<![CDATA[Belgium Netherlands Mission - Letters]]>Sat, 30 Jan 2016 01:12:29 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[My heart belongs to Nederland]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 00:18:48 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/my-heart-belongs-to-nederland
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frosty plants everywhere
I don't know where to start, so much happened this week!

Tuesday we had a great lesson. She said she felt the spirit! That is the first time she's said that, so we are very happy for her! 
When we got out of the lesson the back wheel of my bike was flat, and we were a 30 minute bike ride from home. So I rode with the flat tire home, but we've been walking everywhere the past week. Poor Zuster Young! ah.. She's so patient with me :)
I'm super tempted to throw my bike in a canal... ooh man so tempted.

Our friend came with us on Wednesday to district meeting and then stayed with us to watch the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. It was such an incredible meeting. I especially loved Elder Niel L. Anderson's talk about testifying of Jesus Christ. It was a great reminder and very inspiring. He talked about how if we don't know what to say, we testify of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It was a powerful talk. The rest of the broadcast was really nice, talking about teaching with the spirit. It was so cool to have our friend there with us, taking notes :) She is amazing.
I got a blessing from our zone leaders, just because I was feeling in need of some counsel and guidance, and I am just so grateful for the priesthood and for priesthood blessings and priesthood holders who can give me those blessings. :) It's really amazing, all of the tools that Heavenly Father has given us to help us every day.

Speaking of that, we were able to go to the temple on Thursday (thought of you Dad, happy birthday!) with a member, Zuster Löw. Once we got there, there were 5 other sisters from Lelystad gemeente that also happened to be attending that day! It was so special. I love the temple. It was so nice to be able to be there and just talk to Heavenly Father about my mission and what's on my mind. :) I think the overall answer to all of my questions was "Be patient" haha which was funny, but true.
I also went to the dentist. It was an eventful week. haha I had a couple cavities, but they were small so they just filled them up :)

We did exchanges this week as well, and I got to work with Zuster Ramirez in Amsterdam! It was really special to be there with her. We gave a Book of Mormon away to a guy, and promised to come back to someone else we contacted because we were out of books. :) She is so cool and it was great to work with her.

Sunday was a very surreal day. We had a really powerful sacrament meeting. They surprised me and asked me to bear my testimony in Sacrament Meeting, and then again in Relief Society. :) It was so bittersweet, but it was really nice. I love this gemeente. The people here, especially the women in this branch, have taught me so much and have been such a blessing to me.
I really liked the theme of Sacrament meeting: the mighty change of heart (Alma 5:14-15, 26) It was a really powerful topic. One speaker talked about how that change of heart is based on trust and faith we put in our Heavenly Father. The opposite of trust is fear and uncertainty. Fear drains us of energy, while trust gives us energy. It was a cool thought! As we focus on the future and trust in God, He can help us to bring power into our everyday actions. 

I'm so grateful for my mission. I feel like my heart has been changed on my mission. I have a much stronger desire to follow my Savior, to do good and be good toward others, to be patient, to read the scriptures daily, to counsel often with my Heavenly Father, to return to be with Him. I am so grateful for the peace that the Gospel brings into my life and that I've had this chance for the past 18 months to share that peace and joy with others. 

It's so amazing to think of this wonderful plan Heavenly Father has for us. It's bigger than we could ever imagine. He is so smart! 

My plaque scripture that hangs in my home ward is Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. I am so grateful that as I trust in Him, He will direct me. It takes effort on my part. It takes giving up my pride and my need to do it all myself. It takes love for Him and for others. It's not easy, but in the end it is the easier path. The path that brings more peace and joy. I know that He is there! I know it with all my heart! I know there is more to this life than we can see with our mortal eyes.

I'm grateful for the Netherlands. This land is really a special, holy place for me and it's really stolen my heart!
Love you guys, 

Zuster Watts
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<![CDATA[Alleenstaande Straat]]>Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:18:19 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/alleenstaande-straatWell we got a little baby bit of snow that sprinkled the ground yesterday, but it melted once the sun came out. :) It's finally turning into winter! 

We had so many funny things this week:
-doing a look up and we got to the door at the same time as a post man delivering a package. When the look up opened the door, a man, the post man said "hey I brought you two ladies! Only 30 minutes though!" agh agh it was so hilariously awkward. Dutch people and their jokes.... The look up didn't have time though so we are going to go back another time.

-It was raining really hard on Tuesday and we just sang "it's raining men" at the top of our lungs :) 

-A super super cute recent convert (18 years old) is meeting with us again (that's a wonder, here's the grapje) she is so hilarious and she was saying that we're all going to live on Alleenstaande Straat (basically single street) as old ladies and we're going to own a bunch of dogs and it's going to be great. :) Which leads to the next funny thing and that is ALL OF THE MEMBERS making jokes that I'm going to be married in 3 months... no.

-We were at a less-active's house, and he's from Suriname. He gave us this vinegar-dried peach and some other dried fruits that reminded me of Boston's tamarind paste thing he brought from Mexico. hmm, I'm sooo grateful I'm in this mission. I wouldn't have survived South America!

