Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 69 - Zoetermeer

   Wow, Wednesday night was so cool- we went to our appt. with A and brought Z. VanderPuppet as a joint teach, and A is so intelligent, kind, and prepared. He did a lot of the talking and basically gave us his life story- he grew up in Curacao, came here to study, went back to Curacao to work as a medical director and for the Parliament, has a son and a daughter who live nearby, his wife passed away after 40 years of marriage, he currently gives some sort of inspirational speeches to college students, and he has incredible faith in Christ- so many things he said highlighted truths we also cherish. When he finally sat back and asked us to share why we'd come and asked some questions about temples, marriage, church, it was getting late and unfortunately we really had to be going (we'd planned on teaching him the Restoration but ended up giving him a chapter to read in the BoM after briefly explaining the book), but luckily he wants to meet and learn more and come to church. Really such a miracle, he is so good and is going to eat up the message of the restored gospel. Btw, he's the guy we met a few weeks ago handing out flyers in the centrum for the church open house (we'd gotten some pretty nasty rejections and prayed that we would meet someone open and interested- then we saw A, and he invited us to talk to him about who Jesus Christ is for us personally on a bench with him while he waited for his taxi). 

   I was pretty bold with R at our lesson, and while we were talking amongst ourselves at the end he mentioned how he felt the spirit at church and admitted that he does believe the BoM is the word of God, and I asked him why he actually wasn't a member yet (this is the same guy who was very against his recent convert wife even going to church/ having missionaries over a few years ago), and after some thought and reasoning about how he likes to really understand things and observe, he said that was a sharp question and did agree to even think about a baptismal date to work towards . I felt strongly that I needed to be loving but direct, and tried to emphasize a lot of the points Bednar makes in his talk "Come and See," and hope he doesn't feel pushed, rather realizes not only how much the church could enrich his life, but how much he could enrich the church. 

   We had a lesson with a sweet less-active sister who rationalized why she couldn't pay tithing and therefore hold a temple rec, but it was a powerful lesson and she agreed to pray about it and said at the end that she could definitely at least start with paying fast offerings. 

   S, a super smart and cute and friendly Polish pregnant mom came to yoga and to church, and is great! She is moving to Den Haag, though. 

   On Friday, both of our member present lessons with solid investigators and our dinner appt. cancelled, but the next day we taught sweet Ilsa (she's Dutch, but friends with some of the Wassenaar YW) at a member's home, and it was so cool! She's so ready and stopping cussing/ trying to dress modestly and will be at FSY (international EFY) in Germany all week and if that's not an uplifting and spiritual experience, I don't know what is. These youth are great li'l examples here.
    So, last night we had a really neat experience with a new investigator that confirmed my testimony of priesthood blessings and the power of the priesthood, I'll tell you more about it in person one day. 

    There was a crazy wind storm on Saturday- we got stranded in a random Subway because some trees fell in the tram tracks.. but we survived to tell the tale. 

    Such a good week though, we're picking up some great new people and teaching lots more, and are excited to finally set some baptismal dates again this week hopefully. 
   I love you all, have a great week. (: 
Zuster Riley (: 

 We went to a boxing class with Naomy and Anja today (Naomy's a regular there), it was intense and cool- but I'm pretty sure my hands permanently smell like sweat. 

Shops in Den Haag 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 68 - Zoetermeer

Eliza has an official release date: September 29 ~ she will be home this OCTOBER!

Beautiful walk to the church!  /  I reached and grabbed this avocado out of the tram tracks (we were on our way to district mtg and we have to cook chili for everyone so why not?) haha

The awesome Hatcher family! Br. Hatcher is the WML in wijkwassenaar, and the kids are just the best li'l member missionaries- ie Elly brought two friends to church last Sunday to hear her speak.  


Smelling everything hahaha  /  Gas masking Z. Hopkin's coconut cookies

Met Matheo and Zr. Rol

3 missionaries and 2 bikes is not necessarily a problem

From the Romigs' FB page: Three sister missionaries surprised us on P-Day with a delicious chicken and rice candlelight dinner. They put coconut in with the rice. It was delicious. That is just one of the many reasons why we love our missionaries. The sisters are Sisters Riley, Lemich and Hopkin.

