Sunday, July 29, 2012

Working with the Missionaries

On July 28, 2012, President and I had to opportunity to work with Elder Davis and Elder Pitchforth on Saturday afternoon in Nijmegen.  We did some call backs from the Area Book and then did 2-2-5.  Elder Pitchforth and I have two call backs for next week from two families, and Elder Davis and President Robinson placed a Boek Van Mormon.  Great example for me.  Thank you Elder Pitchforth, you taught we some new things for knocking on doors.  I appreciate the great lessons.  

Saturday evening all four of us were invited to the Branch President home in Goesbeek.  We were probably about a kilometer from the German boarder.  That's about as far east as we can go!  Thank you President Baaij and family.  It was a wonderful BBQ and even better talking to you and getting to know you and your family better.

Sunday, July 29, 2012, we went to church with Elder Davis and Elder Pitchforth in the Nijmegen Branch.  The Branch President and the members LOVE these two Elders.  They have done so much for the missionary effort in this branch. The Branch President has so many great ideas to help motivate and energize his branch for missionary work.  These Elders are an important part of that plan.  Thank you Elders for your humble efforts to 'invite others to Come Unto Christ'.

Elder Davis, Sister Robinson, President Robinson, Bro. Hartijers, branch Mission Leader, and Elder Pitchforth.

Our First District Leaders Council

Friday, July 27, 2012, all District Leaders met in the Mission Office in Leiden for training from President and for council with mission issues that involve their districts. These Elders are a fine group of missionaries.  It falls on their shoulders to train their Districts every week, collect reports and forward to Zone Leaders.  These missionaries are the real 'back bone' for getting the 'water to the end of the row'.  Dank ju wel Elders.  You are doing a fantastic job.

 President Robinson, Elder Van de Graaff, AP; Elder Benson, Amersfoort District

 Elder Hendrickson, Rotterdam South District; Elder Mortensen, Groningen District; Elder Maughan, Amsterdam District; Elder Mohrman, Den Haag District;

 Elder Kunz, Utrecht District; Elder Brown, Almere District; Elder Merrill, Eindhoven District; Elder Leach, Antwerpen District; Elder van Overbeek, AP, President Robinson

 Elder Brown, Almere District; Elder Merrill, Eindhoven District; Elder Leach, Antwerpen District;

Elder Schow, Gent District; Elder Kunz, Utrecht District;

We had a great training day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our First Zone Leaders Council

Thursday, July 26, 2012, we held our first Zone Leaders Council 
at the Mission Home.
This is a training done once a month by the President for all Zone Leaders.  It was a pleasure having these outstanding young missionaries in our home today.
Thank you Elders for a great day.

 Start with breakfast and personal updates.  These Elder truly love one another.  They are fast friends, many have served together.  This is a chance to see one another again and get caught up. 

 For some Zones, it is a two hour trip into the Mission Home.  They enjoy the brotherhood they have for each other and  chance to visit.

 President Robinson training and teaching from the scriptures.  
Digging into Doctrine.

 Elder Bickham, Elder Ellis, Elder van Overbeek, President Robinson

 Elder Li, Elder Andrews, Elder Schulte, Elder Bickham, 
Elder Ellis, Elder van Overbeek

Elder van deGraff, Elder Davis, Elder Guanuna, Elder Van Rij, Elder Li
Elder Andrews, Elder Schulte, Elder Bickham

It was over way too soon.  At 3:30 PM we sent them out the door after giving them an afternoon snack of doughnuts, warm cookies and cold milk.  Remember how good an 'after school' snack use to taste?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Den Haag District Training

Today, July 24, 2012, the Den Haag District had their training at the Mission Office.  President and I arrived just as they were having lunch and pictures.

 They enjoyed celebrating the 24th of July in District Training.
Elder Pope, Elder Mohrman, Elder Klippel, Sister Davies, Sister Larsen, Elder Guanuna, Elder Van Koman, Elder Wait, Elder Culkins, Elder Thueson, Sister Townsend, Sister Gardner, Elder Bickman, Sister Welch

 These are excellent missionaries--trained by an excellent Zone Leader, Elder Mohrman.  On the board, right above his head, it states:  
Mohrman Doctrine

Time for fun of course.

Thanks Elder Calkins for the photo shoot.

