November 30, 2015 – Week 62

Dear lovely people,

This week was super eventful and busy–both in events and also the life lessons/spiritual insights that I have been learning. I have been learning so much about trusting in God and His will. I am a firm believer that our Heavenly Father loves us with more than we can imagine and is just waiting to bless us. I’ve come to realize that He often works on a ‘good, better, best’ system with methods of misisonary work, ways to spend our time, decisions to be made. We are not predetermined to follow a set plan. There are many great options waiting for us. But it is when we rely on God, and give Him our hearts and trust Him that He can lead us to the better and best things potentially waiting. Just take the example of the 3 kingdoms of glory! Good, better, best. 🙂 Take it from one of my favorite Dutch heros, Corrie Ten Boom, ‘never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.’ 

I love this ward and seeing the progress of recent converts who were preparing for baptism when I came here on exchages a year ago. These people are amazing and they worked super hard to make the open house this week a sucess.Our investigator Jasmine is amazing and doing so well. She is excited in making progress in the gospel! We went to the Singing Elders concert together this week and she asked if she could read the Book of Mormon together on the bus. Speaking of which, I finished the Book of Mormon in Dutch! Hoorah! That was amazing. 

The Primary Program was this Sunday and we sang A Child’s Prayer with them. I was so touched when they sang about the armies of helaman. They are so strong and their testimonies radiated. 

Now for two awesome stories! First of all, when members were signing up for dinner appointments this week, we labeled Thursday as Thanksgiving with the hope that an American family would invite us over. 🙂 But a sweet older couple signed their name and while writing they asked, “What is Thanksgiving?” We just laughed and explained but were super happy they were inviting us over so graciously. We were enthusiastic when they told us we would be eating fish. Long story short, we show up with the elders on Thanksiving and somehow they had thought they signed up for Friday, so we all had Chinese takeout instead! But it was a disastrous night turned beautiful because it was so fun and gezellig,(I don’t know how to translate that…maybe google it). We all said what we were thankful for and learned from each other in a spiritual and fun environment. I don’t remember ever feeling so thankful on Thanksgiving! 

Lastly, I had a super humbling and eye-opening moment Tuesday. Sister Twiggs is amazing and so dedicated. Even when she is sick, she still just longs to be working. That day, after district meeting, we had to go home so she could sleep for a couple hours. I tried to do area book work and stay busy, but I was starting to get anxious about not knowing the city and I just wasn’t in the mood to do missionary work. After our dinner appointment we had some time to go door knocking, but I still really wasn’t feeling it. But the good news was, she was health-wise feeling so much better. After the first door we knocked, she briefly spoke to the man and he rather rudely shut the door. Sister Twiggs turned to me and said, “Isn’tthis amazing?!” She was so happy to be out doing the work and that she was healthy enough to feel good! It touched me deep inside and I wanted my motivation to be greater to talk to all those people behind the doors. 

Well that’s all for now folks!

Love,

Sister Manning

November 23, 2015 – Week 61

Hello!

This was a great week here in Roosendaal. Today we traveled up to Eindhoven and had our turkey bowl, which was a great time! I brought honor to the family name. Jokes, jokes haha.

My companion has been sick for a lot of the week so the work has slowed down a bit, but I’ve been learning some very important lessons; things I didn’t expect to learn. I am almost finished with reading the Book of Mormon in Dutch, and I’ve been addicted to it! What an amazing book. And I am really finding how it is applying to my life and helping me find answers.

I am so grateful for the lessons I am learning here and for the amazing people ready to receive the gospel! We are having an open house for our building next week, so we are hoping for much success.

Well, here´s to another safe, and happy week!

Move onward with faith!
Love,
Sister Manning

November 16, 2015 – Week 60

First say of school! First day of school!

Just joking, I’m not in school, but in my new city of Roosendaal! But our new zone vision is Finding Nemo themed so I thought it appropriate. Plus I’ve also just been overly excited about all these new changes, so it just seemed fitting. 

There are such amazing investigators here! But, the real deal is that this ward is INCREDIBLE!! So big and loving. We are just attacked with people wanting to go joint teach, and dinner appointments, and hugging primary children. Whoa. it is also cool, because I know quite a few of the ward members and recent converts already because I would come here on exchanges when I served in Maastricht. 

