Sunday, March 16, 2014

Listening is Powerful, Walking in Groningen Means I Have Set Foot In Every City Grandpa Israelsen Served In! And Ik hou van jullie allemaal!!

Why Hello There Wonderful Family that is Mine,
How are you guys doing?  I thought it was a little bit of a bummer this week because due to message sending failures, I was not able to read everyone's letters.  I hope that your weeks were exciting though.  Ours certainly was.  The work has begun to explode here in Apeldoorn, Sister Brophy and I don't know what to do with ourselves...sometimes we have so many appointments that we forget to schedule in lunch....until we get hungry and then take the time to eat.  It is crazy.  And a miracle to see the change that has come upon this place since I came here 5 months ago.  That is also crazy to say, can you believe that I was actually able to stay in an area for more than 3 months.  I never thought that was going to be the case.
We have had the priviledge to find many new investigators in the last two weeks and are teaching up a storm.  It is amazing to see how the Lord does His work.  Sometimes, we wonder why He waits for so long to let us see so much success when we feel as though we are working the same as we always have.  it is also amazing to be able to get to know the children of God that live here in the Netherlands.  These have been many people that I have had the priviledge to meet and to teach, but one cool guy that we found this last week is named Peter.  He is a man in his 60's and is super smart and knows a lot of random facts about the bible.  I loved the first appointment that we had with him because he felt the need to let us know everything that he knew.  Some of the things may or may not have been completely made up, but for the most part, he knows his stuff.  I always find myself a littlr frustrated after lessons where either the investigator or less-active memeber just talks most of the time, where they feel like they are the teachers.  But I learned a lesson this week.  Our first appointment with Peter, he had to share everything with us, he literally did not stop talking, except to be able to sip his coffee.  We were really annoyed, we laughed a little because of some of the things that were said, but were frustrated becaue we didn't feel like our time was spent in a good way.  We made another appointment because we felt that he needed to at least hear the Restoration, and this time, he sat there.  He listened and soaked in every piece of information that we were able to teach him.  We didn't understand what the change was that came over him, but we were able to teach him and he has become a really serious investigator.  What made the difference?  I didn't know for a while.
We also had an appointment with a less-active member this week.  It was the first time that we had met with her and the same thing happened.  She talked our ears off.  Mostly about really random things, but we let her talk.  We tried to teach a gospel principle, but she was just loving the opportunity to talk to someone and boy did she take advantage of that.  But, she asked us to come back at the end of the week to visit her again.  We did, even though we were again really frustrated about the fact that we were not able to teach anything.  She too, at our second appointment seemed to be hanging on our every word and is committed to trying to come back to church, to overcome her addictions again and get back on the path to eternal life.  What made the difference?
I have learned this week, that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  These people that we have had the opportunity to work with, needed first someone that was willing to listen to them.  To love them and support them in the hard times they were having and just to have someone love them enough to give 45 minutes of their time to visit with them and listen to their story.  How important is it to learn how to listen?  We are taught to learn to listen to the spirit?  Why?  Why does that make a difference?  Is that any different than listening to the people around you that you love?  Should it be?  I have come to the conclusion this week that we need to work on both.  That the Spirit can speak to you as you focus on the needs that the person is telling you about.  The Spirit is able to help you and inspire you as you love the people that are around you.  How can you learn to listen to the people around you better?  Is there something in your life that you can change to be able to have that love in your life?
I went on an exchange this week to Groningen.  Grandpa, you can now be proud, I have set foot in every city that you served in and literally walked in your footsteps!!  Cool, huh?  But we had a blast.  Zuster Johnson and I had a really fun time up there.  I do have to say that I am super grateful that I was taught how to fix a flat tire as a child, Jake, that may be one thing that you want to freshen up on.  I hav met too many missionaries that have no idea how to do that.  Zuster Johnson saw it as inspiration that I was able to come and help her to fix her tire.  We were also able to meet with an amazing member family!!!  With Maartje and her kids.  We laughed so hard that we almost cried!!  It was a blast!!  If I had more time I would say I wanted to serve in Groningen!!  We also had a super huge miracle lesson.  We went langs de deuren and met this lady who said she only spoke spanish.  The only thing I know how to say was the name of the church....I could have maybe given her a swimming lesson.  But I said what I knew and she let us right in.  I think that she thought we spoke spanish.....but we had an interesting lesson where we were able to teach her the Restoration.  It was a miracle and she is now investigating.  I love being able to witness those sorts of miracles!!! 
I have learned that time is a precious thing.  Make sure that you enjoy the moment that you are in.  You won't get that moment back.  There is no use letting little things annoy you because once you do, you lose a moment to be happy, a moment to make a difference, a moment to be a missionary.
I hope that you all have a wonderful week!!!  And that you keep posting those two sentence testimonies on facebook and sending them to each other!!
Ik hou van jullie allemaal!!
Zuster Israelsen

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