Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 75 - Groningen

Windmill in Ten Boer 
My beautiful collega! 

Cute dorpje 

Goeie dag Familieeeeee! 
   One of the best parts about serving in Groningen is the fact that it's a student city with a strong YSA program and we've been meeting lots of cool young people.. Tuesday was exchanges here with Zuster Jaramillo (she's this Aruban bundle of joy and we had so much fun together teaching Dutch college kids and trying to figure out bussing in Groningen for the day and cooking - she said she's been wanting to try "Zuster Riley's lentils" that she's heard so much about haha - and jamming out with her on the piano in the apt. with her on the recorder)..
   So about those lessons with the Dutch college kids: first, we went over and had a really neat lesson about the Restoration with L, a beautiful, classy 25 year old Criminal Law student (one of those really cool people that it's pretty flattering that she took the time and interest to learn more about a religion from two drenched foreigners in skirts and nametags who showed up on her doorstep last week and made an appt.) and turns out her parents are casual Christians but about 4 years ago she decided she didn't believe in God because she grew up reading the Bible and praying but never had a life-changing spiritual experience.. she was impressed with how passionately we believed in God and His plan for us, and how we encourage asking questions and finding out for one's self. She told us how in her experience up until now, regular church-goers blindly believe and don't take the time to think and really question certain ideas, and we shared personal experiences struggling to develop faith and also showed her the link to Koen's article in the University Newsletter about him, a (former) atheist and (current) Philosophy student, converting to Mormonism. The fact that she made the appt. and gave us her full attention and participation and willingly took the Book of Mormon is a good indicator that she at least hopes there are sources with answers to her questions.. that source is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She doesn't necessarily feel the need to meet again, but I still feel good about our meeting her. 

We went next door to an appt. with our investigator, J (that's actually how we found L last week- she lives in #28C, J in #28A..), and L ran out to catch us on the steps of J's condo to return the folded up progress record that I had left in the cover of the BoM we'd just given her.. the progress record was filled out with all types of names and phone numbers and addresses of investigators (I was filling it out earlier for wijkraad that night) and I am so grateful that L flipped open and stumbled upon it and returned it asap.. I can only imagine how bad that could've been had she read it and gotten weirded out that we record so much info or something.. whew, my bad. 

   Ah but J is amazing! She is German (!) and friendly and engaged to a German guy living a few hours away right now across the border and studying International Communications and just enough hipster and has such a neat story with coming in contact with the church- basically, she was raised in an evangelical church but always had the question, "why would God stop sending prophets/ speaking to His children? It just doesn't make sense with my image of God" and after a little research, Mormonism seemed like a good church to investigate, so she self-referred herself a few months ago and loves her triple combination and the teachings of the church and feels that this is right.. she agreed to pray about a baptismal date (but still does want to read more of the BoM/ feel like she understands enough) and is seriously so prepared! 

   On Thursday morning we went to get our haircut (at a place I bartered down a few euros, haha I guess all our trips to the Haagse Markt taught me some tricks (;.. ha the lady doing my hair was pretty appalled that I hadn't been in to get a trim since November though, oops ) and while Z. Karlson was getting her hair done, a young co-owner/ barber (originally from Suriname but raised here except for living in New Jersey for a year when he was 11) and I started talking and a haircut of my comp later and we had a dinner appt. and lesson set up for that Sunday night! Super cool.. and you can imagine our disappointment when he had to cancel because of a family gathering in Amsterdam.. but he does want to reschedule at least! 

This week it seems that the disappointments/ things falling through have been hitting me harder than they should (ie B's scooter breaking so he couldn't make it to Institute, or the people arranged to bring our investigator P V to Stake Conference last min not being able to take him so he didn't come, etc.) but those really are so few in comparison to all of the cool appt.s we've had lately, and I was thinking about it, and in each instance the person was cancelling but still wants to reschedule.. speaking of cool appt.s, E (not Alden, we heard his name wrong) who came to church with his son and Indian gf last week) met us at a super cute ijssalon downtown and we had a neat lesson sharing religious ideas.. he's adopted a lot of Hindu ideas such as multiple gods, and really liked our welcoming church (vs. his cold Protestant church he went to as a kid) and is going to read 2 Nephi 2 and Alma 32 by tomorrow (our dinner appt. at their house, so excited!). 

We also had a reaaally neat RaD with D and her husband at Q (member who was inactive when I was here last time) and P K's house (non-member who now comes to church and is listening to the BoM on the way to work- vs. his friendly disinterest last time!).. D is reformed Christian but loved the message of the Restoration and said "so basically, Mormonism envelops all other [Christian] religions- they all have parts of it" and wants to come to church (I pulled the "I only have until the end of the month" so she's coming this week (:) and wow is just really cool.. nice Dutch couple with 3 kids they adopted from Haiti. And it's so cool how we met a few weeks ago.. at G's BBQ (I'm telling you, that place was amazing for finding.. and we have another appt. with V, a 17yo girl we met there, this Wednesday!)- she was the photographer and we started chatting, and she mentioned that a former co-worker, P, was married to a member of our church, and we set up this appt! One of the best parts was that P was helping explain things (he's been coming to church regularly with their kids ever since Q decided she wants to be active again). 

   We got home from Apeldoorn zone conference at 2am on Saturday (went with the train).. haven't been out that late since world cup last summer, it was weird and we're all a little tired ha!
   We also deep cleaned P's house and threw out his ash trays and bought grapefruit juice and cinnamon mouthwash and hung up uplifting posters to help him stop smoking. 
Ah as you can see it was a great week. Wet, but I'll miss the pouring rain because it's part of this beautiful country. 

 VEEL LIEFS!!!!!!!!!!
Zuster Riley (: 

Canal view 

Road trip with the Elders to Apeldoorn for Ringconferentie 

Playing at the station with Z. Jaramillo ha

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