Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sinterklaus, Apeldoorn, Christmas Concert and Blessings

Sinterklaus and Zwarte Piet

Oh my goodness I can not believe that it is Christmas again!!!  It is actually extremely ridiculous!!!  It feels like just yesterday that I was in Den Haag scared out of my mind because I couldn't understand a single word that was coming out of anyone's mouth.  And now, I am here in Apeldoorn, after a year of adventures in Nederland and Belgie.  I can't believe it!! 
This week has been super cool.  My studies have been focused mostly on genade or for you english speakers the grace of God.  I have learned a lot about it but I think that the biggest thing that stood out to me was that it is grace upon grace that we learn.  In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord teaches us that as we gain knowledge that through those pieces of knowledge we can become perfected.  That is why we are here.  We are here to LEARN so that we can grow into the people that He expects us to be.  There are many ways to be able to learn, the greatest of which is through the Spirit.  We invite him into our lives through scripture study, prayer...etc.  But if we are not willing to listen and pay attention to what he says, than we stop ourselves from being able to learn.  The graces of God are the small spiritual experiences, the personal revelation and the happy, peaceful times.  They are the times where you can sit back and really see that the Lord has been working in your life.  That He loves you and that He wants you to be happy.
I have seen the Grace of God many times this week.  More abundantly than I have in the past.  I think maybe it was because I was actually paying attention to it, but I would like to share with you some of the experiences I was able to have.
2nd Christmas Shoes
First off, for the Christmas concert, there is a young woman named Danielle.  She is an amazing singer, but has been battling a heavy cold for the past little while.  She was finally getting better and then the day of the concert lost her voice again and was no longer sure about singing her solo.  She was freaking out as most performers do, like on jury week in school when everyone is sick but they really want to pass.  But I had an opportunity to talk with her.  We were able to say a prayer together because that is the only solution I could think of.  We prayed together that she would be able to perform to the best of her ability and that she would be at peace with the results.  The spirit was super strong during that moment and it was super sweet because our prayers were answered.  She nailed it and loved every moment of performing. 
I've been going through a little bit of a rough time lately, mostly because I am starting to realize that I don't have very much time left.  And there is a member, Jason, who is looking out for me.  That kid went onto my blog and found my first entry, printed it out for me, and gave it to me.  Being able to read that entry and my very own testimony that is there on the paper was really super helpful in helping me to feel comfort and remember why I came out here.  I was able to feel the Spriti confirm to me that I am becoming the person that I was supposed to become and that everything that I am doing is what the Lord has expected of me.
I was able to receive a blessing this week from the Elders here in Apeldoorn.  I have learned a lot about priesthood blessings while I have been here on my mission.  But I feel like the most important is that every blessing you receive is a convenant that you make with your heavenly father.  He gives you council and there are blessings that are associated with His council.  We can choose to follow that or to reject it, but the decision that we make to get a blessing shows our Heavnly Father that we are willing to follow Him.  The spirit was super strong tijdens the blessing and I was able to hear words of comfort and support as well as be able to get some council as to what I can do to live up to my potential here for the rest of my mission.
We were able to find a family this week.  It was truly a miracle that we got these people's information.  Story: we were on the street, saw a guy, talked to him.  Had a nice little chat and he shared interest in learning about the Book of Mormon.  We got his information, made an appointment and two days later showed up at his house.  Turns out, he has a family of five.  They are all from Russia.  He only speaks Russian....still don't understand how we were able to talk to each other.  But we now have a whole little Russian family that are working together to learn about the gospel!!  I know that the gift of tongues was given to someone in the moment that we needed it so that we were able to teach this remarkable family.
On Saturday, Arnhout was baptized.  He is an investigator from the Elders but we also have a really good relationship with him because we have appointments with his wife a lot.  The spirit was so strong and it was really a miracle how everything fell into place.  I can't describe it very well.  I was asked to sing at his baptism and felt extremely blessed to be able to feel the spirit that comes through music.  It was just a miraculous event.
Sunday, I was able to see many miracles and answers to my prayers from earlier in the week.  I was able to see confirmations of things that I had felt earlier in the week.  In something as simple as being guided in my studies and that my district leader was inspired to ask me to talk about that very thing in destrict meeting, to a warm hug during the sacrament. 
I have been blessed!! 
I love you and can't wait to see you!!
Zuster Israelsen

1 comment:

  1. You are and have been a wonderful example to us all!! I am certain the lord is pleased with all of your hard work! Aunt Annette :) PS. I love the Christmas shoes - they are beautiful! :)