August 17, 2015 – Week 47

Hello everyone! Things are going great here in lovely Friesland. I am surrounded by the beauty of change – kids going back to school, changing of the weather to constant rain, saying goodbye to people, meeting new people. My dad told me before I left on my mission that “the only thing that is constant in a mission is change.” Beautiful and scary and amazing.

That being said, transfers are next week! I will be staying in Leeuwarden (hoorah!!) but my dear companion Sister Jones is being transfered :,( I will miss her so much! I could write a book about the things I learned from her, she is such a good friend and kind and loving and a hard worker but also a powerhouse packed into a little person. Her ability to be bold has changed my mission. Just to show you all how amazing she is I have copied in some random segments from some of her emails and will put it at the end of this email. Plus she writes way better than I can. This week was great!

Big news, our investigator Erik, has stopped with smoking completely! Hoorah! (happy dance here!) He is progressing really well towards baptism and learning so much. We have three people on date to be baptized now which is quite exciting. Our mission president and his wife, the Bunnells, visited our branch this Sunday which was quite nice.

Sister Jones and I started a cute little art project for our branch- I painted a tree on a canvas and we cut out little paper leaves that people write on and paste on the board about reasons why we love our branch. We are hoping it will create more of a feeling of positivty and home. Our little branch really is amazing. Did I ever mention that we meet in a building that used to be a bank? It is really beautiful and 4 stories so classrooms you have to go up the glass stairs for.

Also our ward mission leader is so kind and fixed up a missionary’s old bike with a bunch of new things and gave it to me! He was concerned that my mountain bike would ruin my clothes with no mud flap (which it was). I was insisted not to take it because I loved my American blue mountian bike so much…but I must say I am super happy with my new bike! Last P-day we watched a video with our Relief Society president called “Journey of Faith” about the archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon-It was awesome! Totally changed by perspective. Also shout out to my BYU Professor Ball who was a guest star in it 🙂 Would recommend!

We also visited an older woman in our ward who was in a recovery hospital from a fall-she is was so courageous and cheery! And is still radiating with her testimony. I am amazed every day by the awesome people here on planet earth.

Speaking of which, I would also like to give a shout out to Brother Adbart (what am I, at a concert or something??) who has us missionaries over for dinner every week, despite his health problems and hardships. He keeps moving forward, taking care of his faithful dog, diesel, and riding around town in his scoot-mobile:)

****Usually I don’t write enough and today was a big rant so if you don’t read any of that please read this:

My biggest takeaway from this week is a strengthened testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. Completely true. 100%. That book has changed lives, it’s changed mine and helped me come closer to Christ. The stories are lively, the message heart-softening. There is a power therein that helps us come closer to godliness. Every time I get on my knees to ask God if it is His word, I feel the peace come into my heart and assurance that God has not left us alone. Read it. Every day, do not miss out of that opportunity to fill your life with light.

Let me share two experiences with my investigators. One comes from Uganda, a freedom fighter I guess you could say. We hadn’t met with him in a long time and he wasn’t too interested in baptism. So we when we showed up this week, we had the intention of dropping him if he showed no commitment. To our wonderful surprise, after we said the opening prayer, he started testifying to us about how he had been reading and the doctrine in the book was so clear and helped him understand the Bible and expressed his desire to be baptized. Happy birthday sister misisonaries!

Another Dutch woman who we had met a couple weeks ago and only had one lesson with so far, also saw the change. When we came for our second appointment, she showed us all of the passages she read and how they brought her comfort. I know the Lord was guiding her reading because she flipped to the Isaiah passage about forgeting the shame of her childhood, and this woman had experienced some severe abuse earlier in her life. As we taught her the plan of salvation, it was all new to her but she was really touched and recognized it’s truth. We are looking forward to teaching her.

Well I love you all and hope you have amazing weeks! Peace, love, and Belgium chocolate!

-Sister Manning

from Sister Jones….

