Monday, February 18, 2013

Pattern of Prayer, Sushi, Heart Attacks and Doordrecht

Hello My Amazingly Wonderful Family!!!

This last week, in honor of Valentines Day, we went around and 'heart attacked' a bunch of people in our ward!! We hope that they liked it....we were trying really hard to be anonymous.....but we aren't sure how well that worked out!! Zuster not the best at being sneaky!! But we had a good time and we hope that we were able to spread the joy a little bit here in our ward!!

This last week, I started reading through the Book of Mormon to understand and study the Pattern of Prayer. I heard about this pattern in a talk in the MTC by Elder Richard G. Scott and since I have been out here, I have been reading the Book of Mormon for a specific purpose. I have found that when you get a clean copy of the Book of Mormon and have a goal to learn and really study one topic within one reading that I have been able to learn a lot more than I have ever before with my scripture study!! But I really learned this week how important it is to always be growing your testimony. I learned from Laman and Lemuel how not to listen to a prophet of the Lord, and not pray to know that what that prophet has said was true. In Preach my Gospel, at the end of the Restoration lesson, we teach 'Pray to Know'. Why don't we apply that more in our lives? At first I thought it was silly to keep asking Heavenly Father for a confirmation of the truth because I had received an answer for a specific question many times. But I learned that in order to continue to grow my testimony, I need to pray to know that what someone testifies is true. I need to have a living testimony and, as I study the scriptures and learn from my Heavenly Father every day, that I can pray for an answer to know that what I have studied is true, that what I have learned has really been through Heavenly Father and not just something that I came up with. I challenge all of you to try this this coming week. Everyday, when you get a scripture study, go to seminary, or have an opportunity to hear someone bear their testimony to you, pray and ask your Heavenly Father to know, for yourself that it is true!! It really makes a huge difference!!! It's the difference of doubting everything that is going on or what you have learning and knowing for assurety!!

I have learned that sometimes a bummer. :D Ok, that is a joke. But it is really hard when you are able to find someone and they are super ready for the gospel but they still choose to reject what you have to teach them. My purpose is to INVITE others to come unto Christ. My job is to give people the opportunity to make a choice for themselves. That's the beauty of the Plan of Salvation!! But we watched the Steenheusens this week decide that they had found peace in their own belief and that they did not want to continue to investigate. That was super hard because I really made friends with their kids and I just loved their family, but they still have connections with people in the church and we think that eventually they will be able to see that what they are looking for is in the gospel!!

We finally have found some real new investigators here in Den Haag!! It was really exciting because we now have 5 new investigators and 2 progressing investigators!! I love each and everyone of them for different reasons. Elinho, he speaks we have a little bit of a hard time teaching him, but we take members who speak the language and they translate for us. Mr. Lesley Cederburg, he is a DJ and a bike fixer man....he is pretty cool and he is Surinamese!! And we found a family from Suriname also!! They are super cool and we have appointments with a lot of other potential investigators this week!!

Exchanges this week were super fun!!! I had a great day with Sister Stout!! We had a party and a lot of adventures. It was finally starting to warm up here, and that day, it was randomly cold again....and Z. Stout was really not prepared for we had an interesting day trying to keep her warm, but because of her need to thaw out her feet on the trams, we found 3 new potential investigators that we all have an appointment with this next week!! We got lost a lot....but it was a good day!! And at the end of exchanges we had a sister lunch with all of the sisters in the mission!! We had that lunch in Doordrecht and it was a beautiful adveture!!! Zuster Robinson even joined us!! Party! we is the most exciting part!! We got transfer calls yesterday. AND.......I have been transferred to Doordrecht. It is a really small city, in fact, it is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. My new companion will be Sister Hinchcliff!! I don't know a ton about her yet....I know who she is though so that's a start!! I travel there on Wednesday. It is definitely a bitter-sweet experience. I feel like I was just starting to be able to make friends and get to know the ward here in Den Haag and there are a ton of places here that we haven't even had time to get out to yet.....but I hope that I will be able to make as many friends in Doordrecht and that I will be able to have fun there too!! I also hope that I can begin to understand why I am needed there instead of here int Den Haag..but in order to do that, I will have to get there first!! Here we go!!

