January 25, 2016 – Week 69

Can you believe it? I am getting transferred again! You know that moment in the movie The Testaments when the prophet papanwa man says, “Take me to the land Bounitful so that I may die by the temple.” Haha that is what my life is right now, because I am moving to Zoetermeer, the city where the temple is! The literal translation of the name is “sweeter lake.” Not to be confused with Salt Lake. Jokes jokes. I am sad to be leaving Tilburg. It is an amazing branch and the members here are among the best I have ever met. I will be forever thankful for them and all they did to help my companion and I out. 

That dear, sweet sister moved in with a senior missionary couple to rest and recover for a little bit. I miss her! I have learned so much from her faith! I think she was put into my life at a really important time. I mean not to be dramatic, but kind of. This last transfer has changed my entire life with the depth of how my testimony has been able to grow. And there is still so much more to learn!! I love the gospel so much. 

So recap on the week-still some more inside time at the begining. I went on some splits with branch members and our sister training leaders to help get some missionary work done here. One day I went on an exchange with my STL and I went so crazy-like I had the desire to literally talk to every single person I saw. It was fun:) Getting so into the work! I hope to keep that fire on my last transfer. 

We had district meeting and interviews with our mission president this week-at our apartment since we couldn’t go out! That was so strange but sweet. Bless our wonderful mission president and his wife and those supportive elders in our district.

Sister Johansen pointed out one day how historic this country is and how beautiful it is that we walk on the same cobblestones that have been here for hundreds of years. The gospel is being spread to the 4 corners of the earth, and we, as missionaries are just as much a part of the history than anything else that happens. We are not perfect but there are angels helping us our here and recording these miracles and stories. I read Elder L. Tom Perry’s dedicatory prayer for the Netherlands and he blessed the missionaries here specifically that they would be able to feel God’s love. I have sure experienced the fulfillment of that blessing, as I know many other people have as well. 

I am thankful for the hard times in my mission. From those I have learned the most and been strengthened. I am thankful to a Heavenly Father who cares about me enough to guide my footsteps and let me learn from each day that He gives me.

The past couple of days, I have been staying and working with the Sisters in Dordrecht, Sister Cowles (from my MTC group) and Sister Goodman. We are having a blast. I love being in a tripanionship again.

Well that’s all for now folks! Sending all my love πŸ˜€

Sister Manning

January 11, 2016 – Week 67

A week of miracles.Β They exist! This has been an amazing week, very interesting, funny, and fun! I will just add in some random fun things and great stories from our week…

We had a “stop smoking” party with one of our investigators; hanging up posters, treats, air fresheners, etc. It was super fun and we have faith that he can hold strong this week! That day the zone leaders worked with us – super inspired leaders – and they helped us a lot setting a baptismal date with one of our dear friends.
We had a blast eating dinner at our stake president’s house! We had a special spiritual thought with them about the Joseph Smith story. He is from Nederland and she is from England and their daughters are all so funny.Β  They are part of the “boom” family, which most of our branch is part of the boom family in one way or another. “Boom” in Dutch means tree, so sometimes people refer to our branch as “de gele bos” or “the entire forest.” Super funny. But they are all great people and really missionary minded. Our ward mission leader, branch president, relief society president, and the area seventy are also all members of the family, by marriage or children or brothers or what not. You know that aristocrats song “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat”? everybody wants to be a boom. πŸ™‚ We are thankful for their inspired leadership!
We had a cool moment where Sister Johansen in an instant felt inspired to go to a different small town with an extra hour that we had. We saw that we had 5 minutes to catch the train so we biked fast and caught the train and had only 30 minutes to work there. We felt, as Nephi, being led by the spirit not knowing beforehand where we should go. The third door we knocked ended up being a nice young girl from Poland who is very interested. Since then, we have also found other investigators in this small town.
We had a nice experience with a woman named Shelia, a recent convert in our branch. We went to eat dinner with her, and she lives in an apartment with surrounding rooms of young, college boys, who were playing really loud, distracting music. But despite it, we had such a special moment with her, listening to other uplifting music and sharing our feelings about the Savior. She is such a special person whose life has really been cleansed and changed by the Atonement.
So much cold rain this week! But despite that it was still a very happy week with inside jokes! Many more things happened but they cannot be contained here! The gospel is the way, my friends. May we stay true and have our chins lifted up! Love you all and have a great week!

January 4, 2016 – Week 66

Ah man, I tried attaching a video of our fireworks display this year, but the file was too big! Just imagine you all are seeing on your screen a giant window, looking out on a square with fireworks being shot off so close to your sight and then an array of surronding fireworks as far as the eye can see! Yep. Happy New Year!

