September Mission Leaders Council was held on September 19, 2014. We had some new members. It has been a busy week with transfers and it was great to end transfer week with our Mission Leaders Council.
These pictures are taken during the Council section of the meeting.
September 17 and 18, 2014 we had the opportunity to say goodbye to six of our best missionaries. We always send the best home. It is hard to see them leave the mission after they have been so dedicated and have grown so much in not only their ability to be great missionaries, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their own personal conversion. We love and miss each of you.
After a wonderful dinner in the backyard of the Mission Home, we had a heartfelt testimony meeting and enjoyed the Spirit testify of the truths shared by missionaries and parents.
Each year we ask parents and friends of our
missionaries to ship Christmas packages early to ensure they are here by
We are asking parents and friends to please
send all Christmas packages to the Mission Office and are asking that packages arrive
on or before December 1.This insures
that your missionary will get the package for Christmas without problems. Please address the package as below and also
mark on the outside of the box“Christmas Package”.
(Your Missionary’s Name)
have had many inquires as to why we request you to send ALL packages to the
Mission Office and not directly to the missionary.Your missionary is out of the door every
morning by 11:00 am.Many times they do
not return until 9:00 or 9:30 pm. There is usually no one at home to receive
and sign for the package.Here in the
Netherlands and Belgium, they do not usually leave packages on the doorstep or with a
neighbor as they do in the USA.The
packages are taken back to the postal and a second attempt may or may not occur.
When the missionary receives notice that a package is at postal, it requires
the missionary to go to the postal to pick up the package and usually not on a
P-Day. Many times it is necessary to pick the package up before the next P-Day,
which requires your missionary and companion to use the Lord’s time to do a
personal errand for one missionary.Travel
to the postal and back to the apartment may be out of the way from the area
they are working. Another problem is how to get the packages home on their
bikes, many times they have to walk and use mass transit, which is an added
expense.Another issue is if a package
is sent to an apartment and your missionary is transferred, the package may
arrive after the missionary has left the area.If this is the case, your missionary may or may not get their package in
time for Christmas. When you times this
by 150 missionaries, it is obvious the problems it creates in the mission and
the amount of time it takes from the missionary work which is why your
missionary is here serving.
sending packages to the Mission Office there is someone here to sign for the
package and if necessary, and we can track missing packages.By sending packages to the Mission Office we
can also monitor that ALL missionaries will be receiving Christmas
Packages.We deliver the packages to our
missionaries at our Christmas Zone Conference, which is after transfers in December.Another issue we have at Christmas—there are
some missionaries that receive 7-10 packages from family and friends.Please be mindful--some missionaries receive
nothing from home, but do receive a small package from the mission for
Christmas.It is very disheartening when
two missionaries are companions under such conditions.Also, if a missionary receives all these
packages at the Christmas Zone Conference, it is impossible for him or her to
transport those on public transportation back to their apartment along with all
the supplies they order from the office to do missionary work. Many times they
are serving in an area that requires a 3-hour train and bus ride to get home.
Please be mindful.We ask that you talk
with family and friends and help everyone understand the logistics of our
mission. Our rule:If it fits in a mail slot, (Christmas Cards,
letters, pictures, etc.) feel free to send it to your missionary’s apartment.
If not, please send it to the Mission Office.
will deliver Christmas packages at the Christmas Zone Conferences.If you have something special—a family
tradition that begins on December 1st and you want your missionary
involved—then plan on getting that package to the office by November 15th.We do not open Christmas packages to remove
certain items and deliver it to your missionary early. We have Zone Conference
the last week of November and again after December 15th.We deliver packages to missionaries at those
times only.The next delivery after that
will be in January 2015.
a reminder that each package valued at $40.00 or more incur local customs charges
which along with any COD costs will be deducted from your missionary’s monthly
missionary support funds.
encourage you to be mindful as you purchase for your missionaries.You may wish to include items that they in
turn can share with investigators and / or church members.Again, not all missionaries receive the same
support from home.Perhaps including
something for other missionaries could brighten someone’s Christmas.Missionaries’ focus is on giving of themselves
during Christmas, not so much about getting, but they all like to be
you for your love, prayers and support for your missionary and also for the
Belgium Netherlands Mission.President
and I wish you the best as you prayerfully prepare your missionary’s Christmas
A number of years ago I was an active private pilot.I was working for an engineering company in
St. George, Utah.The firm was a small
regional firm and every week I would generally be off to do business using a
single engine Cessna airplane.I was one
of the senior engineers with the responsibility of managing assigned clients
On one occasion, I had to fly from St. George to Callio,
Nevada, pick up the Mayor of Callio and then fly to Carson City, Nevada near
Reno. We were presenting an application to a State funding agency for financing
a project we were planning in the city of Callio.To be on time for the early meeting, I left
St. George at 4:00 am.The night was
dark but the weather was clear so I was flying visual flight rules.I held an outbound course to Callio using the
ADF navigation instrument tuned to a local St. George AM radio station.With no wind, I figured the course would get
me close enough to Callio to see its airport beacon before I lost contact with
the radio station.I was looking out the
wind screen at pitch black except for the brilliant Milky Way in the perfectly
smooth air as I slid across that classic southern Utah sky.That is peaceful, to say the least.
