Monday, March 4, 2013

Mastering Dutch, Frikandele, and Investigators


Hoe gaat het met jullie?!?!?! Ik moet zeggen dat ik jullie heel veel mis!!! Elke avond kijk ik naar de fotos van jullie en elke keer ik lach!! Wij zijn heel grappig!! Ik hou heel veel van jullie en ik hoop dat jullie veilig en gezond zijn!! Ik hoop ook dat iedereen heel goed in school is!! En dat jullie worden niet TE gek zonder ik!!

That is just a little taste of my Dutch. It's still not perfect but everyone here is really surprised at how much I understand and how much I can speak. I still sound like Elder Calhoun though....because I am more focused on understanding and making sense than what I sound like. Don't you worry!!! I have a goal to have a Dutch accent by the time I come all won't be able to understand my English....and then you will see how ridiculous my life has been!!

I have officially hit my 5 month mark on a mission. Isn't that weird? It feels like just yesterady that I was in the MTC wishing that I would be able to come here to the Netherlands!! Tomorrow....I will have been here in the land for 3 whole months!!! That is CRAZY SAUCE!! But for real!! The time really does move fast....and d-day(aka....when all of the new sisters come into the mission) just keeps getting closer and closer. May 1 here we come!! I am hoping that my Dutch will be good enough to be able to help those coming in to learn and feel comfortable!! I hope that I can also help them to have a blast while here in the Netherlands....because...come on!! We are in the land of the tulips....aren't we?

Doordrecht is SUPER COOL!! It's a lot less busy than Den Haag was but I like the change. I feel like I am going to be able to get to know and work with this ward a lot faster than Den Haag. I feel bad for missionaries in the states because their wards are so HUGE!! That's what Den Haag was like, but active members here in the Den Haag about 50....or so. I love it here though!!

I had a really cool experience this last week. I had my first yorkshire pudding. You might be asking yourself,"What in the world?!?! I thought that you were serving in the Netherlands." Yes, ladies and gentleman....I am indeed serving in the Netherlands. BUT there is this super sweet familie in our wijk. The Van Bieman familie. The husband is Dutch and he runs all of the church financial stuff for Belgium and the Netherlands and his wife is WELSCH!!! Super cool huh?!?! They both served their missions in England(different places at different times) But they met randomly outside of the London,England tempel after their missions!! They are a super cool familie and their kids have Dutch accents when they speak Dutch but Welsch accents when they speak English!! We got to hear a lot of super cool and really hilarious mission stories and we have another dinner appointment with them next week!! We have decided that we love the Van Biemans(even though they have a dog the size of a horse....I am not kidding. I will take a picture next time and then you will see why I was afraid that he was goint to bite my head off!!)

We also live with the coolest JoVos(Young Adults....or jongevolwassenen in Duth) EVER!!! I really love being in a home with them and being able to have someone else to talk to at the end of the day!! They are also super good at coming on joint teach with us!! Especially Madeleine!!! This last week she saved us more than once and she is also making sure that we are eating only the most delicious foods here in Nederland!! This last week she had us try a Frikandele. It's this super huge braught (sp?) with curry, onions and other delicous ingredients on top!! It was super good and it made me really happy because we had forgotten to schedule in dinner that day.....(we have a goal not to do that again this week) Anyway, I really love her so much and I am glad that we are now best friends/roommates!!

We had a special zone training this last week. So, our mission president came into this mission and his way of doing missionary work is to follow the keys of the priesthood. And the men who have the keys over the actual missionary work in the any given area are the Stake President and Bishops. So, our special zone training was to receive the Rotterdam Stake mission plan for this coming year. I think that it is a really cool idea to get the missionaries and ward members to work more with one another. The plan, simply put for the missionaries is: Every member an investigator. We are to go and meet with at least one member a day to build relationships with them and help them to continually build their testimonies. The gospel is a pattern of living that doesn't end after you are baptized, or married or wat dan ook. It is something that should always be a part of our lives, but sometimes we forget about it and we need help to have a continuous living testimony. And the plan for the members is: Every missionary a child of our family. So they are supposed to treat us like their children. It's a cool idea....I don't know how they are going to treat me like their child.....but it is a cool idea. It helps everyone see that they have a role to play in this exciting work of the Lord!! I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!

Also, we found an American Candy Store!!! It is a beautiful thing that we have found!! I got some Runts....and the candy man(is now our best friend) is ordering Dr. Pepper for my companion and I...and he is also going to get goldfish(Zuster Hinchcliff really misses them) So that was a way cool find this week!! It made us both so very happy!! I think that I may have to get some Reeses!!! Spannent!!

So, we have a lot of investigators!! But we have two really solid investigators that we are working with! I really just love them!!

One is named Merel. She is super smart!! I am not cool enough to be able to answer her questions. Everytime she reads something....there is something that she has a question about and I don't even know if I could answer them well enough in English to satisfy her needs. But, so here's the cool story, the whole time that we have been meeting with her she hasn't understood why Jezus Christus is so important in everything. She thinks that people really don't put enough emphasis on Heavenly Father. So, when she prays, she prays in the Name of Peace.....BUT this week has been really cool for her. Somehow, we were able to help her see that the baptism she has had was not complete because she didn't receive the Holy Ghost. That was a miracle!! Then, we had an appointment with another investigator and we had been looking for a joint-teach for five days and no one could come, so she volunteered. We were a little afraid, but in this lesson, she prayed in the name of Jezus Christus, and she helped us teach a really powerful word of wisdom lesson!! She bore her testimony and everything!! That was super cool!! But the coolest part of this week was during sacrament meeting, she got us to bear her testimony and she told everyone there that she was finally beginning to realize how important Christus is in her life. And that He is a centraal part of Heavenly Father's plan for us!! It was a week full of miracles with Merel!!

And Sana, the man from the Ivory Coast. We had the word of wisdom lesson with him and Merel this week. He finally admitted to us his problems with the word of wisdom and he told us that he is at a place in his life that he is ready to stop smoking and drinking!! That was a really cool lesson that we had together!! And we made a plan with him to help him to quit so that he can be baptized. So we are putting together service projects every day to get him out of his house!! I love working with Sana!! He is a super cool guy!!

Also, I had my first Fufu ever this week. The Ampems are a family from Ghana and they had me eat this stuff with my hands....and I had to eat the bones was yummy but it was also weird.

Really, I just love being here and able to do the work of the Lord!! It is so amazing to be able to see the difference in the lives of others when they embrace the gospel in their lives!! It is so cool and it helps me to realize that if I continue to better myself through the gospel and do those things that I am asked to do that miracles in my life can happen!! It is a beautiful plan that our Heavenly Father has given to us!!! I LOVE IT!!

I love you all so much and I miss you!!
Take care of each other!!
Tot Volgende Week!!

Zuster Israelsen

P.S. The picture of me and my companion on by the water is when we are actually on the water bus!!! I love the water bus!!

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