Then, my dream city was to serve in Breda, our neighboring city. Long story short-the sisters used to be in Breda and the elders in Roosendaal but then because of a stalker it was switched. haha. So it is crazy living in an elder’s old appartment but it is a fun time and we are just faced with new opportunies to seek inspiration and make this city ours! The literal translation of the name of the city is like valley of roses but it’s mostly residental, not super beautiful, but great people. 

My new companion, Sister Twiggs, is really great. We served together in the MTC. She is from Pleasant Grove, Utah and is just a sweet person; chill and funny. We are looking forward to the transfer. 

Just one quick story: we have been working on “fast food contacting,” meaning that every 5 minutes, even if we are biking, we stop to talk to someone, being in the “mind to find” all day. Yesterday, Sister Twiggs, on the way to the station, felt inspired to stop and knock a row of doors. The first door we knocked, a man named Paul answered who immediately was super receptive. I asked him where he found peace in his life and he said he didn’t know, and explained that his wife was really sick and has a brain tumor, that it was a miracle she has even lived through this past year. I was able to share with him Isaiah 41:10, a scripture that brought me much comfort when my father was also very sick. It was a a special moment and we are looking forward to returning to teach him. 

The gospel really does bring a special source of peace. Well, I can’t wait to tell about more adventures and stories next week! Love you all lots and keep on keeping on! (whatever that means)…

November 9, 2015 – Week 59

What a week of straight up blessings we have had! How incredible! Well first of all, our amazing investigator Frank was baptized and confirmed!
Frank’s story:
So Frank was a referral from a member in Amsterdam who had just gotten baptized. She told her friend to investigate the church she had just joined. This was about a year ago. Frank started meeting with the missionaries, and although he was open to meeting with the sisters and discussing the gospel, but from the beginning he made it clear that re-baptism was not in his future and he wasn’t sure about the Church. He met with them for a few months and then went on vacation and lost contact with the sisters. Fast forward to about four months ago when Sister Jones and I were here. We were going through our area book and started making phone calls and set up a new appointment with him. (We would find out later that while he was on vacation, he was super disappointed because he hadn’t been accepted into the school he wanted to. He said he was praying for direction in his life, falling depressed and a couple days later, he received our call).
Frank was a freedom fighter in Uganda,one of the heads of his party, and he came to the Netherlands as a political refugee. He is a very passionate man about the freedoms of his country but probably one of the most humble people I know when it comes to trusting in the will of God. His story shows me the importance of the Book of Mormon and how powerful it is. Because Sister Jones and I were teaching him for a little bit but we were not sure where he stood one things.
One day we came to our appointment, it had been a couple of weeks since we had seen him and we were just going to be bold and set a baptismal date with him or discontinue the lessons basically. He surprised us all when we showed up. We went and sat on a park bench outside in the sun and he put his hand on the Book of Mormon and said, “Sisters, I’ve been reading this book, and I know it is true” and expressed his desire to get baptized! From there, we overcame some trials of transportion to church, and miracle after miracle we are here today! The baptismal service was really lovely. Sister Jones came down and we three sisters (haha that sounds like it should be a Christmas song) sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Frank bore his testimony and it was so powerful. Short but profound. He said he had always been a believer in God and Jesus Christ but for so long he had been wandering and now he feels at home in the Church of Christ. Incredible! His ex-wife and adorable daughter also came to the baptism.
Another miracle: Catherine, his ex-wife, has also been taking the lessons from us! She is so lovely. When we told her of Frank’s baptism at the beginning of the week she said,  “I already know. He told me and I am SO happy for him! And … I’m next ” hahah! So she will be baptized in Decemeber.
Another miracle: My last Sunday here was so amazing because Frank received the holy ghost and Eryc was ordained a priest and passed the sacrament for the first time.
Oh yes, I am being transferred!! I am going to Roosendaal! It will be sad to leave my beloved companion and this city I love so much. This tiny branch with all its strengths and weaknesses. I feel so blessed that I was given four transfers to serve here.
Also another random miracle, I got my bike fixed for free on a day I was really stressed! hoorah! This city has taught me much about patience and about love. I am so thankful for my Savior and the many ways He helps us in our daily lives. I am eternally greatful for his sacrifice for us. I know He lives.
I love you all!
P.S. Our mission office is moving so this is the new address for any mail:
Schuttersveld 2 2316 ZA Leiden Nederland