The flight plan worked perfectly.Seeing the familiar blinking white and green
beacon at the Callio airport, I knew the exact direction to my destination.Soon, I saw the lights of the city which
completely oriented me to land safely.The waiting mayor, climbed on board and after a short taxi we were off
again from that uncontrolled airport, climbing to my planned altitude.
My navigation plan to Carson City was even more
primitive.I planned to navigate dead
reckoning using the directional gyro on a course direct to Carson City.Dead reckoning is subject to cumulative errors
but I knew when it became light, I could stay on course using land marks until
I could pick up navigation aids using the ADF or Reno VOR.I set my course and began visiting with the
Mayor.After 20 or 30 minutes I saw a
flashing airport beacon ahead of us.I
could not believe it.There is nothing
along that route through central Nevada, but I continued flying toward the
beacon.Finally, the lights on the
ground told me the truth.I recognized
the city of Callio. Woops, I had become
distracted while visiting and drifted a complete 180 degrees off course and had
returned to where I had earlier taken off.
A beacon is a conspicuous device designed to
attract attention from far away to a specific location.Beacons help guide navigators toward their destinations.
However, the lights on the ground in the city are equally important.They orient the navigator and show him the details
of the correct way.This experience was
a real life allegory to me comparable to the words of hymn 335, Brightly Beams
our Father’s Mercy:
beams our Father’s mercy,
light-house ever more.
But to us
he gives the keeping
lights along the shore.
night of sin has settled;
angry billows roar.
are watching, longing,
lights along the shore.
feeble lamp, my brother;
sailor, tempest tossed.
to make the harbor,
darkness may be lost.
lower lights be burning;
gleam across the wave.
fainting, struggling seaman,
rescue, you may save.
Jesus Christ is your beacon, but it is your example through actions
and attitude that are the lights along the shore.Therefore, while you work with stake and ward
leaders and members, “…seek to be a blessing, not a burden” to them.You will develop relationships that will last
the rest of your life (PMG p. 217).The
Lord said:“… let your light so
shine…”(3 Nephi 12:14) The following are a few specific items that
may help you let your light shine:
An Elder in our mission recently sent this email to a member
who forwarded it to me.
“Dear [Member]…I want to thank you for the privilege it has been to get
to know you and your wife. Thank you for
your good example.I am being
transferred to ______.We will see each
other in the future. Greetings, Elder
I am here to tell you, this missionary gets it.That member told me all the good he sees in
this Elder who learned the names of the children of the members in the ward and
talked to them every week at church.He
learned the members’ names and served them and he cared enough to offer this
personal thank you when he was transferred.This Elder is a giant in the eyes of those ward members.His light shines.
Line up and complement members for a job well done after
they give talks and teach lessons.You
will become a hero in their eyes.
After you go home, keep your Facebook posts appropriate and
remain an example.You are on a pedestal
to the members here, they see your posts and they know what is degrading.Be careful making promises and keep your
promises after your mission.The example
you set is your light on the shore and has an enormous effect on the members.
Make a lesson plan for member dinner appointments.Remember, connecting with people is the key
to success on missions and in life.Develop
your people skills and teaching skills.Be
sensitive and do not push in where you are not welcome, but remember every
member has a wayward kid, not enough money, troubled marriage, poor health, not
enough time, etc., etc.Understand them,
help them with their problems by teaching an appropriate message.Encourage their youth.That will endear you to them and you will be
a light on the shore.
Be a master finder every day.Plan your day with a variety of finding
methods complete with time duration and locations such as:door knocking, area book look-ups, 2-2-5,
part or inactive member visits, street contacting, travel contacting, referral
calls, etc.Then work your plan.You will be on a schedule, in a hurry, on the
move and busy with a variety of activities instead of the alternative, a day of
door knocking. Members know and respect
master finders and your willingness to do this will be an important light to
Stay in the mainstream with your work.Avoid odd behavior and attitudes thinking it
shows faithfulness.Skipping meals,
skipping general conference, skipping all companionship study to get out and
work is not smart.Be steady and
balanced in your work and life.Remember,
being a successful missionary has nothing to do with leadership calls.
Your priesthood has the authority and power for the ministering
of angels. (D&C 84:26)A friend of
ours said after winning a bout with cancer, “I could not have made it without
the help of my guardian angels who helped me through it.They were living angles.”You may very well be a living angel to those members
who see your light on the shore.
