November 17, 2014 – Week 8

Hello people! Sorry to spam you with pictures/emails but I wanted to try to get some sent.  This week a lot of really amazing things and really regular things happened, but missionary work is so great! For this week’s email, I thought I’d do a little session of true/false Netherlands style about myths or things I think are cool about the Netherlands. So, here goes!

1. Everyone here is Catholic.
False! I’ve meet the biggest variety of religions here, from all over the world.  It’s so amazing! Traditional religions, hipster new ones, and surprisingly Jehovah’s Witnesses are super big here. Kind of all the rage.
2.  People always think we are Jehovah’s Witnesses.
3.  It rains a lot here.
Also true. It rains a whole lot!
4. Christmas!
I don’t even know how to make this a true or false. So basically Christmas is celebrated here, but not in the same way. The whole presents and Santa thing depends on family.  There are two days of Christmas! That’s right, on the 25th and 26th, everything is closed and Christmas is celebrated! One day is intended for your own family and the other for your family-in-law, or however you say that in English.  BUT, here’s the kicker.  In addition to Christmas, they celebrate St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, which is a holiday that starts in November and goes until December 5th. It is unbelievable sometimes. Basically it’s a holiday for kids, in celebration of a Catholic saint who is from Spain.  The story goes that he took a vacation to the Netherlands and saw the poverty there and gave the kids presents.  He looks like Santa, but more like the Pope, and has this black assistant called Zwarte Piet.  During this time of year they come in on a ship to the docks of the major cities in the Netherlands to give kids presents.  If you are good, you will get a present in your show throughout this time, but if you are bad you are kidnapped and brought to Spain to work for him. I think that’s so funny! But it’s a pretty big racial debate right now.  Anyways, there are lots of versions of the story! I also put a picture of me with my first chocolate letter, because those are super big here around Christmas!
5. Sisters perform the ordinance of baptism
False, of course
6.  Elders perform the ordinance of baptism
Also false! This surprised me! Elders teach, but in order to help with retention, a ward member performs the baptism!
7.  Food is more fresh in the Netherlands than the U.S.
True! Except for the milk, which for some reason, you buy non-refrigerated. Like regular milk.  I don’t know what’s going on with that…
8.  There is no peanut butter in Europe
This is false! Thank goodness, the peanut butter here is actually super good. Less sugar.
9. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true no matter what country you are in.
TRUE.  I love coming to church here.  I feel so much love and at home in a strange way because we are all brothers and sisters.  I love the gospel.
10.  I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Also true. Corny, but you know, true:)
Zuster Manning

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