December 29, 2014 – Week 14

Hello everyone! Things are going well down here in the “Texas of the Netherlands.” Christmas was wonderful. We are well taken care of! It was a week of candy, caroling (though Dutch people are really confused by it because no one knows what it is here), and reflecting about Jesus Christ.

I got the wonderful opportunity of Skyping my family! And my mom sent me a beautiful scrapbook of New Year’s missionary goals for the family. I wish you all a beautiful new year! Make goals and focus on the service of others!

Love,
Sister Manning

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Dec. 23, 2014 – Week 13

Hello everyone! Once again, I have only a couple minutes to email, I wish I could describe in depth the many wonders that we continue to see every week by the hand of the Lord. All is well!

One quick update/scary story…on Sunday night, my companion, Sister Reeder, was in a biking accident. We were going down a giant hill and her brakes weren’t slowing down fast enough. She fell off her bike and passed out. Luckily there are so many angels here in the Netherlands, both heavenly and real people. About 15 people rushed to help us and stayed with us as we called an ambulance and waited. Seriosly everything is okay now! Don’t worry! There was no damage but she had to stay at a hospital overnight because she had fainting spells. A member of the ward took Sister Jensen and I home for the night and we picked her up in the morning. We are so grateful that she is now in good health and that we were all protected. Our new catchprase around here is “too many blessings!”

Aside from that, there were so many wonderful things that happened this week. The spirit that comes along with the Christmas season is abundant and strong. One thing I’ve been thinking about is the story of the shepherds at Christ’s birth. They were so poor and in the world’s eyes insignificant but they were called to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. I think that’s how we all are. We sometimes may not feel important but the Lord can magnify us to make us into something great! So rely on the Lord, set goals, don’t be afraid to change or reach something you’ve never reached! With faith, all things are possible.

Before I sign off, I just want to share my testimony of Jesus Christ for this beautiful Christmas season. I know that He is our Savior. Without a doubt. He cares for you so personally and desires for you to take his hand. He loves you. Through Him, we can return to our Heavenly Father and live gloriously with our families throughout the eternities. He is our friend and brother. How greatful I am for His infinite love!

I hope that you all have a peaceful and happy Christmas and that you take time to think of it’s true meaning.

Love, love, love,
Sister Manning

December 15, 2014 – Week 12

Hello everybody! I really don’t have a lot of time but I just wanted to tell you I’m still alive and kicking! This has been a wonderful week of changes and learning. I’ve been transferred down to Maastricht, it’s in the Netherlands but it’s basically Belgium in its accent, new words, culture, etc. So…that’s fun!
I am having such a wonderful time with my two new companions! Sister Jensen was from my group in the MTC and is from Oregon and Sister Reeder, from Arizona, has served in this city for ages. Since she extended she is going home in 4 weeks. I have a lot to learn from these wonderful sisters, and we are constantly laughing and having a good time together. There is power in three(or at least that’s what we tell ourselves)!

Maastricht is so so beautiful, lots of Chirstmas lights and cobblestone, and bridges overlooking the river. A crazy thing here though is that there are SO many students! I hear English all the time! We have two new investigators that are students–one from Poland, and the other from England. They have really good hearts and are open to learning about God. Like I said last week, the ward is mostly comprised of Americans because it is by a military base! It is CULTURE SHOCK for me! haha At church, most everyone speaks English and they just act so…American! It’s so surprising and seems to not fit in! Haha I just realized while typing this that that is probably what Dutch people think of me when I knock on their door 🙂

Missionary work is so wonderful, the more I work with people, the more I see just how desperately everyone on this earth needs Jesus Christ and the message of hope and healing. Thank you all for you support and love, onward!

Hoi,
Zuster Manning
P.S. Hoi, or hi, is used here as goodbye:)

