Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Turnhout, 7 Hours a Day on Family History, A Family Mission Plan, I Chose Hope!

Where have you guys been all of my life?  Actually, it feels like just yesterday that I was able to talk to you, and we are again!!  I can't believe it!!  Time becomes this really weird thing out here in the mission field, you actually have no idea what is going get yourself busy, and then there is nothing that you can do....and before you know it, it is Monday again. 

This week is transfers and there are a lot of crazy things going on in the mission.  We are done with the huge wave of sisters for now, but on Wednesday, we have 30 elders coming into the mission.  It is going to be insane!!  I am staying here in Turnhout, and boy am I grateful!!  I love this branch and all of the people that we are able to work with here!!  The members and investigators are pretty much amazing! 

Mom, to answer your questions, yes I did get the money, thank you!!!  I am saving it for my birthday and Sister Clement and I are going to do something special.  I think that we are going to spend the day in Antwerpen, but we are not 100 percent sure yet.  

I can't believe that you all are in school again.  BUMMER!!  But I hope that everyone is having a good time and isn't stressing too much!!  Or too little....(Jake)

We have had a lot of things going on this week.  Sister Clement and I are working with the branch to organize a family history night in the church.  We made a goal about a week ago, prayerfully, that we would be able to baptize a family of four by the end of September.  We made a plan and one part of that plan is to invite people to learn about family history.  So, the branch is getting excited and helping us with that!!  There is a member named Sister Smets.  She was the very first member ever to be baptized in the Turnhout branch.  That is super cool and she has been able to watch the branch grow.  The lady also spends at least 7 hours a day working on her family history.  And, another cool fact, she has so many names that she has filled the Den Haag temple and two others that are close by.  She is now trying to figure out how to send the names to Utah.  But she is going to put the evening on and teach it!!  It is going to be super cool!!

We have seen a lot of progress with a few of our investigators this week.  This branch, once sister Clement and I made this goal and started to share it with them, have really stepped up.  I don't think that we have had to call more than one person to set up a joint teach!!  That is rarely heard of!!  But there is a particular family who have taken their steps to get working together.  The Van Gijsels have put together a family mission plan that reflects the stake and branch plans.  They have put together a study program with their family to learn the lessons in Preach My Gospel so that when they all share a Book of Mormon with someone by the end of the year, that they know what to say!!!  It is super cool and we get to participate in their family home evening every week.  Their daughter, Emilie, just got home from her vacation in America and she is preparing to be able to serve a mission!!  So she is really loving this opportunity and so are we so that we can work together with the branch and help their friends come unto Christ!!

One super cool thing that we were able to do this week is to go to a stake activity.  They organized a familie dag in Herentals, where the entire stake was able to come together and hang out in the wildernis.  They had a BBQ, lots of games, and just a super cool party!!  The coolest part was that I was able to see two investigators from Genk and the entire Genk Branch!!  Oh man, I miss them so much!!  But it is super cool to know that the Elders haven't ruined everything down there :D  We also had two investigators who were able to come with us and they both had a party.  They both made similar comments, they said,"I want to be a part of this.  I want to have a support system like this.  I feel at home with these people."  I love it when that happens!!  Oh man, it has been a good week.  

I am loving my study of the Book of Mormon, I have chosen the attribute of Hope.  How is everyone else doing on that?  I know that Jake has started and that Mom and Dad are committed, but what kinds of things have you learned?  Right now, I am trying to identify a pattern that the prophets follow to develop hope so that I can better apply it into my life.  I feel like sometimes the difference between hope and faith is a little bit difficult to understand, but that is why you study, right? 

Today, we were able to have a zone p-day and we had a huge nerf gun war. Yes, that is right!!  I had so much fun!!  I can' even begin to explain how cool it was!!  I love being a missionary and working with the amazing missionaries that are also called to this mission!!  

Being a servant of the Lord is probably the coolest thing that you could ever do.  It is probably also the hardest thing that you could ever do.  I think that it is mostly because you work so hard and people still have the ability to choose.  Darn that agency thing.  But it is also the best and most greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given us.  The trick in life is to learn about how we can stay on the path and not waver.  To choose to be righteous, to choose eternal life and liberty instead of captivity and death.  

I sure do miss you guys.  I think that it gets worse when I see Jake at Utah State and want to be there with him, and that I hear that everyone else is having a party at school!!  I miss going to school, but I will have all of the time in the world to do that when I get home.  I only get to be a missionary once. 

I love you all!!  Please have a great week!!  Don't do too much fun things without me...but don't forget to have fun too!!  

I love you!! 

Zuster Israelsen

The picture thing isn't working.  We are emailing at a janky place in Antwerpen.  I will send double the pictures next week. 

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