Sunday, January 26, 2014

CSI Door Approach, Miracles and Tell Me the Blessings You See

Hello my WONDERFUL FAMILY!!!!!!!
Oh my goodness, it seems that everything back there at home is just getting more and more exciting!!  I can't believe that Jake is getting his mission call this week!!!  I almost started jumping up and down here in the library I was so excited.  I am more than positive that he will be called to the Belgium/Netherlands Mission.  Mom, everyone tries to guess what their system is down there in Salt Lake City but I have never heard of the Domestic/Foreign calls thing.  I think that they put the missionaries where they are inspired to send them and if it does end up being Belgium/Netherlands then we will know that they were truly inspired.  :D  But really, Jake, you will love where ever you are called because you will be serving with the people that you need to.  I am so excited and super mad that I have to wait until Monday to know!!
This week has been super amazing!  It is super cool to see how the Lord is there, ready to bless you as you are doing your best to be obedient and serve Him and the people around you.  On Monday, we had the opportunity to give a Family Home Evening lesson at the Bishop's home.  I love that family and we talked all about the temple and how important it is for everyone.  That was a super cool experience because as everyone went around and had a chance to share why the temple was important for them, the spirit just got stronger.  It was a great way to start our proselyting week.
After such an amazing spiritual experience, Sister Brophy and I were ready to hit the town.  So we did.  We went and looked up a potential investigator whose name is Samantha.  She was found while the Elders were here doing a blitz and finding in the city for with us for a couple of hours.  We went by and she was at home!!  That was miracle number one for the night.  Then, we were able to teach her an entire Restoration lesson.  That was amazing.  She kept asking questions that just led into the next part of the lesson.  She is really searching for something.  I think that the coolest part of the lesson was when we taught the first vision.  After Joseph Smith was quoted, there was silence.  The spirit was so strong.  I almost started crying, and we all know how much I like doing that.  We set a baptisimal date with her for February 15.  We are super excited and have been thanking the Lord all week long.  
The coolest thing is that the miracles did not stop there.  Sister Brophy and I have set a few really high goals for the transfer and are working super hard to contact as many people as possible and get the work moving.  We literally come home exhausted every single day, but the Lord has been blessing us so much it has been so totally worth it.  And with every blessing, you just feel like you need to get back out there and work some more because you owe Him more work after He blessed you!!  It is a super amazing feeling.  
Who Knew CSI Would Get You In?
We went finding, like I said.  All week.  I have knocked so many doors and talked to so many people this week it isn't even funny.  But finally, on Saturday night, the magic happened.  We stopped this guy on the street, he didn't seem to understand us very well and speaks turks....unfortunately one of the languages I don't speak.  But he understood us enough to tell us his daughter was Christian and gave us her number.  REFERRAL!!  And we have a return appointment with her this next week.  Then, we went door 8 favorite time.  NOT.  But we did it anyway.  8.30.  Walked up to a door, I could see through the window that the lady was watching of my favorites.  Rang the doorbell.  Got ready for a normal door contact.   Suddenly, what came out of my mouth?  Not 'we are here to share the Book of Mormon.' But,'Hey, I couldn't help but see that you were watching CSI.  That is one of my favorites ever!!' She continued to laugh and tell us that she has had the elders on the door many times in the last few years and that she didn't have any interest in what we had to say.  But she said that we were welcome to come in and watch CSI.  So what did I say.....'OK' So we went in.  Ended up having a lesson and a return appointment for next week. 
Sister Brophy and I were flying high.  We were really pleased with our work and the success that we had seen.  Sunday night came around....8PM, what do we get to do?  Door knocking.  We went again.  Randomly, and awkwardly talked to this man who was opening up his door to go in.  Turns out he had spoken with the Elders three years ago in another city.  He had moved and hadn't heard anything from them.  He invited us right back. 
This week was definitly one of miracles!!  I love being a missionary and being able to witness and see the blessings that the Lord gives me in my life.  Tell me the blessings that you see around you this week!!
I love you!!
Zuster Israelsen

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My New Companion is the Bomb! Grateful for the Holy Ghost and Read for 15 Minutes a Day Challenge