This was a really great week, full of hard work and many miracles! Everything from fasting, praying for a printer to work, helping a drunk man who had fallen off his bike travel home safely (my companion was like the good samaritan in this one), exchanges in Dordrecht with another sister from my MTC group, and going on adventures to deliver Book of Mormons (or copies of the book of mormon or however you prefer to call that). πŸ™‚

I was sick this week with a cold, but it was a really big blessing because once again it made me appreciate how wonderul it is to be healthy; what a grand thing! 

On New Year’s Eve we received strict instruction to stay inside after 4 p.m. because people go really crazy with fireworks here. So we were encouraged to stay in and make goals – and lots of them! Three spiritual and three for the following categories: where we want to be in 3, 10, and 25 years. It was a spiritual and focused experience that I am really thankful for. 

Things are going well, and the work moves forward! And now, for some pictures! Love you lots, bye!

Sister Manning

January 4, 2016 Photos – Week 66

Sister Johanson and I on 2nd Christmas (they have 2 days for like all the holidays here).  Our ward mission leader and his family had us for dinner and we did "gourmet," where there are just stacks of meat and veggies that you fry on personal skillets. It's grand.
Sister Johanson and I on 2nd Christmas (they have 2 days for like all the holidays here). Our ward mission leader and his family had us for dinner and we did “gourmet,” where there are just stacks of meat and veggies that you fry on personal skillets. It’s grand.
Us on Christmas in front of a cathedral. Our branch president took us to see a nativity there.
Us on Christmas in front of a cathedral. Our branch president took us to see a nativity there.
On the border of Belgium and the Netherlands.
On the border of Belgium and the Netherlands.
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One of my favorite recent converts, Aida, from Colombia. Quite possibly the sweetest person ever.
In Roosendaal. Our faces pretending we saw Sinterklaas!
In Roosendaal. Our faces pretending we saw Sinterklaas!
An awesome family from Breda. The one of the left is my mission grandma :)
An awesome family from Breda. The one of the left is my mission grandma πŸ™‚

December 28, 2015 – Week 65

Hello everyone!!

What a blessed a busy week it was. We were able to meet with many investigators and families this week and share the good news of our Savior with them! Even on Christmas day, we watched Joy to the World with an investigator and then our branch president and his family took us to a couple old churches and cathedrals to see the nativity scenes. We are super blessed. 

Sister Johanson and I get along so well and have a blast together. We have also been finding our purpose for being here unfolded a little more. In a blessing my companion received, she was promised miracles as she and I work in unity and I really believe that will be true. 

Tilburg branch has had much success in baptisms the past two years and there are so many recently converted members who really need some support right now. In prayerful planning and working with our ward mission leader, we feel like this is a big contribution that we need to be making the Lord’s vineyeard right now, nuturing those who are recently baptized and helping them stay strong. 

I loved Skyping with my family this week. Shout out to the best family ever! I also feel bad because most of the time was spent just making funny faces in the camera but it happens πŸ™‚

I am so thankful for this Christmas season, for a new year with new chances and for our Savior who can change us, heal our hearts, and make every day new.

https://www.lds.org/topics/christmas/christmas-videos?lang=eng#look-to-the-light

Lots of love,

Sister Manning

December 21, 2015 – Week 65

Hello! This has been a week of sky-rocket amazing moments with a few darker, low ones sprinkled in there. I’ve offically moved to my new cit, and it is great. Working with my MTC companion, Sister Johanson, is really cool-we get each other so pumped up and have seen a lot of miracles! 

We taught a woman this week, Moen, who is so sweet and open and struggling with some despression and confusion that my companion could really relate to in a sensive way. It was amazing to see how we were able to help her turn to the Savior, her countance was completely changed after talking about the plan of salvation and she said she felt so much lighter. That is what the gospel does! 

We also had a cool moment teaching this man who we had made an appointment to teach at the train station. We tried to find a quiet place to sit down and talk but it was still a little busy and at first I felt a bit insecure about the other people listening. But as we started talking, it disappeared and was a quiet and peaceful moment. The members here are really amazing -it is a small(er) branch that just 2 years ago became a branch split off from the Breda ward. But it is really cool. Apparently in these 2 years there has been something like 12 people who joined the church-they are all so welcome and open and really in “pioneer mode” which is amazing. A really cool mix of new converts and life long members. 

I met a super beautiful recent convert this week from Colombia-she is just so sweet and faithful! And so so funny πŸ™‚ That’s how you know the gift of tounges is real because half of what she says is in Spanish.  

Also, Merry Christmas everyone! The new Christmas webpage for the church is really swell. https://www.mormon.org/christmas I love this time of year! It’s a wonderful life anyone? Well I haven’t watched it but I love the sentiment there. Life is super great and I am so dearly thankful that we celebrate the birth of a Savior at this season. I know He lives. Good things come in small packages. They always say that the best gift of all came in the form of a baby that would save the world. What a beautiful story and even better, a true message. I love you and wish you all the best this week! 

Sister Manning