Monday, December 20, 2010

It was not quite the week I was planning on...this one has GOT to be better!

Monday, December 20, 2010
Hello Family! Time is ticking and getting closer and closer to Christmas...and that means that we get to talk to each other! I am so looking forward to hearing all of your voices and feeling the love! We have a pretty crazy Christmas day schedule so I was wondering if you want to call at 12:30 Utah time, 8:30 here. I am getting giddy just thinking about it! I look forward to it!
Well this week was a week like none other that I have experienced! It was pretty emotional from the minute that Zuster Pierson had it confirmed that she was going to be going home on Saturday. The members were really great and made sure that she had a really special week before going home. Our family home evening was fabulous with Familie Broekman and we really enjoyed the last little bit of our time together. Well, just before our last appointment together, I got hit hard with something! I had a sore throat, fever, ear pain; aches and chills and that put me in bed! I remained there the whole night on Thursday and was just praying that I would be ready to go on Friday to take Zuster Pierson to the station and pick up my greenie. Friday morning I was not feeling any better but I had no choice to stay home so me and Zuster Pierson headed out at 5:30 in the morning to be where we needed to be on time. There was a huge snow storm so getting around was almost impossible! After sending Zuster Pierson off at11:30, I just couldn't stand at the station any longer, so two of the Elders escorted me to Zuster Navarro's, the RS president here. She was so sweet and took such good care of me! I actually ended up lying on her couch until 9:00 that night because the greenies all got stranded in Brussels at the mission home because of the big storm. Zuster Garvin made it up to Den Haag from Rotterdam and stayed the night with me in my apartment. Saturday wasn't any better and I stayed in bed the whole day again. My greenie showed up at about 1:30and she is so sweet! I wasn't very chipper but tried to give her a warm welcome! Her name is Zuster Hill and she is from Portland, Oregon. I really love her!!! The Elders gave me a blessing and I was really grateful for that. Poor Zuster Hill stayed in the whole day but I just felt so guilty about it so I arranged that she would get picked up by Familie Peschier that night to go to the baptism and I would go and stay with Familie Navarro again. Members were so good and we got showered with everything I could possibly need to get feeling better. On Sunday I got up and took a shower but just had no strength to get ready and make it to we spent another whole day inside! Concetta and Jessie, two of the Jovos here, showed up at 4:30 and went on splits with Zuster Hill so that she could do something. I was finally able to eat something last night, a little bowl of chicken broth and a half of a banana. I still haven't eaten or had anything to drink today. I actually stepped on the scale this morning and saw that I've lost 9 pounds in the last 4 days. I think that I really am getting better though and now I am just working on getting my strength back. I just wanted you so bad Mom! I am just so thankful for prayer and that Heavenly Father was always close by me. I think that physically and emotionally I was just worn out! I think that Zuster Pierson going home really played a bigger role on me than I had imagined. But I am excited to start a new week, especially the week of Christmas, and have it go better! I feel really blessed and I am so thankful for all of your prayers and the prayers of the members here. You don't ever have to worry about me because they take such good care of me!
So I have no information about the work here...we weren't able to do any! I will keep you posted on the investigators next week!
I wish you all the Merriest Christmas ever! I can't wait to talk to you! I love you so much!
Love, Zuster Sharp

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 13, 2010
Hey Family! I hope that you have had a great week and are enjoying the countdown until Christmas! I received e-mails from you except I don't think that the one got sent from your iPad Mom. I didn't get too many details about Grandma and Grandpa but enough to know that they aren't doing too well. They are in my prayers as well as all of you. It's hard to know that you have all had a rocky week but I hope that this week is better. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of all of us and that brings so much peace.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD (on the 15th)! I hope that you have a special day and get to do something memorable together!
This week has been quite an emotional one...kind of a roller coaster! There have been both the ups and the downs but overall I am thankful for all that has taken place. The Zone Conference and Christmas Concert were absolutely fabulous! We had about 200 guests(members and nonmembers) show up for the concert and the spirit of Christmas was so strong! It was a lot of fun to come together as missionaries and, through singing, bear testimony of the Savior. The Brubakers made the day really special by providing us with a Brubaker tradition fondue lunch. It was delicious! The whole day was one that I will never forget!
On Saturday we actually found out that Zuster Pierson will be leaving her mission this Friday due to health problems. I could just cry! It's been quite emotional over the past couple of days but she really feels like it is what Heavenly Father wants, although it is not what she would want. It's hard to know that she is going home when I should be and I am staying. But I am thankful that I chose to stay a couple more transfers because if I didn't they would have to close one of the sister cities. So with transfers this week I am almost positive that I will be staying in Den Haag a 5th transfer (Wahoo!) and President let me know at the Zone Conference that I will be getting a greenie and training again. President will be calling tonight about transfers so I will know for sure but I think I will be in Den Haag for Christmas...that's a blessing! It's a little bittersweet! I am definitely excited to be training but I just wish that Zuster Pierson wasn't ending this transfer the way she will be. I am just so thankful that we have been able to serve together for the past 4 1/2months and I really look forward to ending this transfer with a bang with her!
Investigators and members are doing great! Suleyka is still praying about tithing but tea is no more a problem. Florence came to the centrum again and she is now an official investigator. We had 2 lessons with her and she is reading in the Book of Mormon! She is really doing great! And Mary is also doing well, and Cevesta, and Eric. We are just really being blessed! We have had a lot of great Christmas-based lessons with the members this past week but I am pretty sure that tonight will be my favorite! We are going to Familie Broekman's tonight and we are going to act the nativity out with them and make sugar cookies! A Sharp family special taking place here in the Netherlands! Zuster Pierson spent all of last night gathering things for the costumes and I think it will be a hit! I will take lots of pictures so that you can see how it goes. And the member chain is going great! Yesterday at church many members shared their experiences with us of the miracles they have seen happen since they began doing the chain. It is really uniting us!
Thank you so much for your prayers in behalf of OUR investigators! I love you so much and I hope that you have a great Christmas filled week! You are always in my thoughts and prayers!
Love, Zuster Sharp

