Thursday, November 15, 2012
HELLO OUTSIDE WORLD!!!
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 week....so I think that they have given her permission to keep her call....but now it is up to the priesthood to make the decision...so 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 ok....it 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 Israelsen.....you 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 LDS.org, 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!!
IK HOU VAN JULLIE!!!