Last week, we had a great P-Day. We went to eat all you can eat sushi.....ok, it wasn't really 'all you can eat' but it was a huge challenge. You get two hours to get through 4 rounds of sushi with 8 items a round. Sounds easy enough right?'s not. We were dying a little bit after we ate it. But you will be proud to know that I was really adventurous and I ate fish eggs......I don't recommend it. It's really salty....but I had to say that I had done it...because if the elders could do can I right? That is what I though at least!!

I love you all!!!
I hope you have had a great week!!!
Please keep having fun!!

Zuster Israelsen

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hope, The Beast and a Huge Bag of Sour Gummy Treats

Hello Beautiful Family!!

So this week has been super cool!!! Last Monday, we went to Scheveningen to the BEACH!!! It was a really warm day and we got to play football, eat some lunch, buy some souveniers and see the oldest pier in the Netherlands!!! It was so cool and just exactly what we needed for a good P-Day to start our week!! It is the oldest pier in the Netherlands and there is a whole board that shows it's evolution throughout time and it is so cool!! The coolest thing there was the huge building that you can see behind me in the picture. It's called Kurhaus. It is a really old building and it used to be owned by some super rich man. I don't really know a whole lot about the building but it is the name sake of Scheveningen!!! I got a little magnet of it so that I can always remember it!! :D But it was way fun to be on the Beach and to be able to be out in public in jeans!! (that never happens by the way!!)

The other picture of the beach says 'I love Nederland!!!' Just in case you can't read it!! We had the Elders from Den Haag, the Zusters from Haarlem and Gouda and us there the entire day!!! It was super fun!!!

So, my bike, which was so nicely given to me, is super old. And the tires on him....kind of blew. Just the outer tires I had to go and buy new outer tires for him so that I could ride him and not die when I get a flat tire every single day. Bruno(my bike) is a beast. Like, he is huge and he can take most anything I do to him....but I put that off long enough and it was time to treat him with a little bit of love....mostly so that I could stop getting frustrated!! you can see, I bought some beautiful tires this week!!!

At district meeting, we learned a lot about hope. Our district has been having a really hard time lately. Almost every single companionship has been in the hospital more one reason or another in the last two weeks. So our district leader, Elder Taylor, taught us about hope and what we can do to get through the hard times. One thing that I realized, that I hadn't ever put together before is something that is spelled out for us in Preach my Gospel!! About hope, it says,"Hope is manifest in CONFIDENCE, ENTHUSIASM AND PATIENT PERSERVEREANCE.' So I realized, that lately I haven't really been confident(I know, hard to comprehend) or enthusiastic and I am not really sure yet how I am going to learn how to be super patient. But that I needed to change my outlook on what was going on. Life is hard enough and we have a lot of problems. But when we have a bad attitude, or only focus on what we can't do (like speak Dutch for example) we are not going to get anywhere in our lives. I have learned that I need to change my outlook from,'I can't speak Dutch, I'm a faliure.' To, 'I know so much more than four months ago. I can have conversations with people, and though my responses in Dutch are never perfect, I can understand and I am understandable!!' It has really helped me this week. It has helped me to feel more prepared to train here in about two months and it is no longer something scary because, as long as I am doing my best, the Lord will bless me with the things that I need in that time. I have to remember that it is in His time, and not mine.

So, in the MTC, I promised myself that when I hit the 4 month mark on my mission that I would begin to study the scriptures in Dutch. So I did and guess what?!?! I understand!! I am able to read so much better in Dutch everyday!! It is so cool to see that progression!!! I still spend about half of my time in English in personal study, but that is a step further than I thought I would be at this point!! Cool huh?

Mom, I am getting my hair cut this week. I had been asking people in the ward where they get their hair cut to be able to find a place and the only person with super cute hair gets her hair cut when she goes back to the states....and everyone else just cuts their own hair. Unfortunately....idon't really trust them, so I asked the mission president's wife where to go and she gave me a place where the people are American and they do a really good job. So we will hope and pray that it looks good!! I think I am going to take a little more off this time so that I don't have to get it cut in two months...but more like four because I have to save my monies!!