My mission president was Peter Dalebout (1968-1971).He was a native Dutchman who immigrated to
the USA when he was just a boy.He
started his new life in America as a dirt poor Dutch kid not even knowing
English.But, he had big dreams and
worked hard.He eventually owned and
operated a steel fabrication plant in Long Beach, California.He reportedly made a lot of money as a steel
tycoon.He was tough and expected exact
obedience.He motivated me.
The Netherlands Mission boundaries then were the same as
they are today.If I remember correctly,
there was 1 Stake in the mission covering the Rotterdam and Den Haag area.The rest of the units of the church in the
mission were wards and branches grouped into a number of member Districts.President Dalebout administered not only to the
affairs of the full time missionaries but he also administered, equivalent to a
Stake President, to the affairs of the member Districts.One of his councilors in the mission
presidency was Jacob de Jager, a terrific missionary and leader.He understood the Lord’s admonition:
“And ye are called to bring to pass
the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their
I knew him and loved his stories and friendship.Jacob de Jager was a personable and dynamic
leader who traveled the world working as a top director for Phillips
Electronics.He was later called by
President Kimball to serve as a Regional Representative of the 12 and later a
member of the first Quorum of 70.He was
the first Dutch general authority in the church.I heard him on a few occasions tell the
“You never know whom you will save. To illustrate my point,
I would like to go back in thought to my native Holland where six generations
of my father’s ancestors lived in the little village of Scheveningen at the
seashore. They were fishermen or had other related vocations, like fishing-boat
builders, sail makers, or fishing-net repairmen. Many of them were also
involved in the voluntary but hazardous task of lifesaving. They were
stouthearted, experienced men who always were ready to man the rowing lifeboats
to go on a rescue mission. With every westerly gale that blew, some fishing
boats ran into difficulties, and many times the sailors had to cling to the
rigging of their stricken ships in a desperate fight to escape inevitable
drowning. Year after year the sea claimed its victims.
On one occasion during a severe storm, a ship was in
distress, and a rowboat went out to rescue the crew of the fishing boat. The
waves were enormous, and each of the men at the oars had to give all his
strength and energy to reach the unfortunate sailors in the grim darkness of
the night and the heavy rainstorm.
The trip to the wrecked ship was successful, but the rowboat
was too small to take the whole crew in one rescue operation. One man had to
stay behind on board because there simply was no room for him; the risk that
the rescue boat would capsize was too great. When the rescuers made it back to
the beach, hundreds of people were waiting for them with torches to guide them
in the dreary night. But the same crew could not make the second trip because
they were exhausted from their fight with the storm winds, the waves, and the
So the local captain of the coast guard asked for volunteers
to make a second trip. Among those who stepped forward without hesitation was a
nineteen-year-old youth by the name of Hans. With his mother he had come to the
beach in his oilskin clothes to watch the rescue operation.
When Hans stepped forward his mother panicked and said,
“Hans, please don’t go. Your father died at sea when you were four years old
and your older brother Pete has been reported missing at sea for more than
three months now. You are the only son left to me!”
But Hans said, “Mom, I feel I have to do it. It is my duty.”
And the mother wept and restlessly started pacing the beach when Hans boarded
the rowing boat, took the oars, and disappeared into the night.
After a struggle with the high-going seas that lasted for
more than an hour (and to Hans’s mother it seemed an eternity), the rowboat
came into sight again. When the rescuers had approached the beach close enough
so that the captain of the coast guard could reach them by shouting, he cupped
his hands around his mouth and called vigorously against the storm, ‘Did you
And then the people lighting the sea with their torches saw
Hans rise from his rowing bench, and he shouted with all his might, ‘Yes! And
tell Mother it is my brother Pete!’”(Jacob de Jager, (Oct 1976,
Ensign, You Never Know Who You May Save)
Elders and Sisters, you are serving full-time missions for a
short period of time. You never know who
you will save.It may be one tossed by
tempests on life’s billows or one missing with parents desperately praying for
a rescuer.In any event, it is your
brother or sister from the pre-existence.Use your time wisely.To
accomplish this consider the following quotes from Elder Ballard when he
visited us on 11 September 2014 in Zoetermeer:
Always be the #1 finder.The missionary’s role is always finding even
with your Facebook project.
Teach the doctrine of lesson 1 to
You must be master teachers and
know the doctrine.People must feel what
Conversion always starts with what a
We are at war.It is a spiritual work, we are dealing with
the spirits of the children of God.This
means we must touch their spirit.They
need to feel it.
Redding Boots (Rescue Boats) are a rich tradition in the
Dutch culture.They were run by brave
men with compassion driven by duty and determination to rescue their
fellowmen.If I were to characterize the
legacy of President Thomas S. Monson at this point, it would be his continued
call for the saints to engage in “The Rescue.”No surprise, one of President Monson’s favorite paintings depicts the
rescue by redding boots symbolizing your task to rescue people by bringing them
to Jesus Christ.