Hello there my Wonderful Family!!! 
What a wonderful week it has been!!  I am really, extremely, superly, overly grateful that I have been given the opportunity to stay here in Apeldoorn. I love the members and the investigators and the other missionaries that are here in this area.  It is so amazing to be able to continue to serve with them...and also not to have to pack up all of my stuff one more time.....:D  Let us just hope and pray that I stay here until the end so that I really do only have to pack one more time.  That would be ideal. 
My new companion is the bomb!!  We are already working super well together and we are loving every second of it.  We are both determined to see amazing things happen this transfer and are both commited to the same goals.  It is amazing to be able to work with someone who also wants to work hard, who likes people and who wants to reach goals.  Her name is Sister Brophy, she is from Kaysville UT and she is a dental assistent.  She also has hair that she doesn't have to do anything to and it looks perfect all day.  It is one of those things that just aren't fair in life, but I may or may not be able to get over that.....some day!!  She is also the oldest of 4 and is a missionary who came out because of the age change.  Ok, not because of the age change, but she had the possibility to come out earlier and she took it.  Her birthday is the same as Jakes, so I will celebrate for ya!!  Also, dude, no email?
How grateful I am for the Holy Ghost.  I have really had the opportunity to think a lot about it this week.  There are a lot of people, investigators, members, missionaries that have been struggling with the fact that they don't feel like they can feel the spirit.  That is interesting to me, and actually a reality because I feel like the longer I have been on my mission, I have felt the spirit less.  What I have thought a lot about this week is actually about the desert. Werid, huh?  But if you live in the desert, you have to find an oasis where there is water to be able to live.  But sometimes, said oasis ends up drying out...or you need to move to stay safe of wet ik veel.  But there are circumstances where you have to leave your big, safe, warm place.  To do that, there are water points placed along a trail from the water in your oasis to get to the following.  Little sites of relief.  And then, finally op een dag you find the next oasis and are able to live there for a while.  The spirit works in kind of the same way.  There are times that we have a really 'big' spiritual experience. Or at least a time that we know that we have felt and followed the spirit.  and we are able to feel good and safe.  But, we always have to leave our safe haven at some point or another.  There are times we feel like we are traveling alone in the desert without any water, or any spirit by us and it is always hard.  But If we are paying attention and notice the check points that are in between, we gain the relief that we need until we reach the following point.  The question is, do we recognize those check points?  Do they come often, or not really so ofter in our lives?  If we don't see them, how can we change what we are doing so that we can recognize them more in our lives and feel the spirit more?  Is there a reason that the Book of Mormon tells us to remember the things that we have experienced?  How can we make sure that we are doing that?  Just some food for thought.
This Wednesday, I got to pick up my companion.  To do so, I traveled to Utrecht with the Zone Leaders and Zuster Andersen and waited in Utrecht station for almost the entire day.  It was ridiculous.  But she was coming up from Gent Belgium.  So it took forever.  We had a party there eating donors, helping people get on and off trains and being able to see Zr. Raun again!!  It was beautiful.  What was even cooler though was our dinner appointment.  Elder Muse has been braggin about how he is the smoothie king.  His parents owned a store in Lehi UT that was called smoothie king and he worked there.  The entire time we have been in Apeldoorn we have heard about his smoothie skills and finally a member decided thaqt they really wanted to try it out.  So, he made smoothies.  And I have to say, I am impressed.  Maybe the comment that Sister Juchau made in the MTC about how he is Hawk Eye is invalid.  His smoothies give him 100 pls points.  He also gave a great spiritual thought that included the use of smoothies within.  It was a great night and we had a party!!
So, knowing that the temple trip is coming up, Sister Brophy and I have started to prepare to go to the temple with the members in this ward.  We have been challenging people to be reading for 15 minutes a day with a question that they would love answered.  We are all doing that.  Mom and Dad, if you would join us that would be fantastic.  We have learned that the temple is a place that we can receive revelation and if we are all preparing together, then we can all receive that revelation there together and have an even more spiritual experience.  One cool experience I would like to share with you happened at the home of Familie Johann August.  We were there and gave this challenge to the family.  They got really super excited and the spirit was so strong because we all shared our thought about the temple with each other and why it was important.  The spirit was so strong and the sphere was great I didn't know what could have made it better.  Until, DAnielle asked her father right there for a priesthood blessing.  Wow, it was an amazing experience to be able to be there with her.  To feel the spirit in that room and share that experience with that family.  I love being able to see that the testimonies of these young women are growing.  They are changing, whether or not they realize it, I see it.  Their parents see it and I know that Heavenly Father also sees it!!  I love Danielle August and I am grateful for the effor tshe is putting in to grow her little testimony.  What a priviledge to be a part of that!!
Also, the young women are all getting really excited about missionary work.  So excited in fact, that they have asked us to do a mini MTC with them.  We are preparing that and are super excited.  We also get to make our own PMG video because there are none in exsistence that are in Dutch.  So we as missionaries are going to have a blast doing that!!  I am so excited and will keep you posted on what the happenings with that are!!
I love you all so much!!  Don't get too busy in your lives :D  I am grateful for the chance I get every week to talk to ya'll!! 
This next week, share with me a spiritual experience that you had :D please!! 
k hou van jullie en hoop dat jullie een heel fijne week gaan hebben!! 
Zuster Israelsen

Happy New Year From the Netherlands! Finally Not Transferred! She Came to Church!

