Visiting District Hilversum / Haha Elders giving haircuts at district meeting..
Celina and Willemina!! / Ah this is Sylvia, I love her so much! We met her on the street in Zoetermeer but she actually just moved to Den Haag so the sisters there will start teaching her and her bf. She is from Poland and speaks 7 languages and is so sweet and smart and we made pierogis together (remember eating those together in Poland, Mom?) and she came to yoga a few weeks ago even though she is 7 months pregnant haha and came to church and thought it was great.
So we got the transfer call last night (at Celina and Willemina's house, probably one of the best appointments of my mission- which I'll tell about in a sec), and we were both pretty curious as to what would happen.. I got released as STL, and am going to GRONINGEN (aka my baby city, where I started my mission and served May through July 2014) for my last transfer! With Sister Carlson, who I don't know super well (but will soon (;)- she's been out as long as Madi I think. Pretty special to get to start and end in the same place.. I guess my work's not through there. I can definitely think of a few people I want to look up, ie Jenny and Kimberley who we worked a lot with but are not meeting with missionaries anymore.
Okay, so last night we ate delicious vegetarian Dominican Repub food made by the kind and hospitable and hilarious Mvr. Bos, and had the best time bonding with her two sweet and beautiful identical twin daughters, Celina and Willemina (they turn 17 next month), and had the coolest lesson drawing out and teaching them Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for us. They loved it and asked so many good questions and want to know more and read more and are so prepared and amazing and are making leaving Zoetermeer all the harder! It was our second actual lesson- we met Celina walking to the nearby winkelcentrum in late June and Zuster Nyakoh stopped Celina and we talked to her and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and exchanging numbers. Celina said that she was Christian and goes to church every Sunday at a nearby Christian church and was interested in another book of scripture testifying of Christ and we set up a lunch date to picnic and talk at a park in front of our apt. (turns out she lives in our same apt. bldg.). The picnic got rescheduled a few times (though never went through), but we kept running into Celina and met her sister and they were always so friendly and cute, and then we got Celina to come to yoga with us a few weeks ago (rode over to the church on the back of Z. Lemich's bike) and we got there early and gave her a tour of the church and she had some questions and invited us over last week, where we met her mom and got to know them briefly and explained what we do (her mom- grew up Catholic in the DR- very sweet and open and gezellig and has great values). They had all these questions about what happens after this life and we told them we could teach them and draw it out so we made an appt., and their mom insisted on feeding us dinner then as well. Ah I love them so much! We all hit it off so well and they plan on having us over lots more and are coming to church on Sunday (!!), and Celina and Willemina even came grocery shopping with us this morning just to hang out. (: Yesterday during the lesson, Willemina kept reading farther in the PoS pamphlet and made sure we left it behind, and Mvr. Bos kept reading ahead in the BoM when we'd share scriptures and got goosebumps and teary-eyed when we watched Because of Him (first in Spanish, then in Dutch). Wow, they are so cool, and we both just feel so at home and loved in their home.
I sure will miss Zoetermeer- Zuster Lemich and the Wassenaar ward members and the leden in Wijkzoetermeer and the yoga buddies and our friendly neighbors and the people we've found and are teaching and the appt. buildings everywhere and the beautiful canal-side bike paths and the new church building and the TEMPLE and tramming to Den Haag all the time, ah it's become sacred ground to me.
I'll miss this nice new investigator Ton de Groot, too- Zuster Hopkin (back in Zoetermeer! For exchanges from DH) and I had a really cool lesson with him last week outside on a bench next to the Lidl (local supermarket) and a pond and some friendly Hindustaans men taking a smoke break- he's 43 and is in a wheelchair and has begeleidsters (mentors) who check up on him every evening, who we found when we were going to look up another potential, and when he didn't answer, we decided to ring up some others while we were there. I saw the last name "de Groot" and said "onze boodschap is van grote belang, so let's try him!" and he let us in and made an appt. to talk more. He's Catholic but very open and was so cute and excited about the many similarities with what he and we believed, and was so touched that we took the time and interest to get to know him, and said that he felt that we were already becoming good friends. He even gave us two referrals (his sister's family and some friends, both people who are rich and successful and could use this message of Christlike love- they don't give him the time of day because he's physically handicapped).. he's down to come to church and would be open to getting baptized if he found out this was true, but the biggest obstacles are some friends and his mentors who are very skeptical of our motives and all cautioned him to avoid us, but he thought we were friendly and was curious and lonely, so went through with the appt. anyways. We're (well, not me.. Sisters Lemich and Mashburn) will be going over Wednesday night to introduce themselves to the mentor and hopefully clear up some misconceptions.
Besides Charlita, no one came to church- despite many promising "probably"s. On Friday we talked with a contentious young Dutch guy who is bitter at the world and convinced that there is no God and nothing after this life who was taking a smoking break on his balcony and really wanted tangible proof that God exists.. in some ways, though, he reminded me of a super strong RC here who apparently had similar questions and originally investigated the church to prove his gf wrong.. so you never know how the Spirit can touch someone!
Ah this place is so great, I love the people here in Zoetermeer, and can't wait to hear about the fruits of our finding and teaching efforts- I'm also excited for the adventure and miracles waiting for me up north, and sure love this missionary work, message, and lifestyle.
Fijne week en veel liefs!
Zuster Riley (: