Monday, April 29, 2013

Opening Genk to Missionary Work, A King in the Netherlands and Testimony through Song

Oh my goodness, there is so much to tell you about this week!!  I have seriously had a wonderful week and the future seems to be really exciting and scary at the same time, but we will get there soon!  
First off, Mom, I am pretty sure that I didn't send you pictures of the Grote Kerk last week because I totally ran out of time, so I included a few in this weeks email.
Jake, you are a beast!!  You looked dashing from prom and also, father told me about your state time!!  YOU ARE ROCKING IT!!!  I love you!!  Keep up the amazing work!!
Rachel, I haven't heard from you in forever,  I hope that everything is going swimmingly!!  Please tell me about your life!!
Elizabeth, I can't believe you have been keeping apples in a jar in the house for a month and mom has let you!!  You better give her a big hug and also take a lot of pictures of her faces when you have to clean out the jars!! 
So, this week we had a ton of dinner appointments for the first time since I have been here in Dordrecht and it was a wonderul blessing!!  On Monday, we had an appointment with the Van Dalen family and they had invited their friends who live in Spijkenisse(sp?)  Anyway, that was super cool because we got to have a family home evening with nonmembers and to see that the members here in the ward are getting more comfortable with doing missionary work!!  But it was the coolest thing!!  We had prepared a message about the Restoration and I choose to share my testimony through song.  (Sometimes when my Dutch isn't working very well, it is easier to be able to sing and read the words)  But the Spirit was there so very strong.  The entire room was silent.  For at least ten minutes.  They asked me if every time that I sing if I made people get that quite.  If people become still from it.  I said no, but I was given an opportunity to testify that it was the Spirit showing them that what we had taught them was true.  The nonmember could is now investigating the church and came to church on Sunday and loved it!!  SO COOL!! 
We had a great week of finding new investigators!!  Our contacting efforts have certainly paid off!!  And the follow-up is also essential but it is super cool to see when your hard work is rewarded.  We have a new investigator who is from China.  His name is Steven and he is here studying how to cook.  To be a chef?  (i think that is what it is in English)  Anyway, he speaks a little bit of english and a little bit of dutch.  But it is interesting to teach someone who has no Christian background at all.  We had to start at the very beginning, much like Ammon did with Lamoni in the Book of Mormon, and teach about our loving heavenly Father.  It is slow going with him, but he is super willing to learn and super nice.  The other new investigator is named Valter.  He is from Portugal.  (Where is Zuster Noguiera?)  and he really speaks mostly only Portuguese and a little bit of English.  So we teach him with the pamphlets...So that's interesting.  But he loves the Book of Mormon and we see him going a long way!!  The only thing I asked myself this week was....."I was called Dutch speaking right?....."  Because it doesn't feel like that.  About 80 procent of our contacts this week have spoken either Protuguese, French, Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Twii....pretty much every language besides Dutch and English.  Jammer genoeg!! 
I had the opportunity this week to serve with Zuster Rigdon for a day!!!  What a wonderful day that was!!  We got to go to Zoetermeer!!  That is where the temple is!!  And there is an Aggie wall of fame there!!  Someone who served there before knows where it is at and put an Aggie bumper sticker on their wall.  It made me feel like home.  We had a wonderful day of contacting and just having a huge party!!  Our dinner appointment was hilarious.  Her name is Zuster De Vinn....and she talks so fast....and never stops.  So that was super funny and we learned a lot about koninginnedag!!!  Which is Tuesday.  You should look it up!!  it is a big deal because the Netherlands is getting a king for the first time in 150 years.  So pretty much, it is going to be very crazy here for the next few days.  A lot like New Years is what we have been told.  En everyone is going to be wearing Orange and just celebrating the fact that Willem Alexander is the new King!!  Super cool!!