The Church--de Kerk in Leiden

As we have visited the different wards and branches (wijks and afdelings) in the mission, I have found it very interesting the many different buildings that ward meeting houses are found.  So, I want to take a picture of all that we visit. 

I will start with our 'home' ward, if we had such a thing here.  We live in the boundaries of the Leiden Wijk. If you have missionaries serving in Leiden they attend here in either the English speaking or Dutch speaking wards.  We attended the Dutch speaking ward.  Again, I had the opportunity to bear my testimony on Sunday, July 21.  I will just have to become comfortable with the fact that this will happen every Sunday.  There is a wonderful Spirit in this ward--warm and feels like home.

Also, if your missionary is serving in the Den Haag Zone, they meet here for Zone Conferences.  

 The front of the church.  The front door is just left of the brick spire.

 A view from across the street.  
President Robinson waiting in the mission car.

This particular church is a 'free standing' building.  Many are just rooms in larger building.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our First New Elder Arrives

 Today, July 18, 2012, Elder Goethal arrived from the Preston England MTC.  Elder Goethal is from the Netherlands and has been at the MTC polishing up his English.  We are happy to have him back in the Netherlands and ready to serve.

Welcome Elder Goethal
Sister Robinson, Elder Goethal, President Robinson

Elder van Overbeek, Elder Goethal, Elder van de Graaff

We took Elder Goethal back to the Mission Office and all the paperwork, training, interviewing and tracting we could fit into an afternoon.  They all arrived at the Mission Home later for dinner and sharing of testimonies.  

 During that time, Elder Goethal's was give a letter with his new assignment. He read the area he was assigned to, was thrilled and then he ask Elder Jones to read the rest of the letter, as it was in English. 

Elder Goethal's will be serving in Leuven, Belgium with Elder Jones as his trainer.  

For now, that makes a three Elder companionship.  Elder Goethal, Elder Jones, and Elder Nish.

Congratulations and welcome to the best mission on earth, were the best Elder and Sister missionaries serve.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

District Training

 On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, President and I traveled to Amsterdam for the Amsterdam and Almere District Trainings.  The AP's Elder van Overbeek and Elder van de Graaff picked us up at Amsterdam Centraal Train Station to take us to the church. (Yes, it was raining again).

We sat in on the Amsterdam District Training with Elder Maughan teaching about why baptism is so important and how to better use the Investigator Teaching Calendar. 

Here are the companionships in the Amsterdam District.

 Elder van Overbeek and Elder van de Graaff

 Sister Moses and Sister Palenikova (Sister Stout had to be in the picture with best friends, she is in the Almere District)

Elder Hansen and Elder Maughan

The Almere District

 Sister Hinchcliff and Sister Stout

 Elder Wayman and Elder Wright

 Elder Brown (District Leader)  and Elder Andrews

Elder Bjork and Elder Farmer got away too fast.

Sister De Leeuw and Elder De Leeuw, our wonderful Senior Couple in Amsterdam.  Thanks for the wonderful lunch!

 Elder van Overbeek and Elder van de Graaff just have to put a spark of humor in the day, somewhere.  So Elder Hansen decided to add to it!  We love all the Elders in these districts and the Sister are awesome.  Thank you for a terrific day in the Netherlands!
In the end, President and I are the real winners.  We have just spent our morning and early afternoon with some of the greatest missionaries on earth.  How luck and blessed we are to rub shoulders every day with the Lord's choicest servants.  Wij zijn dunkbaar!

Serving with the Sister Missionaries

Because President spends all day on Monday in the Mission Office going over reports and financials with the AP's and Office Elders, I have the opportunity to go on splits with the three Sister Missionaries in Den Haag.  Monday, July 16, was my first day as a door knocking, teaching missionary!  It was great!

 Sister Davies, in the yellow sweater, and I did some follow up's and ended up doing the 2-2-5.  When the person we originally went to see is not living there any longer, or in not interested, we then knock on 2 doors on either side of that address, and then 5 doors across the street. 

We went to visit a lady that Sister Davies had contacted a few days before.  She was happy to see us and we made an appointment to come and teach her the first lesson next Monday.  

We later met with Rafael and taught him the lesson on the Restoration.  Very interesting teaching.  As a missionary, you are always praying for the missionary that is teaching and praying for the investigator.  As I was praying I found it remarkable that the answers to Rafael's questions just came to mind.  It was so easy to bear testimony.  Sister Davies did a great job.