“Another new investigator might possibly be a Brazilian popstar. He’s leaving soon to do a tour in Brazil with this guy who apparently sings this smash hit called “Babalala” or something. It was super powerful when we first met him. He was telling us that he was actually just thinking about religion a couple weeks ago, and how he was thinking about the Christian people he knows and how they all seem to have a certain strength. We were able to testify of the atonment and the strength we can recieve through Christ. We left behind Ether 12, and last time we talked to him he just couldn’t stop talking about it. It was exciting to see. 🙂

Also, I just need to to have another shout out for the amazing branch Zuster Manning and I are serving in. We have been really wanting to do some activities or do something to help the branch get excited and bring more unity. Yesterday though in fast and testimony meeting the Spirit was just SO strong! There’s a ward member who’s a little mentally challenged and he went up and bore his testimony, and then 2 ward members got up right after him, supported his testimony and spoke with such love about him, the branch and they just testified so powerful about God’s love for us. It left me beaming from ear-to-ear, and the spirit was so strong in our chapel. I could just feel God’s love for the members here in Leeuwarden.

Also, someone from the stake was visiting and he asked all us missionaries to go and bear our testimonies, and then after we all did that the Relief Society president bore such a strong testimony of missionary work, ah it just gave Zuster Manning and I so much strength and confidence.

Also. There’s a new rule in our mission that we need to wear helmets. So here’s a lovely picture of Zuster Manning, our District Leader, his greeny, and I wearing our lovely helmets. When president made the anouncement we all sang “Nephi’s courage.” Replace “building a ship” with “Wearing helmets in Nederlands.” Try to keep a serious face, I dare you 😉

It was really cool though. I was talking to Zuster Johanson about it on exchanges and her perspective on it was powerful. She was saying how we ask people to live the law of chastity, word of wisdom, keep the sabbeth day holy, and change their lives around. What are so common concerns? “That’s not the culture anymore.” “People will mock me” “It’s not cool.”

Maybe we all just needed to be reminded what our investigators feel sometimes.

Well. This week was probably the first week I’ve seen where it didn’t rain at all! So, that was a miracle. Zuster Manning and I have gotten lovely tan lines on our feet from our flats and handbar tan lines from our bikes on our hands.

Also, we found this really sweet, rather new investigator who is just so… kind. I can just feel God’s love for her as we were talking to her.She was a potential from a couple weeks ago, but said that she wasn’t interested in us coming back, but we just felt super strongly prompted to go back and see if she had the chance to read in the Book of Mormon. And she ended up letting us in and we were able to teach her about the restoration and the atonment. She’s had a really hard life, and we talked about the atonment with her and you could just see the hope in her eyes. She kind of scared though to make commitments with anything, but I just know, I can just feel how badly she needs this.”

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August 10 Photos – Week 46

I have a friend here who is a photographer. These are photos that she has taken of Leeuwarden, the city I am serving in! Also, the ship is a resturant where you go eat Dutch pancakes…so yummy!

Oude Stadhuis, Raadhuisplein
Steeg vanaf Ruiterskwartier
Korfmakersstraat vanaf Over de Kelders
Rechts het Pannenkoekschip, Prins Hendrikbrug
Oude Stadhuis, RaadhuispleDe Waag, op de Nieuwestad

August 10, 2015 – Week 46

I really need to change my ways about sending such short emails but we have a lesson in a couple minutes so we really need to get going!

But this week was great! And SO busy! We were in Zwolle, Assen, and Amsterdam on various exchanges and meetings! The best was that we had mission leader council at the mission home where we have reports on our zones with the mission president and talked about issues in the mission. It was cool to see how much the hand of the Lord is in this work!

I also had a crazy experience of a woman letting us in this week—she was the most closed/open person I had ever met – haha she was from Brazil though, so it was like a taste of serving in brazil! We also made very ghetto zucchini bread missing half the ingredients but just as tasty!

Another cool thing is I went on an exchange with my MTC companion and it was cool to see how much we had both learned and grown since we had last seen each other. I realized how much more open and vunerable to people I am now. I think that is very fine.

We had a very cool experience this week being interviewed by a camera girl who was making a video about what makes a “real human.” She met us on the street, filmed our responses, and then we got talking about religion and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and receiving her information, she was so open to learn! The Lord puts prepared people on our paths every day. We are looking forward to teaching her.