We also got to do a lot of service this week.  It was a happy time, because, first of all I got to wear my jeans.  I love wearing my jeans!!  I cherish every moment that is allowed!!  But also, the people that we were able to serve gave us delicious treats that made our days so much better.  I learned how to super duper clean windows this week and how to paint and wallpaper a room.  You learn so many handy things on a mission.  I dubbed this week the American Pancake, Brownie and Service week.  (Because we got to eat american pancakes and brownies while we were serving!!) 
Ok, I was begging for everything to start blooming and for it to warm up....turns out that was a bad idea.  I have never really felt the affect of my allergies before....but for two solid weeks all I have been able to do is sneeze and sniffle.  My sneezing reminds me of Michael Beelek every time because I can't help but sneeze at least three times in a row every time!!  craziness!!  I don't know how you have done that your whole life Michael!!  But I am super glad that it is now very beautiful here and that everyone is starting to be happy and outside again!! here is the scary and exciting, but mostly nerve-racking part of my life.  So....we have transfers this week.  And we all know that I have been dreading the day of May 1 because I was mostly going to have to train.  Well...turns out that I was dreading May 1 for the right reason...but for not enough reasons.  :D  I have been transferred.  Don't even try to guess where to....ok...try. 
Give up? 
Ok. I have been transferred to Genk, Belgium.  So in other words.  The language that i have been trying to learn for seven no longer the language I am going to be speaking.  I am going to learn flams.  But it is not even is a mixture of flams and German because Genk is right next to the German border.  Also, I am going to be training one very lucky new sister in the mission.  I have no idea who that is yet...I will find out on Wednesday when they walk into the office and I get to stand there and awkwardly smile until someone claims me.  but to put the cherry on top....I am opening Genk to missionary work for the very first time in the history of the world.  There have never been missionaries in this area.  There have been missionaries in the surrounding areas, but never for Genk.  So....triple boogey!!  It is ridiculous!!  I am super excited, and super scared and I don't think that I have ever prayed as much in my life as I have since I got the call from President last night!!  BUT I am also very excited because I am now in Zuster Stout's district(for the last three weeks of her mission and I am in Elder Andrew, Elder Taylor, Elder Ombach and District Leader Shoemaker's district!!  i have served with all of these Elders and I am super excited!!  I hope that I can accomplish everything that I have to while I am down there.  I have also heard that I have a baptism on Saturday by someone who searched for the church and was taught by Elders who live nearby.  what a party it is going to be!!  Yay Training!!  Yay Opening!!  Yay Flams!!
Anyway, life is exciting and I am ready for the new challenge.  I just hope that the I can live up to the expectations of the Lord, my mission president, my new companion, the Genk branch and myself.  Those expectations are really high, but like Preach my Gospel always says," If you lower your expectations your effectiveness will decrease!!"
I love you all!!  I hope that you have a wonderful week!!  Keep it real!
Zuster Israelsen

