Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Armour of God

Nov. 15, 2014

Well it has only been 5 days since I last emailed so this will be rather short. It is amazing how much happens when you have 2 more days before you email.
We changed our P-day to Saturday because Sinter Klaas (Santa Claus) came into Lelystad Harbor today to greet all the kids and we had to see it. In Nederland they celebrate Sinter Klaas and Christmas. Sinter Klaas is more what we associate with Santa Claus in regards to presents and candy. That is celebrated on the 5th of December here. The kids put their shoes out and they wake up the next morning to gifts. Christmas is more centered around Christ’s birth. Christmas here is becoming more and more like the American Christmas but they still enjoy their Sinter Klaas at the beginning of December. So before the 5th, Sinter Klaas comes to all the cities in Nederland. It is really cool! He brings his helpers the Schwarte Peten they are black (covered in soot according to the legend). It was really fun to watch today and we really enjoyed it. I will attach the photos.
Well this week has been rather interesting. Sister Robbins and I learned a lot. One of the miracles we had this week was that we had a lesson with Vivian and he realized that he knows that the Book of Mormon is true!! It was really amazing. He still has a ways to go before he can be baptized (smoking, some weird family traditions, and church attendance) but we are getting there!! It has been really cool to see him really progress in the last few weeks.
So this week was strangely incredibly hard. Every morning I would wake up with a tread of going outside. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I had really lost my faith. It was really weird. I haven’t felt like that since my first transfer here in Nederland. It honestly really scared me. We kept doing the work but my heart wasn’t in it. Yesterday when I woke up I prayed that I would regain my motivation and that something would change. My prayers were answered. We sat down for companionship study and Sister Robbins and I started to kind of talk about the way we were feeling. She expressed that sometimes she just really wants to go home. I helped her realize that those feelings are normal for your first couple transfers and that they go away. It was really good. But then later that day we came home and started weekly planning. I became really concerned when I looked at all the names of our investigators and I didn’t want anything to do with them. I didn’t want to plan for them and just felt really discouraged. I wanted to plan but for some reason I felt over shadowed with doubt. We didn’t even make it through the first name when I said to Sister Robbins that I was having a really hard time. We proceeded to talk for the next little bit about how we were both feeling. Turns out, Sister Robbins was feeling the same type of opposition that I was feeling. We both didn’t want to go outside. We were scared and the thing was we didn’t know why. Sister Robbins at some point told me that her mom before her mission said that you can pray for a shield to protect you from Satan’s powers. When she said that I knew that we needed to kneel down right there and prayer for the Lord to protect us. We did and the effect was immediate. We both felt like we could breath again. We both felt happy again and that we could do the work and wanted to do it. We also discussed how sometimes before miracles come we are faced with greater opposition. For a while I have been feeling like incredible things are going to start happening in Lelystad. It makes sense that we both felt so strongly the power of the adversary. Satan does not want us to talk to people. He doesn’t want us to be happy or for us to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Also, sometimes the Lord allows us to be tried more than usual to see if we will call upon his help. In this instance, we did call upon the Lord for strength and protection. I feel like I can breath and that miracles are going to happen. I know that the Lord has things planned for Lelystad and the adversary doesn’t want us to succeed but as we rely on the Lord nothing can stop us. I don’t know what the Lord has in store but I know that it will be incredible and that Sister Robbins and I are stronger now and that we have the Lord’s angels around us. We have the Armour of God and nothing can stop us from bringing others closer to Jesus Christ. If you ever feel like you are overshadowed with doubt and darkness, pray for the Lord’s protection. We have been promised that the Lord will always be with us to bear us up. Opposition always comes before the miracles. I am grateful for the power of prayer and that I know I can rely on the Lord when there seems to be no other way.
The next week is going to be so busy and I am really excited. We are eating our first Thanksgiving dinner next Saturday and it is going to be wonderful. Next week Wednesday, I also hit my halfway point on my mission. I can’t believe how fast it is going by. I am grateful for all that I have learned and I am anxious for what the Lord has in store for me in this last half of my mission!
Vertrouw in de heer en hij zal je waarschouwen
Zuster Adams

Does the journey seem long?

