August 3, 2014
Well the funeral was beautiful!!! It was an honor to be there and it meant so much for the Den Bosch ward that we could be there. The service was so Christ centered because J. was so Christ-like. I thought a lot about what our lives say about us, do they reflect Christ? I think we all need to start living a life so that Christ is the main focus at our funeral. It was great to see his parents. They are anchored in hope and in testimony. I was so impressed. They were walking around serving others and making sure everyone was taken care of. At one point the father was searching around for a ride for us. I thought wow this man is so Christ-like he has every excuse to have a pity party and yet he's making sure the missionaries have a ride.
I am being transferred to Groningen! I'm excited and nervous. I have a lot to do there and God has just granted me what I've waited my whole mission for. Time to raise the bar.
August 10, 2014
Welcome to Groningen! City of wonders.
I feel home here. It's a crazy feeling. My first day here my companion says, "Oh yeah one of the guys in the ward was super excited you are here he says you're family and that there is an old Elting woman who is going to pass away soon and he hoped you would come soon enough to talk to her." WHAT!!!?? So cool. He's a great guy and has already given me his family tree to see the Eltings’ and found a photo of Opa Klaas and Oma Jelly's gravestone. WHAT!!!???
It is literally a dream to be here and so many people know the Elting name here and assume I'm just a Dutch sister. It's cool. We haven't visited family members yet that will come when we have more time. Missionary work here is booming and I'm with such a hard working companion! I'm stoked to work with Sister Wood she has already taught me so much! We work overtime here!! Haha There are just sooooo many investigators to keep track of. I didn't know this could ever be a problem. We finally got a planning session in yesterday because we were almost at both of our breaking points. One investigator came to church yesterday and he stayed for like a half hour then disappeared. He had like a panic attack and so we had to go try to salvage that (thankfully it turned out okay) then we were running late to our next appointment. Ahh! The day before we had a meeting in Zwolle but the trains weren't working and we ended up being soooo late to all of our appointments but everyone was so patient with us and all of our appointments went through.
The craziest thing about all of our investigators is because this is a student city they are all SOOO smart. We are teaching a few philosophers so needless to stay my studies have turned from peaceful edification to avid, desperate scarfing. But hey.
One day we were rushing to an appt. (we were going to be late) and we passed three 20ish year old guys who were dressed like missionaries as we passed we heard one ask, "If Jesus exists, why do so many babies die?" But we couldn't stop because we would be late, but we both felt prompted to stop. Well we go to our appointment and she wants to reschedule and wasn't expecting us. AHHHHH! So we had like an hour and we both realized that we should have just followed the prompting because God knows better!!! Sooooooo we decided to hunt them down. We are going all around and finally we find them and had a REALLY great talk with them. Only one of them really had any interest in learning but it was so cool to talk to them. It was really great because they kept asking questions they thought they would stump us but of course through the gospel of Christ you can answer those questions of the soul and they were shocked and satisfied with all of the answers. It was so wonderful to be able to just have the answers to questions that haunt so many people. What a blessing!
Well Groningen is wonderful! Unfortunately it is SOOOO cold but hey that's what we get for serving in the North Pole. We found 6 new investigators this week! We are so blessed. School starts here this week and it is already soooo busy. I love working in a college city!
First miracle of the week was on Monday night. We had a couple potentials to look up and we had no success and it was raining while the sun was shining (a foreshadowing) so we look up and saw a rainbow so we followed it to do some door knocking and....no success. But then we had one more person to look up and it was really our last chance we still had 40 ish minutes before we could go in and it was cold so we hoped (for selfish reasons) someone would let us in. We knock on this lady's door who was not so positive last time but she had been reading in the book of Mormon we gave her and found answers to her questions. She invited us in and we had a beautiful lesson with her. She said she had lost her faith after her grandma died pretty recently but when she read the Book of Mormon she found it again. The craziest thing is that she doesn't speak Dutch all that well but the Book of Mormon was in Dutch but she had just read the first two chapters over and over again so she could understand. We told her we could get her a Book of Mormon in her own language and she was soooo happy. It was soo cool. We are meeting with her this week again.
Also we had another wonderful miracle. When I knew I was going to Groningen I felt like I needed to contact J.’s grandma who is an inactive here. Well we get a call from a man from Alkmaar and he says that he set up an appointment with her and wanted us to be there. It was such a miracle to talk with her and recognized me. She has come back to church and yesterday when I saw her at church I said, "I’m glad you are here!" and she says, "of course I'm here it can't otherwise!" (doesn't quite translate in English)
Later this week we found this great couple who just started going to a church and when we knocked on the door with a book about Christ the man made an appointment instantly! We met with them and it was such a great lesson we look forward to going back this week!