Tempel Conferentie. Tulips, Bugs in my Eye and Ridderkerk

Ik ben zo dankbaar dat ik een zendeling in de Belgie/Nederland zending zijn!!  Nederland is echt een geweldige land!!  De mensen hier zijn echt gek!!  Wij hebben met zo veel mensen opstraat deze week gesproken!!  Ik hou van hun!!  Ik voel me hier thuis in de land van mijn voorouders!!  Wat een mooi ervarring die de Heer aan me gegeven heeft!!  Ik hou van het evangelie!!  Ik ben dankbaar dat ik de kans heb om het met anderen to delen!!  Leven is mooi!!
Ok, back to English!!  First off, I would like to give a shout out to Belem Moyano, who will binne kort become Hermana Moyano!!  Good luck going into the MTC on Wednesday you beautiful person you!!  You are going to be one amazing missionary and I can't wait to hear more about your adventures in St. George Utah!! 
So, our apartment, you remember...the really super nice, new apartment. was apparently not ready for us to live in.  I can't remember if i told you...but in the past two weeks we have had a flood in our kitchen almost every other day.  the repair man, his name is Rene, he has come and fixed the leak so many times that I wonder if he really is a plumber or not....but hey, I am not one to judge or anything.  So that has been a pain in our necks.  The other day, in the middle of personal study, there was a knock at our door and it was Rene.  He ran into our apartment and immediately began fixing somthing.  Apparetnly the water damage has affected the people who live beneath us.  We have people fixing our apartment everyday....CRAZY!!  I am just happy because this week we actually have a washer and I don't have to go and beg a member to wash my underwear :D 
It has really been an amazing week!!  On Tuesday, we had tempel conferentie!!  I got to go to the Den Haag, Nederland temple(which really is in Zoetermeer).  I love that place!!  i was so excited that I was going to be able to go to the temple that I didn't even think about what language that it was going to be in.  Guess what?!?  It wasn't in English!!  It was in Dutch.  And funny enough, I felt like the endowment session meant more to me in Dutch than in English.  I mean, it is always a beautiful experience, but there was a special spirit there in the Dutch language!!  I got to see the Jansens from Den Haag and also Jack VanOudheusen in the tempel!!  And of course, all of the other missionaries!!  It was really a treat and I was spiritually uplifted for hopefully another six months.  I have learned on my mission how amazing the tempel is and how important it should be in our life.  Our weeks really do go better when we are able to worship therein!!  I challenge you all to try to make the tempel a weekly, or at least a monthly visit!!  You will get so much closer to the Lord that way than you can in any other way!!  I love it!
We also got to go to keukenhof in Tuesday.  Keukenhof is a huge, super famous flower garden in Haarlem.  The gum scene of the Best Two Years was filmed there(yes, indeed, I did re-inact that part of the film)  It was beautiful.  I was a little sad though because since it has been so cold there weren't as many tulips as there normally are, but they were still beautiful and I couldn't believe what kinds of colors they were able to make out of flowers!!  They rent out parts of the garden to different people and they all make their own display with their flowers!!  It is super cool and you see things done there with flowers that you never thought possible!! 
I have learned this week that I must purchase some Amelia Earhart flying goggles for on my bike.  Three times.  THREE TIMES.  I had a ridiculous little bug fly into my eye as I was biking somewhere.  I was even stopping to talk to someone on the street once and it happened...I may or may not have almost killed said woman...she didn't have any interest and quickly ran away!!  Anyway....that was my funny story for the week.  You should have seen it.  It was ridiculous....I know dad.  You are going to say...well just close your\s not that simple ok?  :D 
Also, I got a letter from Grandma Gail this last week at tempel conference and she sent me the birthplaces of her grandparents.  I realized why I was called to Dordrecht.  Great Great Grandpa Van Drimmelen was born and raised in Ridderkerk....and guess what?!?!  That is in our area!!  We are going to go and find whoever I am supposed to find there this week!!  We are determined!!  And it will be nice to take pictures :D
We also got an opportunity to tour the Grote Kerk hier in dordrecht!!  It is super cool!!  And super old!!  It was originally a Catholic Church, but at one point in the history of the Netherlands, Catholicism was banned, so then it became a Protestant church.  They give tours today for 1 euro!!  Super cool!!  My fovirte things were first, when you are walking through the church, you are literally walking on peoples graves.  People would pay big money to be able to be burried in the church.  Their headstone is the floor!!  My companion was weirded out...but I thought it was super cool!!  Second, the stained glass windows are remarkable.  I tried to take pictures but they are way better in person.  They show all of the history of Dordrecht!!  It is super cool!!  Third, we learned about Catholic and Protestant traditions.  That is super handy but it was also super cool to be ablel to understand why the church was built the way it was!!   The Cathloic churches are full of symbolism, for the land they are in and also the bijbel!!  I love it so much!!  I also learned, that the big clock tower that they have it not part of the church.  That the government required that it get put there so that they would have a military benefit.  They can see super far in the tower!!  I love it!! 
This week, I have learned to let go of the things that I cannot control.  From our apartment, to the appointments that we make and people don't follow up on and the decisions that people make in their lives.  I have realized how hard it really is for heavenly Father not to interject His power and make us do the things that He wants us to do.  It is hard when you know what will make people happy but they choose not to listen.  It realy does come down to,"Am I doing everything I can to become the person and missionary that the Lord wants me to become?"  I have studied my Patriarchal blessing a lot this week!!  i ahve come to the realization that I need to make sure that I can describe myself the way the Lord describes me and become the person that is described in that blessing.  That is what the Lord wants me to become!!  I love being a missionary!!  I love the gospel!!  I love the Netherlands!!
I hope that you all have a wonderful week!!!  Mom, tell me more about what is going on with the contract thing?  I don't understand everything.  Jake, tell me how prom goes!!  Rachel, how are one acts?  Elizabeth, how is honors choir going?  bummer that you couldn't sing for the rockies game!!  Dad, i have no idea what kind of program you need to come up with....tell me more :D
I love you all so much!! 
 Have a wonderful week!
Zuster Israelsen

