Monday, March 7, 2011

I can count on two hands how many days I have left in the Netherlands...WOW!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011
Dear Family,
I don't know why but I had extra excitement today to read your e-mails! You sound so good and your words were so touching! Usually I don't but today I had to quickly scan through each e-mail that I received just to know how you are doing. Thank you so much for all of the time you give to write. It means everything to me!
So, it has been a fabulous week and I don't even know where to begin! I feel like every wish that I have ever had on my mission is coming true! On Monday after we got finished with our normal p-day activities we got a call from Zuster Navarro and she asked us if we could come and help her move a couple of shelves in her home. That was a miracle! We always want to serve people but nobody dares to ask so when she called I couldn't have been happier! We were able to help for a little while before we went to our dinner appointment with Familie Bidjai. We had a wonderful evening there and then finished off the night with Familie Navarro and Felicia doing a FHE. The lesson went so good! We taught about the Holy Ghost and Felicia gave all of her attention. At the end of the lesson she just asked question after question about the church and baptism and what she needs to do to be baptized and why she needs to be baptized. It was so cool! Sadly enough, she is actually moving tomorrow to an actual center for foster children. She and Angelica went to a fireside with the youth in Amsterdam on Friday and church yesterday. I don't know if we will see her again but I hope that she will remember how she felt and especially that she is a child of our Heavenly Father, he loves her, and she can always go to him in prayer. I love her and will continue to pray for her!
On Wednesday we were able to fast with Victoria, Brother Scherf and Silvester in behalf of Silvester. We had an appointment with him that night and he said that he knows now that he needs to be he has got to pick a date! We were able to brake our fast together and that was a very spiritual experience. I hope that this week we can firm up a date with him. I have come to recognize that some people just need more time than others but the salvation of a soul is worth the wait and the patience!
On Saturday we had our first appointment with Anita at Familie Scherf's and it was so good! She is the sweetest girl ever and her desire to really have a testimony of her own is so strong. Marije and Rachelle were at the lesson as well. Marije is one of the young women and Rachelle is one of the leaders. I am so thankful for their help with the lesson. They really brought the spirit with their testimonies and personal experiences! Anita is from Rotterdam so the missionaries in Rotterdam are actually going to go and visit her mom within the next week. Her parents gave permission for her to be baptized so we are thinking about April 9. We will continue to teach her every time that she is here in Den Haag, so for sure every Sunday.
She is super active in the ward already. She also went to the fireside on Friday and to church on Sunday. Every first Sunday the young women are with the Relief Society for opening exercises and Anita gave the thought during opening exercises. She told about how she wants to be baptized and why. Her testimony was so amazing! On Saturday after the lesson we baked cookies with Familie Scherf and Anita because they wanted to learn how. It was a lot of fun! I wasn't able to make cookies yesterday because it was fast Sunday but I am thinking about doing it for this next week...the only problem is that it is Stake Conference so that would mean 1000...don't panic! I don't really think I am going to do it!
Yesterday I had one of my first of many farewell dinners. The members and investigators are so nice! I think this week will be full of emotions but I think it will be great as well! I am looking forward to seeing many more miracles!
I love you so much and I too can't wait to give you a great big hug in just a week and a half! The church is true! The Lord loves us!
Love, Zuster Sharp