I have been working super hard to learn specifically the restoration lesson backwards and forwards for the last few weeks. After Ans, we haven't had a real progressing investigator to teach and I have been doing my best to be able to prepare to be able to teach with my companion and to memorize the lesson so that I can give it better in Dutch!! We got to teach it to our first investigator yesterday!!! It felt super good and I could understand everything that was going on. I am still not perfect, and I have a lot of work to do, but it feels so good to see that I am making progress and that I am getting better!!

This last week, Zuster Nogueira got sent home. She is on a medical release and if the doctors in Protugal figure anything out then she will be able to come back to the mission!! It was really a hard thing for our entire district and we are just trying to get back onto our feet. She is always in our prayers and we hope that she can return soon.

You asked me more about my companion. She is a lot like me. She doens't really have anything to do with music. but she is sporty and super cool. The coolest thing about her is that she was a speed skater training to go to the Olympics, but that she choose to come on a mission instead of continue on that career track!! Because of that, she is super dedicated and super fun to be around. We get along great(even though we are together 24 hours a day) and we both really like the chocolate here. We also like the sour gummy treats that they have here and we get a huge bag of them every week!!! Her dutch is super good because her mom was born here in the Netherlands and her dad served here so she has had Dutch in her life....her entire life.

Today, to celebrate the almost end of the transfer, we are going right now to go and eat sushi!!! YAY!! I am so excited!!
I love you all!! I can't wait to hear from you again!! Keep up being the best family ever!!!


Zuster Israelsen

Monday, February 4, 2013

Memorize in Dutch, Bell Ups, Friets and This Book is Really Interesting!


First off, I would love to wish the best little brother ever in the world a VERY GELUKKIG VERJAARDAG!!! You are so old kro!!! What does it feel like to feel old? I sure love you and hope you have a great birthday....also, did you get my letter? You and Dad should have gotten one each!! Happy Birthday!! Don't have too much fun....ok?

This week has been full of miracles!! We have seen a lot of cool things this week, and also a lot of frustrating things....which I guess that is what missionary work is like, isn't it?

On Tuesday, we had our first appointment with Ans as a new member of the Church!! So cool!! She is really progressing even more that she has been baptized!! I love being able to watch how much she changes between every appointment we have with her!! It is truly amazing!! The coolest thing though, is that Tuesday, we set a tempel day with her to receive her begiftiging....or endowment. And as long as she stays on the same path as she is right now, I will be able to go through the temple with her next Februari!!!! Wow huh?!?! I think that is so amazing!! We made a calendar for her with different temples every month and we set a day for her to go to the temple every month with the young women and young men so that she can start to get her family names through the temple!! She is truly amazing and has just embraced the gospel and everything that it is about!! We really love her!!! I don't ever want to leave Den Haag because of her!! I would be happy just being able to teach and learn from her for the rest of my mission!! She is an example of faith to me!! I love her!!

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go to Brussels, Belgium....because I had to fill out three whole papers for legality. Fun huh? BUT we got a full day trip out of it!!! We got to see some of the cool sights down in Brussels....I felt like I was in a different world because everyone was speaking French and also, the buildings are a whole lot older in Brussels than in Den Haag. I guess that is normal though because Den Haag is a relatively new city. Anyway, I got to ride down to Brussels with Elder Bryan Andrews, Elder Van Over Beek and Zuster Noguiera!! It was a party and we had a good 6 hour drive total that day!!! Let's just say....that we know each other way too well now!!! :D I got to see my entire MTC group again!!! That was super exciting and we were all able to kind of relax a little bit because we realized how much better we are actually getting at the language and alles!! I also got a Belgian waffel!!! proud!! It was delicious!! And we ate this super huge sandwich for lunch. I have no idea what it is called's a french name.

But it was truly delicious and the friets(fries) in Belgium are like a million times better than the ones in Nederland. Weird right? But it was a good day!!