Monday, April 15, 2013

Miracles, 23 People in a Day, Singing in 5 Minutes!

Hello My Beautiful Family!!

So this week has been pretty interesting!! The mission got changed in the middle of a there have been crazy middle of the transfers transfer!! So our district was dramatically changed. I had my last district meeting with Elder Shoemaker and Elder Ombach!! They are two of my favorite elders(if you are allowed to pick favorites) They are a super funny companionship and nothing was ever boring when you were with them!! I love it so much!! But we got to have district meeting here in Dordrecht in the cool old house because afterward, we all went into Dordrecht and contacted a TON of people!! It was way fun and we all got to learn from each other to see what we all do differently when we talk to people on the street. President has challenged all of the missionaries in the mission to contact at least 23 people a day and that has been pretty interesting. We found out that sometimes it is harder than it looks but that it really pays off. We have five potential investigators from out efforts this week and two new investigators this week!! It was super cool to see that and we are now determined to continue to contact that many people a day for the rest of our missions!! We have also seen how, when we are doing our part to continue to find people to teach, that the Lord blesses us with the people that we have already found and are teaching.

One of our investigators, Lydia. She is from the Congo, she became progressing this week and she bore her tstimony to us about Joseph Smith!! We were really worried about her, like I was with Ans, after the first appointment because she didn't seem very positive, but then we went back and she was all sorts of excited and you could just see the change that came about her when we shared more about the Book of Mormon with her!! I hope that everyday, when I get a chance to open the Book of Mormon and to study the gospel, that this same change comes over me!! I hope that people can see the light that comes from the gospel in my life like I can see it in the lives of our investigators.

There was also a really sweet miracle. This man, named Alfred, randomly called us and we were not sure why. He told us that he was trying to make a really difficult decision in his life, and that he knew that if we prayed for him that he would receive and answer. So we prayed for him and then continued on with our day. The next day, we got a call from him and he told us that he had received an answer and that he wanted to make an appointment with us!! super cool!! And our appointment with him this week was really cool!! It was so sad to see the hardship that he was having in his life, but that through his experiences he is coming closer to Christ!!

On Wednesday, we had sister exchanges and Zuster Hinchcliff came back with me to Dordrecht. What a wonderful experience that was!! I love that girl!! We get along so very well and we are always on the same page no matter what appointment we are in or who we are contacting on the street!! It was a wonderful day full of appointments and success!! We had a competition that day with our district leader to see who could contact the most people and we won by having 40!! We are so cool!!

Also, Sana. This week was truly miraculous!! He is getting so much closer with being done smoking!! I love it!! But the coolest thing was that, last week, we thought that he didnt have a testimony of Joseph Smith and about the church because of the questions he was asking after watching the restoration movie. the problem is is that he speaks French and tries his best to speak Dutch. So, this week, the stake president came with us because he speaks French. And it was the most powerful lesson I have ever been in!! Sana bore his testimony of the church in French and I could understand every single word!! And he has a wonderful testimony of the restoration of the church!! It is wonderful and he is planning on being baptized on the 27 of this month!!

