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

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