On Thursday, we saw some really cool miracles with our less-actives that we are working with!! One, is Sabeta Salik. She is from Suriname and has some issues with depression and anxiety. But she really likes us sisters becasue we are the coolest, so she has us over a lot. This last week, we went over and she had a friend over. That was weird because...she doesn't really get out very much. But he sat in on the lesson with us. His name is Alvo....and guess what?!?! He is now a new investigator. We had an appointment with him for this last Saturday but he got called in to work at the last we were literally there with him and he had to leave because he got a page. So we have another appointment with him this next week. It was so cool in our lesson with him and Sabeta though, because we just went with what we had planned for her that day and we gave them a scripture to read out loud and then we were discussing it and we asked Alvo a question and he said, "sorry, can you ask that again....I was still reading....this book is really interesting!!" I thought,"Why yes it is just the truth after all!!" SO COOL!!

Another Less-active that we have been working with since we came here came to church again this next Sunday!! Her name is Giang and she is really making progress!!! She just had a baby and her husband is not a member of the church but she has made the decision that she really wants to be an example for her son and be able to raise him with the gospel!! And she is really working on developing her habits of church attendance and scripture study!! It's so cool to see someone realize why they joined the church again!! And to be able to see why it is so important to keep going with the simple gospel principles!! Too cool!!

Unfortunately, we saw most of our appointments this week fall through. That is really frustrating....because you think that you are going to be able to do so much good one day, but then your plans change all of the sudden and you don't feel as productive. We are working a lot on finding people now because we don't have any progressing investigators this week. We have a lot of potentials and a lot of investigators but we don't see them every week or our appointments fall through with them. I guess it is a good thing because I am learning how to be able to communicate through bell-ups(It is ridiculous how hard it is to be able to understand people when they speak through those things!!) and I am getting really good at contacting on the streets!! It is a life-long skill. I know Jake, you will love it when I get home because I won't have to send you to go and talk to the cashier....or will I? I might only speak Dutch when I come home!! :D But we are just working really hard everyday so that we can find and do our part so that the Lord can bless us. I have learned that principle really well here on my mission. The Lord really can't bless you until you get out there and work. I like what Zuster Robinson says,"You need to pray as though everything depended on the Lord and then you need to get up and work as though everything depended on you." That is when the Lord is really able to bless you and help you!! I have seen that with my language skills. President Robinson challenged me to memorize the Preach my Gospel lessons in Dutch, and I have been working my best to do just that and I have seen how much the Lord has blessed me with my ability to speak the language!! This morning, we read an article in a Liahona that is a billion years old, and I could understand almost everything!!! That is a HUGE improvement!!! So I am here, and I am doing my best to work hard so that the Lord can help me become who I need to be!!

I kind of had a little bit of a scare this last weekend. Mom, please don't be concerned. I had super bad abdomenal pains, and Zuster Robinson thought that it could be apendicitous....(sp?) So she took me in to the hospital. They did a lot of tests and they found out that it wasn't my apendix, but that I had a super weird reaction to the milk products here and that my kidneys and intestines are having a hard time processing them. I guess that this happens to a lot of people and it shows up in everyone differently. But it was starting to be an infection, so they gave me some antibiotics and they told me to watch how much dairy products that I am putting into my body. They said that if I take it slow here for a while and slowly build up more milk and things that I would be able to handle it but that I just need to be careful so that I don't have this problem again!! I am feeling much better right now and it gets better and better everyday. I just am letting you know, I am fine, don't worry.

Rachel, I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!! I am so happy that you made it into the show choir!! You are going to LOVE it!! And also, you are a wonderful example of a great swimmer!!! I wish I could be cool like you!! I hope Elizabeth is loving choir!! I wish I could play words with friends with her!!! Elizabeth, make sure you practice really hard because I am really good at that game!! Mom, I don't know.....any of the seniors besides Jake this year. I am sorry that I don't have any ideas for a musical number!! And Dad, I am so happy that you watched the Super Bowl!! I wish I could have been there and eaten the delicious food!! You are a beautiful family and I love you so much!!

Oh, and this transfer, I get to go on exchanges this transfer with....drum roll please.....ZUSTER STOUT!!! It is going to be a party!!!

I am loving missionary work and I am just loving it here!!

I love you guys!!

Tot volgende week!!

Zuster Israelsen