Bishop's Family in Apeldoorn Ward
Hello My Wonderful Family!!
Groetjes van Nederland.  Moeder....ik zal gewoon effe zeggen dat je moet een beetje meer onderzoek doen voordat je iets op mijn blog gaan zetten.  De jovos hier in Nederland, ze lezen mijn blog....en ze vinden het een beetje grappig dat het zegt dat de tempel in Belgie is.....het is de Den Haag Tempel, in Nederland!!  :D  Ik hou van je!!
This week was super crazy!!  It was New Years.  I don't know if you guys remember my descriptions of New Years last year....but it just seemed to be 100 times worse this year.  On New years eve day....fireworks started at 6 AM.  Yes, before I even was supposed to get up, I was rudely awakened by the fireworks.  We were in the house again by 4 PM, just like last year and I am pretty sure that the fireworks didn't end until two days later.  I thought that Den Haag was bad and that Apeldoorn would be a little more rustig.....but I was sure wrong!!  I went on exchanges that day and spent the day with Sister Hoff.  We had a party, ate a lot of olliebollen, watched a great church movie, read some scriptures and she wrote some letters.  It was a big 6 hours of time that I would have rather used outside with the people but it was just too dangerous.  I don't think that I got any sleep the entire night.  It was way too much fun in the attic watching the fireworks through the cieling.  I also got an opportunity to call Ans Jansen.  Do you remember her?  She was the first person that I was able to see baptized in Den Haag.  She is having a rough time right now but was realy loving the holiday season and I am sure grateful for the two sisters that are there right now because they are taking really good care of her!!  It was a super fun conversation and Mom and Dad, she can't wait to meet you guys.  Also, Scheveningen is one of ehr favorite places so we may go a walk with her on the beach one day!!
We had a really cool week of miracles.  The first of which being that I am staying in an area finally for more than just 2 transfers!!!  Yahoo!!!  We got transfer calls yesterday and I am staying here in Apeldoorn and Sister Brophy is coming up here with me.  I don't know a whole lot about her, but I have been told that she is super awesome so it is going to be a fun transfer.  Sister Andersen is going to Assen....she is going to be freezing way up in the north.
We also had a really cool thing happen.  It really actually increased my testimony that the Lord lets things happen, lets your plans change so that His work can be done in the way that He needs it to be.  We had an appointment with our cute little Russian family, and we were almost there, and they called and said that they would not be able to meet with us.  That was a really sad day and I was really bummed.  So we headed back to Apeldoorn.  A name popped into my head.  It is actually of a lady that the Elders ran into a week ago.  She is a member who moved here to Apeldoorn a year ago and has never been to the church here.  We went to her house.  And she was home.  I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but then we found out what she does for work.  She is a doctor at the hospital and literally never is home and if she is home, she is sleeping.  We just happened to get there on a day that she had had off and just before she was getting ready to leave.  We had a very nice lesson with her and were able to invite her to come to church with us on Sunday.  And she came!!!  It was a miracle for us but also for her.  She remembered the spirit that was there and is coming every week now.  That is a huge thing and I am so grateful that the Lord made it possible for us to get to know her and be able to help her!! 
Also, this week we were caught in the worst rain storm I have ever seen!!  It was ridiculous.  I am pretty sure that the rain was coming from above, below, east, west, south and north.  It even hailed.  We were soaking in about two minutes and all 4 of us missionaries were biking to a dinner appointment.  It was truly a miracle that we made it.  But is was also fun.  It also heped me to be so more grateful for the car that I was able to use my entire life.  I miss it but it was beautiful.  Rain.  At least there hasn't been any snow here yet!!  :D 
I studied a lot about covenants this week.  I realized that I don't always realize what I have promised and what I am doing every day to live up to the promises that I have made.  It really was an eye opener for me and I was able to make goals to be able to live my covenants more closely.  I challenge you all to study about covenants this week.  To write down all of the promises that you have made, what those promises should be described as and if you are living up to what your descriptions/expectations of those things should be.  And then make goals to live them better.  Everyone does their best to live their covenants, but we can always do better :D  So do it!!  I promise you that you will come closer to your heavenly father and feel his spirit more in your life.  It is super cool!! 
I also had a really cool experience with a few families here in the ward this week.  We had a challenge to ask a question that we would all really like an answer to in our personal lives and to read for 15 minutes in the scriptures and to ask Heavenly Father for help.  We did it the entire week.  I wish that you guys could have been in testimony meeting because the spirit was super strong and the girls who did the challenge realy gained a huge spiritual experience that will help them for their entire lives!! 
Ward Christmas Story
I am super excited for the upcoming transfer.  It is going to be amazing and there is going to be many good things that are going to happen. 
I love you all!! 
Have a great week!!
Zuster Israelsen

