Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fireside in Heerlen

President and I received a wonderful email from Heerlen Branch asking if we could speak at a Fireside on January 27, 2013.  The email indicated that the youth had requested an evening to discuss the implications of lowering the age for missionary service for young men and young women. Particularly, the young women had questions about missionary service.  They asked if the Mission President could come and talk with them.  Well, that's what President Robinson loves most--taking about missionary work.  So, of course we accepted.  We assigned the Sister Missionaries from Antwerpen to attend with us so they could share a Sister Missionary's perspective.  

Sister Stout and Sister Juchau traveled with President and I down to Maastricht to meet with these wonderful and valiant members of the church who are preparing for their own missions in the near future. President did a great job.  Sister Stout and Sister Juchau both bore such a powerful and Spirit filled testimony of the work of the Lord and the joys of missionary work.  We love you both!  You are wonderful examples of the kind of missionaries the Lord needs and wants.  

Heerlen Branch:  You are a wonderful group of young people.  We felt the Spirit and know that our Heavenly Father is watching and preparing you for the time when you can be part of this "Hastening of the Work".  For now, prepare by teaching in your classes and quorums because that will make you very effective and powerful missionaries.  Thank you for the invitation to be with you on Sunday evening.
We love you and wish you the very best in your preparations.

Speaking in Rotterdam South Ward

On January 27, 2013 President and I had the opportunity to speak in Rotterdam South.  Bishop Croese was not there, but his councilors gave us a very warm welcome as did the entire ward.  Thank you for making us feel so much at home.  After the meetings, we ate dinner with the Bishop's family.  

It was wonderful to spend time in their home and get to know them so much better.  Thank you Croese Family!

Zone Training January 2013

In January we held Zone Training.  Zone Training is different from Zone Conference.  Zone Conference is held once a quarter and the training is done by President and I.  Zone Training is held twice a quarter and the training is done by the Zone Leaders under the direction of President Robinson.  
All Zone Trainings are held on the same day, so President and I are only able to attend one Zone Training a month.  In January we attended Apeldoorn Zone Training.  Elder Wang and Elder Maughan, the Zone Leaders, did an outstanding job.  Thank you Elders and missionaries from the Apeldoorn Zone.

 Elder Eastmond and Elder Merrill
 Elder Eastmond and a happier Elder Merrill
 Elder Van Koman and Elder Maughan
 Elder Larson, Elder Harvey, Elder Hendrickson
 Elder Stoddard and Elder Endicott
 Elder Pope and Elder Wayman
 Elder Wang and Elder Maughan
 Elder Davis and Elder Alfaro
 Elder and Sister Spek  (We love our Senior Couples)
 Elder and Sister Anjewierden  (We really love our Senior Couples)
 Elder Hendrickson and Elder Douglas
 Elder Van Koman and Elder Nelson
 Elder Harvey and Elder Larson
 Elder Thueson and Elder Pitts
 Elder Goethals and Elder Van De Graaff

Sister Robinson, Sister Peters, and President Robinson

Good Bye to Sister Van Geenen from Breda

Sister Van Geenen from Breda Ward, Antwerpen Stake has been called to serve in the New York Palmyra Mission.  Due to visa issues, she served her mission for one month in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  She served in Amsterdam with Sister Palenikova.  On January 21, 2013 she flew to Provo, Utah MTC before going into the Mission field in New York.  

Her family came to say goodbye to her at Schipol Airport the morning she left. She was a wonderful missionary for us for six weeks.  We know the Lord will continue to bless her with His Spirit and great success.  We love you Sis. Van Geenen and we will miss you.

Sister Van Geenen with her family.  Parents, Grandparents and sister.

Sending a missionary out is always a mixed blessing.  However, parents always feel the same--they are blessed their child is serving a mission.

 Sister Van Geenen with her family.

 Elder DeLeeuw, Sister DeLeeuw, Sister Palenikova, Sister Van Geenen

President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Sister Van Geenen, Sister Palenikova

Zone Leaders Council January 2013

 Each month we have Zone Leaders Council in the Mission Home.  It is one of our favorite meetings and learning opportunities with the mission leadership.  We discuss the needs and concerns of the mission.  These are the eyes and ears of the mission and are valuable assistance to President as we move the Lord's work forward in this mission.  This group of Elders are the missionaries that work to implement the new directions that the Lord would have us do in the Belgium Netherlands mission.  This is a humble group of Elders.  Their greatest desire is to serve the Lord and help all missionaries be successful and happy in the mission.  Their joy come more from helping other missionaries be successful than having personal success.  They have learned what it means to be a leader. 

