February 23, 2015 – Week 22

Hello everyone! Things are going really well here in Maastricht, my heart continues to expand in love for the work and the people! Carnivale was last week and it was seriously so so crazy.  Like what? It’s basically like Halloween and Mardi Gras put together.  A lot of drunk people in costumes partying for three days! Every city celebrates it a little differently (but generally it’s only celebrated in Belgium and down south in Nederland because it is a Catholic holiday).  There are marching bands in the streets and seriously like half of the people on public transportation are dressed up! You don’t have to dress up like a certain “thing,” though you can.  Onzies that have animal print are all the rage.  But also, many many people look like they are about to go to the Capitol in the Hunger Games! The costumes are super well made and elaborate and there are wigs, glitter, and SO much face paint.  Good times 🙂

Also exciting this week is that last P-day members in our ward took the missionaries sight-seeing! We went to the American WWII cemetery, a very reverent and beautiful place. Then we went to the highest point in the Netherlands (which is picture with the statue with the elders on one side and the sisters on the other). This was cool to see because in my last city, I visited the point which marks the lowest point in the Netherlands! Then we walked over to the Three Land Point, which is where Belgium, Germany, and Nederland all touch! Nearby there is a huge tower and that you climb up to overlook all three countries! Then, because they are military, they took us on one of the bases there and we ate hamburgers and went bowling.  So American! It was crazy!

I love studying about the light of Christ and how everyone has an innate ability to know right from wrong.  We love to sing in our tri-companionship, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”
Lots of love to you all, I hope you have a wonderful week!

February 2, 2015 – Week 19

Hello dear friends! Unfortunately my time is super short today! This week has been good but went by really quickly! Two of the days we were out of town for doctors appointments and for zone training (which by the way is always so amazing, the theme was improving our teaching skills to teach like the Savior).

I just wanted to share a quick story about our investigator Dudley. My mom asked me how I have seen the Lord’s hand is in the work and this is one big way I’ve seen it! So Dudley is an investigator from Sri Lanka (don’t know how to spell that…) who has been investigating the church for a while but has had serious problems with the Word of Wisdom. When I was transferred to Maastricht, he was in a super bad condition, basically drunk all the time and he had a lot of health problems. My companions told me that he was a bible scholar and loved the gospel and wanted to get baptized, but when I came none of that was apparent. All I saw was a drunk man whose health was going down rapidly. We had to stop teaching him basically and just give him phone calls. We wanted him to seek professional help, but he didn’t accept it. So all we could do was pray and pray and ward members would stop by to visit him and put his name in the temple. One day he gave us a phone call saying he was in the hospital and was going to a rehab center. Nurses had shown up at his door, one a day when they weren’t even scheduled to come, and took him to the emergency room! It really was a miracle that we are all grateful for. This man has a glorious potential and future, and the Lord interviened.

The next week, we returned to teach him and it was like I was meetng Dudley for the first time. My companion was about to go home, one of her last lessons, and we read the story about the prodigal son who returned back home to his father. The Savior’s atonement is real. Dudley, who once was almost lost, has returned to reading his scriptures, earnest prayer, and stopping the addictions which held him bond. I see the Lord’s hand working in his life through the light in his eyes, the new determination, courage and strength that he receives. I see it in the ward members who care so much about him. He now is working towards baptism and I feel the love that the Lord has for him so much! Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! Love you lots!

January 29, 2015 Photos – Week 18

This post comes from an image on the Belgium Netherlands’ mission blog, which talked about a zone training in Eindhoven on January 29, 2015 . Below is a group picture of the zone.