Nov. 10, 2014

This week has been amazing as always!! 
Funnies for the week:
  1. We were at an appointment and we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. We had taught about the Kingdom’s of Glory and our joint-teach asked us to explain outer darkness. I didn’t know the word in Dutch so she told me and I repeated it a few times and the last time, when I actually pronounced it correctly, the light-bulb in the room died…thus, leaving us in darkness.
  2. We were knocking doors this week and we met this really nice father. We talked to him for probably 15 minutes and at the end of our conversation his adorable 4-year-old son screamed, “Dad, I pooped in my pants!”…Dad got all embarrassed and told us that this never happens.
  3. We were sitting on the train and Sister Otteson was with me (Sister Robbins was in Den Haag for the day) and she was asking me about the differences between Germany/Europe and America. I started explaining that the toilets were different. We talked a little bit about that and then the man sitting next to us just starts giggling because he thinks it is so funny that we are talking about toilets. We ended up having a conversation with him and giving him a card. I guess I should talk about toilets on the train more often…
  4. We had one night this week that was just plain weird…we had set up an appointment with a lady and she had given us her address. We started biking to theneighborhood that she lived in and after literally biking in circles for 30 minutes we started to think that the address didn’t exist. So we biked home and grabbed our map. Turns out that the address exists on our really old map but not our newer map. The neighborhood doesn’t exist anymore. We were lied to. But the funny part was that we went to knock doors on a nearby street and there was this seriously eerie music playing somewhere and every time we would walk up to a door the music would get louder. It was seriously a confusing night.
  5. Last night I had taken off my skirt but still had leggings on. I was sitting on the couch and didn’t know that I was sitting on top of my skirt. Well the Assistants to the President call to get a report that we had done this past week. I stood up to go grab the information and my skirt had gotten hooked to the back of my leggings…so I had a freaky looking skirt tail thing. My companion starts laughing hysterically because it looks so funny. I then begin to laugh and can’t stop. Remember I am on the phone with the AP’s…after about 2 minutes I compose myself and give them the report. It was pretty funny though. The odds…that something like that would happen while I was on the phone with the AP’s…
On to the miracles and experiences of the week.
Our investigator Vivian is doing amazing! We had set a baptismal date for him and this week he decided that he wants to push it back a bit because he has to stop smoking and he isn’t sure about a few things. Plus, he is waiting for an answer that Joseph Smith is a prophet. As a missionary, it is hard to know if someone is ready to be baptized. You want them to be baptized but you also want to make sure that they are ready for the covenant that they are going to make. I think Vivian is more ready than he realizes but I also want it to come from himself. We were going to teach him about this priesthood this week and he ended up teaching us from what he had learned in church last Sunday. It was amazing. We also taught him at a member’s home and he asked us about what happens when the prophet dies and how we know that he is truly called of God. The members explained it so well and I love seeing the gears in someone’s head moving when things finally start to click. Vivian has a little ways to go but he is doing awesome.
A bit of sad news this week, Charlie, our 17-year-old investigator, found out this week that she won’t be able to get baptized until she is 21 because of parental rights and a bunch of other stuff. We were really sad. I love her so much and want her to experience the blessings of the gospel. I pray that something will soften her parent’s hearts.
On Sunday, no one came to church. I was pretty bummed and kind of upset. In my entire time here in Lelystad, I have only had 2 people in church. I just became frustrated. I really want to bless this branch and help them become stronger. I want to bring them converts that can help them stay strong. During Sacrament, I said a prayer and just kind of told Heavenly Father that I just was frustrated that the work never seems to go anywhere and that it wasn’t going fast enough. I explained how much I have been working and just how much I desired for the members to be excited and also to see my investigators progress. Heavenly Father is so merciful. He knows exactly what we need to keep going. I feel like I get to my wits end and then Heavenly Father gives me just enough to keep going and learning. At the end of Sacrament meeting, the two girls that we had met last week in the city center walked into the chapel. I was beyond happy!! Everyone in the branch gave me looks like “Who is that?” Miracle of miracles, the youth Sunday school teacher speaks Spanish and was able to do half of the lesson in Spanish and also translate for them in Young Womens. After church I realized how in charge the Lord truly is. The Young Women’s president came up to me and told me how incredible the two girls are and how the one girl had almost finished her personal progress in one year. She was literally beaming with excitement to have these two amazing young women. The young women in our branch have been really struggling and these two girls have already brought some fire back to the hearts of the members. Everyone was so excited and I realized that sometimes the miracles don’t come in the way we want them. In fact, they never really do. This is the Lord’s work. He knows what his children need and he will place me where I need to be in order to help his work progress. In Relief Society, I shared my testimony about the power of prayer in missionary work and a lady from the Branch came up to me and thanked me for my “beautiful” testimony and then asked me to pray for her non-member husband. So often we do not notice the work we are doing and the lives we are touching. We become discouraged and we begin to doubt our worth. I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father gave me a glimpse into the lives I am touching and the work I am doing. This is his work and he knows what needs to happen and in what order they need to happen. I am learning more and more everyday on what a grand-scale this work is but how incredible significant I am in that work.  
Vergeet Nooit hoe barmhartig de Heer is!! 
Zuster Adams

Monday, November 3, 2014

I LOVE scary people!...hahaha

This week was a rather unconventional missionary week with missionary work mixed in. It was marvelous though and my new companion is awesome!! 

