI!!! How is my favorite family this fine week?

This week has definitely been filled with adventure. The first exciting thing that has happened is that the new English speaking Elders in our zone are serving in the DENVER NORTH MISSION!!!! That's right. I get to train the little elders all about my wonderful home in Colorado. But apparently....all they want to know about is President and Sister Toombs and also if the members serve good food for dinners. (I told them that my mom was the best cook in the entire state.....PRESSURE!!! :D) I will have a picture for you...hopefully in the next few days. (They aren't very good at remembering our designated picture time every week so I will work on that!)

On my last P-Day, I got to go to the temple. And the coolest thing in my life happened!!!! I was able to do temple work for a Sister from THE NETHERLANDS!!!! Yeah, I'm super cool, and I could actually pronounce her name!!! The temple workers just looked at me....then at the card....and then at me again and simply said,"You're serving in the Netherlands aren't you..." Apparently the Dutch names are some of the hardest for them to pronounce when they are performing the temple ordinances. It was really exciting to be able to experience that!! I have only ever heard, and known one person who has been called to be in Public Affairs. (Yes mom, it's you) I remember thinking that it was a made-up calling when you first got it BUT...I have found out that it is really a world-wide phenomenon. They have missionaries that they call to be public affairs missionaries around the world. There is a couple here in the MTC who are getting ready to be the public affairs missionaries in my mission AND the cooler thing is that they already speak Dutch. I have had a lot of practice with them during meals and have learned a lot of non-gospel vocabulary so that I can speak like a real person when I get out to the country and not just have a 'missionary vocabulary'. They leave today I am very sad. But I also thought it was way cool!!!

Some of you may remember a young lad named Cody Johnson. Yeah, he is finally here in the MTC. I see him around at least once a day! He tries to speak in Spanish while I respond in Dutch(that is the plus side to understanding what he is saying in Spanish....he has no idea what I am saying. I could be telling him that he is funny looking and all he could do is smile and nod :D) We took a map picture but unfortunately I did not have my camera with you should definitely bug his dad to get a copy of it.....or I could try to snag him again...since we have a billion more weeks here.

Every week, we have the opportunity to go to what they call the TRC(don't ask me what that stands for....cause I have no idea) BUT we get to teach members who speak Dutch and practice what it would feel like to be in a members home. This last week was Zuster Nogueira and my first time being able to attend and we were way nervous. We had only ever spoken in Dutch to our teachers and the senior couple....we were ready to be made fun of. But once we stepped inside the first door, we knew we would be ok. We taught Brother Hoole. He is from the Netherlands and came to the United States in 1957. He is a way cool guy and he is super funny. But what is so great about being able to teach him is that he speaks what we call 'Neder-Engels'. He can't remember every word in what he doesn't remember...he just speaks in English. So even if you get lost in a conversation he will throw out an English word and then you can catch right up!! The second person we taught was Sister Christiansen. She served her mission in the Netherlands and she served with Sean Lundgren!! Once she knew where I was from she immediately asked if I knew him and then started talking about all of the crazy things that he did, but also what a great missionary he was. It was pretty cool to have common ground with her....but she was not as nice and did not speak any English...but somehow we managed!!

Zuster Nogueira has fainted four times in the last week. It's getting worse and there are still no answers to what is going on. Everyone is trying to be positive and help her to think that there is no possibility for her to go home or to change her mission.....but she sees right through it. She even said to me the other day that she would rather them tell her now that she was going to be sent home rather than to get her hopes up. It's super hard and they can't really do anything until they find something wrong. She has a heart monitor on right now and it sends the results through a cell phone directly to the cardiologist so hopefull something will come from that so she can have some answers.

Our teacher, Brother Robinson, is pretty much really cool. One of the best moments this week was one night he brought in all of his art to show us. He is trying to get into the graphic design program at BYU and he is way good!!! It was super cool to see how creative people can be and really how talented they are!!! We decided that he has to take a picture of us missionaries and make it into an art project and then hang it up in the MTC because of how beautiful we are. (We are still working on convincing him)

We have come up with different ways to entertain ourselves this last week. We have been giving each other riddles and math problems to try and figure out. Zuster Juchau ALWAYS has issues with figuring them out and it is probably the funniest thing to watch her try to come up with answers. It usually takes her the entire day and it is always at the front of her mind. We have also come up with a competition for everyone to start speaking 100% Dutch. We all must speak in Dutch, and then if we speak in English....we have to add a tally on the board for ourselves....each tally is equivilent to 5 sit-ups and the person with the most tallys at the end of the day gets to wear our dunce cap for 15 minutes the following day. The dunce cap is not very attractive and is definitely incentive to speak in het Nederlands!!

So Halloween was yesterday. I had two friends come into the MTC. Elder Butler and Elder Taylor. I have not seen either one of them but I hope to in the very near future!! But the cool part about yesterday is that every single person in our district got a package with something different for Halloween. Zuster J. got candy bags for everyone, Zuster Raun got pumpkins for everyone to decorate....etc. We had a district Halloween party!!! And we all had the very best costumes because we dressed up as missionaries!! (I know, we are living on the wild side!!!) It was super fun. But we ALSO got a package from the assistants to the president in the Netherlands. They sent us a bunch of cool Dutch-like pamphlets and such but they also sent us STROOP WAFFELS!!!! Yeah, that's right!!! They are delicious and were a beautiful gift (especially since this MTC food is driving us crazy!!)

This last week I was reading in Alma 27:26-30. Being on a mission is rough and sometimes I feel like I am a horrible person because I am frustrated and sad and upset a lot of the time. Partly because I hold myself to a high standard, but also because of how often I miss class and feel as though I am falling behind or that my companion and I are going through rough times. As I read in this scripture I realized that it is ok to feel that way. It is normal to feel that way. But it is how you deal with those feelings is what matters. Satan knows exactly how to push my buttons. He is super mad that I have made the decision to go on a mission because I might touch just on person's life and change their eternal outcome. So the mission is going to be a challenge. Just because I am here in the MTC doesn't mean that Satan can stop working on me but I can, and have chosen to overcome his influence. It is normal to have feelings of doubt and there are going to be trials on my mission (like there were for the sons of Mosiah) But I can do it!!! I am here for a reason!!

Ik hou van jullie!! Jullie zijn heel mooi en heel leuk!!!

I love it when you write me!!! So keep it up!!! are a beautiful thing. PLEASE send me some :D

Tot Ziens!!!! (of tot volgende week :D)

Ik hou van jullie!!


Zuster Israeslen

P.S. Mother. Dankuwel for all of the beautiful things that you sent me this week!!!! I was truly a wonderful occassion to receive everything I had asked for and then some delicious treats!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I really love the halloween toys (they definitely keep me entertained!!) And who ever had the idea to put in the fruit snacks is definitely my favorite!!! I have needed some fruit snacks and good tasting food for a while!!! U bent heel mooi!! But for real!!! Thank you!!! I love you!!!