Monday, February 28, 2011


Monday, February 28, 2011
Dear Family!
I am so happy right now! It is like I have the best of both worlds! The work here is going great and I am so happy about that and then I am so excited to think about seeing all of you soon! I can't wait! Heavenly Father seems to be pouring out many blessings right now and I am so thankful!
Thank you so much for your e-mails! I have to admit...Over the past couple of weeks I have become the worst letter writer ever! My p-days have been a little busy and I just want to give all of my time to serving so I hope that you know that I love you and I am thankful for your letters even if you don't get one in return. I figure by this time I might see you before a letter gets to you!
Dad, I want to put your questions as first priority so here it goes! I am so thankful and excited about the plans that are going down. I just get giddy thinking about being here with you! I think that it would be best to fly in and out of Amsterdam. It is pretty central in the Netherlands and especially to Den Haag, Zwolle, and Groningen. I would love to stay a couple of days in each city if that is at all possible. It's so hard to say...but if we did two days in Zwolle, two in Groningen, four in Den Haag, and then a couple of other free days...maybe 10 to 14 days? But I don't know what you are thinking. 2 weeks would give us a good amount of time to make our way around. But we could also stay up to a month or two...just kidding!
Well, we have seen a countless number of miracles this week! We found 3 super positive new investigators and they are all under the age of 16! I love them so much! I am so thankful that I am finally back to full health and that I was able to work a whole week! It is such a blessing! I had such a wonderful week. I feel like Heavenly Father is blessing Zuster Jeffs and I so much! We got two new investigators on Monday night. Their names are Felicia and Angelica. They are both foster children and Felicia just moved in with Familie Navarro, an active family in the ward. The family invited us to do a FHE with them last Monday and it was so good! We just started out simple with the girls because they are 14 and 16. We did a lesson on prayer and they were so interactive during the lesson. We also baked cookies with them afterwards and they loved that. They came to church last week and Angelica came to church yesterday. We will be going again tonight to do a FHE with them again. I feel like they are just in the best situation to learn about the Restoration. And it turns out that their biological father lives in America and he is a member too!
Our other new investigator is a 14 year old young woman named Anita. She came to the church for the first time a couple of months ago with her grandpa who is the only member in her family. She has been coming consecutively for the past couple of weeks and is really being accepted by the ward and especially the young women. Yesterday we went to a members for lunch and Anita was there. She came up to Zuster Jeffs and I and said, „I really want to get baptized. What do I need to do in order to do that?“We were so excited! We explained the process to her and set up our first appointment to teach her this Saturday at the member’s home. Her parents know about her desire and are very supportive. So cool! We'll be setting a baptismal date on Saturday!
We have decided to give Suleyka a little time to decide what she wants to do. We had a couple of appointments with her this week but she is just not making progress and we feeling like we are just having to pull her along. It is hard to give someone back to the Lord but I know He will make sure that when the time is right, things will work out.
On Tuesday we went to the doctor’s appointment...and I am totally normal! He did say that my iron was a little low but nothing he is worried about. This week I have been feeling a lot better and I contribute that to your prayers. Thank you so much! The doctor just told me that I demand too much of myself and I need to take it easier. Zuster Jeffs started to laugh and said, "Zuster Sharp that is the 50th time you've heard that from 50 different people. Are you finally going to listen?!" I am trying to listen. I am really trying!
Tuesday evening we made dinner for Jolanda and Jeroen to thank them for everything they do for us! We made a rockin’ raspberry bread pudding...I can't wait to make it for you in a couple of weeks! We also had a lesson with Brigitte and she gave me the most amazing African skirt as a going away gift. It is awesome!
The consecrated hour project is going so well! So far we have contacted 350 people, found 10 potential investigators, and 3 new investigators. The faith of the members is working miracles! The ward is fired up about it!
We had a Zone Training on Thursday! I love being with all of the missionaries. It was sad to know that that was my last. I had to give my departing testimony. It was a great opportunity to stand and bear my testimony.
On Friday we had lessons with Silvester and Mary. Silvester is really struggling to make a decision so we are going to fast with him and Victoria and brother Scherf on Wednesday. I hope that he will have a strong confirmation of the truthfulness of these things. Mary is doing about the same. She came to church yesterday!
You might think I am crazy but I couldn't pass up the chance to bake 300 cookies this week for the members after church! I was a little smarter about it and I started on Saturday instead of Sunday. They ended up being a hit again! I also gave a sort of "farewell” talk in church and it was wonderful to be able to express my testimony, love, and gratitude to these wonderful people!
I am so looking forward to this coming week! I hope that you know that I love you! I know the Savior lives and I love Him!
Love, Laur

