One more item checked off of my mission bucket list: we went langs de deur on some houseboats! It was so fun and DUTCH especially because it was pouring rain haha. One lady even said we could come back tomorrow at 14u, so we'll have a HOUSEBOAT lesson. (:
Rain! / We helped out with a funny skit about unity.. I was Z. Karlson's hands and did her makeup
I got klompen.. does that make me officially Dutch? Or officially American tourist?
Haha people always confuse us with eachother so we had to take a pic with the "triplets" (which one's Madi, which one's Mary, which one's Eliza?)
Dinner apt. with Z. Meier / Veerle Van der Put. (:
They "dying" missionaries in the zone.. Elder Torniainen (from Finland if you can't tell by his name ha) and I!
Our companions are "killing" us
Reunited and it feels so good!!!!
I'm DYING to see you all...
Haha get it because I am "dying" (the common colloquial us missionaries use to refer to those approaching the end of their service).
So poor Zuster Karlson got the stomach flu on Saturday after Zusters Conference (the conference was amazing and uplifting and instructive and encouraging, btw).. let's just say the plastic bags we used to carry our dinner in came in handy on the train to carry her dinner again in a slightly different form.. TMI, sorry.. but anyways, she's a trooper and made the 3 hour ride back and the Romigs saved the day and cancelled prior appointments to stay with Z. Karlson and the Gouts picked me up so I could make it to my last sacrament meeting.. I was touched how selflessly everyone jumped in to help.
At church, I snagged Shea, a cute American girl studying Psychology at the University here for a year, gave her an extra nametag, and she became my companion for the day. We went and had lunch with Bishop Bletterman and his family (and our investigator, Gordon, who's related to bishop), and we basically had a Q&A session for a sec "Zuster Riley, what was the happiest moment of your mission? What is the most important thing you learned? What goodies are you going to cram your suitcase full with? etc." ha it was so nice being with them again. We then went to an appt. with Brian (who Shea was planning on coming to anyways last night), and it was so fun because in the meantime I took her langs de deur in the neighborhood and she was a natural.
We had such a neat lesson with Brian.. who, btw, is the young barber who we met at the hair salon a few weeks back. He's been having a rough time dealing with some scary stuff happening to his girlfriend, and we talked a lot about prayer and Priesthood blessings. He even started crying when opening up with us and Shea offered to pray and the Spirit was really strong and Mom, he wants to meet up in the Groningen centrum when you come so I'm really excited for you to get to help out with these new investigators, too. (; It still amazes me how close you can get with people in such a short amount of time.. this stranger working at a hairsalon had us over and opens up to us and now we're going to arrange his girlfriend to have a Priesthood blessing and he wants to start meeting and praying.. it still blows my mind sometimes how quickly people open up to us.
It was disappointing that Peter missed his taxi and didn't answer his phone and didn't show up to church the week after his baptism and when he was supposed to be confirmed.. especially after a really good lesson we had about the Holy Ghost earlier this week.. but here's something else really cool that happened this week: we went to the station with Harm and Baukje and the Elders and were jamming out on the piano and I went over and talked to this girl listening in and some of her friends came and joined her and we ended up talking for a long time about religious beliefs, cultural differences, life dreams etc. and Lizelot (the original girl) and Raisa both took a Book of Mormon and we have an appt. for tomorrow at the station. We also took Broeder Sprott to Valentina and Gloria and talked about re-baptism and Priesthood authority and they understood it and I really hope they pray and read to gain testimonies for themselves.
We watched Meet the Mormons with Elwin and Swapna which they really liked, esp. the man from Nepal (Swapna practices many similar Indian traditions). They were planning on coming to church again yesterday, but unfortunately their car broke down last minute.
So, I've given the praising claim aimed at missionaries that "a mission in the best, most worthwhile and satisfying thing you could be doing with your life right now" a lot of thought and have concluded that it has the potential to be just that if you leave everything behind and choose to give your all loving this work and culture and people.. otherwise it's a waste of a lot of time and money and there probably are better things you could be doing with your life than dragging yourself through for 18 mos. and waiting for time to pass and longing for freedoms of a past life. I love this mission, I love these people, I love this work. I've learned that the Savior's Atonement doesn't only cover the things we do (sins, weaknesses, mistakes, etc.), but also the things we didn't do (empty regrets, missed opportunities, etc.). I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for His children, and that truth IS restored on Earth once more. I gave my departing testimony at zone training last week, which is often referred to as a "dying testimony"- but my testimony is a living testimony centered on a living Christ who speaks to us through a living prophet (this weekend (;) that enriches all aspects of my life and will live on inside of me. This may be the end of Zuster Riley the full-time missionary, but it's not the end of Sister Riley the missionary-minded member and disciple of Jesus Christ. My real mission starts when I go home to Florida/ off to school so personally converted that I want to share these truths with my friends and family.
I love you all, thank you so much for supporting and loving and writing and praying for me these past 18 months and for making this experience possible.
VEEL LIEFS and to Mom- see you in a few days! Madi- I'm so proud of you serving the Lord in Albania, love you so much Pudz. ;} Dad- I'll miss you in person, but can't wait to call/ Skype you in Kuwait! Same to Isaac at the Y, thank goodness for Skype right?. Rachel and Josh, can't wait to re-get to know you haha no but I'm seriously so excited to hug and laugh and drive and talk with you guys so soon- have fun with G'ma Linna in the meantime! Xxxx
Love, Zuster Eliza Riley (:
Goofing around waiting for a bus at night
Goodbye again already?
This lovely lady is coming up to Groningen!
Love this sassy NYC girl
Shea- my tijdelijke collega! She's a natural and we had so much fun.
Zuster Riley and Zuster Riley
Broeder and Zuster G - can't think of Groningen without thinking of them!
Gordon! / Opgekwekt
Marleen and Koen! De ja vu?
Haha my cool "invisible thread" trick was a hit
Sweet and classy Zuster M! She is a bomb missionary with her cleaning ladies, and a great cook. / I love making breakfast for the comp (;
Zuster "Faa"savalu, so good to catch up. (:
Z. Karlson went to BYU-H so knows some fun recipies like coco-rice.. (:
Last email sesh!