Saturday, October 12, 2013

Antwerpen for Conference, Government Certificate Says I am a good member of the church cleared and ready to preach, and WOW! Its been a year!

Hey Family!!

I just love getting emails from everyone!!  I love being able to see and hear about everyone and how their testimonies are growing!!  I loved, loved, LOVED conference!!  We were only able to see three sessions because the last session is broadcast over here from 10 to 12 after my bedtime!!  But I loved all of the talks that I was able to hear.  I am so glad that everyone had the opportunity to be able to go to the conference center.  I know that at the MTC whenever there was an apostle present, you could just feel the spirit that they brought and you knew right then and there that they were called of God.  I can't imagine what it would feel like to sit in a room with all of them at the same time!!

I think that my favorite part of conference was how much everyone emphasized how important it is for the missionaries and the members to work together.  We are all a team out here.  On my certificate thingy that I have from the prophet that lets the government know that I am ok to be here.  It says that I am a good member of the church cleared and ready to preach.  That is what everyone is.  I think that people forget sometimes that the missionaries are also members of the church!!  We need to work together.  Sister Clement and I were just talking yesterday and said,"If every single of the 15 million members gave just one referral to the missionaries by the end of the year, we could easily see another million members by the next general conference.  It is teamwork people!!  

That was also really comforting, I have been worrying a little bit about what in the world I am going to do when I get home.  Mostly because we had interviews this week and President asked me what my goals were for the end of my mission and what I was planning on doing when I get home.  I think that was kind of rude to do when I still have 6 months, but at the same time, it is only 6 months!!  I think that now is the time that we can all become huge assets in the Lords army whether or not we wear a name badge.  

So, this week has been pretty interesting.  My companion got really sick so we were stuck inside for a couple of days.  I always hate that.  I never feel like I am able to get anything done if I have to stay inside, but it is also important to let yourself heal.  But what was cool was that we were able to see that the Lord was still rewarding us for our work and our efforts in the apartment.  We have an investigator who wants to be baptized so badly.  He is also really addicted to cigarettes and alcohol.  So...obviously, that is a problem.  And apparently it is also really hard to gain the motivation to be able to stop.  But this week, he took a step of faith.  He went and signed up for a fitness center and he has gone every single day of the week.  He is still smoking, but step by step he is getting closer!!  It is those kinds of things, things that we don't ask them to do, that really show us that they are beginning to become converted to the gospel!!

Like I mentioned before, we also had interviews.  I always love interviews because I get time to talk to President and Sister Robinson!!  We hardly ever get to see them down here in the boonies, but it is always a treat!!  

We also have been working a ton with Isaac this week.  He is planning to be baptized on Sunday.  But there is one catch.  He is a refugee, and he may be thrown out the country by the end of the we are praying really hard.  But it is ok.  We have been able to teach him and prepare him to take this step and it doesn't matter where he gets baptized, just that he is able to be baptized!!  I love seeing the changes that come in peoples lives.  Those changes that you see, even if it is just that they smile more, they make all of the difference.  They make you remember that the atonement is real and that the Lord loves every single one of His brothers and sisters!!

We went to Antwerpen to watch conference and stayed there over night for our P-Day activity with the entire Zone!!  It was a blast and we also ate some janky shoarme(don't worry mom, we can go there when you come)

Also, we held our family history activity on Wednesday night!!  It was super cool and really successful.   One thing that I noticed, was that it didn't matter how many fliers that sister clement and I handed out, or how many people we talked to, the only nonmembers that came were those that were invited by the members.  We had 5 nonmembers there!!  They loved it and are planning on coming back for the next activity on the 9 of November!!  The work is easy!! You just have to invite!!

It is crazy to think that I have been out here in the field for an entire year now.  It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the living room opening my mission call.  I feel like I have changed a lot, but at the same time, I wonder if I really have.  I have seen my desire to serve grow.  I have seen my love for the scriptures grow.  I have started to see my true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ develop.  I know that this gospel is true and I am using every moment that the Lord has given me to be able to serve his children here in the Netherlands and Belgium.  

I love you all!!  I hope you have a great week!!

Zuster Israelsen



So, first off, I just want you to know of the scare that I had when I opened my email and I saw that I had a draft in my box....I opened it up and saw that is was last weeks email....but according to everyone's sounds like you got it I really hope that you did!!  

