Goeie morgen Familie Riley,
well, Leandro and Herman and Attile and abdel and Raphael and his kids didn't come to church as promised.. but Larissa, Tommy and Isaac did, and at least most of the no-shows texted us to let us know they couldn't make it. Haha it's funny how excited we get about receiving texts from investigators cancelling or postponing appt.s... just the fact that they remember and realize the importance means so much, and I appreciate that they're taking this seriously enough to let us know... all 4 of our baptismal dates have either passed or been postponed.. Abdel's is for 6 December (Sinterklaas) and isn't too realistic seeing as he isn't really making the effort to completely stop smoking... Jobe disappeared for a month after he'd been on fire and doing so well (which apparently is a pattern he's been through three times before) and Larissa's still waiting for the legal stuff to be worked out with the Rechtbank so she can separate form her abusive boyfriend and keep her house and kids so her date is for 17 Januay but other than that she is so ready to be baptized and comes to church every week with her kids.
And this is exciting: so, Tommy was on date for 8 November, but a few weeks ago we had a good discussion about not procrastinating something out of fear but also not rushing into something you don't feel ready for, and he said he'd come up with a new realistic doopdatum that he feels good about and tell us on Sunday... yesterday at church we talked briefly but didn't have time to ask him, so we called him in the evening, and he said he'd indeed chosen a date that he feels good about- 3 January! This is sooo exciting, because Tommy has been seriously investigating since February, has read through the entire BoM with the study guide, comes to church every week and fulfills his 2 unofficial calling faithfully, knows the doctrine better than many members... but he can only progress so far until he makes this covenant with Heavenly Father to reap even more blessings.
through Doctrine and Covenants and
Talmages's "The Great Apostasy" is helping him to understand the
reality of the apostasy/ necessity of the Restoration, and it was cool because
a few weeks ago, he told me that what I said about him having felt the Spirit
so many times and pointing out specific examples helped him a lot. That was
during a lesson where he argued that you don't grow/ develop faith in something..
you either have it or you don't. It's like a light switch that you either have
on or off. Which we said we could understand, but you can always flip more
lights on in new rooms/ lamps in those rooms, and then I said, "Tommy, I
think your light switch of faith in this restored gospel is switched on but
it's so bright that you're squinting (your eyes are shut) so you don't
recognize it. And then pointed out the reasons he reads/ meets with us (ie more
light and knowledge) as being the spirit... Reading
Contacting at night (especially langs de deur) is something I'll have to get used to; it's cold and because it's so dark people try to make us feel like it's way later than it is.. and sometimes it's scary but those are experiences I'll tell when I'm safely home haha.. and getting the door slammed/ hung up on bel-ups mid-testimony (in response to a question they asked) still stings... people act so repulsed/ disgusted by us sometimes without bothering to find out who we are/ what we're doing.. we were looking up an old potential in the cute and classy nearby dorpje of Vosselaar, and a house down the street must've seen us coming and turned off all the lights, closed all the shutters (and there were a lot of windows) and we could hear someone bolting the door..
Leandro, a new
investigator, shared a
really cool spiritual experience, but then lifted up a big bag of weed chilling
on the table and said he still has things he knows he needs to work on...
Zuster H thought that was so funny because weed is still totally illegal in
parts of the Surinams ..
The other morning I had this shower epiphany where I decided that I will get
over myself and be a consecrated missionary and eat non-vegan food when served
to me and not tell people the next place I'm transferred.. even though members
are really accepting and accommodating (and everyone's vegetarian here
anyways.. and we're lucky if we get one dinner appt./ week) I should still put
everything on the altar of sacrifice.. so I'll let you know if the
day comes when I have meat for the first time in 7+ years (I know,
missions are scary) haha.. U.S.
Also, the other week (Zuster H's 3rd day in the land actually) we swung by the church and Zuster H asked if we could go inside and sit in the chapel for a few mins because she hadn't been feeling the spirit as much lately. We were talking and she told me how she missed the MTC with its spirit radiating in every room and face, and her feeling of confidence and sense of belonging, and happiness and stresslessness (is that a word? holy ness) there. I made the following analogy: the MTC preparing us for the mission field is like the premortal life preparing us for earth life. We may've wondered at times on earth why we would've chosen to leave God's presence to come to this scary, corrupt, fallen world, but just like we can only learn so much/ progress to a certain point in the MTC, we needed to come to earth to become sufficiently educated between good and evil and to learn and grow and to have joy. When I think of the most powerful, joyous emotions I've experienced as a missionary, I picture the people and moments in
Groningen, Gent and Turnhout. It's easy to see looking back why
someone would choose to leave the secure but stunted bliss of MTC life. And
what makes the MTC so great? The knowledge that everything we're learning,
studying and developing will be to help us soon in the 'real life' aka mission
I love you all, happy Thanksgiving and Sinterklaas and ah I love Kersttijd (Yule)!