Mission Blog Photos – Arriving in the Field – October 28, 2014

These photos are taken from the Belgium Netherlands mission blog. This post can be seen here.

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At the train station.
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Receiving first assignments.
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Sister Manning will be serving in Capelle aan den IJssel working in the Rotterdam North Ward with Sister Greenwell as companion/trainer.
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Sister Manning with Sister Greenwell
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Arrived Safely in the Mission

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Dear Parents:

Your missionaries have arrived safe and well in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  We are extremely impressed with their attitude, preparation and diligence.  They began working in their new area on Wednesday with our finest missionaries as trainers. They will write to you on Monday and I’m sure will fill you in on everything.

They are in for the most unique experience of their life.  We are so pleased to have them join us here in the Belgium Netherlands. Thank you for your faith, commitment to the gospel, and sacrifice to send your sons and daughters to serve the Lord. Many blessings are awaiting your missionary, you and your family through their missionary service.  We pray for you while they are away, and they are in our prayers at all times.

Of interest, you are welcome to keep up-to-date with the mission at:

 belgiumnetherlandsmission.blogspot.com

Again, thank you for your sons and daughters.

Veel liefs,

Sister Robinson

October 22, 2014 – Week 5

Hello everyone! My last week in the MTC has arrived! I leave on Monday to fly to Amsterdam and I am so so excited! The title of this stream of consciousness email is “ja ik zal u daar ontmoeten”- that is the name (probably spelled wrong) of one of our favorite Dutch hymns.  It is so so beautiful – I guess you could translate it to “yes I will meet you there”. It is a funeral song but the lyrics are beautiful and happy about how we will one day all meet again on “the other side of the ocean.”  So, I guess I just thought it appropriate as I am going to be crossing a ocean soon and the next time I see you all will be when I cross back! Thanks again everyone for the support and prayers. I miss you lots! This week has flown by and been amazing. The MTC is such an amazing place of learning and spiritual growth.  And it has been so fun, too with our new Danes and Swedes who have joined us! I keep hearing about Meet the Mormons, the new movie, and it’s incredible sucess! We haven’t been able to see it but hope to see it this Sunday if they show it!

This week we have met some incredible new investigators of the church- men and women who live in Provo area that come to the MTC to talk to missionaries for employment! I learn so much from hearing the diverse backgrounds of people.  Sometimes it is hard because they have so many questions that we can’t immediately answer. But I’ve learned that teaching them about the Gospel and inviting them to pray turn to God are often the best answers that we can supply.  He always knows better than we do! That being said, I am learning an incredible amount here-I love having personal study time.  I have been studying the topic of “light” in the scriptures-it is amazing! I have also found the most incredible insights as I’ve studied the story of Job, and Jacob 5 in the context of missionary work, and Alma 26, which I am convinced was written about the Netherlands.  I already love the people of Belgium and the Netherlands so much.  We have amazing teachers who have instilled in us so much respect and love for them which makes us want to work so hard in all aspects of missionary work!
This week Elder Goodoy of the 70 and Sister Linda Reeves from the Relief society presidency spoke to us.  Another cool thing that happened this week is that at the Sunday evening devotional, my companion accompanies an elder in my zone who sang “Savior Redeemer of My Soul” for the special musical number-it was so powerful! I got my 3 seconds of fame on the camera as I turned the page for her 😉
If you want to hear a funny story – so apparently some people in the Dutch districts originally memorized the wrong word for “can” as in ability, the verb. Instead they memorized can, as in a can of food.  So they taught in lessons that you “can of food” read your scriptures….which is pretty funny.  I make mistakes like that all the time too! The language is still pretty hard but we are exercising faith and trying our best.  Can’t wait to get to the Netherlands and not be able to understand a word though:)
I am so excited to head out! To be immersed in the culture, and to meet my new trainer! In a way though, I think I’ve had many “trainers” before my mission.  I think of my parents, and the sisters from back home: Sisters Nieman, Hansen, Flink, College, and countless others who I think about often when I think of how to be a good missionary.