Oeps, sorry dat het al Dinsdag is
Hallo Familie Riley, (:
It didn't work out for us to all email yesterday (a computer broke and it already takes longer because there's three of us), but don't worry- I'm alive and well and just emailing a day later. (:

To quote Elder Riley writing home from Ukraine a few years back, "it's interesting how a week that feels so remarkably monotonous most of the time can sound so eventful when you condense it into a few paragraphs of highlights. It can be fairly encouraging to review a week with the benefit of hindsight." Yes, we talked to lots of people on streets/ doorsteps/ trams, many of whom weren't interested (so they claim- they must not understand the security and peace that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, which interests anyone interested in families/ lasting happiness/ personal satisfaction) in what we have to offer, but on to the eventful stuff: 

So, Sunday morning we ended up having to take the tram partway and walk to church because of a flat tire on my bike, and we barely missed the tram we were hoping to catch, and after a few minutes of waiting for the next one, a lady with her 14 yr old son approached us and informed us that she'd overheard us talking about church and explained that she was late to her service she normally attends, and wanted to know what time our service was at and ended up coming with us to Wijkwassenaar (luckily she understands English perfectly- I wish they would've been able to stay for Wijkzoetermeer though for her son's sake) and basically had a lesson/ church tour afterwards.. they're great Christian people, strong in their Protestant church, but took the BoM and had lots of questions about modern-day prophets/ temples in the Bible, and we'll definitely be meeting again- in fact, we're going on a "Geloofswandeling" around Zoetermeer with other Christians from various denominations that she invited us to this Saturday. It was a tender mercy, because all three of us had been praying very hard that our investigators would come to church, and then we literally got asked by two new ones if they could follow us to church! 

R and C also came, and R loved the talks and lessons- now that we have established such a good friendly, trusting relationship, we want to openly discuss his feelings on baptism (for C- why  he's apparently so against it, but also for himself) during our weekly lesson tomorrow, so please pray for us that we will be able to follow the Spirit and help him understand that we are not trying to 'diminish his religious tradition or life experience; rather, we want him to bring everything he has that is good, true and praiseworthy (and he has a lot), and see if the restored gospel of Jesus Christ enlarges and enriches that which he knows to be true' (to quote E. Bednar).

 N and A came to yoga and enjoyed it, and we had a cool lesson with A about God's plan for families, specifically addressing her concerns with SSM. It went well, and was very applicable to our own current trial of faith/ trust in Priesthood leaders as we missionaries come to grips with the newest official missionary rule (straight from SLC to our mission) that now applies to our mission again (our mission was exempt for the past few years)- we have to wear HELMETS. Haha I think the members we've mentioned it to are more appalled- it's really not in the Dutch culture to do that. Haha the morning after the announcement at zone conference, Z. Hopz, Lemz and I kept cracking up during personal study as we'd come across a way too applicable scripture- ie Eph. 6:17 ("And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God")
Alma 53:2 ("...this Lehi was a man who had been with Moroni in the more part of all his battles; and he was a man like unto Moroni, and they rejoiced in each other’s safety...")
D&C 41:5 ("He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple...") 
... (:

I love this work and this area, and we are filling up our schedule once again with people to teach, which is so great. I know that this gospel contains pure intelligence, wonderful joy, and heavenly peace- something interesting to everyone. Love you all,
Zuster Riley (:

 ...Narrow is the way  /  With Elder Hunter (aka "the Scottish Elder who recently sang a solo in Gen. Conf.") ha he's great

Missionaries in the moment at a bbq

We love the markt! Not the first P-day trip there. (: We end up getting lots of free samples (and cheap & delish produce for the week) and even some potentials! Like this guy Erton who sells the juiciest nectarines and who wants to meet up next week and talk about his thoughts on God and learn more about our beliefs. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Week 67 - Transfer 11

The 3 Sisters Pub

Matching in Z. Nyakoh's favorite.. we'll miss our babyKoko!

