December 14, 2015 – Week 64

Hello family and friends!! This was another great week here in Roosendaal. And also my last 😦 Because of the lack of sisters, the city is being closed and I am being transferred to Tilberg! It breaks my heart to only have been here 5 weeks but at the same time I feel SOOOOO blessed for the time I was able to have here-with an AMAZING companion, and incredible ward! I’ve learned much here about love, unity, and seen many a miracle! 

Speaking of which, I had the privilege this week of going back up to Leeuwarden to witness Katherine’s baptism! She is an investigator I taught there, the ex-wife of Frank. It was a beautiful service and I couldn’t be happier for her! It was also funny because my companion had to go to a meeting, so my MTC companion actually traveled up with me, and guess what, she is my new companion next transfer! Crazy! New adventures await 🙂 I will miss these people a ton! 

We just met a new investigator, Sam, who came to church this week and has such a sincere desire to break free of his old lifestyle and addictions. I know the elders will take good care of these gems. 

Other highlights of the week include Christmas conference, Sister Twiggs cutting my hair, just a trim but a rush nonetheless ;), having really meaningful experiences in my personal prayers, trips to the doctor. 

And we also were invited to visit an African church from a potential investigator. There was a whole lot of shouting, it actually reminded me of my forensics piece for those of you who know that :). It was an uplifting and cultural experience, and I admire their dedication but it made me all the more thankful for the restored gospel. 

So here we go, off to a new adventure! Love you all!

December 7, 2015 – Week 63

What an amazing and blessed week. Our investigator Jasmine was baptized! Her story is so inspirational. She is one of the most faithful people that I have ever met. She is half Dutch and half American and ran into the sisters about a year ago. She has been taught since then and embraced the gospel with her whole heart. You can tell that it really has changed her. She is a hip-hop instructor for kids, she just radiates light, and is so funny! Over 11 missionaries who had served in Breda came to the baptism as well as many of her friends and family! She is going to do so much good in the future!

I don’t have much time, I will have to write more about my week another time. I suppose but I am doing well and safe. There is always, always, always a hope to find in the gospel.

Love you all, bye!

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)…