Monday, March 25, 2013

Lunch in a Castle, Transfers, A First Prayer and I Determine My Happiness!

Hello my Wonderful Family!!

First off, Emily Israelsen....CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are going to love being a missionary and you are going to have a blast in Chicago!!!

Jake, your butterfly race is AMAZING!!! DUDE!!! You are rocking it!!! How much longer do you have to hit state time? Is it the knome power at work here? I think that may be the secret!! Also, I am so disappointed to hear that you aren't having any issues after getting your wisdon teeth out!! I had such a hard time and it is so not fair that you are mostly ok!! (Don't get me wrong....I am glad that you are ok :D)

Elizabeth, How did your play go? Did you have a party being a pirate? Tell me all about it!!

Rachel, where have you been all of my life? Suddenly you get cast in a one act and I don't matter anymore? :D Please tell me all about your one act....are you a drunk character again? How is school going?

So this week was definitely a crazy one!! Our P-Day was supposed to be full of packing and getting Zuster Hinchcliff ready to enter a scary place called Amsterdam, but it go taken over by us trying to help an investigator receive a blessing. A couple of Elders who live in Apeldoorn let us know of one of their investigators who was having a lot of health problems who wanted a blessing....I thought it was weird that they were contacting us too....until they explained that the investigator was returning to live with her mother in Sliedrecht(which is in our area). So we went through a lot of stress to get two priesthood holders all the way over to her house....but then....we realized that she doesn't speak Dutch...or English....but some sort of random language from the Congo(no, it's not French either) So that was fun. And it just so happens that there is a member in our ward who is from the Congo...and no one could ever figure out what language he spoke....until we called him and he was able to translate all of the stuff for was a crazy Monday. But it was fun too!!

On Tuesday, we had District Meeting. And since it was the last meeting of the transfer, District Leader Shoemaker decided to take us to a castle to have our district lunch together. It was delicious food and it was cool because I got to know the Elders in my district a lot better than I did before. So don't judge, but I had only had one other meeting with all of them so this was like my only chance. It was so fun!! And eating in an old castle....what can get any better than that?!? My district was Elder Hijer, Elder Davis, Elder Ombach, Elder Shoemaker and Zuster Hinchcliff...but now a few people have changed around.

Transfers were ridiculous. We didn't have any members in our ward who were available to help us transport luggage from one place to we ended up having to drag Zuster Hinchcliffs four suitcases, and her bike for an hour and a half to the nearest train station. Don't ask me how she got four suitcases....but she did. I guess you get more stuff the longer you are on a mission(I promise I won't do that!!) And then, we were stuck in Rotterdam Centraal for two hours waiting for all of the missionaries to actually get there. It was snowing hard core, so the trains weren't riding as often and were really unreliable!! Anyway, transfers are a little stressful.

My new companion is Zuster Townsend. She is from Salt Lake City(born and raised) and she is a Star Wars fan. Like, super hard core. I thought I was a Star Wars fan....but no....not compared to Zuster Townsend. I don't even know how to handle it!!

Also, I had to take over Dordrecht. I didn't realize what that entailed until Wednesday....when I had to lead around everywhere the entire day. I still have to lead everywhere because my companion has no idea where she is going. I didn't think that I had any idea where I was going, but I guess I do because we haven't gotten lost yet!! I feel pretty proud of myself. I didn't think that I was going to be able to do it. It is also really hard because, suddenly I am the one who has to make all of the phone calls and find all of the joint teaches....I think that someone is trying to prepare me for the in a month....when I will most likely be training. It is nice to actually know that I can do at least a little bit of it without breaking down!!

Thomas, our investigator, he is just so cool!! This week was a really good week for him. First, he was able to get into the school he really wanted to get into. It is apparently super hard to get in and he was the only one selected from the 300 applicants for this next year. And they are letting him begin now...which is a huge thing!! So, that was pretty cool but the COOLEST THING is, is that he said his first prayer this week!! We asked him what it felt like, and he said it felt like he was talking to a wall....which is understandable....but we assured him that if he would continue to show the Lord that he really wants to build a relationship with Him, that it will start to feel less like talking to a wall and more like a conversation with someone who loves you. He is a super cool kid and is really trying his best to understand everything that we teach and what in the world is going on :D

We had another investigator tell us yesterday that she did not want to meet with us anymore. I never thought that being on a mission would be this hard. You think beforehand of all of the people that you are going to be able to help and all of the members you will be able to help and the growth of the church that will happen. And what you don't realize is that you are going to really, Really love those that you teach. From the very first lesson with them, you begin to be able to feel of Heavenly Father's love for them and that in turn becomes what you feel. And then, this whole agency thing comes into play, and these people you love, who you just want to see happy and progressing to eternity with their families....don't want it, or don't think that it is the right path for them. It really tears you apart. I am beginning to understand how Nephi felt, being able to see that his posterity was not going to follow the ways of the Lord. It is devastating, but there is still hope, a light at the end of the tunnel because the Lord will give His children a second chance. In the case of Nephi, it is the Restoration and in my case, it is me knowing the Plan of Salvation and that we will always have our ability to choose and to learn!!

I determine my happiness, I determine my success and dertermination. This is a principle I have struggled with my entire life. I always thought that others were the cause of why I was unhappy, but I should always be able to rejoice, no matter what is going on around me because I know the truth and I have a hope and something to progress to for eternity!! I love this gospel!!

Here we come up to Easter, and I would like to leave all of you with a thought. First, think about a scar that you have on your body. What comes to mind when you think of this scar? For me, it's a story of running and cracking my head on a brick wall. I remember the people associated with this scar, what I was doing and how I felt when it happened. Then, turn to 1 Nephi 21:16. this is the Lord speaking and he ways to us,"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me" Our Savior also has scars. These scars remind Him of us. We are able to live again because of the sacrifice that He gave for us, and because He lives again!!! Let us not forget what Easter really means. Remember what the Lord has done for you and the happiness that His sacrifice and atonement brings into your life!!

I love you all!!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week!!!

Don't have too much fun without me!! :D

Zuster Israelsen

P.S. I don't know if I am going to be able to e-mail next week. We are still trying to figure out stuff but it is second Easter out here and the Dutch take every single holiday seriously....and that means that there will be no stores, libraries or anything open. So we are trying to get something figured out. I will make a way to send you a little something!! :D I love you so much!!!

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