 "He that is greatest among you, let him be your servant."

Back Row:  Elder Pitchforth, Elder Wang,  Elder Mortensen, Elder Burton,
 Elder Wright, President Robinson, Elder Maughn
Seated:  Elder Kunz, Elder Van Rij (AP), Elder Schulte (AP), Elder Li

Thank you Elders.  I don't think you will ever know how much President and I appreciate all you do for this Mission.  We love you.

President's Weekly Letter #25

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


During my first mission, missionaries always had a large hurdle to cross when teaching new investigators.  We had to explain that an apostasy took place, and as a result of that apostasy, none of the present day churches are entirely correct.  PMG establishes this concept in a powerful way.  Even the reformers did not profess to be called by God as prophets, but on the contrary, attempted to only reform doctrine which they considered to have been changed.  We spent considerable time teaching the doctrine of the great apostasy and that it, along with the restoration of the fullness of the gospel in the latter days, were truly prophesied by all the prophets of old.  I have observed that people in Belgium and Holland are not as concerned today with the doctrine of the apostasy.  It may be only my perception or that most people no longer have strong ties to churches they consider to be true.  But, I still love and find value to review scripture verses predicting the apostasy.

Isa. 29:9-10
People will be drunken and stagger but not with strong drink.  For the Lord will pour out upon the world the spirit of deep sleep.  The world’s eyes will be closed and the prophets and rulers will be covered.

Isa. 24:3-5
The Lord will make the earth empty and a waste place that is utterly emptied and utterly spoiled.  The earth and haughty people will languish.  This is because the inhabitants of the earth have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant.

Isa. 60:2
Darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness shall cover the people. 

Jer. 2:13
His people have forsaken him, the fountain of living waters, and have hewed out broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Amos 8:11-12
The Lord will send a famine in the land, not of bread or thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.  People will wander from sea to sea and from the north to the east and shall run to and fro to seek the word of the lord and shall not find it.

Matt. 24:14
The gospel shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Jesus Christ organized and established his church when he lived on the earth.  After his death the church was managed by the apostles through revelation from Christ as it was set up to do.  But, the signs of apostasy began to show up in the original church and the Apostles continued to prophesy that the great apostasy would happen.

Acts 20:29-30
 Paul said he knew that after his departing grievous wolves shall enter among you and not spare the flock.  Men within will arise speaking perverse things and draw away disciples.

Gal. 1:6-9
Paul marvels that the people are so soon removed to another gospel.

2 Thess. 2:3
Regarding the return of Christ, that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.

1 Tim. 4:1-4
In the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits…

2 Tim. 3:1-7
In the last days perilous times shall come.  Men shall be …unthankful, unholy…and have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

2 Tim. 4:2-4
The time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine.  They shall turn away their ears from the truth and which shall be turned into fables.

Rev. 14:7
John the beloved said, in the last days an angel flying in heaven will have the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth.

Elders and Sisters, in John’s vision, the gospel was not on the earth but in the heavens and will be proclaimed by an angel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  It is a privilege to belong to the only church in these latter days that professes such an event and accepts the great apostasy as a factual fulfilling of prophesies.
President Robinson

President's Weekly Letter #24

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


Much is prophesied of the gathering of Israel in the latter days.  The need for a gathering is due to the scattering of Israel which also has been spoken of by all the prophets over the dispensations. We are engaged today in this historic work in our Mission of gathering.  The gathering began after the appearance of Moses to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836.  After seeing the Lord, Joseph and Oliver record:

 “…the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” (DC110:11)

Abraham received promises concerning his seed that they should be as innumerable as the stars and the sand upon the seashore.  His seed is called the House of Israel.  This is a blessing that Abraham received.  Abraham’s family, his seed, will consist of all those who choose to follow the commandments and are saved in the kingdom of God.  Can you imagine this great blessing for Abraham to sit at the head as the Patriarch of this family?

 9 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
 10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;” (Abr.2:9-10)

It appears Abraham’s seed is made up of two separate lines.  The first line is the blood line of actual descendants on earth called the children of Israel whose blood line has become diluted in most cases. God is not a respecter of persons and loves all his children.  His covenant with Abraham is with Abraham not special spirit children.  An individual, by virtue of a pure blood line, appears not to be guaranteed an automatic place in the kingdom of God, but all of God’s children can become part of Abrahams blessing.  This happens if someone is a direct blood line by repenting and believing in Christ.  Also, if someone is not of direct blood line but joints Abraham’s seed by repenting and believing in Christ. 