It'll be a white Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010
Hello Family! How are you doing?! I hope that you are enjoying every moment of this Christmas season! We have sure got the Christmas weather here in the Netherlands! We got hit with quite a bit of snow this past week and have experienced a couple days of extreme cold weather but my heart is warm with the joy of the reason of the season...Jesus Christ!
I just want to apologize now for not being so good at letter writing as I would like to be! We haven't had a normal preparation day for the past month with the church move and preparing for the missionary Christmas concert we will be putting on this week and so I have been so behind on replying to your love and motivation filled letters! I just want you to know that I appreciate them and I will be sending a letter back as soon as possible. Just know that I am thinking of you and praying for you and that you will get a letter soon!
We have seen so many miracles this week! We were asked by the Relief Society President to come up with some kind of Christmas/missionary activity for the ward to do during the month of December and present yesterday at church. Knowing that members are very busy, especially in December, we wanted to come up with something that was achievable but also motivating. After much prayer and consideration we decided to do a Christmas countdown chain (a little tacky, I know!). We spent most of the day on Saturday making 100 chains for every household in the ward. On each chain link there is a small assignment with a relating scripture (ex:read the Christmas story in the Bible, Luke 2,etc.). Some of the assignments are a little more difficult than others, such as giving a Book of Mormon away as a Christmas gift, but will really encourage missionary miracles to happen. As we passed the chains out yesterday, the members were so excited and really committed to do it! I can't wait to be able to see the small results that come from all of the members doing these small and simple things...because they are the things that produce great miracles!
We lost contact with Suleyka most of the week and we were really worried about her. After fasting with her last week we thought things were going really well but then we couldn't reach her. We were just devastated! Last night we had a little extra time so we texted her to ask if we could drop by. She explained in her text back that she would love it if we would come and that she was sorry for the lost contact throughout the week....she was out of town visiting her aunt and her phone had died and she didn't have her charger with her. We couldn't have been more relieved! We went by and it was the most amazing appointment! She has changed so much. She explained different situations she had throughout last week with prayer and reading and then she dropped the best surprise on us of all..."I really would like to be baptized. Do you feel like I am ready?" We were speechless! An overwhelming feeling of love flooded over me and Zuster Pierson and we both felt like we received a small glimpse of the love Heavenly Father has for her. We assured her that she is ready. She still has a few concerns with tithing and tea...she's not unwilling to pay tithing but she just needs the faith to do it. We are going to take her some tea tonight that she can drink and we are going to pray and decide with her if she will be baptized on the 18thor 30th of December. It is so exciting and such a blessing! Thanks for your prayers in her behalf!
We also are teaching Florence and Eric now, two amazing and promising investigators! Florence is the niece of Isatu, one of the members that was baptized in June. She just moved here to live with Isatu and when we were there last week teaching Isatu and her children we invited Florence, who is now 17, to come to the JOVO Centrum with us. She agreed! She came on Thursday night and loved it and asked if she could attend every Monday and Thursday! Of course! She also came to church yesterday and she is just the cutest thing ever! We feel really good about her, especially because she is in the perfect environment right now to learn about the Restored Gospel. Eric is a 50 year old man that we met a couple of weeks ago and we taught for the first time yesterday. He accepted a baptismal date for the 30thof December! We had an amazing joint-teach with us and he is really what I would call "Golden". Mary and Cevesta and Rose are also doing well. Thanks for your faith and prayers for all of them!
I want you to know that I love you and I am so excited to talk to you in 20 days! It's a little harder than I thought, knowing that I could be going home in a week and a half but I have faith and trust in the Lord and I absolutely love the work! God lives, Christ is His son, and this is His gospel! I love you!
Love, Zuster Sharp