June 1, 2015 – Week 36

And just when you think it can’t get any better…IT DOES. Hello friends, I’ve had an amazing week and much to tell about! The end of my glorious time in Maastricht was bittersweet. Our last days there were super chaotic but it was good closure because the beginning of the transfer was also super crazy! I love that city and that ward!
On our last P-day together, Sister Dobler and I bought matching swanky skirts. I’ve attached and awkward picture of us because it describes us pretty well 🙂 I’m super grateful for Sister Dobler, she was such a blast to serve with and helped me get back on my feet when things were rough. Tuesday for district meeting we had a ‘poetry lunch’ which was pretty much the best thing ever! I’ve attached a pic of that district, they were all so amazing. I learned so much from those hard-working elders, district leaders, the hilarious and spiritual senior couple. And the old man who wears a name badge and helps the missionaries, Harri. He’s so cool.
For the lunch, everyone either wrote or brought a poem to read about missionary work. They were funny, like Sister Dobler’s about how stalking is the ‘pardonable sin’ on a mission haha, or Elder Lundberg’s singing gospel soul music, or serious and touching reflections. Stay tuned at the end of this email to read my corny…serious poem that I wrote after my bike broke 🙂
Wednesday, I made the 4-hour trek up to Leeuwarden. My companion Sister Jones is so amazing! She is SO small and adorable, but she is a black belt in karate. This is actually a true fact. I feel very protected 😀 She is so so sweet and selfless and a hard worker. I’m super pumped to work with this gem. Oh also she’s from Oregon and has been on her mission 4 transfers but one here.
First impressions: Whoa is it different here!! First of all, culture. FRIESLAND. They are super proud of their Providence here. In fact, in this area, in addition to speaking Dutch, they speak fries, or frys…(?) That’s right people, it is not an accent but a whole different language!! It sounds way different and is super crazy! All the signs are in both languages, but most people speak Dutch so it’s not really a problem. I need to get out of the habit of saying my ‘Southern phrases’ though but it is a super beautiful place, a lot more canals and beautiful regional symbols of a lion, swan, and waterlilies. I’m loving it. (sort of like McDonald’s, but more classy)
Going to church in Dutch for the first time in 6 months was such a different experience! And exhausting haha. But the ward is great. It’s a bit smaller, we actually meet in a beautiful building by the train station that used to be a bank! I’ve already met some incredible members though and I’m looking forward to serving here. And it’s so cool to see the conviction that people all over the world have over Jesus Christ. We have Relief Society first, then Sunday School, then Sacrament meeting, in which I introduced myself. This area is a bit different from my last. In Maastricht, we had a lot of investigators but not many less actives. This ward area has many many less active members and really only a couple investigators. So Sister Jones and I are ready to roll up our sleeves and press forward with the work that is cut out for us!
Also it is SO much colder here! And rainier so far. Haha I can’t believe I’m wearing a jacket in June! Yesterday Sister Jones accidentally called ‘June weather’ ‘June winter’ and it seems pretty accurate to me 😉 But it is a fun time and I just count my blessings that I am serving here in the summer!
Yesterday, we missed our bus so we had an hour to talk to people on the street. It was so windy and rainy that my umbrella broke in 3 different places until it was unusable! So funny. We really weren’t having much success finding people to talk to but we wanted to use out time effectively. So we took a break to say a quick prayer asking Heavenly Father to help us find someone that would listen to our message. We turned around and the first woman who crossed our path. We ended up having a beautiful discussion with about hope. She stood patiently in the rain and told us how she had just moved here and is looking for a new church. We will be meeting with her this week. This is just one example of miracles that happen here every day.
I have a testimony of this work and I am so glad to be here serving the Lord. He is the light, the life, and the way and his path leads to eternal happiness 🙂 Even more happiness than the glorious chocolate that is so abundant here!
Yes, I live on Taco street. This is true. If you ever want to send me mail, be sure not to send it to Mexico.
Cheesy poem time….
Again my bike is broken, seems to happen every day
‘my tire is completely flat,’ I utter in dismay
my breaks are giving out, my lights were stolen by a thief
oh my bike is broken, I wallow in my grief.
‘My investigator’s broken!’ I murmur in my prayer
She’s stopped coming to church, this really isn’t fair
our last lesson was so solid, her commitment level strong
yet she hasn’t read one verse this week, now where did we go wrong?
My self esteem is broken! Oh how could I have thought
to learn a whole new language, to teach what’s to be taught
my accent is still painfully strong, and my confidence is weak
How can I be a missionary, if I can barely even speak?
Today my heart is broken, my spirit is contrite
For the Lord’s become my Shepherd, His holy word my light
His love can cover weakness, His grace envelops pain
on his errand, I’ve lost nothing, but I’ve had everything to gain
Every bike, and word, and person sits in His watchful care
His spirit fills my heart with peace and tells me that He’s there.
I’m grateful for thy mercy, Lord, thy kindness is so sweet
enough to heal my stubborn heart, and make broken things complete
Lots of love!
Zuster Manning
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