Monday, February 21, 2011


Monday, February 21, 2011
Hello Family!
Thank you so much for your e-mails and your prayers in my behalf! You won't believe it but...I was sick another 3 days this week! WHAT?! I know, I was wondering the same thing! But I am now feeling better and even though I was sick we were still able to do so much work and see much success! The Lord poured out his blessings upon us!
By the way, thank you so much for the Valentine's package and cards! LOVED IT! The headband and necklace and earrings are adorable and the chocolate was delish! And your words of love and care meant the world to me. Thanks for always being so thoughtful and taking the time to do little things that just brighten my day! I hope that you had a very special Valentine's Day. We were able to go to the home of a recently divorced mother member and make dinner for her and her 1 year old son. Afterwards we went to Penninah's Bible Study and it was so cool! We sang some awesome African hymns and we had such a wonderful discussion with her and other church members about the Bible. On Thursday we went back and shared a first lesson with Penninah. It was a wonderful teaching situation because she was open to sharing her beliefs and we were open to sharing ours. Although she didn't agree immediately with what we believe in, she committed to pray about the things that we shared. It was so great to bear testimony. And then, she came to church yesterday! We were so excited to have her there. The members did so well at making her feel welcome and building up friendships with her. I believe that all of these small things will have a great impact in her life! I am excited to have another appointment with her this week and continue to share with her the message of the Restored Gospel.
Anyway, back to the beginning of the week a bit. On Tuesday we went to District Meeting in Leiden and on the way back I started to feel really crumby again. I couldn't believe it! But I pushed through and we went to our appointment with Gida with Victoria as our joint-teach. Gida ended up not being home and I think that was a blessing because by that time I was ready to lie down. We went back to our apartment and I crashed and didn't wake up until 5:30! I couldn't believe that I had slept that long but my body needed it. We rushed to our dinner appointment with Familie Peschier and made it through dinner but I was done after that. I slept through the night and tried to get up and start working the next day but I just didn't feel good. The Elders came and gave me a blessing and Sister Brubaker was updated on everything. She wanted me to set up an appointment with a doctor to get checked out because this was the third time that I was sick. Jolanda gave me a recommendation for a doctor and I called up and tried to get an appointment but because I have no Dutch insurance they wouldn't let me. I didn't really want to go to the doctor anyway because I feel like the reason I keep getting sick is not because there is something wrong with me but because my body is just tired! Anyway, by that time it was already 5:00 so it was too late to get a hold of another doctor. Luckily Zuster Jeffs was able to go to a couple of appointments with Victoria and another member, Carla van der Walt, came and stayed with me. The members do so much! On Wednesday night a new senior couple, the Evertons, who had just arrived the day before, came to visit and check on me. Sister Everton is a registered nurse and the sweetest lady ever! They brought beautiful tulips and chicken soup and just brightened our day. The next morning I was debating over whether or not I should try to get another appointment with another doctor. I prayed and told Heavenly Father that only if he arranged it I would go...I am so stubborn! A few minutes later we got a voicemail from Victoria and she told me that I had an appointment with a doctor the next day at 9:15. I couldn't believe it! Heavenly Father really made an appointment for me! I was able to work most of the day on Thursday. We had an appointment with Suleyka and things are going well with her. Friday I went to the doctor with Zuster Jeffs and the Evertons. The doctor couldn't find anything wrong but he sent me to the hospital to get blood drawn. I should find out the results tomorrow morning. I don't think that there is anything wrong...just keep praying for me! By Friday afternoon, after another appointment with Suleyka, I was worn out. We stopped at Zuster Navarro's to drop something off and I crashed again for 2 hours. What is going on with me! I get so embarrassed sometimes but I just have to laugh about it! Saturday we had a busy and full day and found lots of potential investigators! When we got home Saturday evening I got an itch to bake...and between Saturday evening and starting at 3:00 Sunday morning I was able to bake 250 cookies to share with the ward members after church again...CRAZY but so much fun! I love being able to do things like that every once in a while!
AHHH...I am out of time! I am feeling better now! I love this work and I am so excited for all that is taking place! I am also excited to see you in 3 weeks! I love you so much! I love Zuster Jeffs asked about her! She is the most amazing companion ever! and of course, I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! Have a great week!
Love, Laur

