Hoi! Happy JUNE!
Lots of spread out appointments = lots of biking (or sometimes public transportation), and it's been colder and rainier this week, but lots of spread out appointments are still lots of appointments which is always great.
On Thursday we met with J (and talked briefly with his two suave college roommates) who is the head of a Christian fraternity here, he's studying to become a doctor, his dad works for the forestry so he has lived everywhere from Austria to the Solomon Islands, he's extremely knowledgeable about the Old Testament, he accepts the BvM as scripture until he finds a reason not to just as he did with the Bible and came to know of its truth, and he likes to play devil's advocate to keep the discussion going (even if he later tells us he doesn't feel that way).
We went to eat with H and B (she sings in the band and also works for a local radio talkshow) who are the coolest Dutch hipster musician members ever (I mentioned his band, Harm's Fork, in the last e-mail -they're always touring local towns to perform), and are originally from Vriesland which is a Northwestern county of the Netherlands where they speak this crazy Vries dialect (more of its own language from what I hear). They performed their version of the 13th Article of Faith put to music for us ("...the admonition of Paul! Yeaaaaah, the admonition of paul!") which I personally think should replace the primary article of faith songs, and H is working on writing music to which he will put the lyrics of "Sunshine in My Soul Today" and "Who's On the Lord's Side, Who?" (reminds me of Walford Griffiths!) which is awesome because most of his band/ audiences are not "geloovig" but still appreciate the powerful lyrics. They are so fun and cool and themselves and love the gospel so much.
We had a lesson about temples with K (recently baptized!) and his friend S who is Jewish and has sat in on lessons before- glad we cleared up with S that proxy baptisms still give those people the choice to accept, because he'd heard rumors that we claim i.e. that Anne Frank is a member of our church now, etc. Speaking of K, he's so great and the ward loves him- he stood up in testimony meeting yesterday and said "goede morgen, mijne broeders and zusters" and everyone started cracking up because they were smiling so hard because they love him!
I had told M about testimony meeting a week ago and she's been really excited to get up and share hers- in fact, after our lesson on Wednesday, she asked if she could practice on us, and whipped out a paper where she'd typed up ("only took me about half an hour to write") a sweet testimony about the "veranderungen" she's feeling in her life, and the peace she feels at church, etc. We're putting together a baptismal calendar with her where we plan when we'll teach her all the lessons which she really likes because then she can she how much she's learned and how ready she really is.
I'll have to take a picture of G (Indonesian gift-giver onderzoeker)’s two hairless cats for you mom, haha, sometimes during a lesson one of
‘em will jump up behind me on the couch and start eating my hair, it's a pretty scary feeling. Also, the illustrated BvM stories in Dutch really came in handy when reading about Lehi's dream with him, so thanks for that.
On the way to a service project at a member's house (had 3 this week, they take weeding very seriously here) we met and talked to S, a passionate former-pro tennis player Christian from Nigeria who invited us to his bible study and wants to come to Church sometime. He initiated the convo at the bus stop because he saw my nametag that says "Jesus Christ," and said it was awesome to see someone else "preaching the word."
We also met with J from Curacao, who has been meeting with the Sisters for months now, and has been earnestly seeking the truth for over 7 years (she actually stopped the missionaries who taught weekly lessons to her neighbor to come teach her) but is sooo busy with her full-time home day care and she sometimes gets caught up on questions that don't matter quite as much ("who really is Jehovah") as others ("was Joseph Smith a prophet?), but she is great and it's so neat to hear how she'd been watching the Sisters walk past for weeks and noticed something different and thought they could be helpful and interesting to talk to.
Congrats on the Colonel position Dad, on the self-built raft and becoming a terrible teenager Josh, on completing seminary Rachel (I know you're devastated that it's over, but you'll still see Chris on Sundays and can get up at 6:30 to study like Zuster Riley!), on an amazing life and job and host fam and experience in Russia Madi, on being a beastly missionary Isaac, and on a long memorial day motorcycle ride Mom.
Did you guys do anything besonders for Hemelvaart? (Ascension Day holiday on May 29)
Ik houd van jullie!
Zuster Riley (:
P.S. We're encouraged not to use full names when telling stories about specific people, but some common Dutch first names include Baukje, Veerle, Noortje, Heijndert, and last names De Jonge and Hooijenga- just so you can get a feel (: