Hello to everyone 🙂 I am presently writing you from the church building in the Netherlands. Crazy right? First of all, I am alive and having such a good time here! I am serving in a city called Capelle aan den IJssel – it is right outside of Rotterdam and we are in the Rotterdam ward! My trainer’s name is Sister Greenwell. She is from Salt Lake (thereabouts) and about to die (meaning that she ponly has one month left on her mission) but this is her first time training. She is super sweet and we get along well. I hope to send pictures next week.
Well I do not even know how to begin so I guess I will just throw out some random thoughts…
When our group first arrived in the Netherlands, we stayed at a very nice hotel and had a workshop and got to know President Robinson and his wife. They are so great. President Robinson is a quiet man but has a firm vision for the mission–we are working to build a fifth stake here. Sister Robinson describes herself as a combination of a drill sergeant and a mom, which I think is pretty funny. We had awesome food there (more on this later) and then met our trainers the next day. After filling out legal paperwork and the likes, we were off to our cities!
So in our city, our main mode of transportation is biking, but we also use the bus and the metro fairly often since I don’t have a bike yet. Okay funny story so some days my companion and I have been doing a very Dutch thing called achteroping, or some spelling like that, which apparently is illegal in Belgium but fair game here. It’s where on person bikes and the other person sits on the back of the bike and rides. Everyone does it here, it is so Dutch and so much fun! But I must admit, rather terrifying. There have been times when I’ve closed my eyes going around a corner or so:) Anyways, one day we were late to an appointment and we got too close to the side of the bike path and totally tipped over and fell into the mud in front of quite an audience-it was hilarious!! The Dutch are very fashion councious so women would come up to me and tell me there was mud on my skirt and I’d say thank you even though half on my clothes had mud on them! One woman came up to me and basically commanded me to turn my skirt around so my bag would be covering it. So funny.
Another funny story: I had a best two years moment, wherein we were knocking doors and a man opened and I accidentally said, “good day ma’am!” in Dutch. My companion quickly corrected me but it was a total Elder Calhoun moment.
Speaking of the language, it’s pretty difficult! The Netherlands is such a melting pot of cultures, that the dialects are so different! I feel “in de waar,” or confused, a lot of the time but I just have to trust that with faith and hard work it will come. I would say about half of our appointments are in Dutch and half in English. Like I said, there are so many immigrants that sometimes other people don’t even know Dutch! But it does make it so I get to eat amazzziinng food here! I have had Suriname, or African, food several times. And we have an Indonesian investgator so I’ve had that too as well, and a lot of traditional Dutch food, including a stroopwaffel my first day! I wish I could tell about the food – so good.
Sunday was cool because I was able to meet many warm members and bore my testimony in Dutch! Many tell me that my Dutch is good for a greenie but I think its all talk.
It SO beautiful here in the Netherlands! It is overcast and rainy a lot but the parks are so pretty. Elders told me I was serving in the ghetto, but if this is the ghetto I can’t even imagine how beautiful the rest of the country is! Another thing-I was told coming here many times that the people would be closed off and rude to missionaries but in this city, I’ve found that to be completely untrue. The people are kind and open and many are willing to talk about religion or at least hear you out, unlike a lot of my experiences in the states! I have met the coolest and nicest investigators and members so far! Strangers on the street are also very willing to help out. I am learning each day about how to do better missionary work and I am so grateful for God for this opportunity to serve in this beautiful land with such a good trainer! I am so abundantly blessed. I love you all and hope that all is well!
Here is my new address:
2907 SE Capelle aan den IJssel