Well, it’s time to sign off! I’m so grateful for the MTC, my companion, my experiences, and for the gospel! Can’t wait to share it!

P.S. I have attached some pictures (including an accidental blurry/scary selfie) and also including our sister with our travel plans and with our pinata!
Love,
Zuster Joshlin Manning

October 15, 2014 – Week 4

Hello family and friends! I’m afraid my time is limited today but my report is that I have had an absolutely wonderful week! I wish I could put in these simple emails the countless things that I learn and come to understand by the spirit here in the MTC.  The insights, miracles, and blessings from God are so abundant! I am learning how to be a better teacher.  Learning principles of the gospel. There are definitely humbling moments when you get a what I would consider “spiritual slap in the face” about how to be better!  I am learning more of the language slowly! Although I am by no means good, I feel like things are starting to click a little bit more now. Dutch isn’t really a super descriptive language and all of the words seem to look and sound alike so it’s easy to confuse! But the differentiation of words and pronunciation of words is coming along and our teachers think we are doing really well.  I can’t wait until we get to the Netherlands and realize we know nothing! 🙂 Speaking of which, we should get our flight plans this Friday! We should also find out then if we got our visas! Exciting times for sure! Last week, we did indeed, make a pinata (basically just a trash bag filled with candy, to celebrate our half way mark.  Being blindfolded and whacking at it with a hairbrush was quite the rush, I’ll tell you what 😀

I think more than anything, the devotionals this week were top notch! The director of media came and spoke to us, and told us about things the Church has done in the past to hasten the work through technology, which was so amazing and we got to watch a rough cut of a Christmas video that will come out with a new campaign. It is SO cool!  I’ll have to write more about it when it comes out, but one awesome thing is on December 7th I believe, the Church paid for a shortened version of it to show on the 30 second home page banner on the youtube.com!
Another devotional was based on how we are the Lord’s army, every one.  We sang “We Are All Enlisted” and the spirit was felt so strongly!  I know that we really our fighting for the Lord’s kingdom and for ours.  The Lord is on our side and there are angels around us to bear us up! This work is real and the gospel of Jesus Christ empowers us.  I love you all so much and thank you for your support! Have a wonderful week and catch you here again real soon!

October 8, 2014 – Week 3

Hello dearest family and amigos! This week marks my halfway point in this crazy experience that we call the MTC.  Also happy P-day, something always worth celebrating.  I think tonight as Sisters in the district we are going to make a pinata (a trashbag filled with candy to celebrate).  Sounds so swell:)

As always, thank you so much for your emails, dear elders, prayers, and telepathic sendings of love-all are so appreciated! It is so nice to hear from you.  It is so fun to hear about how well KC sports are going! Jared made me cackle because in his letter he wrote that Obama made a comment about their amazing successes and it was the only thing he’s agreed with him about 🙂 I can’t believe that Camille and Bryant get home this week! Give them big hugs for me!

General conference this week was definitely a highlight- it was so amazing and spiritually uplifting! And for sure a nice break from our rigorous class schedule. I loved Elder Bednar’s talk- it was so applicable! I also loved Elder Goodoy and Robbins.  One of my favorite though was Elder Uchdorf’s in the women’s session- it was so cool about our eternal potential.  I really learned through conference how to be a better disciple.  It’s also crazy because the whole time during conference I thought about our investigators, it was like every talk was about Claire! ALSO big shout out to our two elders who sang in general conference during the Priesthood session! We felt like their mothers, so proud of them singing the wonderful missionary songs.  And crazy-ness, Elder Hunter (more about him later), who we saw in the Nauvoo pageant, is so talented and was the elder who sang the solo at the beginning of “ye elders of Israel.”  He’s somewhat of an MTC celebrity now, so talented!