 L to R: Elder Matos, Elder Lundburg, Elder Denny, Elder Davis, Elder Argueta, Elder Jones, Elder Bean, Elder Heinricks, Elder Bishesar, Sister Jensen, Elder Goff, Elder Peterson, Elder Blackhurst, Elder Larson, Elder Danpai, Sister Jaramillo, Sister Lemich, Elder Bean, Elder Enslow, Elder Lee, Sister Robbins, Sister Whittington, Elder Thorniaien, Elder Gross, Elder Nielson, Sister Manning, Elder Warner, Sister Ramirez, President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Sister Butler, Elder Butler.
L to R: Elder Matos, Elder Lundburg, Elder Denny, Elder Davis, Elder Argueta, Elder Jones, Elder Bean, Elder Heinricks, Elder Bishesar, Sister Jensen, Elder Goff, Elder Peterson, Elder Blackhurst, Elder Larson, Elder Danpai, Sister Jaramillo, Sister Lemich, Elder Bean, Elder Enslow, Elder Lee, Sister Robbins, Sister Whittington, Elder Thorniaien, Elder Gross, Elder Nielson, Sister Manning, Elder Warner, Sister Ramirez, President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Sister Butler, Elder Butler.

January 19, 2015 – Week 17

Hello everyone! So I haven’t sent pictures in forever, so this weekly update is just going to be spamming your emails with pictures 🙂 To be brief though, we had a great week! For the next transfer Sister Jensen and I are both staying in Maastricht and we are being joined by a third companion! Wahoo!

Here’s a quick funny story that a member told me:
So recently, a general authority of our church visited the Netherlands. He gave talks in various cities and would have translators from the stake do a translation from English to Dutch. He started off his talk by sharing a joke that didn’t translate into Dutch very well. So in one city, when the general authority told the joke, the translator said, “The Elder has just said a joke and would like us to laugh.” So obviously, the people in the congregation thought that was funny and laughed! Afterward, the Elder, not knowing, told the translator, “You must have given a good translation because the other congregations didn’t get the joke!”

Also this week, Sister Jensen and I went down to Belgium to pick up our residency papers, which was fun and I also went on an exchange in Gouda. Although Europe is so fun and exciting, being on my mission and doing the Lord’s work is better than being on a vacation or sightseeing.

Something I have really learned so far is about selfless service. Through the kind deeds that my companions have done for me, or the kindness that our investigators show to us, or the way I see the ward members serve each other, I am inspired by examples of Christ-like service. It is something I hope to emulate as I continue to work with these wonderful individuals here in Nederland! I send my love and my smiles! Stay warm everyone!

Love,
Sister Manning

January 12, 2015 – Week 16

Hello hello! I’ve spent the most incredible week here in Maastricht! Sister Jensen and I were sad to send off our trainer, Sister Reeder, home to Arizona. She is so spunky and fun and we have learned so much from her. We were pretty worried that since we are both new(ish) missionaries that it would be a bit of a struggle speaking the language, getting around, and teaching by ourselves. But we have seen the Lord’s blessings, not raining or in showers, but storming down upon us! (a bit literally too, haha this week one day I had to change out of my wet clothes three times)! God has provided a way that even with our broken Dutch and all of our weaknesses, we’ve been able to grow really close in unity and we’ve been teaching like crazy!

Here’s a couple of cool things: did I mention last week that I ate raw herring? Like a real Dutchman! Pretty good too. We also taught a man who runs an opera house. When we showed up to the address it was this cathedral type place and he gave us a backstage tour of the costumes, set making. So cool!

During zone conference our leaders had us draw slips of paper out of a hat that had names on them and we were encouraged to have the faith to pray and find that name. The activity made us think about finding people and focusing on the individual! But I found the name, Jasper! It was crazy because a couple weeks ago, we were doing bell ups on apartments, and I saw his name on the name plate, got really excited, and did my regular contact through the intercom. He said he was not interested and we asked if we could put at least a passalong card in his box. A week later we were finishing doing bell ups on the building and he was walking out in as were were walking out, recognized us, and we had a short conversation. But he said he wasn’t interested really in learning more. I asked if I could maybe bring a Book of Mormon by sometime, and he his response was a halfhearted yes. So then last week we come by to drop off the book, he invites us in, and we taught him the restoration with a return appointment! Too many blessings! This is just one of so many stories I wish I could tell.

The gospel is such a blessing for people. I love teaching and seeing the light in people’s eyes when they recognize the truth, especially about the Plan of Salvation. The gospel is one of joy, so live it joyfully! Reach out and help others and keep a smile on your face. It is all worth it in the end.

Sorry for the typos…I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Don’t be afraid to be a light to others!
Love,
Zuster Manning