Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday, September 21: I am in the Netherlands!

Hello! How are you all doing? I got Brooke's letter this morning and I think there might be a little mix-up in the e-mail that you received from the President because I am actually in Zwolle in the Netherlands. I am pretty sure that Charlleoi is in France so I don't know how that happened but my companions and I had a pretty good laugh about it! Anyway, just in case you got the wrong apartment address mine is:Rommestraat 798015 AS ZwolleNetherlandsAnything sent to the mission office I won't get until interviews in three weeks but if you send it to the address above I should get it right away. Enough of the technical stuff...It was so great to be able to talk to you all on Monday and I just love you all so much! The 7 1/2 hour flight over here wasn't to bad but I was ready to get off the plane when we arrived. I am sure you saw how beautiful I looked after all of that...horrible! We spent the day with the Mission President and his wife (they are amazing!) which included showering, filling out papers, visiting the dedicated mission site, eating dinner in the big square in Belgium, and opening our call letters! It was awesome! I was the last to open my call letter and I was so nervous but so excited too! I had not a clue where Zwolle was or what my companions, Zuster Baxter and Zuster Erickson, would be like but I was up for finding out. The next morning I had to take a five hour train to actually get here and I was quite motion sick but everything was good. From the second I met Zuster Baxter and Zuster Erickson I just fell in love with them and Zwolle and I am so happy here! The Netherlands is such a beautiful place and the people are amazing! The first day we went directly to a dinner apointment with Familie Knarren and had some traditional Dutch fast food-fries, sausage, and this other deep fried thing(they told me that I don't want to know what is in it). After dinner we did a short lesson for them and I told the 1st vision in Dutch. It was scary but they are such a nice family that they made me feel like I said it absolutely flawlessly. I really already love the people here so much! We then went to a teaching appointment with a man named Metska and taught him about prophets and apostles. I couldn't understand a lot of what he was saying but I did say the prayer at the end of the lesson. It was so great to participate so much in the lessons because it helped me get over my fear of speaking the language right at the great! Thursday morning we had our usual studies and then went to teach a woman named Willeka. On the way there I fell off of my surprise...and pushed the bike pedal in just a bit. I don't think that my companions realized at that moment that me falling off of my bike would be a normal occurence so they tried not to laugh but I think they have figured it out by now and we just have a great time cracking up everytime I fall over! I don't know if I am ever going to get the bike riding down! But I do love riding bikes all over. It is so refreshing and so much fun! Thursday night, after a few more appointments we took a 45 minute bus ride out to a small little town, so picturesque, and at Indonesian food with a little old widow who is a member. She was so sweet! Friday we did our first consecrated hour of tracting and it went so well! I learned quickly when contacting at the door not to ask people how they are doing...they think you are weird and they are very private! We actually met a woman from Iran and she let us come in and sing for her but we couldn't teach her anymore because she is Muslim and her learning more about the gospel could put her life in danger-sad! That night we followed up on a contact we had received with a 35 year old Pakistani man and he made us some Pakistanian food. Lots of dinner appointments! He was so amazing and we gave him a Book of Mormon and he committed to come to church! I was so excited! After that appointment, we went and taught a young woman named Sairah who is already a member but is trying to stop smoking. The Spirit was so strong and the joy of the Atonement was felt by her and us. She made a plan for quitting smoking and I think she is going to make great progress! Saturday we had our first correlation meeting with Brother Ajubi, the ward mission leader. I suggested having a fireside for investigators and new members about the temple and we are really looking into it (thanks Bro. Bond!). After we went to his home and made some delicious Nigerian food with his family! They are amazing members and willing to do all they can to help with missionary work! Church on Sunday was so great! There is only a small Branch of 40 members here but they are so strong! Mehrdad came to church and he loved it! He said that he read quite a bit in the Book of Mormon so on Tuesday we are going back to teach him more! Definitely a miracle! In Sacrament Meeting I had to stand and introduce myself and bear my testimony! It went pretty well! We had dinner with Familie Spijkerman and they said they want us to start teaching their 14 year old son who is mentally handicapped and hasn't been baptized yet! I am really excited for that because I will be able to use a lot of the teaching skills I learned at school for that. I think that I am going to start playing the piano in church every week too! It is so great to serve! Last night we went and taught an old goat farmer about the plan of salvation. I think he was a little overwhelmed but it went well. It has been a busy week and I have been a little homesick, just being in a new place, but it feels so right being here and I just love the joy that the gospel brings! I love you all so much and I thank you for your prayers and support! Kris, I know now what you meant when you said that you had to put pictures of the nieces and nephews away on your too! I have never felt so right in a place than I do now! The work is moving forth and I am seeing miracles every day! I love you and pray for you always! FAMILIES ARE FOREVER!Love,Zuster Lauren Sharp

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