Monday, August 26, 2013

Megan's Challenge, Branch Picnic, Haircut and 3 Investigators at Church


Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you all how much I really, really miss you right now!! with everyone going off to school and doing such crazy cool stuff, it makes me feel a little left out!! Don't have too much fun without me ok? I promise that some day I will come back and we can have adventures together!!

This week....we traveled a lot. I feel like every time that I have a cute little greenie, we end up spending the first two transfers just traveling to all of their legal appointments. I remember only having to go to Brussels once, but apparently they have changed their process and you have to go like three times to be able to get your identity card and everything else that is necessary to be legal here in the land of the tulips/flanderen. I spent a lot of time on the train, reading the Book of Mormon and trying to memorize more scriptures in Dutchfind that is the only way I get any better...and also speaking in dutch all companion doesn't really like that one as much) Anyway, have i ever told you how much I love the Book of Mormon? I love it so much!!! It helps me everyday to be able to continue forward in this work. What a wonderful opportunity I have to be able to share it with people everyday here in my mission!! Even if they don't want it in their lives at the moment, I am able to give them the opportunity to utilize their agency. I don't think that i ever sent this in an e-mail....but I did write it to Jake and Michael. I have extended a Book of Mormon challenge to everyone in my family and friend circle. I have about 7 ish months left out here...that is plenty of time to read through a Book of Mormon. Essentially the challenge is to
1. Get a clean copy of the book of Mormon
2. Read through Chapter 6 in Preach my Gospel
3. Select a Christ-like attribute that you want to learn more about or develop more.
4; Read the Book of Mormon with specific focus on that attribute.

I promise that if you do that, then you will learn more than you have ever done in a read through of a Book of Mormon and by following the examples of the prophets therein, you will become more like Christ and just want to read a new book of mormon for every attribute. I better get an e-mail or letter letting me know that the challenge is accepted. And if anyone is cool enough to read it in Dutch....they get a free Chipotle on me when I get home....wait....I may be paying for myself....darn it

Anyway, this week I got to attend my first branch council of my mission. I know that sounds weird, I thought that the missionaries were always invited to those things too.....until I came here....and it is not always the case. It was a beautiful experience though. We were able to talk about each of our investigators and the branch is super willing to help us out!! That is a huge change than in any other area I have been in. We have investigators being invited to members houses left and right and they are loving it!! the members are loving it too because they are also able to help out with the missionary work and are able to see that it isn't hard to make a difference!!

After that amazing council....We had a branch picnic. We went on a 5k hike with everyone,and our investigator came. It was funny, because no one wanted to give the missionaries a ride, so we had to find it by ourselves. I am pretty sure that we walked for triple the amount that we were supposed to that day, just to get to the hike, then we had to walk all of the way back to the bus stop...that was a party. But is all worked out. This branch just loves this guy!! He is a hoot and gets along with everyone. I also think it makes a difference because he is actually interested in everything that is going on. He helps everyone, he asks all sorts of questions and he is just a personable guy. Every missionary that has met him thinks that he is amazing....the only problem that he is from a country that practices muslim and if he is baptized, then he can never return to his home country. So he is doing his best to learn everything so that he feels like he can make a real decision!! He is the coolest guy!! I am so grateful that we were actually able to find him because he lightens up our weeks, especially when we are going around really hard everyday, trying to find more people and no one wants to listen. It is always nice to know that you have at least one friendly face!!

We have had a few really amazing appointments with members this week!! We met with Familie Van Steenbergen. Oh man, do I love them!! It made me feel like I was back at Utah State living with grandma and grandpa. Brother Van Steenbergen even tried to offer me a mysterious brew-like substance that he drinks every evening....I think that grandpa is secretly getting information to the people out here...Because it is creepy how much they are like him. But it was just a really pleasant evening and they are the cutest little Belgian people I have ever met!!

Yesterday, I was lucky that I was able to survive. We had church!!!! And 3 investigators came!!! Oh my goodness!!! It was such a beautiful thing!! It was kind of sad though....because two of them speak i couldn't translate for them...but is was still good!!

But the part that I was lucky to live through comes next. We had an appoitment with an investigator from iran and he wanted to make us Iranian food. Of course, I was not going to turn that down...the only problem that he thinks that I am a man who weighs 450 pounds and can eat a took sheer will power to get through that meal and eat everything that he gave me. I thought that was the end of my misery....until....we went to our next appointment with an African familie....well...apparently everyone thinks that we are starving...Because we were fed fufu. I don't think you understand fufu. It fills your stomach in about three seconds and then you still have to eat the rest of the bowl... I almost died....I have no idea how I made it without offending anyone yesterday....I may or may not still be having problems....I don't think that I have eaten anything today yet...

I got a hair cut today...that is alway scary...and I think that it may have been cut a little bit too short...but it is still good!! I will send you all pictures next week. All I have to say mom, is that we need to make sure and have an appointment all set up for when I come home so that I can order a good hair cut in english...not is flemmish or dutch(there is a HUGE difference!)

I love you all so much! I miss you!! I think that it is getting harder to be away as the time goes on....I think that is sometimes because we can get discouraged as missionaries, but then I just get a Belgian waffle or a donor and suddenly I can keep going for another few days!! Oh, I also had to buy new shoes others were destroyed....and I was getting soaked feet whenever it rained...which is almost everyday!!!

Be safe!! Don't have too much fun at school!! Let me know how everything goes!! Jake, don't forget to for yourself can be hard sometimes!!

I love you all and miss you tons!!!

Keep smiling!!

Zuster Israelsen

P.S. Don't forget to let me know if you accept the challenge or not. I would love to be able to follow up and learn from everyones study!!


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