  No wonder this place is packed with tourists- Amsterdam is beautiful.

Doing service with Shamantha (the awesome yoga instructor, thus the pose).

Amsterdam / Selfie with Alexandra!

The district.

I sure love Familie Z! They bought us these cute bags to thank us for the carrot cake/ Am. brownies that we made them to thank them for making us delicious roti.. haha I sense a pattern here.

Hey Fam,
Z. Lemich and Hopkin (she's so great and easy-going and good at art and baking and speaking Latin and is from Cincinnati) is with us for 2 weeks while she waits for bbKoko to come back from the MTC and serve with her in Den Haag) and I have seen some cool miracles this week and are having fun while we're at it! We set some cool goals for this transfer and are all excited to work hard and give it our all here. 

So, we've been going over to visit with A (recent convert) and C (daughter who loves girls camp and wants to be baptized but her father Roy doesn't approve) and teaching her the lessons, and it has been so cool to see R and older sister N warm up to us- R sits in on the lessons and testifies about Christ right alongside us and is SUCH a kind, serving, charitable man, and N sat in on our lesson last week (the first time she's ever showed any such interest) and we're becoming good friends with her, too - I sure love that family a lot. We had a cool lesson with Alexandra, talking about prophets and getting to know Pres. Monson better. 

A few weeks ago, we were looking someone up in a big apt. complex and two girls our age walked in, and the first one was not interested in talking to us at all when we contacted her- but her friend was super nice and said we could swing by her place sometime and share ideas (she's Hindu but interested in learning about different religions), and gave us her address. Last week, we swung by, and her mom told us over the intercom that C (that's her name) wouldn't be home until later that night, but as we were turning to leave, we ran into her coming home. She was super friendly and said that since she'd be leaving on vacation at the end of the week to Suriname for 5 weeks, we'd have to meet tomorrow at 13u (fine with us). The following day we showed up, rang a few times, and no one answered. Then C walked through the lobby door and apologized that her doorbell intercom was broken, and we went out back to a park and had a really cool lesson about the Restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. Really cool as in we felt the Spirit when she shared her testimony of prayer with us, and she said she will definitely read the BoM and of course would make changes in her life if she came to know if it's true. Summer vacation is taking her, along with quite a few other new investigators, out of town, but she wants to meet with us when she gets back, and even suggested we come inside and meet her family next time and cook delicious Indian food with her (somehow food always gets brought up when we talk to people haha(; ). 

When we were taking a train to Leiden Centraal for transfers, a young guy standing across from me was on his phone and apparently intended to slyly snap a picture of me.. well, to the surprise of the crowded train car, his loud, bright flash went off. I was a little shocked and smiled at him for an explanation and asked him if it worked, but he just ignored me and turned bright red and suddenly seemed very interested in his phone screen for the remainder of the ride. The friendly young guys near us thought that was pretty funny/ weird, too ha. 

When we were going to visit Z. K (who we haven't been able to get a hold of for weeks) one evening, we were parking and locking up our bikes when a rough & tough looking young girl asked us what church we were from and ended up explaining that her family was baptized a few years ago but doesn't come anymore, and she wants to slowly come back and learn more. We had a lesson with her and her boyfriend a few days later, and talked a lot about commandments and agency and true happiness. She and her bf were planning on coming to sacrament meeting, but ended up sleeping in too late. 

After look-ups and a ward picnic in Den Haag (we still go to DH a few days to work with Z. Hopkin's people there), we swung by the church bldg. to do some planning and in walked an older Surinamese couple, who told us they had been handed a Book of Mormon a few days ago and wanted to check out the church. Turns out that was the lady that Zuster Lemich was talking to on the tram last week on transfer day, who actually asked for a copy of the BoM right then and there, and luckily Z. Hopkin whipped one out to give her. And a few days later, they walk into the church, wanting to come to a service next week, and to learn more! So cool.
Love you!!! Fijne week,
Zuster Riley (:

For every good picture, I like to take a funny picture.