Shout out to Brittany:
This week we went by a potential from Russia. She is a sassy old lady with BROKEN Dutch. When we got inside I told her that I had a friend who lived for a while in Novosibrisk (spelling?) and she got so excited and started speaking to me in Russian. Because her Dutch is just as hard to understand as the Russian I was just playing along and I think she just thought we understood. I needed you Brit!
Alsoooooooo, a brother from the ward took us to an Elting woman who lives down the street and when he introduced me to her she just smiled so big and almost started crying. She is so precious and sassy. She is in her 90s and in a nursing home. It was wonderful to talk with her she said she knew Klaas Elting!! Super cool
August 24th, 2014
This week was overwhelming. Train rides and meetings and meetings and meetings and train rides and not sleeping in our own beds and finally Saturday evening my body just had had enough. Seriously flesh is weak! My mind was ready to go more but my body flipped and I got really sick. A weird sick though and although I was really doubting being able to go to our appointments the next day let alone church. I went to sleep and the next day I did fine. This is why I'm convinced that the worst torture method would be sleep deprivation. All I needed was a good night's rest in my own bed. Thankfully.
The greatest miracle however is with a wonderful investigator. She has had (I would argue) the worst life imaginable. But she is just good. Inside and out, a good person who was dealt a REALLY bad hand. We had an appointment last night with her. We racked our brains planning the lesson but couldn't seem to grasp anything to teach her so when we sat down. Sister Wood asks simply what she would like to talk about that day. This led to her telling us that she has been asking God what she needs to do and that He is calling her to our church. She wondered about being baptized a second time but said her answer was a simple "yes" She told us she is planning on quitting smoking this week and that she wants us to help her keep busy. She also said that she wants to have quit smoking for 4 weeks before baptism but that she wants to set a date for the end of Sept. or Oct. Sheis wonderful and also told us that she'll be in church from now on. Needless to say we are sooooo excited. Pray for her!!
This week I've learned a lot about being a better teacher. About preparing an environment where the Spirit can enter and testify of truth. I have been able to do a little self-inflection (is that a thing?) but I've been on my mission for a while now and I have read and memorized the doctrine we are to teach and so I've become quite casual in teaching it. You could say I've been leaning on my own understanding. I remember hearing in the MTC just how we should never underestimate the challenge that each lesson will be. In Groningen this is especially true. People ask questions that I don't have answers to. It's been soo great and humbling. There is so much I don't know about the gospel and that is okay. I've come to know that a testimony of the restoration is the fundamental that we should build on, and I'm just grateful to have the eternities to keep learning because there just isn't enough time!!!
August 31, 2014
Well this week has been busy, busy. More traveling and traveling and just rushing from one appointment to the next. It's been fun though and the weather has been nicer:) One of our investigators chose a baptismal date....Sept 27th! She is wonderful! We worked hard this week getting to know members and it is funny and interesting to see the cultural differences within this little country. We finally got an appointment with a young single adult investigator and he wants a new beginning! It was great to teach him and tell him that through Jesus Christ you can begin anew anytime, anywhere!
I think you'll be proud to know that we had a pioneer celebration where my companion fiddled (she learned in a week) and I taught line dancing! SOOOOO fun! We did relay races and played stick pull and leg and arm wrestling and watermelon seed spitting. Man, that was really crazy to experience again, we loved it.
I talked with some kids yesterday who yelled "you're fancy!" (rough English translation) at us. So we chatted for a bit and it was really cool. The girls were like 9 or so and they heard my accent so they got excited and wanted to say things in English. So cute. They asked why I was here and I told them that my companion and I tell people about Jesus and asked if they knew anything about Jesus. They all got really excited and said they did and one of the girls told me that she was named after Rebekka in the bible. Man, kids are so good! I left them with a card and was reminded about Elder Kruisinga (one of the senior couple men). As a young teenager he would go to church even though he wasn't a member but the missionaries took no thought to try to teach him because he was so young. Later fortunately he became a member but I thought, hey I'm going to contact these young girls (plus they were asking me all the questions) you never know!
Kijk! This is a big company for drywall or something.....Haha cool, eh?
Zuster Meier and a ward member with Chelsea
Chelsea and her MTC companion Zuster Andersen