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

1 comment:

  1. God Bless you to your journey in life and always keep the word of God everyday.


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