Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 77 - Groningen

Friesland countryside  

Zuster Manning, my sweet and hardworkin´ ZTL!  
Peter got baptized yesterday!   

Oviedo and Hanneke, cool Dutch YSA couple!

This is my last email that isn´t my last email!
Heyyy Familie!
Ah, P was baptized yesterday! It was a great service right after church and it´s been so cool to see how far he´s come these past 6 weeks. We biked the 45 ish minutes to church with him and he was all ready to go in a suit and a little nervous but felt ready and excited. He even invited a friend, J, who is someone I´d contacted/ run into three times before LAST summer with Zuster Koulen (we had mixed feelings about him ha), what are the odds that he´d be the same J who P was friends with and inviting to his baptism? 

I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday and made sure to throw in a few super Dutch sayings while I can  (members seem to find it amusing when we use local idioms in our obvious American accents), but unfortunately not as many people came as we invited (always a nice reason to specifically invite everyone to church ha). 

On Friday, we got let in with C, a kind and sincere older Dutchman who´d been given a BoM on the door a few weeks ago and said we could always come by and see if he had time to chat. Well, we were in luck because he let us in with a super cool YSA Oviedo (the original plan was to go with Oviedo to J´s lesson, but she had to cancel last minute), and we got to know him and share the message of the Restoration with him. He has very strong faith in a loving Heavenly Father thanks to two near death experiences.. once in the Navy, once in a car accident.. and agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, but definitely feels like he already has strong faith and good morals, so we tried to validate all that he does have (which is indeed a lot) and offer more light and truth.. it was a cool turn of events that evening and I´m looking forward to going back to visit him. 

This past week was a mission wide ``hands to serve week`` where we were encouraged to participate in a service project every day, so you could say we´re quite the weeding pros now. That included weeding the baptismal monument (my second time there) and 4 of us biked the 10 km out there which was fine going there in the beautiful Friesian countryside, but coming back we got caught up in a crazy wind and rainstorm and almost lost our companions.. but, we ended up still getting back to the train station in the middle of nowhere which took us back to Groningen with enough time to barely make it to V and G's, our new investigators (mother and daughter) who cooked us delicious Colombian food and are so sweet and open. 

I stayed at Hotel Leeuwaarden (their apt. is super nice) with Zuster Manning, and it was great.. we had a cool conversation with a super sweet and Fries older lady, J, who is very happy and active in her Lighthouse church but was delighted to pray with us on the street and said she could see the light in our eyes. G is heart breaking.. she was this super positive young Dutch mom who answered the door with her son when we were swinging by looking for Bob (who apparently just moved), and said that she didn´t have much time to talk now, but after assuring her that we weren´t JWs (she´d had a negative experience meeting with them in the past) she invited us over next Thursday at 11 to drink and eat something together and share more about our beliefs with her. She said she´s been feeling that the second coming is a lot closer than we realize and has been feeling the need to spend more time reading in the Bible and going to church. Zuster Manning and I were so excited of course, and it was disappointing to get a text from her the next morning cancelling the appt. and politely saying that she decided she doesn't want any visits from people from the Mormon church.. I´m not sure what the sisters in Leeuwaarden will do with her, but I really hope she gives this another chance because you could tell she was searching and open (she straight up told us ``ik sta open voor nieuwe dingen`` ("I am open to new things") ).

We visited Gordon, a relative of Bishop Bletterman´s who I´d met with a few times last summer, and we had a nice lesson with his inactive mother about the Word of Wisdom.. we'd planned on teaching him that, and it was perfectly applicable because Gordon´s lost a lot of weight by stopping eating carbs and sugar and his mom is very against eating preservatives or after 6pm for that matter so they agreed with the principles of health that we taught and Gordon said a very nice prayer at the end of our lesson. That´s one of my favorite parts of missionary work: hearing investigators offer a heartfelt prayer out loud at the end of a lesson.
We have a zone training in Apeldoorn and zusters conference in Leidschendam this week, so we´ll be road tripping all over! Tomorrow we´re going to the public piano at Groningen hoofdstation with awesome members Harm and Baukje (they have a band called Harm´s Fork and have written the coolest versions of the 13th and 6th articles of faith that they sneakily have their non Christian band perform at festivals all over the country) with the Elders who also enjoy singing and we´ll try to find some more people to talk to that way.
Sending lots of love vanuit Groningen!
Zuster Riley (:

With Karin, a single lady (baptized a few years back) who is a seamstress by profession and has a cat as well as lots of neat facts about the Dutch language, culture, and history, who feeds all of us missionaries every week.

V and G !

Harm and Baukje!! They´re so great.

Olieballen season already?

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