September 28, 2013 – Week 53

Conta bay! (that is how is it going in Pa pimento, the beautiful mother language of my lovely companion ๐Ÿ™‚
Guess what, news everyone! I am staying in Leeuwarden for 6 more weeks with my copmanion! We are SO happy about it! But it is also crazy, because this will be my 2nd city I’ll spend 6 months in!
This week was so great, I will try to write some meaningful experiences from it.
The beginning of the week/last week, I had some really discouraging and hard moments. Sometimes those challenges just come to you. But I really learned a lot about prayer. Monday night, I asked one of the elders to give me a blessing of comfort, for I was going to have a pretty stressful week with presentations to give in both zone training and sister’s conference. It was such a peaceful experience and really an answer to many many prayers. I was given sufficient strength and the presentations were great!
Zone training was just amazing-we did this super fun activity where 2 sisters did a skit – one being the arms the other being the body – putting on makeup. The other activities and workshops also went well and it was nice to see all the hard work be paid off. I presented to the zone about asking inspired questions, using Preach My Gospel and also things I learned in psychology, and then I gave a “pep talk” about fighting discouragement. Pep talk Sister Manning style:)
Sister’s Conference was in the mission home Saturday and INCREDIBLE! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much love in one day! I received a beautiful letter from my parents, we did service, workshops, and we were reunited with our former companions and friends ๐Ÿ™‚ I felt inspired to present about preparing for the temple, using driving and childhood experiences. I wish I had time to type it up ๐Ÿ™‚ But I also learned so much there!
Well Sunday we called “Happy Early Halloween” because a lot of things that could go wrong did haha.ย A rocky Relief Society lesson, dropped appointments, and an investigator getting really freaked out because of anti-information she read on the internet. But despite all of that, it was a great day ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of Halloween, my companion is super funny. She loves surprise scaring me and taking pictures of it. She does this with many of her companions and now has a collection of them for me! She is so sneaky ๐Ÿ™‚
But we had a nice moment together Sunday.ย We were walking to our appointment to a young investigator, the one who had told us just before church she wanted to discontinue the lessons because of strange things she read online. Because my bike is broken again and Sister Jaramillo”s bike was stolen (I can’t recall if I have mentioned that – oh yes and I have had to buy a third helmet because my others got stolen so I am expecting those blessings to come pouring in! hehehe) and Sister Jaramillo’s 2nd bike gotย a flat tire, so we have been taking buses and walking much of the week! So we walked to this investigators house having a heart to heart about testimonies, and Joseph Smith and the likes, and she opened up to me that although she knew the Gospel was true, but she actually wasn’t positive in her testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. It had never occurred to me that my companion, such a spiritual powerhouse that she is quite a wonder about things, being active for only the tender space of two years. As we walked, I told her how one day I was alsoย feeling a lot of doubt but I prayed about it and received a confirmation that is was true. She asked how that came and I said it was just a feeling/voice confirming that I’ve known all along it was true. As we kept walking, suddenly she pulled out her triple and said, this reminds me of my favorite part of the Joseph Smith History, and began to read in dutch the part where he testifies that he had indeed seen a vision and that “He knew it and he knew that God knew it and he could not deny it.” After reading, she said, “Yes I have that feeling of confirmation, of course I know it is true!” and we were filled with the Spirit and had goosebumps, not just from the cold Dutch wind, because we both knew the reality of the truth of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We knew that God knew it. And we could not deny it. Then we went to speak with our investigator, and helped calm her fears and she agreed to continue in the lessons.
We also visited a wonderful recent convert that night, who we were also able to talk about the temple with her as she was preparing to go. What a far-reaching influence my preparation for Sister’s Conference had! I love the Lord’s plan.
I think that’s all for now. I send all of my love! Thanks for putting up with my jumbled thoughts!

