Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Final Letter to My Mission President

Hello My Wonderful Family that is now spread across the entire world,

I hope that you have all had a great week!!!  I haven't heard very much
from you guys this week but I assume that is because you guys have been on
planes and have not had much access to internet and so.

This week has been a week of wonders!!  I love being a missionary because
of the chances that I have been able to have to see the hand of the Lord in
my life and in the lives of others.  I had to share a written something
with my mission president this week and I thought that I would share it
with you guys too!!

It has been quite an eighteen month adventure here in Belgie and Nederland.
With every new day came a new challenge that gave me and others I have had
the opportunity to work with, to learn and grow. At the beginning of my
time here I thought that one day I would master the task of being a
missionary, but what I have learned is that the Lord always has another
trick up His sleeve that I have had to learn to adjust to. I can't say that
I have accomplished the goals that I was determined to reach the day I left
Denver Colorado, but I have learned that my goals then were not anywhere
close to what the Lord expected of me. I have experienced much here, the
good, the bad and the ugly. I can not say that any perticular experience is
more precious to me than the other. However, there is an emotion, or
feeling that comes when you realize that you were just able to be a tool in
the Lord's hands. That moment when you know that you were led by the Spirit
to touch another persons life. That feeling, or knowledge is the most
precious thing I could have ever found while serving in Nederland. It
happened many times and the more I longed for that feeling, the more the
Lord blessed me with it. I felt it in Den Haag as I was able to work with
Ans Jansedn and witness her conversion process, I knew then I was a tool in
the Lords hands. I felt it in the town of Dordrecht as I was able to
witness changes in members lives like Madeleine Speksnijder and the Ampem
family, as well as investigators taht only needed a crazy/fun personality
to get them moving again. I knew then that I was a tool in the Lords hands.
I felt it in the small branch of Genk as they were so grateful to have
missionaries and really it was our presence that gave them enthusiasm and
increased their gratitude for the gospel. I knew then I was a tool in the
Lords hands. I felt it in Turnhout as Sister Clement and I were able to
find those who were searching for the truth, like Isaac, one of the most
prepared people that I know. I knew then that I was a tool in the Lords
hands. I was blessed to receive this feeling the most in the city of
Apeldoorn. I longed for it more. I wanted to see that my time here was not
a waste. I felt it as I was able to kneel down in prayer with Danielle
August and share a testimony building experience. I felt it every Sunday as
I was able to sit by a new member and learn about them and their lives and
just be a friend. I felt it as the youth began to make changes in their
lives, to begin their conversion process. I felt it as weeping parents came
up to me and thanked me for serving a mission, expressing their gratitude
for the changes they were seeing in their children. I felt it as I was able
to witness a ward gain hope for the future. I know now that I am still a
tool in the Lords hands.

I know with all of my heart and soul that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know
He loves me because I have felt Hes love. I have seen His hand in my life
and am grateful for it. I have gained a firm and abiding testimony of the
Restoration of Gods church here on the earth. I believe that Joseph Smith
is a true prophet of God and that through him, God and Christ were able to
bring forth the fulness of the gospel. I believe the Book of Mormon to be
the word of God. I love the wisdom, comfor and knowledge that I gain as I
study its words. I know that the Atonement is real and that it is not only
applicable to our sins, but to every feeling of pain or joy we will ever
have. I know that it may take a lifetime to grow a strong, living tree of
faith, but I am grateful for the growth that I have seen during my time
here. It came through small and simple experiences, feelings that I was
being used as a tool in Gods hands. Seeing the results of that work has
become the foundation I need for the future. I love being a missionary.

I really do love being a missionary!!  There was one super big miracle that
happened this week with one of our investigators.  His name is Sam.  I
think that I have told you guys about him before, but he is a young single
adult who is really starting to make progress to change his life and it is
probably the coolest thing to witness.  I love being able to see how the
gospel of Christ works in the lives of others and that our Heavenly Father
is truly mindful of every single one of His children.

This week, Sam had three appointments with us, came to the JoVo activities
both times, came to the pancake breakfast that we as missionaries threw for
the ward and was held back from coming to church because of an epeleptic
seizure.  But the fact that he is coming with us and reading and actually
making changes in his life is amazing.  I think I told you guys about how
he decided that he was going to stop soccer at the end of the season and
that was just one of many steps that he has taken to come closer to

I want to share an experience with you that happened just yesterday.
Because Same was unable to come to church, we decided to see if we could
stop by and see him and see how he was doing.  It was a really great lesson
because we were able to talk to him about the ressurection and how, when we
are ressurected, we recieve a perfect body without the problems that he has
now.  We were also able to talk about the rest of the plan of salvation and
he had many questions about that because his uncle had just passed away.
This is where the cool part of the lesson comes in.  We had two joint
teaches with us and as one of them was able to bear his testimony about the
priesthood and the power that it has to bind on earth as well as in heaven,
something really amazing happened.  Once our joint teach was done, both
Sister Brophy and I tried to say something.  I let her go and realized once
she reached word 3 that she was saying exactly what I was thinking in my
mind.  I turned to her and said,'SHUT UP!'  We both started freaking out,
but then were able to offer to Sam that he could receive a blessing to help
him with the problems that he was facing.  He took right up on that offer
and one of our joint teaches was able to give him a priesthood blessing
right then and there.  It was the coolest thing that I have probably ever
seen.  Sam felt the spirit super strong.  He described after the blessing
that he could feel a certain power that came into him as soon as the hands
were placed on his head.  That experience was cool for many reasons.  But I
know that that will help him to be able to understand how God speaks to Him
and there were many comforting words that were given in that blessing that
will help him for the rest of his life.

Sister Brophy and I have decided that we have taken the whole idea of
companionship unity to an extreme....but that is ok.  We like it that way,
especially if we can have experiences like that!!

I love you guys!!  I can't believe that I will see you in a week!!  My mind
is blown.  Don't worry, there will be one last episode in the life of
Zuster Israelsen in Nederland!!  So keep following!!

Ik hou van jullie allemaal!!

Zuster Israelsen

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