Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Van Gijsel familie knows how to do missionary work!! Sometimes its hard to keep going.

Hey there my Wonderful Family!!

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH!!!  I hope that you were able to get my card on time....I never know with the mail systems out here if it will actually get there or not...so if you didn't get it...just wait a few days and it will bet there!!

AND thank you to all of the amazing Israelsens who took the time to write me a letter at the family reunion!!  It means a lot to be able to get support from home!!  I really missed being at the reunion this year, so I was so grateful for a taste of family!!  THANK YOU!! 

And Mom, I got the package of clothes!!  They fit super well and I am so grateful to have them!!  With the heat and the long days everything is beginning to fall apart!!  Thank you so much!!

On Tuesday, we did a lot of finding.  Like, the entire day.  We talked to 60 plus people on the street....no one interested.  Story of my life.  But our dinner appointment was super cool!!  We went over to the VanGijsel home for Broeder VanGijsels birthday.  We thought that it was just going to be another dinner appointment with some cake or something at the end.  But it was NOT!!!  The Van Gijsels invited their family, who are not members and a few less-actives that live close to them that they are pretty close too.  And they invited up sisters over at the same time!!!  The Van Gijsel familie knows how to do missionary work!!  That was the most productive and fun dinner appointment I have ever been to.  The coolest part was talking to Zuster Van Gijsel afterward.  She said,"it's been hard for us to figure out a way to do missionary work because it is hard for us to get up and actually talk to our friends and family because we don't want to have confrontation.  But tonight was so cool, because you sisters didn't even have to do anything.  All you did was stand there with your nametags and they started asking you the questions!!"  I have to admit, that was really cool!!  And Broeder Van Gijsel requested a hymn for his birthday present from the sisters so that was a super cool spiritual moment as well.  That is how missionary work is done, take note family.  I expect ya'll to at least invite a friend over when you have the missionaries!!  That is the way to work as a team because it is fun, easy and everyone learns more about everyone else!!

Sometimes, I am not going to lie, it is hard to keep going when it seems like everyone is just saying no.  It's been hard opening two cities right in a row.  We have had very few teaching appointments, actually, we spend 95 percent of our day outside trying to talk to people on the street and look-up less actives who never want us to come in.  It's tough.  I have asked myself,"Why in the world am I still going outside all day everyday and working hard when it doesn't seem to be working?"  It really is a testimony tryer I think.  I haven't felt right lately.  I am not exactly sure why, but I haven't.  So this week, for fast, all I wanted was for Heavenly Father to let me know that I was in the right place.  Sometimes I wasn't sure what my desires were or why I was trying so hard.  And the only thing I felt/heard was,"You know it's true"  To be honest with you, I was a little disappointed, I wanted to feel something super strong that like I have been able to feel in the past.  But what I have found out this week is that the Lord only gives you what you need to keep going on.  After that experience, I have a new drive to keep going.  I have a lot of goals that I want to complete before my mission draws to a close, and that seems to be happening way faster than it should, but I have renewed purpose.  I challenge you all, that if you ever feel the same way, if you ever feel like maybe you aren't feeling the spirit or you don't know why you are doing what you are doing, to get on your knees and just ask.  I can promise you that the Lord will answer.  You will get the answer that you need to keep moving forward at that moment.  What is beautiful about the gospel is that it works at all points in your life.  ALL OF THEM!!  It doesn't just have a one time use.  You are allowed to have doubts, but it is what you do with your doubts and what you choose to do to solve them that matters.  That is when the Lord will bless you!!  

We had another cool miracle this week.  Again, on a long day of finding, we were looking up a less active who didn't want to let us in that day for a reason I don't know.  But we were walking away from her house and a guy from across the street yelled out,"Sisters!!!"  I have to admit, I was a little scared.  Out here in Europe missionaries rarely run into members or friendly faces....and if they are friendly, they are usually drunk...so I was scared.  Turns out, it was a member!!!  Weird, I know.  Anyway, he began to tell us his conversion story and everything right there on the street.  He has just received his endowment and is loving life.  But the coolest part is what we found out right after that.  He invited us in to meet his family.  He has four kids and a wife, all of which are not members of the church!!  That is missionary work!!  They are from Ghana and I love them so much!!  The kids love music so we had a connection right off the bat!!  The mom has not been open to talking to the missionaries for years, I am not sure why, but she is now.  
We have a fufu appointment with them this next week!!  I haven't had fufu since the Ampems in Dordrecht so I am super excited and I hope that we can continue to teach this cute little family!!  

I love Zone Trainings, we focused a lot this time on our personal baptisimal covenant.  It is more effective to invite someone else to baptism if you actually have a testimony of it yourself.  I love the challenge Elder Andrews gave us.  And I would like to extend it to you too!!  He asked us to think about one specific part of our baptisimal covenant that we love and cherish.  One specific part that we can share the blessings that we have found from it.  I know that my baptisimal covenant has given me direction and purpose in my life.  Direction and purpose toward eternal life, where I can be with my family forever, where I can continue to progress, a direction and purpose to become more like Christ!!  That is what is important to me and it has helped me to stay on righteous paths my entire life!!  What has your baptisimal covenant done for you?

This week has been interesting.  We didn't have a washing machine for about a week and a half and no time to be able to go to a laundromat to do laundry....I finally had to call and beg,  literally beg for them to bring us a new washer to our apartment!!  But, now I am able to have clean clothes and smell nice, unlike all of the Europeans.  At Zone Training this week they talked a lot about embracing the culture....so maybe I should stop that....Ok, that is never going to happen!!  I wouldn't be able to live with myself!! 

I love you all!!  I miss you a lot and I hope that you all have a fabulous week getting ready for crazy school stuff!!  

Love you!!
Zuster Israelsen

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