Here I am in Haarlem, 11 months into my mission and still feeling like a greenie.
Haarlem reminds me of Dordrecht. It is a cute old city, only it is SO populated. Whoa! On the train ride to Haarlem I was able to see the tulip fields and wow, that was cool. It doesn't look real. We are really close to the tulip fields. Haarlem is where the movie "The Best Two Years" was filmed and it's hilarious to see that same church and that same train station. It's great!!!
We have some really cool investigators and 2 people with baptismal dates. I walked into the promised land I think. There is a ton of work here to do and I am super stoked to be working here.
We have been taking Dutch lessons from a lady in the ward because according to everyone here our uitsprak (pronunciation) in addition to other things is not good. So here we are 11 months out and we are learning the alphabet...it's humbling. Last lesson we spent like 10 minutes on Pres. Uchtdorf's name because apparently I can't say it properly.
Conference was great, I am in love with the talks about covenants. I don't think I quite understood the magnitude of covenants. Also, to hear them speak about standing up for your beliefs because we WILL have to defend them was so inspired. I think missions are partly for that reason. To learn how to find a stand and then take it. This is an everyday thing here, and I fear, increasingly, an everyday thing elsewhere too.
In other news, my companion Zuster Schwab and I will be teaching a 17-18 year old high school class about the church on Thursday. NERVOUS! We taught the 11-12 year old class back in November but nervous nonetheless. Pray for us and for our tongues to be loosed!
Lately, I have been studying testimony. What a testimony is and where it comes from and how do we recognize it. I found I have been over complicating what a testimony is. Searching for some WOW moment in my past where I knew certain things were true. I have been taking each sentence in "Preach My Gospel" and identifying why and how I know it to be true. It's been a great study so far and I'm only on sentence 3! Super cool. I have found that testimonies are really quite simple and that we gain testimonies of things daily and it depends on faith. It is what we do with the testimonies that matters. Testimony and faith govern our lives. We believe the light to turn on when we flip the switch, whether that came from prior experience or from the knowledge that we have about electricity and science, it is inderdaad faith! It is the more rare type of faith that matters, it is the faith, the testimony, that MAKES things happen, that we ought to be concerned with. Go-Go gadget faith. GOOD STUFF!
FIJNE WEEK ALLEMAAL!
I'm doing great and Haarlem is a Dream! A different dream than I expected but a dream nonetheless. My companion is amazing! She's so cool and does krav maga or whatever that intense fighting stuff is called. We have great workouts in the morning.
So we have been soooooo busy, it's insane! Our stake president started this campaign called the "Finding Faith in Christ Easter Campaign" it's a link on facebook and it's a free "Finding Faith in Christ" DVD. Once it is requested we are sent their info and we go try to talk to them. He was at one of our dinner appointments and he said 150,000 ads for the church equals 20 referrals, but 20 sharesof this link equals 20 referrals. So we've been getting our members to share this link and in less than a week our mission has received 243 referrals. We are to contact them as soon as possible which is so hard because we already have appointments planned, but it is so cool.
While going to contact a referral two days ago we happened upon a tulip field. It was possibly the greates day ever!! It didn't look real, also I'm sure that is how it looks in the Celestial Kingdom. It was a dream.
Koning dag! It is the greatest. Everyone is wearing orange and is so happy and selling all of their stuff for really cheap. I bought a chocolate fountain for a euro! We gave out 50 Book of Mormons and a couple thousand cards (many of which we picked up off of the ground) but hey, it was a great day. We saw tons of success.
The funniest thing, I wish I could have recorded it. Our ward mission leader has a 4 year old son who helped us with our Konings Dag booth. He stood on a box of Book of Mormons with the "Together Forever" DVD in his hands and yelled "gratis DVD!" which is just "free DVD" and then if people looked at him he would just say softly with his cute little voice "wilt u een gratis DVD" and he ended up giving like 5 away and some people paid him. He was sooo happy! It was the cutest. One lady stops and says "What is the DVD about?" and he looks at it curiously and says "I think it's about families" ohhh mand he was the best. It was quite a site to behold.