This weekend we also stake conference. I love stake conference!! We had a member of the seventy Elder Wright in our midst!! It was a wonderful thing and the spirit was so strong!! I was randomly asked to sing a solo five minutes before the meeting began. So that was cool!! But the really cool thing was that Igor Gruppman, he is a director of the Orchestra at Temple Square, he told me that when I go back to the United States, that I have to get in contact with him and that he would set me up with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I don't know how that is really going to happen but that made me really excited!! It was so much fun to be able to sing in that meeting!! I love being able to share my testimony through song!!

Tomorrow, we get to go to the temple!! I am so excited!! And also, my letter next week will be full of temple and keukenhof magic!!

I love you all so very much!!

I hope that you have a wonderful week and that you aren't going to do anything too exciting without me!!

I love you!!

Zuster Israelsen

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference in Dutch, Catch the Wave, The Restoration Challenge and Bike Rage

Hello My Wonderful Family!!!

I can't believe that it is Monday once again. Time seems to fly here when you are having fun!! First off, shout out to my little brother and his amazing swimming skills!!! I can't believe how cool he is!!! I am proud to call him my brother!! Also, Shout out to Rachel, the professional swim lesson teacher and amazing fine artist of the family award!!! It sounds like you are keeping busy!! And Finally ELIZABETH!!!! You made it into Honor Choir?!?! How cool!!! I am so proud of you!!!

Mother, you asked me how I made it through the long flight....and honestly...I have no idea. I read scriptures, tried to sleep, colored pictures, tried to sleep, tried to avoid being distracted by the movies being played around me, tried to sleep. I think that you will have more luck staying busy than I did :D Just figure out the time difference and try to sleep when the people in China are sleeping...otherwise your first day isn't going to be very much fun!!

 So this week was pretty interesting.....P-day....was pretty much a joke. This whole tweede Paas(second Easter) thing is ridiculous. We had an appointment with Madeleine Wassenar for Easter Breakfast so that was pretty fun!!! I loved it so much!! Dutch doesn't get any better than that!! I will take a picture next time...because I forgot my camera (I know mom....I fail) But then, we wanted to go grocery shopping because we were out of food. But guess what?!?! EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED!! Literally every single store!! I actually missed walmart last Monday!! (wouldn't think that would happen) Then, we spent the entire rest of our day packing everything up in our apartment because we had to move on Friday and had no other time to pack. It was ridiculous!! But, dad, you would be proud because I was able to take everything apart and carry it down the Dutch stairs!! You have raised a handy woman!!

But then the next day, we had District meeting!! I love district meeting and my district is THE BEST!! But, we had to cook this week. Do you know how impossible that is when you don't get to go shopping on P-day? Anyway...that was an adventure....but mom, you will be proud because I was able to actually cook something that was edible!!! You have raised a genuine chef!! :D

Also, trains are a big pain in the neck. They are a beautiful thing when they are working correctly, but apparently every single train has broken down in the Netherlands this week!! After district meeting it took us a total of four hours to get back to our city!! that is crazyness!! BUT we made it back and I got to talk to some really cool people in the train!! None of them were interested in the Book of Mormon...or about God, but they did like to hear my American accent when I spoke that was fun!!

Also, I have decided I have what I have named 'bike rage'. It's kind of like road rage...but with a bike. :D Let's just say, that my companion was literally riding my tail...and then I braked. (There was a back up of bikers in my deffense) but at the same time....I just wanted my biking freedom.....President just laughed when he heard the story of my companion running into the back of my bike and almost dying....he told her that he hopes she learned a lesson. :D He says that is his number one pet peeve of American drivers is riding someone's bumper. was a pretty funny experience!!

