Monday, March 29, 2010

Gettin' the work started in Groningen!

Hello! What a pleasant surprise to open my inbox and see so many e-mails! I know that it is going to be a fun night when I get back to my apartment at 9:30, make some tea, and snuggle up on my bed to read how everything is going at home! You are constantly in my prayers and I have felt the power of your prayers over the past week! This week has definitely been an emotional rollercoaster with all of the changes that have taken place. I think I just got a little to comfortable in Zwolle with Zuster Wieland for 5 months that this change has just about done me in...well, not really but it has really shaken things up! Saying goodbye to all of those Zwollenars was so hard and I miss them so much! My last day in Zwolle, last Tuedsay, was just the most amazing and hectic day ever. I had district meeting in Apeldoorn and then we visited Anita one last time. We were able to share the Joseph Smith story and testify really boldly, knowing that it would be the last time we would be able to teach her. Atleast I can say that I didn't leave without letting her know why I came to the Netherlands. We then had dinner at Tineke's house and that was just wonderful. A few of the branch members came over to say goodbye and it was such a bitter-sweet experience. And then, to end the night off, we had one last appointment with William. He is doing so amazing! He is so prepared for baptism and he is so excited. His Book of Mormon is all marked up and he is just glowing! I can't wait until I can see photos from the elders of his baptism. We stopped quickly by Nanda's on the way back to the apartment to say goodbye to her to. By the time we were back in the apartment I was drained and so ready to hit the hay...but I couldn't sleep! I just kept replaying all of the good times I have had in the blessed city of Zwolle. Luckily between Monday and Wednesday I was able to call all of the Branch members there and tell them I would be leaving and to tell them how much I love them. That is one of the things I have learned since I have been here...never pass up a chance to let someone know that you love them! Wednesday morning Zuster Wieland and I were up at 4:30 to get things packed up and cleaned up. By some miracle we were able to get 6 suitcases, a bike, and three large grocery bags to the station by 8:30! We left my suitcases in Zwolle at the station and headed with her stuff down to Utrecht so that she could go to Brussels and I could meet up with Zuster Stapleton. It was sad to say goodbye to Zuster Wieland but I know that she has to be so happy to be home with her family now. Zuster Stapleton and I headed back up to Zwolle, got my luggage and bike and hopped on the train right in be heading in the wrong direction back to Utrecht!!! Once we realized that we were on the wrong train we got off as soon as possible in a little city in the middle of no where. We had to wait a half an hour for the train going in the other direction and we ran to get on, but because of all of the things we had we missed the train again because the train stopped for only 30 seconds. We wanted to start crying! But we had a lot of laughs too! We waited another 30 minutes for the next train and luckily we made it to Groningen by 5:30 that night...what a joke! We had to just laugh about it all night that night because what should have been a 2 and 1/2 hour train ride turned into 6. Oh well! We have already seen so many miracles in the past couple of days and I am getting to know the members, area, and investigators. In the past 3 days we taught 11 other lessons and we had 7 people in sacrament meeting yesterday! Joanne is doing so well! She is set on being baptized on March 20. She is already so involved an active in the church. She is 22 and is studying music in Groningen. On Thursday night for institute she volunteered to make dinner for everyone beforehand. She played her violin during the instute lesson. She came to the missionary activity on Friday night when we showed the Joseph Smith movie. She brought her mother and 3 friends to church yesterday. She bore the most powerful testimony ever in fast and testimony meeting yesterday! She is converted and we have had two of the most amazing lessons with her since I have been here. I am learning from her example! It is so amazing to see just how much she has changed and how willing she is to follow Jesus Christ. We alreay have a great friendship and we love to laugh and talk together. I know that I will love Groningen so much and that I am here for a reason! Know that I love you so much! I have been a little homesick this week with all of the changes...but things are only going to get better! I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord 24 hours a day! I have never experienced so much joy in my life. Have a great week and know that I'm praying for you! Love ya! Love, Zuster Sharp

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