Funnies for the week: 
1. We carved pumpkins with a family in the Branch and their daughter spent the whole time telling me what to do...she has never carved a pumpkin before and she is about 4 years old. It was pretty funny. 
2. We cleaned the insides of about 10 pumpkins out to help out the youth. Oh my many pumpkins. We also then spent a considerable amount of time sorting the through the pumpkin guts to get seeds...our hands were so gross. 
3. Sister Robbins and I had some struggles with our bikes this week...we ran into poles, our chains fell off, and I'm sure there is more. We had to call a member to bring us screw drivers because the chains on bikes all have plastic cages around them to stop the rain from rusting we were stuck on the side of the road waiting for screw drivers to get the cage off. Then a random lady helped us put the chain back on. She got so dirty for us. Bless her soul! We gave her a card in the end...sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways...this time it was having your bikes dramatically fall over and then both chains coming off. :)
4. So the Branch hosted a stake dance this past Friday and it was a Halloween theme. We were in charge of helping in the haunted house. I stood in a Coffin(that we made out of cardboard boxes) and scared so many people! It was amazing. One girl when I jumped out, fell on the ground and screamed. It was great!! It felt very a missionary but I guess you do what you got to do to help the members. The Elders hid underneath tables and grabbed peoples legs and my companion jumped out and screamed happy halloween as people left the room. It was marvelous. 
Me in a coffin--I think I'm a little too scary looking.

Part of our haunted house

This week was very full of miracles and now that I am reflecting upon it, I am pretty amazed! We had an appointment with our investigator Maria and she is doing amazing. We brought her a baptismal calendar this week and she really wants to get baptized. She can't come to church because she takes care of her elderly mother...but we are praying that something happens so she can start to come to church. She wants to come so bad. I love her! She understands so much. It is truly incredible! On transfer day, things got a little crazy because Sister Heilner needed to be in Leiden at 9 o'clock...but bikes aren't allowed on the trains before we were faced with a dilemma. We had planned to get help from the Sisters in Almere but they missed their train. But miracles happen and the sisters from Leeuwarden just happened to be on the train and train car that we got on. We switched companions and Sister Alduous and I went back to Lelystad and got the bike. It was a miracle because then we ended up teaching the 1st lesson to a man on the train. It was really cool. We had a lesson with Vivian this week and it went so good. He had brought us this document on his religion from Suriname. It included vodu and other strange things and I wasn't sure how to handle, telling him that he couldn't keep doing those things. We brought the Elders on joint teach and it turned out to be amazing. Vivian totally understood that it was bad. He just wanted to know if he could still join the church. He is so open and willing to change!! He then came for the first time to church on Sunday and loved it. Everyone welcomed him in and just loved him! It was truly a miracle. Fast Sunday is a miraculous day on a mission. Yesterday was amazing! We decided to go contacting in the Center of the City. I had kind of had it with people rejecting me...and had kind of said "Heavenly Father, I don't know if I can be rejected one more time." The first lady we talked to we ended up sharing a scripture with her and setting up an appointment for this week. It was amazing. Then we kept walking and we turn a corner and these three 15 year old girls start freaking out and pointing at us. They started saying Mormonen!! We were very confused and asked them how they knew us. Turns out 2 of the girls are members from Ecuador that just moved here and have been looking for the church. They were so excited to find us and finally know how to get to church. Their friend isn't a member but wants to come to church with them on Sunday. It was incredible that we just happened to decide to contact in the center at that time. The Lord is so involved and He puts us where we need to be, even we don't realize what is going on. Being a missionary is hard but so fulfilling and I am grateful to see the hand of the Lord in my life every day!!

Sis. Robbins first Stroppwafel.  I'm so proud!
My new companion Sister Robbins is my first companion from Utah! She is from Riverton, Utah and she is super nice!! I love her and she has an amazing love for the work! We have decided to make this next transfer A Season of Joy! I can't wait to see the miracles that come!

Fijne Week en Groetjes van Lelystad! 