Our stake plan with for the mission is super cool and is finally being put into action!! I love it!! It is basically,' Every Member an Investigator' What we have interpreted that to mean, is that we need to make sure that the members are receiving the spiritual food that they need to be able to CATCH THE WAVE(as Elder Nelson puts it) and share the gospel with others!! We have put more of a focus on teaching the members in the ward and helping them to see what they know and what they still need to learn. One thing that I have learned from Preach my Gospel this week is that when doctrine is UNDERSTOOD then behavior changes. You have more of a desire to live the word of God, so we are helping the members to understand the doctrien!! It also includes making sure that we are spending at least two hours a week serving the members personally and also going visiting teaching with a different couple every week!! I am loving getting to know the members more and I am excited for the next four weeks here in Dordrecht!!

As a part of this helping the members see where they are, I made a restoration game. Where there are sections from every section in Lesson One from preach my Gospel and it is kind of like jeopardy. Our deal that we make with the members is that if they get a question wrong, then the next time we come over, we get to teach them the restoration!! There are surprisingly a lot of members who don't understand of remember the basic doctrine of the restoration. i challenge each of you to read through the first lesson of Preach my Gospel and to pick out the restored truths, the simple and beautiful doctirne and really ask yourself if you UNDERSTAND IT!! (remember understanding means to increase your desire to apply and live the doctrine!)

The Move from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht to the center of Dordrecht was interesting. It took our entire day on Friday and it is still not up to the clean standard(I know mom exactly what you are thinking...but one other thing I have learned while on my mission is that a clean home invites the Spirit and it is easieer to clean up your mess right after you make it than to wait!!) So we are still working on that but I really do like the apartment. President told us that we have the nicest apartment in the mission so I really hope that I don't get transferred in four weeks...

I got to listen to General Conference IN DUTCH!! AND I UNDERSTOOD IT!!! I love the Dutch language!! But conference was a little weird this time. Because of the time difference, I only got to watch three sessions of conference because the afternoon sessions are broadcast from 10- midnight here and president wouldn't let us stay up :(. But I was so spiritually uplifted this weekend it was a beautiful thing!! I took a ton of notes!! Also, I have a shout out to give to my family!! I want to thank each and everyone of you for CATCHING THE WAVE and helping me to be here on a mission in the Netherlands!! I am so grateful to every single one of you!! And family, I am so happy that you have also caught the wave to help the amazing missionaries in our home ward!! They are so great too!! Remember that you are their family for two years and that they love you!! Thank you for taking care of them!! I appreciate it and I know that their families do too!!

The last six months have just flown by. I have learned so much about the gospel, about myself and about how the Lord works among His children. I love the Lord even more now than I did six months ago!! I am so grateful for His sacrifice for us so that we can live together forever and so that we can overcome spiritual and physical death!! I am so grateful for a living prophet that we are able to hear from!! I love President Monson and I am so blessed and honored to have received a call signed by him to serve the people in the Netherlands. It sounds like the next six months are going to be yet another great adventure and that I was truly called here at this time for a specific purpose!! I love being a missionary and I love the Netherlands!!

I love all of you and can't wait to hear from you again next week!! Have a wonderful week!! Take care of each other!!

Zuster Israelsen

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nametags in Jello, 3 people an hour and Paasconcert


I love you all so much and I hope that everyone has had a wonderful spring break time there in the United States of America!!! It is still freezing here in the Netherlands!!! It starts to warm up....but then really the weather just laughs in your face and it starts to snow again. In other words....I have spring fever. It is time for the Netherlands to catch up and realize that the poor missionaries need a break from wearing their heavy winter coats and they need to be able to roam free and frollik in the wind!!

This week has been an interesting one!!! We are still going crazy with the amount of people we are teaching here in Dordrecht. We had four appointments with investigators almost everyday....that is crazy ridiculous and President called us to see what kind of miracle grow we were taking because it is really unheard of here in our mission. It is hard to find people who are willing to hear the gospel...but somehow we are making it work!!