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011
Dear Family,
Oh, how I love you! I hope that you have a fabulous Valentine's Day and that you get to do something special to show the ones that you care about that you love them. Just know that I love you so much and I am so thankful for all that you do for me out of love! Jordan and Kristin, thanks so much for the cute little package! I loved everything and that was such a pleasant surprise, especially when I was sick! Brandt and Kelly, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so excited for baby number 4...and even more so because I know that I will be home for the delivery! YAY! Britt and Marianne, thanks so much for the e-mail and the cute picture with the chocolate it! Car, thanks for the pic of the, it is getting short! I am excited too :) And thank you all for the wonderful made my Valentine's Day extra special!
Well, I was sick for a little longer than I had expected! It was just about the same as last time! I wasn't able to work a full day until Friday so the week didn't quite go as planned but I learned a lot (hopefully I finally learned my lesson from being sick...I don't want it to happen a third time)! But the members helped us so much again and I just can't thank them enough. On Monday night we were supposed to make dinner for Jolanda and Jeroen because it was Jolanda's birthday but because I was sick they actually came and picked us up, made dinner for Zuster Jeffs while I slept on their couch, and then brought us back home. On Tuesday I stayed with Zuster Navarro while Zuster Jeffs went with the Elders to Leiden for a District Meeting. I had high hopes that when she got back I would feel well enough to go to all of our appointments that day but it was quite the opposite. We ended up staying at the Navarro's until 8 that night. Then when we left to catch the tram to get back home I started to feel really weak and woozy, so we went back in and waited until Zuster Peschier could come with her car to give us a ride back. It was so sweet of her! By Wednesday I had enough strength to go out to two appointments but that did me in. On Thursday I did a little more and by Friday I was able to do a whole day! I was just about going crazy lying in bed for those couple of days so I am so thankful that I can finally work again! Thanks for all of your prayers in my behalf!
Despite being sick the whole week, we have seen quite the miracles! We found a new investigator, Gida, and she is amazing! She is from Angola and she has 3 little children and a husband. We have already taught her twice and we are going again tomorrow! We can hardly wait. She has such a sincere desire and hunger to know that truth. I really think that she will progress. We also had an appointment with Silvester and he told us that he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet who restored the church and that the Book of Mormon is true! I am so thankful that he was looking down at his Book of Mormon when he said that because I think I would have scared him with the look of excitement on my face. My jaw dropped and I was speechless! He knows the truth! Now he is praying to know if he should be baptized on March 5th! WAHOO!!! We didn't get to teach SuleĆ½ka's boyfriend because I was sick but that will hopefully happen this week.
Yesterday was pretty much one of the best days of my whole mission! We went to church and Mary and Suleyka attended as well. Afterwards we had lunch with Familie Gaster, the cutest little Dutch elderly couple in the world. Then we went to do a consecrated hour in the Lobelialaan, a street that Zuster Akkerman had chosen for our ward project. It was amazing! We knocked on a door and a young woman from Rowanda answered. She welcomed us right in and we had a most amazing 40 minute conversation about faith. The Spirit was so strong and there was a very immediate and special bond between us. We tried to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon with her but she was a little hesitant about it and asked if we wouldn't mind sharing one from the Bible instead. We were a tleast able to explain what the Book of Mormon is and what it means to us and then show her that we also believe in the Bible. At the end she invited us to come to a Bible study that she and her friends from her church have every week. We are going tonight and we are so excited! I know that Heavenly Father will bless us to know how we can share the message of the restored gospel in this situation! After our consecrated hour we went to dinner with the Elders at Jolanda and Jeroen's. We then finished the night with a sisters fireside at Familie Navarro's for all sister investigators and new members. Zuster Jeffs and I were in charge of the fireside and minutes before we still didn't really know what we were going to do but felt like we had done our best to prepare the whole week. The Spirit surely stepped in to help us and it was one of the sweetest experiences that I have ever had! It was one of those moments you never want to end! I loved it!
I am out of time! I love you and hope you can feel my excitement! The church is true!
Love, Zuster Sharp

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ik heb mijn toetje gekregen!=My dessert has been served!

Monday, February 7, 2011
Dear Family!
How are you doing?! Time is just flying by! I am almost already a week into my last transfer and it's just going faster and faster every second! I LOVE MY NEW COMPANION!!! Her name is Zuster Jeffs and she is from Arizona! She is my little blessing sent straight from Heavenly Father to make my last 6 weeks the best ever! I picked her up on Wednesday at the train station and we just clicked from the moment that we met. It is like a breath of fresh air! She loves to be obedient and she loves the Netherlands and she loves the people and she loves missionary work...and I love her! We have been workin’ our little hearts out since the minute she got here and we have seen so many miracles! She can already speak amazing Dutch and we are teaching as a team. I know that she will be so prepared in 6 weeks to take over Den Haag and I put my full confidence and trust in her!
Well, on the down side, I have been hit with the flu again! I feel like I am reliving what happened 6 weeks ago when Zuster Hill arrived and I just can't believe it! On Friday and Saturday I started to not feel really well-really weak and shaky. Then yesterday morning I woke up quite nauseated and with a fever but I didn't want Zuster Jeffs to miss her first Sunday like Zuster Hill did so I just pushed through. I made it through RS and then I taught the lesson for sharing time in the second hour but by the time Sacrament Meeting was starting I was done. We stayed for the sacrament and then we snuck out and went backto our apartment. I climbed into bed and didn't come out for the rest of the night. We had a couple of appointments that we had to cancel but there was one dinner appointment with an inactive family that I didn't want to call off because it was our first one with this family and we really feel good about working with them. I began to say a prayer in my heart that we would be able to find some members to help us out if that was the will of the Lord. I texted one of the Jovo's and asked her if she had time to go to the appointment with Zuster Jeffs and she replied quickly with a resounding yes. I then texted Jolanda and asked if she could stay with me and she also quickly responded. I am so thankful for the willingness of the members here! Zuster Jeffs said that the appointment went really well! Since today is just our p-day I stayed in bed until 7, took a shower, and then climbed back into bed. Zuster Brubaker just wants me to take it easy today, and that is exactly what I am going to do. She counseled us to stay in tonight, which is hard, but if it will give me the energy I need for the rest of the week then it is worth it! Keep me in your prayers that I won't be in bed for 5 days like last time!
Like I said, with Zuster Jeffs, miracles are taking place! We started the member consecrated finding activity on Tuesday, the first of February, and it is AMAZING! We have already found 2 new investigators during our hours and we have many potential investigators! I feel like Heavenly Father is just opening the windows of heaven and pouring blessings out! I am so thankful for the faith and the prayers of the members. We keep receiving more and more cards in the mail...I think we have about 45 now and I think they'll just keep coming! Our investigators are doing okay. Silvester ended up cancelling our appointment this week because of work which was a bummer! Suleyka came to the JOVO Centrum on Thursday with her boyfriend and another friend. She is doing some awesome missionary work! Her boyfriend came up to us at the end and said that he wants to receive the lessons from us. MIRACLE! We are going to teach him at Suleyka's on Tuesday night. We also taught Mary on Friday with Shaila and she came to church on Sunday. We are being extremely blessed!
I hope that you are doing well and feel the love of the Savior as you go throughout your week! I love you so much! I love this work! I am so thankful for this extra time that I get to serve! I feel like there are some trials that are coming up (being sick) that I wasn't expecting, but that is always a time to grow and come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Thanks for everything!
Love, Zuster Sharp

