Sunday, May 19, 2013

Genk, Limburg, Helpful Members, Don't Let Your Dog Kill Us, Zuster Brown is Going Places and The Wallet Disaster

 Ok, disclaimer again, I am still on a French keyboard.  I tried again to figure out how to switch it over, with no luck.  So i guess for the time that I am in Belgium, we will be hoping that I can figure out the keyboard, and if I make mistakes, we will hope that you have enough skills to be able to read my mind!!
It was so wonderful to be able to talk and see everyone yesterday!!  It was exactly what I needed to be able to keep going here.  Genk is a rough place right now, but I am not letting my hopes get down.  I am here for a reason, it just might take a little bit of time to figure out what that reason is.  I love all of you so very much and I pray for you daily!!  Keep being my amazing family, ok?  And don't change too much, DEAL?  

Ok, so here is the update about the week.  As you know, our first week in Genk was quite an adventure.  One without keys, hot water and physical limitations.  This week, everything has started to settle down and we have realized how few people we really have to teach, almost none.  There are a few people here who have been taking lessons from the members for a very long time, but they are not ready or willing to commit to anything like baptism.  So really, we have a clean slate.  And like anyone else, I say if you are starting with a clean slate, that means you will have a restful first p-day.  That was a lie.  All of the members, ok, so like two of them, were so concerned when they heard that we didn't yet have curtains, or hot water, they came over and just started fixing everything.  don't get me wrong, we were very grateful....but we barely had time to get anything done.  Lamesauce!!!  But now we won't have to worry about anything in the apartment for a very long period of time(knock on wood!!!)
We have finally figured out the bus and trains here.  I wouldn't say quite yet that I am a master....but I am getting there!!!  This week, we only got off at the wrong stop, took the wrong bus, or our train only got delayed a total of four times!!!  That is what I call success!!!  Quite literally!!  We found out though, that it takes us exactly two hours to get to the closest missionaries here.  In other words, let's hope there is not a catastrophe because we would be stuck in the middle of farm town, unable to move.  Comforting, right?  What make it better, is that we are only 45 minutes from the closest member of the church!!  Yahoo!!  But of course, as soon as we start to figure out the trains, something else has to go wrong.  I feel so bad because I am not able to help my companion out more, but her first few weeks here have been crazy!!!  We are still dealing with the aftermath of the wallet disaster(as i have now dubbed it)  Even today, I had to sweet talk the librarian to give her a new library card so that she could email.  (boy am I glad that mom is a librarian and I have been practicing the librarian sweet talk my entire life!!)
We did actually get a lesson in this week though!!! which was a miracle!!!  There is a less-active family named the Onates.  One day, we went to visit them and they asked us to come back the next day.  So we did(since we didn't have any other plans) and they had invited three non-members to be there with them.  Rafael and momma onate are the less-actives.  And Rafael brought his girlfriend, and momma onate invited over her nephews.  We haven't been able to set up a return appointment with them yet, but we had a powerful Restoration lesson and Zuster Brown did an amazing job!!!  She recited the first vision perfectly in Dutch and the spirit was super strong!!!  Nina, Rafael's girlfriend, really responded as soon as Zuster Brown started talking.  i have a super good feeling about her!!   Zuster Brown is going places and so is Nina.  Our miracle of the week!!!
Also, I am really tired of people thinking that we are jehovah's witnesses.  Even the members, the less-active members, that we are looking up have done everything including sending their big dogs after us screaming"we are mormons go away!!"  To which we respond as we are running away from the scary jaws of death,"we are too!!! we are the missionaries!!! Please don't let your dog kill us!!!"  That is how long it has been since the missionaries have been in this area.  We have made a bunch of appointments with these less-actives who are glad to see that there are still missionaries around.  We have asked that they keep their dogs outside when we come over though :)
We are in the farmland of Limburg.  I have stood in front of more doors in the past week than I have in my entire life.  One thing that we have noticed though is first, that most of these doors would qualify to be on monsters inc!!!  Second, that I have seen more round doors with handles in the middle here than I have watching all three extended versions of the lord of the rings.  now i know where JR Tolkien found his idea for the Hobbits, here in the small land of Limburg, Belgium!!!
Also, we had another miracle.  We got a map of the area finaly from the members yesterday!!!  Now we can figure out where in the world we are without difficulty!!!  I no longer have to ask a million people, " where is this street?"  and having people respond saying, " i don't know. Just use your GPS;"  Guess what.... don't have one :)  But now I have a map!!  I was so happy i almost started to sing about a map like Dora.  But gladly I didn't go that far!!!  
Mom, like we talked about yesterday, here is what I got from the inside of the skirts...  I don't know if it is what you need or it it makes sense.  These are the easiest to bike in and I spend most days in these two skirts so a few more would be welcome!
These numbers inside:
Lands End
Also, I love the blouses....I attached a picture.  And the travel smith dress, the red one....I wear it all of the time too.  i could use another one if that is possible :)  
I love all of you so much!!!  I also miss being dry for more than 20 minutes at a time :)  i guess that is what i asked for when i prayed for spring to hurry up and come here.  I think I like the winter.....I haven't decided quite yet!!!  
Send me pictures of everything!!!  I would kill for real copies of Jake's graduation and Elizabeth's continuation....and Rachel's first day as a lifeguard :).  i am so excited for you all to go to China!!!  it is going to be an adventure!!!
Zuster Israelsen
P.S.  the pictures of the random walkways with trees is the space we walk between to get from one house to the next.  It is a little bit of a fairy tale sometimes.   
P.P.S.  We are in aggie country.  I see blue and white everywhere I go.  It has something to do with their soccer team or something!!

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