Zuster Townsend, my new companion, is crazy!! I don't even know what else to say about that....the Elders in our district don't really like her because...well you day we were talking about how both of us really like 'the office' and how it is on both of our bucket lists to become Jim and stick something in jello. I thought that we were kidding...but then, when we came home from district meeting she pulled out name tags from all of the Elders in our district. The problem that we don't have any she is going to have to return them...especially since the Elders figured out it was her.

We have a goal as a mission to make sure that we are talking to at least 3 people an hour every hour that we are supposed to be outside. So...that is roughly 23 people a day. We have seen the fruits of that labor though. We found two new investigators this last week from those efforts and that is the most I have seen personally the entire 6 months I have been on a mission. So that has been a really cool experience. Also, it is good to be able to know for myself that I can actually talk to people in Dutch on the street and have successful contacts. That is getting more and more important now...since I have exatly one month from today until I will most lilkely be training......CRAZY!!

We have seen some miracles with our investigators this last week!! Sana, the man from the Ivory coast, he is in the process of quitting smoking. He went from smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day to now....only 3 cigarettes!!! That has been amazing to see!!! There is a quote in Preach my Gospel that says,'True Doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior' I have seen that in Sana's life. The more he begins to understand the gospel(which is hard with the French language barrier) he is taking it upon himself to change his behavior and to become the person that is expected. He tells us everyday with excitement,'I am going to be baptized and I will be able to do it!! I am doing my best and the Lord will help me!!' It is such a cool thing to see!!

Also, my life is a little stressful at the moment because we are being forced to move into a new apartment....the only problem is is that the mission can't get us moved until Friday....and our power is supposed to turn off we will see how this week goes....we may be moving in with a member for a few days becasue we need water and's just a little important!! Mom, don't worry, I will make sure that I am able to shower everyday :D

We helped Madeleine move out of our house this last week and I put on my jeans for the first time since the may have a problem. I have apparently lost 15 kilos since I have been here in the Netherlands....I am getting too small for my clothes. I had to punch a new hole in my belt so that I could be able to wear the jeans and carry something up the stairs without them falling to the ground(how embarassing!!) Anyway....I guess there are worse problems to have. I think it may have something to do with the millions of miles we bike everyday!!

On Saturday, we had a Paasconcert(Easter concert) and I was asked to sing by Fesna Gruppman. Look her and her husband Igor up....they are famous!!! Anyway....she had me sing a really old song but I was accompanied by her and Olga Babadjan. They are both super amazing musicians from Russia. That was a super sweet experience!!! It feels so nice when you have a professional accompanying you!! and I had the opportunity to sing for about 2000 people with TWO professional musicians accompanying me!! Such a cool experience!!! (picture)

Easter here is...well...interesting. I thought that Easter was one of the two times that everyone always went to church....but apparently that is the day that everyone decides to spend time with their family and not attend church. We had about 10 people in our sacrament meeting. So that was nice and cozy!! But we had a great time eating African fufu at the Ampems and then, we had to finish our weekly planning because our week was insanely full of crazyness!!

Mom, second Easter is ridiculous. We can't even go shopping today because literally every single store is closed. I don't know what it is about people here in the Netherlands. Most of them aren't even religious and yet, they make sure that everyone gets days off. And they mean EVERYONE!!! But that's ok....we are spending most of our time taking closets and beds apart to get them ready to move this week!! Also, I am sorry that I didn't inclued the picture of the castle....I also just switched my memory I don't have it with me today either....but I will have it next week!!

I love you all and I miss you so very much!! I am working my hardest everyday and I feel so good!! I love being a missionary!!

I can't wait to hear from you again next week!!

Also, make sure that you keep taking care of the sisters in your ward!!! Sister Missionaries are the best and people sometimes forget about them...and that they like dinner appointments too(everyone assumes that we can cook....which we all know that is a lie!!! I need some help :D)

Love you!!!
Ik hou van jullie!!! Tot horens!!!
Zuster Israelsen