September 14, 2015 – Week 51

Hello again! I really saw this week in my missionary efforts that the Lord has prepared people everywhere and that He can lead us to them! For example, this week we were going to look a person up in a dorpje (a small village…?) and I searched how to get there online but mispelled the name by one letter so we ended up going to a different city altogther! Once we realized our mistake, the bus wasn’t even coming for 30 more minutes so my companion had the feeling we should go to a certain street. So we decided to do some knocking there. This was a miracle place because everyone was SO open! We gave a Book of Mormon to a man and had a nice conversation with him but then, because we were talking to him, missed the bus again! So what do we do? Go to the other side of the street and knock it! And we found another new investigator there – a really kind woman looking for the truth! Miracles ๐Ÿ™‚

I also ran into one of my former investigators on the train this week, and it was so cool to talk to him again. I went on an exchange with a sister who has just been active for 2 years. Her courage and testimony, in spite of her many questions, doubts, and fears, was so inspiring. Coming to the mission, she could only speak Spanish, hardly any English or Dutch, but she is pulling through!

In our lesson with our investigator Frank this week, he shared his testimony of God’s existance and it was so powerful as he related to us his struggles as a refugee, and many near-death experiences, yet there is a reason for him to keep living.

Last funny story about a man who used to pester us. He lives close to our house and would yell “Mormons! Boo!” and tell us we are going to Hell and the likes. Well we had a lesson with him this week ๐Ÿ˜€ and although he is not an investigator, now when he sees us he yells “Hey chicas, como estas??” I’d say it’s a big improvement ๐Ÿ™‚

Love you all and have a great week!

September 7, 2015 – Week 50

So I had the pleasure of working with our mission president’s wife this week. She is brand new to the mission and hardly speaks any Dutch but we taught here a couple door approaches and she went knocking in the rain with us while I was on exchanges in Apeldoorn. She is so sweet. I didn’t know this but apparently it was a miracle because her health doesn’t allow her normally to be out in such weather. I’ve attached part of an email she sent me because her testimony is just so amazing.

“Here is the miracle: remember in the car you were saying that you could feel that a miracle would happen last night as we went about knocking and trying to visit? Well one happened to me that I wanted to share. First, I do not enjoy being cold and wet at the same time. My circulation isn’t good in my fingers and toes. I have a disease they call rhines, where the fingers and toes go numb and turn white and blue. Old age!! I really am a boob when it comes to rain, snow and cold. I just don’t function properly in those conditions. Plus, my shoes I had on hurt one of my toes when I walk a lot in them. WELL, being with you sisters made all those things go away! Even my toe did not hurt!! Honestly, I was amazed that I kept going with you, soaking wet, and still had a smile trying to say those Dutch words! Plus, I am normally fearful in those situations. Just being with you both gave me strength. I learned before this call that when we do the Lords work He will give us the strength and ability to do what is required if we just step forward and try and forget about ourselves and all our problems. Now I am doing this more and more every day. Most of this call is out of my comfort zone, but when I step out of the boat like Peter did and try to walk on the water, I am lifted and carried and I can do those hard things. I just have to forget self, trust / faith and step.”

I am so grateful for my mission president and wife. They really are such wonderful examples of Christlike love. They go so out of their way to serve and support us. It is incredible.

This week we also had a couple of the exchagnes with the sisters in our zone, which was so nice. I always learn so much, seeing the things they struggle with and learning from their faith. And I know it is inspired that I have the companion that I do because she is also really able to help them out.

We also spent much time out of our city for stake conference this weekend. It was so inspiring. Much of the theme had to do with missionary work and the spirit was so abundant as we as a stake all sang Called to Serve together (well the conference was broadcasted to another building as well but still). It was also really cool to see the way my Dutch has improved because I remember my first stake conference, not being able to understand anything, and then with the second, most of it, and then this time around, there were few words I didn’t understand. The gift of tongues is a real thing people. My Dutch is nowhereeee close to perfect but the Lord doesn’t ask for perfection. But He does need our hearts.

I was in a lesson with two muslim men and one of them pulled out his phone to show us a video he had found about Mormons. I was a little hesitant and then surprised to see it was from CNN’s arabic company (I guess that is a thing) doing a reel about the Kansas City temple!!! I was so excited to see them reporting on a place that is so near to my heart!! Even in a lanugage I couldn’t understand! Hastening the work, I’ll tell you!

Well that’s all (that time will allow) folks. Bye!