Z. Hopkin!

Familie Verdegem (from Gent)!

Going to the picnic.

Alexandra took us to Amsterdam!

Perfect place for a Christmas baby!

These 2 photos are from Zuster Voss

Photo from the Verdegems

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 66 - End of Transfer 10

Being American 

 With the lovely Zuster Bunnell and other ZTLs! 

 Z. V/d Scheer (so sweet and has us over every Friday night) and her moody cat! 

Cute YW! 

Exchanges in Lelystad  /  Leah and Lara's bunnies- shout out to Trixie and Sophie haha. 

Ik blijf!
Lieve familie, 
We got the transfer call last night and I wasn't really expecting this- but I'm staying for a 4th in Zoetermeer (my 3rd with Zuster Lemich), sweet! I'm glad because I don't feel like my work here in Zoetermeer is done. Also, with the 40 C heat/ stresses of being in a trio/ whatever other excuses, I don't feel like I've always been the most loving and meek and patient companion, and wouldn't want to have ended our companionship on a weird vibe, esp. compared to what it usually is. Zuster Nyakoh is going to the Preston MTC next week, and will return to Den Haag with Zuster Hopkin (so we'll see her on exchanges and at least weekly at district mtg.!)- so we'll be a trio with Zuster Hopkin for the first two weeks of this next transfer, probably bouncing all over the place between Den Haag, Wassenaar, Zoetermeer, etc. 

On Saturday we celebrated 4th of July by going to a welcome to Nederland party hosted by recent convert Peter Blair for his son, who he hadn't seen for 7 years. Peter is a hilarious older British (we decided not to remind him what our families were celebrating back home that day) man who got baptized a year ago and organizes the English class we teach during the school year, who has the funniest and coolest stories from his days as a professional ice skater in the traveling circus. We met the coolest people there, and all agreed afterwards that it felt so good to meet people who actually wanted to talk and get to know us and have such engaging conversations, and even want to meet up and talk more some time. I talked for a while with Peter's Canadian friend who turns out to be a world-renowned physicist/ has all sorts of connections with NASA, and is on the committee for the MarsOne project and it was so interesting to hear the behind the scenes of that- Josh would've loved talking to him. 

Zuster Cowles, Zuster Nyakoh and I (we all have ties to Gent so had fun reminiscing on people in that great city) had a really cool miracle on exchanges.. we were going to a dinner appt. and were looking up a lady who Elders had contacted a while ago and said she may be interested in learning more, and when we swung by, she politely explained that she was already Christian and had looked on our website and saw a lot of nice similarities, but didn't see the need for the Book of Mormon if it's the same as the Bible that she already reads, and it was so cool because even our explanations didn't seem to satisfy her, but the second we opened up the Book of Mormon and read a verse about the Savior, her entire attitude changed, and she said, "hm, maybe I'll have to order that book and read it a little more," (aka take the one we offered her)- and we ended up praying on the spot and setting up an appt. for the next week. Such a testimony builder that, as Madi a few weeks ago alluded to Paul saying, our teaching really is not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in the Spirit. The Spirit is what gets people, and nothing brings the Spirit like testifying of Christ, esp. with a BoM scripture to back it up. 

I'm excited to build up a strong teaching pool of investigators to teach and prepare for baptism and the temple this next transfer. Jacob 1:7, I love this work! 
Thanks for the love and prayers and support! Have a great week. 
Zuster Riley (:  

P.S. I got the photo book/ half birthday package and wow, thank you so so so much. I am so blessed with the love and support, you're amazing!!! 
P.P.S. I got to meet Pres. and Zuster Bunnell at MLC and they are loving, sincere, and led by the Spirit. I'm really excited to work with them. 

 With my Homes! Reunited. Re-enacting the pic we took a year ago as comps in Groningen (I was even wearing the same dress coincidentally haha. ) 

 Familie Vis! 

Z'meer is mooi!

Outgoing MP Pres Robinson, with newly-arrived MP Pres Bunnell