“ 2 For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 30:2)

“6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it (the gospel) should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;”  (3 Nephi 21:6)

Indeed, the faithful are adopted into the family of Abraham; they are spiritually begotten of Christ becoming his sons and daughters as declared by King Benjamin in Mosiah 5:7. Paul was the first great Prophet who took the gospel to the Gentiles.  He offered further clarification to this doctrine. 

      “4 …God sent forth his Son…
 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.
 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:5-7)

“24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3: 24-29)

As we work to gather the House of Israel, keep in mind everyone you see is eligible to be adopted into the House of Israel.  Also, everyone is interested or would be interested under other circumstances to hear our message.
President Robinson

President's Weekly Letter #23

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


Every missionary faces discouragement at times.  What we do is tough, especially in the dark, cold winter weather that we are experiencing.  People are sometimes rude when contacted on the door or in the street and most people reject hearing our message.  Feeling successful can be difficult.  The language looms as a challenge for a large part of the mission experience. Problems, concerns, poor health, fatigue, disunity and/or personal feelings of discouragement can be overwhelming. 

Nephi taught 9 keys to assist anyone to overcome discouragement and live after the manner of happiness.  These key points are found in 2 Nephi 4 and 5.  Chapter 4 is sometimes called the Psalm of Nephi and is one of the most beautiful texts he wrote.  Nephi’s keys to living after the manner of happiness are as follows and sounds much like President Gordon B. Hinckley’s fireside address on 12 Nov. 2000 titled the Six B’s:

1.     4:15; Keep a Diary.  Write things of your soul and favorite scriptures in your diary.  Further, write things which are of worth unto your children and will persuade them to come unto God. (see also 1 Nephi 6:5-6)

2.     4:16; Be Smart.  Delight and ponder the things of the Lord.  This could also be called meditation.  Our world is full of noise with an unending avalanche of audio and visual information competing for your attention.  Meditation is taking time to shut out the input and simply think and ponder.  You will be more purposeful and successful in your life by doing this.

3.     4:34; Be Trusting.  Place your trust in God.  This is essentially the kernel of faith.  It is believing God will come through for you during your darkest hours.  You can then confidently experience hope for better days as you place your trust in him.

4.     4:24; Be Prayerful.  Engage in mighty prayer.  Nephi says to wax bold in prayer.  Wax is a code word for letting virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.  Prayer is your invitation to God to get involved without him imposing himself on you.  He has commanded you to pray about everything going on in your life.  (see Alma34)

5.     4:17, 26-27; Be Humble.  Recognize your need for the Savior.  Everybody has a fallen nature.   We all need the Savior who has promised to make up the difference in our lives and assist us in making our weakness become strengths.  We in turn must do our best and, when we make mistakes, we get back up and do our best again.  Nephi is thought of as a bold and faithful prophet, yet even he reveals his weaknesses and desperate need for the Savior.

6.     4:20-23; Be Grateful.  Gratitude is to acknowledge God’s hand in your life.  He supports you in your afflictions, your wildernesses, and your deep waters.  He gives you knowledge and inspiration. Writing a list of your blessings, including simple things like eye sight, is a sure fire way to realize God supports you. 

7.     4:28-30; Be True.  Awake, rejoice, do not droop in sin and do not slacken your strength.  Stay true to your convictions and resolve to continue the good fight. 

8.     5:11, 15-17; Be Industrious.  I do not believe there is any better first-aid therapy to discouragement than to buckle down and go to work.  Hard work and temple attendance is an important part of living after the manner of happiness. 

9.     5:10; Be Clean.  Keep the commandments in all things. 

Nephi’s mission was not easy.  He overcame many afflictions and much discouragement.  Think of his obstacles.  He faced:  wickedness in Jerusalem, people sought the life of his father, Labon stood in his way, he left great wealth, obtained the brass plates, 8 years in the wilderness, broken bow, hunger/thrust/child births/hard work/fatigue, Laman and Lemuel sought his life, build tools, build a ship, cross the ocean and tied up at sea.  It may be the Engineer in me, but I would like to know how he launched the ship.  After all this, his brothers sought his life again; so he took what he could carry with those who would follow and fled into the wilderness to start again.  In the Psalm of Nephi, he indicates this lead him to experiencing some big-time discouragement.  He states his heart groaned because of his sins and he asked himself why he should linger in the valley of sorrow. 

But, he describes their lives as, “…we lived after the manner of happiness.” (2 Nephi 5:27)  Remember at all times to follow Nephi’s keys to happiness and especially as feelings of discouragement come.  It is a great blessing to enjoy serving in Belgium and the Netherlands at this time.  

President Robinson