Mother, to answer your question, I am eating a lot of Belgian Waffles.  And lots of Belgian Chocolate.....and other Belgian delecious friets(fries)

Ok....just sometimes.  Zuser Clement and I try to eat pretty healthy.  We get some dinner appointments here, but we are in a branch and now that there are a set of sisters and a set of elders here in Turnhout, sometimes it feels like dinner appointments are scarce.....but they are the best part of the week!  I love being able to spend time with the members.  To be able to get to know them, their kids and what makes them tick!!  I love it so much!!  
Also, I did receive the cash in the birthday card!!  I bought two movies with it!!  They were cheap.  Despicable Me and How to Train your Dragon....both in Dutch :D  I hope that you aren't too disappointed!! But they haven't been opened!!  I swear!!

This week was super exciting.  We had a lot of birthday parties.  Ok....just two with the V familie.  We went over there for our weekly family home evening appointment and their son had his birthday!!  Julius turned 11 on Monday and then, we were over there again on Wednesday because we had a birthday party for Sister Clement.  Yes, our birthdays are less that 10 days apart.  We are so grateful for the V familie and that they love us enough to throw two different birthday parties in a week!!  We have so much fun with their family and they are working super hard on their family mission plan.  They have us over every week because they are going through Preach my Gospel to prepare to be ready to answer their friends questions.  They have also set a goal to invite a friend to something or to give them a copy of the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.  It was super cool to watch them make this plan as a family and to be able to pray with them to know that this is what Heavenly Father expected from them at this time and that He would help them!!  I love member missionary work!!

I got to spend two days in Antwerpen this week!!  I love Antwerpen.  Sometimes I miss the city, I have been in a tiny dorp since February....and I love being around all of the people in the city and Antwerpen is definitely one of a kind!!  I spent Tuesday on exchanges with Sister Rigdon.  Life is always super amazing when Sister Rigdon is in your life!!  We just had a blast the entire day.  We were booked with appointments mostly because of a return missionary named Andy Thomas.  Acutally, Broeder Wells, from the MTC, taught him and he just got home from a two year mission in England.  But he set up a ton of less-active appointments for the sisters to go to and he wanted to be able to come along. So we had three appointments with sisters who haven't seen a member of the church for two ish years (Please do your home and visiting teaching!!)  And we had a blast.  They truly felt the Spirit and we had a great day.  We also had a dinner appointment with the Willems.  They are probably the funniest people I have ever met.  Broeder Willem reminds me of Grandpa Israelsen.  So, we had a very good time!!
On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in Antwerpen!!  I always love Zone Conference.  Most missionaries will tell you about this annoying head ache that you get after zone conferences because it is so much information and the spirit is so strong for like five hours straight that your body can't handle it.  It is crazy!!  This Conference was worse.  We talked about so many things!!  We talked about having a total mind shift, about doing the work.  Europe is baptizing and we as a mission are also.  We are loving it!!  We took a tour of the Doctirne and Covenants learning about Zion.  We had a guest speaker, President Boom, who talked to us all about Charity and developing it so that we can become the missionaries the Lord wants us to become.  We talked a lot about faith and developing the faith necessary to do the Lord's work.  And President and Zuster Robinson started a series of Revelations Doctrinal lectures.....It was crazy but so much fun!! 

Our investigators are also doing super well.  Isaac finished all of the lessons this week!!  He is planning on being baptized in two weeks and we are praying and hoping that everything goes well and that we are able to see him enter into that covenant!!  He is already an amazing missionary and he is doing his best to be able to answer all of his questions by reading the Book of Mormon.  I love this guy!!

We also have another investigator who is doing his best to quit smoking and drinking.  I can't imagine how hard that can be and we are doing everything that we can to be able to help him with his goals.  It is so sad to see your investigators relapse when they know that they have a goal, but the Lord is there to give second chances.  He will forgive us if we do our part to come unto him.  I have seen that time and time again here on my mission.  Both for me, for my companions and for the investigators and members we are able to work with.  The Atonement is real.  It is amazing.  if we choose to apply it into our lives, we will be the happiest person we could ever imagine.  I know that, because I have felt of that power and that joy!!  

I love being a missionary!!  Even when it is hard.  I love it.  I love working with the people, MY PEOPLE!!  These are my people, this is the work I need to do!!

Sorry there aren't any picturess, the computer is being really dumb,

i love you all!!
Zuster Israelsen