 Sister Gardener (in the white shirt) and I went visiting a member and shared a message with her from the Liahona Conference Issue.  That was pure Dutch.  I am getting better at understanding what is being said.  I still can't join in the conversation, but I do make the effort to contribute.  I was able to say the closing prayer in Dutch with Sister Gardener and Sister Bleker.  Thanks for a real treat.

 Sister Larsen, (in the red sweater) and I went to teach the first lesson on the Restoration, but when we arrived, no one answered.  The same story every missionary will tell you.  It happens to all of us.  We'll call back.

These sisters are BEAUTIFUL.  The served the Lord on a very cold and rainy day enthusiasm, their spirits were not dampened.  The pictures were taken at 9:00 pm after a very long day and look at those smiles.  What is impressive about missionaries--they will get up at 6:30 am in the morning and do it all again for the Lord.  If you thanked them for it, they would reply, 
"Graag gedaan".

We went to the Den Haag church during our lunch, we found the some of the Zone Elders on PDay.  They were finishing up a service project after a fast and furious game of indoor soccer.  Heel Goed, Elders!!
Elder Thueson , Elder Hansen, Elder, Van Komen, Elder Maughan, Elder Bickham, Elder Mohrmon, Elder Wait. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Meeting More Church Leaders

A remarkable blessing of this calling is the opportunity to meet with great church leaders in Belgium and Netherlands.  Thursday evening we met with the Den Haag Temple President and his wife.  President Klijweg and his wife graciously met with us in the temple for over an hour.  First we took the time to visit with Sister Klijweg who showed us (President and I, Elder Van De Graaff and Elder Van Overbeek) the Baptismal Font.  As in any temple, it was beautiful.  She shared how they have been given permission to open the door below the font, behind the Oxen, to let Primary groups see inside at the Oxen.  They are building faith, knowledge and desire in the Primary Children to come back to the temple in a few years to do baptisms for the dead.  

For our meeting, the Klijweg's took us into the Brides Room.  I told the Elders they were a privileged pair of young men. Only Brides and mothers get the opportunity to see and use the Brides Room.  

It was a personal meeting as well.  The Klijweg's daughter married the son of the family President had the opportunity to teach and baptize while on his mission in 1969.  The Klijweg's expressed such a humble thank you to President for his faithfulness in coming on a mission and finding the Dizaire Family.  Every day, in some form, President Robinson acknowledges that so many blessings have come to him in his lifetime because he served a mission.  This meeting was one such blessing.

Friday, July 13, the four of us met with President Boom of the Apeldoorn Stake.  We spent an informative hour with he and his wife.  President Boom told us of all the great missionary efforts going on in his Stake and outlined how he feels the missionaries in his Stake can best support and help the members of his Stake in their efforts.  These are exciting times.  For those parents with missionaries in the Apeldoorn Zone--they are in for some exciting missionary work.  

As always, I return home so blessed. I do not know why we have this great opportunity and blessing, but both President and I acknowledge our Heavenly Father for this great opportunity to serve this mission at this time with these missionaries and church leaders.  The church is true.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be carried to every people in every climb.  It will go forth nobly and "as well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty form pouring down knowledge from heaven"...(D&C 121:33) upon the heads of the missionaries going forth to teach and preach the Gospel in Belgium and the Netherlands. This is my testimony.

Interviews and MORE

The week of July 10-13, 2012 was spent in mission interviews.  President and I, with the terrific assistance of Elder Van De Graaff and Elder Van Overbeek, met with every missionary in the mission again.  
Tuesday, July 10, President interviewed every Elder and Sister in Den Haag Zone.  Wednesday, July 11, we were in Rotterdam Zone doing the same thing. July 12, a rainy and cold day, we were in Apeldoorn Zone.  Every Elder spent time with President Robinson.  Friday, July 13, interviewing in Antwerpen Zone was completed.  President Robinson interviewed our Great Senior Couple also!  It was a real push with transfers coming up in a few weeks.  Normally interviews take 10 days--President pushed through in 4 days.  I think we will definitely take 10 days next time.  