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Lord is so merciful!

Monday, January 31, 2011
Dear Family,
I received a call from President Brubaker last night and found out that I am staying in Den Haag for my last transfer!!! WAHOO!!! I was so nervous about transfers because I have already been here so long and I was so relieved when I found out that my time on my mission will end here. I was quite shocked when President asked me to train again too! Actually, the past couple of days I had a lot of thoughts that I might be training again, and as I was talking to President it became clear that this is what Heavenly Father really wants. President said that he has had very distinct impressions over the past two days that I need to train this sister. He then expressed to me that he and the Lord have complete and full confidence that I can do it. It was a very humbling experience. I am up for the challenge! Zuster Hill has been the best thing for me over the past 6 weeks to keep me working and doing my best because I wanted to make the beginning of her mission the very best for her. I know that the new sister who will be coming on Wednesday will do the same. I am excited to see what the next 6 weeks will bring!
Silvester came to church yesterday!!!! That was the greatest miracle of the whole week! Since we started teaching him back in October we have been trying to get him to church and he just kept finding reasons not to come. On Saturday night I sent him a text, like I do every week, to remind him once again (in case he forgot) that church begins at 10:00 and he is ALWAYS welcome to come. He replied and said that he was coming! I was jumping up and down and Zuster Hill couldn't figure out what had gotten into me! Once she found out, she gave the same reaction. We actually went to his house Sunday morning and rode with him to church. He loved it! I really think that he is getting closer and closer to baptism! Suleyka is doing okay...still really finding it difficult to put the gospel as one of her top priorities. But it will come! A couple other highlights of the week include a consecrated hour where we taught 6 lessons (that never happens...but it did this week), making dinner for Familie Nwankor (an inactive family), and receiving lots and lots of cards from the members for the consecrated hour project. We are starting that this week!
I just want you to know that I love you and that I know this gospel is true. Have a great week. I love you!
Love, Laur

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Count your many blessings!

Monday, January 24, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
How are you doing?! From skimming over your e-mails before printing them I can tell that you have had a great time in Oregon! I am so happy that you have been able to spend some good quality time with Grandma and the other Oregonians! I am praying that you will have a safe trip home and a wonderful week!
Things here are going great! We got all of our cards sent out for the consecrated hour activity (we sent 100 of them) and it is already producing so much enthusiasm about missionary work! Yesterday at church everyone was talking about it and it was actually mentioned in every lesson and talk given! The members can't wait to see the miracles that come from it and we can't wait either! We still are struggling with our investigators and we just can't seem to find any new ones. We are hoping that this activity is the key to really getting a big boost. No matter what happens, I know that Heavenly Father is aware of the efforts the members and we are making to spread the gospel and that all things are in his hands!
I love you so much and I hope that you have a great week! You are always in my prayers! Tell the fam I say hello!
Love, Laur