Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Week 5 - Last P-day at the MTC!

    Wow, not to be redundant or anything but as my subject exclaims, it sure is my last P-day at the MTC! Wow, I got a paper in the mail with my name on it titled Flight Itinerary which apparently means I'm leaving in a little over a week, which is pretty hard to believe. Although when I reflect on how much I've learned and have grown while here, it's hard to believe I've acquired so much in only 5 weeks. Pretty crazy to think that I only have one more Sunday temple walk, 2 more days in the classroom, and a day at in-field orientation. Not that they're letting us go without a fight- I teach 6 lessons on Thursday! That's including TRC, where as of last week we get to Skype real, live Dutch people. I got to talk to Saskia, a woman my teacher taught on his mission, and tomorrow we'll also get to Skype Elder Henderson's friend Annabel van Hof who was a foreign exchange student in Blackfoot and wanted to be baptized but her dad thought she was getting brainwashed, so that'll be exciting. 

    Before I forget, here's something exciting: I get to call home from the MTC on Mother's Day!!!!!!!! 1:30-2 pm my time.  Hopefully you guys don't get tired of hearing my voice (wait - if I have a voice haha-- I haven't been feeling too great this week sound like a 50 yr old male chain smoker), because the next day, I'll get to call home from the airport! I'll probably have time around 8 am my time. Also, I asked my Branch President if I was allowed to call my twin sister in Russia from the airport, and he said that was fine! I'm gonna buy a calling card from the MTC bookstore instead of hoping I could borrow someone's phone, by the way. Yay, so excited to talk to you guys!    Haha that's funny what you sent me about the Van der Puts saying I speak with a German accent, I believe that, because whenever I'm not sure how to say something in Dutch I automatically substitute the German word with a Dutch accent instead of thinking the English word, oops... also, something cool I've learned from being around these Scandinavian languages in my zone is that Norweigan and Swedish are a lot more similar to Dutch, and Danish is a lot more similar to German, than Dutch and German are to each other! But basically they're all pretty connected. 

   Zuster Johnson left to Suriname at 3 am on Monday, and all four of us Dutch-speaking missionaries sang "We'll bring the World His Truth," ("Wij Brengen de Wereld Zijn Waarheid"), first two verses in Dutch and the last verse we had everyone join in which was neat because some of the lyrics are "we'll preach the gospel to all the world" (Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Netherlands fit into that category) and we changed the chorus to "we ARE NOW the Lord's missionaries." 

    So as for the weekly report on being directly addressed by an apostle... no but really, wow, I sure came to the MTC at the right time! Elder Holland spoke to us last night, and I was 5 rows directly in front of him and swear I made eye contact with him multiple times. The main point I got from his message was essentially to practice (or become) what you preach... he talked about how he can't stand the thought of losing sheep, but can't conceive the thought of losing the shepherds. He talked about how President Hinckley decided there was something wrong with the Church's missionary program if so many missionaries could come home and fall away, thus Preach My Gospel was born- the missionary internalizes and believes and understands what he/ she's teaching, and it's up to him/ her to apply these truths to each individual investigator. I also really appreciated how he talked about regarding this choice to serve a mission- that we've never done anything more right. He said that there isn't a day in the past 5 decades and counting that he hasn't thought about his mission, and his mission shaped him and influenced every significant decision in his life since then. He said if we give our mission everything, it will give us everything and make us everything we want to be in this life. These points stood out to me because every now and again I find myself thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in this life and thinking about how I could have still indirectly served and taught people while working towards accomplishing these things, but this was such a good reminder that this mission has the potential to be one of THE greatest experiences of my life and shape who I am (don't worry, I'm not doubting coming out on a mission, I love it, but it was just nice to strengthen my resolve even more last night to make every day count and not have any regrets/ missed opportunities)! Elder Holland is so great at coining those memorable expressions that stick with you, and last night he talked about the fact that the road to Salvation must always pass through Gethsemane, reminding us that yes there will be hard times, but the Savior has been there, and if it's hard it means it's worth it. 

    Wow, that's pretty exciting about no school for two days because of thunderstorms, but golly I sure hope it wasn't as dangerously destructive as Hurricane Isaac (;  (when we had 3 days off of school because of the approaching hurricane in 2012, but all we got was wind and rain; the children were so disappointed)  Today, us P-Day missionaries are allowed to go to the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the BYU MOA and stop by the BYU Creamery on the way back, so we're pretty excited about this Party Day I mean Preparation Day! I blame Elder Christofferson's talk to us last week on being trustworthy missionaries for the MTC trusting us to go off-campus.

   One of my new investigators is Lieke, a University of Amsterdam student, raised atheist, has many religious friends, and loves all things American, and she's really cool to talk to and finds my beliefs (especially regarding 'het Heilsplan' or the the Plan of Salvation) verrrry new but interesting. 

    That's neat about the broadcasted Ft. Lauderdale temple dedication (9 hours south of us, but we were able to watch the dedication at our chapel), as far as everyone here knows, I'm from Florida so that temple is 5 mins from my house, so yeah represent! 
    I love you guys! 
Zuster Riley (: 

P.S. Yeah wow I was actually really disappointed about that dumb Geology grade, just because I was hoping for an A. But that is exciting about the scholarship, and I guess if I think of all my bucket list adventures and lack of sleep, they could have been worse. But good thing I'll be a serious and boring RM when I return so I can really have a competitive GPA nahh I'll still have fun but will also bring some of these study habits back to college!  


  1. Eliza - I know you're going to be a wonderful missionary. You know there will be hard times, and those are the times you need to drop to your knees and plead for strength and understanding. I know the Lord will bless and protect you as long as you are doing what you're supposed to be doing. I wish you God-speed on your journey to Amsterdam. I'll stay in touch.
    Love, Aunt Mary

  2. eToro is the most recommended forex broker for new and professional traders.