Parents, you have amazing missionaries.  As I visited with almost all the Sisters and Elders, I am more convinced of the outstanding quality of the young men and women we have in our mission. The are bright, happy, enthusiastic about the work, faithful, and have strong testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon and the work they do each day. These are truly the great and noble ones.  Their responsibility is to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ.  If you could see your son or daughter 'in action' you would be amazed at their maturity, spiritual strength and wisdom.  Father in Heaven is truly making them equal to their call--they teach and testify with power and authority.  I am humbled and amazed.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Finish Up Zone Conferences

Den Haag Zone Conference

On Thursday, July 5, we met with the Elders and Sisters of the Den Haag Zone in Leiden.  Big group! This zone includes our office Elders, our AP's and our office Senior Couple.  We had a terrific day.  A small miracle occurred at this conference!  We had a young man doing a mini-mission for a week with one of the Elders.  He doesn't speak English--for the morning, the Elders translated for him.  However, that after President Robinson taught the remaining Zone Conference in Dutch. He shared the 'life lessons' part from the life of Nephi in Dutch. Interestingly, he had left his English scriptures at home and only brought his Dutch scriptures. I don't believe in coincidences, I only believe in tender mercies and miracles!  He was concerned about only having his Dutch scriptures--but it turned out to be a tender mercy.  The Dutch scriptures were exactly what he needed to do the afternoon training in Dutch.  Thanks Elder Salden for supplying some of those missing Dutch vocabulary words!

One very happy President!!  He did it!

 Sister Palenikova, Sister Stout

 Elder Mohrman, Elder Guanuna

 Elder Bickman

 Diligently taking notes from President's presentation in Dutch!

 Here are a great bunch of Elders, Elder Calkins gave the 'thumbs up'..

 On the far table is our three Senior Couples in the Den Haag Zone,  Elder and Sister Salden, Elder and Sister DeLeeuw (hard to see Sis. DeLeeuw), and Sister and Elder Pankratz.  We love you three couples.  We can see you are the foundation under the Zone!
 President in the process of teaching Zone Conference in Dutch!  

 The Sisters are on the far table and in the foreground.  Sister Gardner, Sister Moses, Sister Welch, Sister Larsen, Sister Stout.  In the foreground Sister Townsend, Sister Davies, and Sister Hinchcliff.  Sisters, it was a pleasure to spend the day with you.

 Check out the back rows of Elders on both tables!   
 Elder Calkins took our group photo, so this is how he got himself in the photo!
 Elder Culkins, from bottom to . .!  Thanks Elder Calkins, great picture!

The Den Haag Zone Conference----
My Den Haag Family.

Thank you for being part of a tender mercy.  You were wonderful to assist and support President as he gave his very first, from start to finish, presentation in Dutch.  We love you all.  We pray for your continued success.

Apeldoorn Zone Conference

On Friday, July 6, we held our last, and what we consider to be, the best Zone Conference.  The Spirit was there and the Elders were wonderful.  When we arrived they were all in their seats quietly waiting our arrival.  The music added to the Spirit.  We felt like we were walking into the Celestial Room!  As we went around the room shaking hands and introducing ourselves, it was a joy to meet each one.  They are excellent Elders.  There was something about that experience that will start with us--it felt unique.

We had a wonderful time getting to know the Zone and enjoyed the training that we did.  We felt it was the best, maybe because we finally had it the way we wanted it to be.  Thank you for your testimonies, we appreciated every one of them.  The Spirit filled the room when you stood to bear testimony.

Elder and Sister Van Koman, Elder Nielsen, Elder Sanderson, Elder Stoddard, Elder Benson, Elder McDaniel, Elder Van Rij, Elder Stanley, Sister Robinson, Elder Armstrong, President Robinson, Elder Harvey , Elder Shoemaker, Elder Douglas, Elder Davis, Elder Moscon, Elder Larson, Elder Pitchforth, Elder Christensen, Elder Li, Elder Taylor, Elder and Sister Anjewierden. 
Elder's Mortensen and McKee slipped away before we got the picture.  We love you.

We spent late afternoon and early evening on splits with Elder Van Rij, Elder Li, Elder Van De Graaff, and Elder Van Overbeek.  It was again a wonderful opportunity to sit in the home of these wonderful people and teach the gospel. Thank you for letting us go with you and the opportunity to bear testimony of the Restored Gospel and of Jesus Christ.