December 8, 2014 – Week 11

Hello world! So this week. Goodness. Well, I had a wonderful week, full of adventures, lessons, finding and rain.  But I am also really, really sad because transfer calls were yesterday. Sister Greenwell had a feeling that she was going to be leaving the city, especially because since she extended she only has 4 weeks left in her mission. So I had made all the necessary preparations that I was going to get a new companion, or that we would get a new companion, or a greenie, and that I would stay in the city. I never thought I’d leave Capelle after one transfer! Because so many sisters are going home, I am being transfered to Maastricht and Sister Greenwell is being tranfered to Leeuwarden.  Capelle is being shut down for 6 weeks! Madness! This will be Sister Greenwell’s 7th city, which is crazy for a sister! I am joining a trio companionship with a sister that was in my district in the MTC! And then since her companion extended after 4 weeks, it will just be the two of that.
I’m not sure if any of that made sense but basically the news is I am heading way down south! Sister Greenwell and my district leader both served in Maastricht and LOVE it.  They go on and on about how great it is! Apparently there are a lot of cultures and students there because it is by a university.  It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the mission and I might be taking trips to Germany because some members live there! It is a huge English-speaking ward because there is a military base nearby so that will be a new experience! I am excited for this new opportunity but so sad because I didn’t see my breakup with Capelle coming so quickly ;( ahh…I love the investigators and less actives we are teaching so much! We are arranging how to hand them over to different missionaries now.  There is so much that I love about Capelle and the people and the area. I´ve had so many great experiences here! Well, Dad always says that the most consistent thing about misisonary work is change.  Amen!
So a couple of other random thoughts for the week.  Last P-day we went to Kinderdijk, a really beautiful touristy and county town that is filled with windmills. It was so beautiful and misty and cold! Hopefully I can send some pictures.  Also, Sinterklaas was this week! We went over to a less active’s house and drank hot chocolate and they gave us chocolate letters. It was very Dutch.  As a joke, Sister Greenwell and I put out our shoes the night before, with carrots for St. Nikolas’ horse,  and when I woke up in the morning, there were two wrapped presents in my shoe! So adorable, Sister Greenwell made a new planner for me and gave me a chocolate M.
Another random thought: I love the word “gezellig” in Dutch.  There is no good translation for it in English, it basically means warm and cozy and family.  It is more of a feeling, but the Dutch use it to describe so many things: a house, or food, or memory, or event.  I love it because it is so much of what I feel in the Netherlands, or thinking back of my wonderful year at BYU, or Manning traditions of Christmas being back home.  It’s the feeling of reading a good book, or being warm by the fire, or giving someone a hug. It’s the feeling of eating dinner at a member’s house, or riding a bike in the rain while wearing a million layers of clothes. I’m a sentimental doofball, so the word is so descriptive for me.
Last funny thing.  My trainer, Sister Greenwell, told me when I arrived that I would have “the missionary dream” which reminds me of the “noodle dream” from Kung Fu Panda haha. Basically it’s a dream wherein you are super confused because you are doing a normal activity but then realize you are wearing a missionary name tag.  I have had a couple and it’s so funny! I had a dream I was competing at a forensics tournament but still a missionary.  I had a dream that Kiki and I were going swimming and I freaked out because there was a name tag pinned to my suit! hahaha.
Lots of love! Please enjoy the special spirit and peace that comes with this Christmas season.  Chirst really is the center and a gift to the world!
Love,
Zuster Manning

December 1, 2014 – Week 10

Happy December everyone! It was a fantastic week.  I guess as always I will just go into my stream-of-consciousness type letter.

First off all, Thanksgiving was quite fun! Our turkey bowl was a good success and we had dinner at a Dutch family’s house. They made us traditional American Thanksgiving food, which was a bit unusual, but delicious!
A cool thing about this week is we went to a dinner appointment at a woman’s house that was our first dinner appointment. She is a really nice woman, but it was funny because the first time we came I couldn’t understand her accent at all! So being able to understand more was so cool.
I got asked out on a date during a street contact. Haha it was awkward but I guess a classic sister missionary situation.

I gave a talk in church this week! That was fun.  I spoke about faith and told the story about how when we were younger, I told Kiki that if you planted a piece of candy in the ground, it would grow into a tree! ‘Twas fun.
We have a new ward mission leader, so we are really excited to set some new goals and ward mission plan!
Our sad moment for this week is one of our investigators dropped us.  It was heartbreaking but the whole experience was led by the spirit and we feel at peace about it. This work truly is in the Lord’s hands.
We had a conference with three different zones and an area authority was there.  It was really so inspiring.  I love the true power there is in missionary work.
Small wonders for the week: my bike broke…again..but we miraculously got a great price to get it fixed! Also we learned how to make brownies in a mug in the microwave.  It is a gamechanger for sure.
Something I’ve really enjoyed doing this week is working with some less-active members in our ward.  It is so cool to see them come back to the light of the gospel, and want to share it with other people as well.
One of my favorite lines in Preach My Gospel says something like “Nothing happens in missionary work until you talk to people.”  It’s really cool to see that be true. For example, one of our really cool new investrigators we met in a funny way.  We were on our way to a dinner appointment and we didn´t have that many materials to go contacting with.  Put if you pray to God and tell Him you have so many passalong cards, a plan of salvation pamphlet in English and a restoration pamphlet in Dutch, it´s crazy, you will find people to match those languages and topics! We had three minutes before our appointment and one more Dutch Book of Mormon. So instead of going in early, we decided to yolo it and try to place it! So we found an awesome man named Jesse that we are teaching now! Even though funny story with him, during the first lesson, he thought we were Amish…Anyways, we have many other stories like that!  The Lord is guiding this work and I am looking forward to studying the language and gospel more to be a more effective teacher.
Love you all and have a wonderful week!
Zuster Manning