Thursday, January 7, 2010
December 14, 2009: MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING IN ZWOLLE!
Hello everyone! I hope that you had another wonderful week this Christmas season! Thank you so much for the e-mails, Mom, Dad, Brooke, and Heidi! I am so excited to read them! Brooke, your family Christmas picture and the picture of Carter are so adorable!!! Thanks for sending those! Í am so excited to be able to talk to you in less than two weeks! I forwarded the e-mail to you from president with the calling information-let me know if you received it. Can you believe that tomorrow is my 5 month mark?! Time is flying by! This was the most miraculous week ever! I am just going to jump right into telling you all that has happened. Last Monday night we had another lesson with Mike and he had read in the Book of Mormon and was really feeling good about things. He has had a hard life, full of war and difficulties, so he has a hard time understanding why God allows things like that to happen. But he is still anxious to find out if the church is true! We are going back to teach him tonight and we are going to extend the invitation to be baptized! Tuesday, Tineke invited us to her house to help her and her children decorate the Christmas tree. It was so much fun to be a part of that since I was able to help with the decorating at home. The Christmas spirit is so special! Wednesday we did a lot of service by helping Zr. Wallle clean up her backyard and by washing Willeke's windows. We also made a trip out to one of the members, Familie Ajubi, to have dinner and share a lesson. The members are so willing to help us and they are seeing miracles as well as they pray for and work for missionary experiences. Thursday, we made a trip to Groningen, about 1 1/2 hours north of Zwolle, to work with the sisters there for a day. One of them, Zuster Gulliver, has been sick for 7 days so we helped them get the work going there. I taught a young woman named Joanna with Zuster Ekstrom and she committed to being baptized! The spirit was so strong and it was such a tender mercy from the Lord to be able to help teach her. We stayed the night in Groningen and then left early to come back to Zwolle. Once we arrived back in Zwolle on Friday, we went to the big market in the city center to buy some fleece for our blanket making activity. We found a really good deal on the material and were able to purchase more than we were planning to with the budget that we had. We did some finding and then made some apple crisp for the activity. We took some time to make phone calls to remind people about the activity and we were just hoping and praying that people would show up. We rode our bikes to Nanda's to get a ride with her to the church and we were so excited to see that she was all ready to go, and still planning on going at all! Miraculously, 11 people showed up to our activity!!! That is unheard of for a RS activity in Zwolle with our branch of 50 people. We had a wonderful time and were able to get 5 blankets finished! Nanda was able to build up some relationships with the women in our branch and everyone really enjoyed it. We even had another new investigator, Ilse, show up for a few minutes just to see how it was going. I was so thankful and impressed by the members who did come because some of them had to travel 20-45 minutes to get there. After the activity, Nanda was excited to set up another appointment with us! Saturday we had set up an appointment to teach English lessons to an African man named Kevin and he committed to be baptized on January 2! He practically just fell into our lap because he just called us up one day and then at the beginning of our appointment he asked if he could be baptized! Zwolle is going to have their first baptism in about a year! Sunday, I had to give a talk in church!! We received a text from the first counselor in the Branch presidency on Tuesday night asking if we would be willing to speak. I was scared out of my mind because we hadn't had all of our personal study time through the week with going to Groningen and I just hadn't had much time to prepare. I prayed harder than I ever have in my life for the spirit and the gift of tongues and it was truly a miracle. After my first minute of my talk I didn't even look at my notes any more and my mouth was just openend. I was amazed and I could truly feel the spirit speaking through me. It was a very humbling experience. I talked about our baptismal covenants and I took up 15 minutes. I am so thankful for that opportunity because it helped my faith grow! Mehrdad, Willeke, and Kevin all showed up at church, as well as 2 inactive members! Yesterday afternoon we found 3 more investigators, a mom and her two sons! We will be meeting with them again on Wednesday! I love you so much and thank you for your prayers of faith! I pray for you too!Love, Zuster SHarp