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ping-Pong Day, Christmas Breakfast and Service with Entire Ward, Caroling with Bishop's Family and Teaching a Russian Family

The Hague Temple in Belgium
Hello there my Wonderful Family!!

I have been trying to send pictures for ten minutes...I am so not really sure what is going on with the computer but it doesn't seem to see that I have pictures on my memory card. So I guess you will have to wait another week. I am so sorry. I am really trying and I am taking pictures as well :D

I loved being able to talk to you guys this week!! I can't believe that Christmas has already come and gone. Time just flys by way too fast when you are having fun.

This week, we had a ping-pong P-Day. That is one of those days that you are just super grateful that your parents had a ping-pong table in the house so that you can beat the Elders and make them feel ashamed :D It was super fun and we also went out to lunch together to celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Eve was great, we had district meeting in the morning. I always love district meeting, it is like a second chance for missionaries to reload their batteries. We get that chance on Sunday just like everyone else, but then we also have Tuesday to just talk to other missionaries and feel the spirit together so that we can have another successful week. It was awesome and we sang a bunch of Christmas songs since, you know, it was Christmas eve. We also went out for Chinese, the tradition does not die!!

That evening we got to go over to the Sindy August family. It was a ton of fun. They made a buffet of things that everyone had requested and it was delicious and a very fun meal with everyone together. The most special part of the evening though was when we went caroling with them. We went to a few members homes but the one that stands out to me was the Van Dam family. They are an older couple who are really having a hard time because Sister Van Dam has a terminal illness. The spirit was super strong and you could just feel how grateful that they were that we had taken the time to come and make their Christmas special. It was a beautiful evening!!

On Christmas, I got to talk to all of you :D But the morning was also really cool. We had a Christmas Breakfast and service that morning with the entire ward and some of their friends. It was super cool and they had all of us missionaries dressed up in crazy clothes witht he kids and we acted out the Christmas story together. I have to say, the mix of crazy clothes, Dutch Christmas Breakfast and beautiful music definitely started the day off right!! Then, we went with the bishop's family all day. We also went caroling with them. We visited a lot of investigators, and less-active members, and a lot of their family and friends. It really was a wonderful time together!! For dinner we did gourmetten. I think that is how you spell it. it is probably my favorite thing in the world. Basically, there is a buffet of food, you get to choose what you want, and then grill it up yourself on a grill that is on the table. It is a fun time and super delicious.

There is a second Christmas day here. As if one isn't enough. We went to Groningen with out entire Zone and did some service....guess what kind. Yupp....we went caroling. This time to an old folks home where we were able to make their day. There were three members of the church in that one home so it was really special and they bragged about us to all of their friends!! It was super fun!!

I love Christmas time. We were really spoiled this week by the members and also by our Heavenly Father. Amid all of the Christmas crazyness we were still able to teach our Russian family. I love teaching them because all of their questions just lead right into the next lesson in Preach my Gospel. They are super sincere and I can tell that the Lord has been preparing their entire family to accept this gospel for quite some time now. I also love the opportunity we get to skype a very good friend in Dordrecht who can translate from Russian to English better than anyone I know!! It is beautiful and the family is just gobbling up the Book of Mormon.

This Sunday, we were able to learn from Geese. I know...that may sound weird. But the bishop gave a combined lesson about how we can all work together as members of the church to build up zion if we follow the example of geese and work together. Let us all think about what we can do better this year to be able to become like geese and work together to do the work of the Lord whereever we are!!

I love you guys and can't wait to hear from you next week!!!


Also, Dad, Happy birthday!! I sent you something, but it might come a little late because it has been a while since I sent a letter so I don't remember how long it takes anymore!!

Love you all!!

Tot volgende week!!

Zuster Israelsen