So in my past emails I have written things that have happened in the MTC but not a lot of specific stories. The next part of this email will just be comprised of random stories/ tender mercies that have happened! I love the MTC, it has helped me grow spiritually and our district is so united and close.  Okay, here goes!
–In Dutch to say “how are you”, you can say “hoe is het” which sounds like “who is it” in English.  So one of the first times we spoke with our investigator Judith, she answered the door and said “how are you” but I thought she was saying “who is it” and so I responded enthusiastically in Dutch “It’s the missionaries!” She laughed and let us in and I didn’t realize my mistake until much later.
–Another funny Dutch story – I had a “ELDER THAT AIN’T THE LANGUAGE THEY TAUGHT ME IN THE MTC” moment! last week we got to do TRC for the first time(not to be confused with TLC and all it’s cake boss and honey boo boo wonders), where you get to go teach lessons to Native Dutch speakers-most of them are old people and so sweet! So our first time, Zuster Johansen and I went in to teach this nice older gentleman about obedience.  His voice was deep and he spoke really quickly so it was hard to understand him but for the most part we at least knew what he was saying.  Then we asked him,. “How have you seen the blessing of obedience in your life?” Suddenly, he seriously starts telling us a story about his days in Vietnam and it was seriously hilarious because Sister Johanson and I had NO IDEA what he was saying.  We maybe knew two words, five tops. Most of the time that would make us feel despaired, but in this moment it was hilarious!
–I want to tell a funny story about how hilarious our elders are but I can’t think of a way to put on ein words-bacially they keep us laughing.  And we don’t know whose accent is stronger- Elder Hunter’s Scottish or Elder Silva’s Portuguese! They are both so kind and spiritually strong though.
–Funny story about Sister Johanson – when you go in the gym, you have to take off your name tag and put it in a cubby, and one day after leaving the gym, she accidentally took an Elder’s.  She wore it for a couple of hours and no one even noticed! We even took a picture that morning – so I have it documented when she was an elder!! She was so mortified:)
Tender Mercies:
–In our district, we call tender mercies “pop tart moments” because one night when Zuster Johanson was having a really rough time I gave her a not and poptart which she described as manna from heaven.  So good things, are poptarts!)
–Sister Twiggs has been feeling a lot better! We have been praying for her a lot.  But what really helped was the combined faith of the elders in our distirct who have given her blessings and fasted for her one day this week.  Her improvement has been incredible.
–I’ve been able to see SO many people that I know in the MTC! Like it is crazy – at least 8 people from my student ward, people I knew from BYU (like a teacher here who was in my stats class!), people I met from EFY,  Maggie Brown and Andre Fuller from our stake, the list goes on and on! It is amazing to see so many good people enlisted in God’s army!  Speaking of crazy connections- I learned new things about Elder Hunter this week-he basically has done so many performance things in the church.  You know that wonderful song Kiki sang at my farewell “Come unto Christ?” He is the one in the music video playing the piano! He also told me that all of the people singing in the music video – their stories are true! To audition for the video, you had to include a description on how coming closer to Christ has helped in your life, so they are acting our their own stories – incredible!  Also Elder Hunter and I realized that we had met each other before–family-remember how I went on that roadtrip with strangers (haha) to see that performance in St. George that Andrew from my ward was in? As it turns out, we met each other after the show but neither of us remembered that experience until a couple of days ago! Crazy times.
–We learned how to sing “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam” in Dutch and it always cheers us up!
–I have learned so much about faith here.  In order for me to learn the language, I have to have faith that God could help me and I can do this.  We’ve struggled with one of our investigators but we have to learn to have faith that she can change and use her agency for the better!
–Speaking of Claire, we had an amazing lesson with her this week! Zuster Johanson and I have amazing experiences on how the Spirit can guide us as we prepare lessons to our specific people we are teaching
–This week for devotional Vai Sikahema came and spoke to us (who apparently is some big whig football/TV star) so that was cool and so so inspiring!
–Sister Johanson and I have grown so close in our service with each other. I have come to love and appreciate her SO much! We can’t wait to welcome in the Danes.
There are a million more things I wish I could tell you, so sorry I rant so much in these emails:) Ik hou van julie!  Thank you for everything!  You make life so amazing!
Love, Zuster Joshlin Manning