I am grateful for you all and love you bunches!

August 3, 2015 – Week 45

So short but sweet, this week was amazing! We had interviews with President and Sister Bunnell – they are such incredible, loving, people. We have also seen many times led by the spirit and recieving obedience and “helmet blessings” haha 🙂

Quick thought. Last P-day Sister Jones and I had a party going to a toy store where we found perfume for 2 euros. It is called la chica which is hilarious -picture with it and my helmet attached. Although it smells great, it only lasts for a couple minutes. Not too effective! Some things in life are like la chica – really fun but don’t bring eternal happiness! Money, entertainment, good food, all of the above. But the gospel is something that brings everlasting peace into our lives.

We are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Remember always what is most important 🙂

Love,

Sister Manning

P.S. The other picture is of an awesome member who feeds us every week named Ahmed, a convert with an incredible love for the gospel! He lights candles on the food often times when we come over because he says when we are there it is like it is his birthday 🙂

July 27, 2015 – Week 44

Who wants to hear what the mission is like in the eyes of my companion??
Because….I’m out of emailing time…and my lovely companion Sister Jones is such a gem and said I could just copy and paste her email home! She is amazing and writes much better emails than I do​.

🙂 Also this was a super wonderful week filled with 3 exchagnes with other sisters! Perhaps I shall write more about it this week but for now, please enjoy this change of perspective! So!

Church was so full yesterday. That was fantastic! Zuster Manning and I were both thrilled! Zuster Manning and I just recently began teaching a younger family, and the parents, Nice and Raymond came to sacrament meeting yesterday! They are so sweet. Our first lesson with them was such a wonder, because we were orginally just teaching Nice, and then Raymond walked in and we invited him to join, and he ended up also being super positive. We’re really excited to meet with them more.

Also, we sang a mash-up of Called to Serve and Army of Helaman in Dutch in Sacrament meeting. It was really beautiful together.

We have also started meeting with this sweet middle aged women named Biannca. Oh she is just a doll. Last week she just showed up in church for the last 20 minutes. Apparently she biked from Akkrum to our church here in Leeuwarden.

Now, you got to realize, Akkrum is a town that’s a 20 minute train ride from Leeuwarden. So it’s probably around a 2 hour bike ride. And last week she did it in pouring down rain. She’s a saint.

Another crazy thing, Zusters used to teach her about a year ago, and her big thing was that she didn’t come to church. Zuster Manning and I went last Saturday, and asked her about the Book of Mormon and she has a powerful testimony of it! She has some questions still about other things, but we are very asked to meet with her more! We called her yesterday and she was telling us how she read the section in 3 Nephi that we invited her to read and she loved reading about how Christ established the sacrement. She said she knew the story in the Bible, but that it made it more clear reading about it in the Book of Mormon as well.

With new invistigators, sadly comes the dropping of investigators … The hardest was Lucas, our investigator from China. Zuster Johanson and I went to go teach him while we were on exchanges, and he came to the door with his Chinese Book of Mormon in hand and said he wasn’t interested in taking the lessons any more. We asked him why, and he said he was talking to the pastor of a church in Utrecht about some of the things we taught him in The Plan of Salvation. Apparently it didn’t sit well with him when we told him that people in the Spirit World would get a second chance to accept Christ. We told him to keep the book and gave him “The Restoration” film to watch and invited him to pray about it. And then bore strong testimony about how God is a loving Heavenly who wouldn’t damn someone’s soul just because they didn’t get the chance to hear about Christ. Sigh. Praying for him.

And then we also dropped Glad Christmas and Simba. Or at least given them a break for now.

We are also excited, we’ve been talking to the Elders and we are going to try to start bringing some excitment in the Ward! We want to try to organize a talent show or a pannenkoeken contest or something. Our dear little branch is the sweetest, and we want to try to do different things to bring some rays of sunshine into it.

Hope all is going well with you all!

veel liefs

Zuster Jones”

#Amen #shespeaksthetruth #Iloveyouall

Love,

Sister Manning:)