Zuster Adams 

3 is Better than 2

This week was one of the funniest weeks of my mission!! We had so much fun with our mini-missionary, Zuster Stein! She is the most prepared pre-missionary I have ever seen! She is going to work miracles! Also, I found out that I am staying another transfer in Lelystad!! I am getting Sister Robbins as a companion. She is still a greenie so I will finish training her!! I've heard she is great so I can't wait! First time with a younger companion! It should be fun!

1. We were sitting in District Meeting and we looked down and there was a worm in the middle of the church building...not sure how it got in. We sat for the next 10 minutes trying to convince the Elders to eat it.
2. We were on exchanges and Sister Stein and I were in Lelystad with Sister Spencer. We tried to exchange back and it was terrible. We had to get to Den Haag central station and we got stuck in Amsterdam because there was apparently a confused man on the tracks...They shut down all the trains in between Den Haag and Leiden. It was terrible. So we ended up just going back to our cities and waiting until the next morning to switch back. It was crazy. I have never seen so many trains get canceled in a 5 minute period. The reader board was hillarious.
3. We have this awesome couple in our ward and they had us over for dinner twice this week and we went fishing and bobbing for fishes to get our dessert!! It was amazing! Pictures are attached. Also, we found out that the wife and I have the same birthday!! YEAH!!
4. We were in a lesson at the Library this week and I looked down at Sister Stein's skirt and there was a giant bumble bee crawling down her skirt! It was so weird. So we quickly ran out and let the bumble bee go. It was rather funny.
5. We were making pancakes at a members house this week and I was trying to be all cool and flip the the pancake in the pan without a spatula...I dropped it on the gas stove and smoked up the house...I am going to work on the my flipping skills.

This week was hillarious and it was wonderful! We saw a lot of miracles this week and I feel really grateful that I get to keep seeing the miracles here in Lelystad. We picked up Sister Stein and oh man she is amazing! I love her so much! We finally set up an appointment with a lady we have been trying to get one with for a couple weeks now so that was good. Hopefully, it goes through this week! We had 2 really incredible lessons with Charlie this week. She is so ready to be baptized. I wish she didn't have to wait until she is 18 but it is okay. The Lord has a plan. We did find out that she is moving to Almere in 2 weeks. I am really sad about that. We will see if we will keep teaching her. I am not sure if it will be easier for us or the Elders in Almere(which is 15 minutes away) to teach her. I am going to miss her though. She wrote a letter to God this week and I loved how open she was. She has her struggles but she has found the light of the gospel and it truly is a blessing for me to see how happy the gospel has made her. While we were on the train to Schiphol this week, we met these awesome girls from Groningen! We had a great conversation about the gospel and they were asking good questions. We gave them our card and Sister Stein is in Groningen all the time so she told them to find her on facebook and they could meet up sometime!! It was awesome! I love how the Lord puts people in our path. We also met this guy on the train this week who saw all of our name tags and asked if we were Jehovah Witnesses and we told him that we weren't. He started asking all these questions and then took a picture of our card and sent it to his good friend. He said that his friend is super interested in all religions. I hope his friend calls us soon!! It was so cool. We also handed out a Book of Mormon to this shop owner in town. We then went by and gave him and his two friends a lesson this week. I hope we can go by soon! He is super cool! His friend was asking how he could become a missionary. It was awesome! We had a relief society activity this week and there were 3 non-members! They seemed to have a great time. Our biggest miracle of the week was a lesson we had with our investigator Maria! We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ and asked her if she would want to be baptized. She said that she wants to and wants to get a calendar so she can plan it out. She understands so much and asks incredible questions!! I love teaching her! She reminds me a lot of my Great-Grandma Barbara! It is really cool to teach her. We are taking a Baptismal Calendar to her tonight. The work is going really well here in Lelystad!! We have 2 baptismal dates and hopefully another tonight! We definitely need to find some new investigators but overall, life is good!!

I was really nervous for transfer calls this week. I had no clue what was going to happen but I felt a lot of peace. I know that I am where the Lord needs me and I am excited to see what this transfer has in store. My first 2 companions go home on Wednesday. I am pretty sad about that but it is okay. They are on to amazing things!!

I am learning so much of how I have to trust in the Lord because his plan is so much better than our own. We were not sent to earth to figure it out on our own. We were sent here to learn to listen to our Father in Heaven who truly knows what is best for us. I love this gospel and how much it has taught me!! We are going to see miracles in Lelystad this transfer!!

Het is de begin van iets nieuwe!!

Zuster Adams
Weird car we saw!