-Zone training this week was in a tiny room because we are such a small zone :) it was gezellig

-We heard a member say the f word (don't worry, she was quoting what she misheard)

-Saturday morning was REALLY storming and scary wind, so when we were starting companion study, we sang "Master the Tempest is Raging" and we really got into it and were mostly laughing, but I like to think that Heavenly Father was laughing along with us. The wonder part of that is that it got nice once we went outside for the day so that's lucky. But we were praying for it to let up for sure!

- In Branch council yesterday, the Branch President was making jokes about me dying... "toekomstig teruggekeerde zendeling" ha. ha. no but it was funny

- The branch 2nd counselor's phone went off in branch council and played 'EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!' He stopped it pretty quick though ha

Now, for the serious stuff. Wonders:

-We met with our friend twice this week to teach her the lessons again and she is doing so well! At first she wasn't wanting to say the prayers. But she finally said a prayer this week! After she prayed, she put her hands in the air in fists all triumphantly and said, "I'm back!" :) ahhhh Words cannot describe how happy we were in that moment. She is such a good girl and it is so cool to look at someone and just feel His love for them.

-Having zone training in Amsterdam was so good this week. They talked a lot about becoming the missionary and the person you want to be, and giving good commitments to investigators. It was a really uplifting training. My favorite was when Zr Hopkin explained working with the spirit by talking about physics and sound waves. It was cool. She's a smartie.

-We had a zhv activity and it was super gezellig :)

-ponderizing WORKS people! You need to do it. I ponderized D&C 64:33-34 this last week and it gave me all of the encouragement and support I needed this past week. It's so cool to see how that helps. If you're not doing it already, you should be.

- Sisters at church that give you hugs when you need them and just being the most loving branch ever. People are so good. :)

- Lessons with two ladies are just so good. They're so sincere and spiritual. I love them.

anywho

Love you guys, hope you had a good week!
Zuster Watts]]>
<![CDATA["Why you speaking pidgin english?"]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 08:20:28 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/why-you-speaking-pidgin-englishAnother good week. There were so many funny, great moments. I'm out of time today, but I just want to tell you all that I can't speak any languages anymore. I told someone that I started skiing when I was 8 o clock. The words just came out. I meant to say 8 years old. Oh dear. 

We bought ourselves pizza this week. Best choice always.

Our investigators are doing really well. Every lesson with them is really uplifting and they are just so positive! This week, they told us that they see us as angels that were sent to their door to teach them about the gospel :) They make us so so so happy. The only hard part is getting them to church, so we're working on that. 

Our other investigator is always so fun. She and her husband are really open, and she seems to unexpectedly make us a ton of spicy rice every time we go over. Her nephew, was teaching us some words in pidgin english, (which I don't remember anything of) and she heard him and yelled "Why you speaking pidgin english?' in her awesome Nigerian accent. It was funny.
But we had a lesson about Jesus Christ. I think that He is my favorite topic to testify about. The spirit was really strong, and it was cool to see her husband opening up and feeling the spirit. 

I had a really really cool experience at sacrament meeting yesterday. I was just thinking about a lot of things and at one point during the passing of the bread, I thought of the first time Marjan took the sacrament after her baptism. She was brought to tears because it just meant so much to her to finally be able to partake. That image comes to my mind often during sacrament meetings, and I think to myself about how I can make the sacrament that meaningful every week. That thought combined with some other things that had been going through my mind made me recognize a regret I have had for years now that I hadn't given to my Savior to heal me. I had been holding onto the hurt and the disappointment I felt over something I had failed to do, and I hadn't turned to Him yet to heal me from it. 
We had watched "Because of Him" with this couple the day before, and the specific part where it says, "regret turns to relief' flashed through my mind. I felt literally a relief come over me and it was just such a special experience. I am so grateful for the healing power of my Savior and that I know in whom I can trust. 
It was the first time that I've really had that type of experience with the sacrament. And the rest of church was all about the Savior and it was just super "coincidental" and cool and stuff :)

I love you guys,
hope you have a good week and remember to give everything that is hard to Him and He will help you. He wants to help you. 

veeeeeel liefs
zr watts]]>
<![CDATA[Can You Believe It?]]>Mon, 04 Jan 2016 08:19:48 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/can-you-believe-itPictureps getting all those letters was great :) thanks for the christmas stories and all of your cute notes! (kristiann, you have really good handwriting, trouwens)
It's 2016. I've almost been graduated from High School for 3 years... tjonge jonge... That's freaky a little bit

It was a good week. A bit slow because of the holidays, but a good week nonetheless. :)

some wonders:

-There is a lady and her husband that showed up in church the week before Christmas for their first time. We had never met them before. Her nephew, Harison, was also with them, he is a member from Nigeria and brought his aunt and uncle to church! They came two weeks in a row, and the week after Christmas, He told us that she wants to be baptized! We had an appointment on Tuesday, and she committed to baptism in January. So we're now working with her on that. Her husband, a Dutch man, is a little more skeptical, but is open to hearing us out. Which is cool. :) The member is a good joint teach... he's awesome and we're so grateful that he invited his aunt and uncle to come to church with him!

-exchanges with Zr Hopkin. She is one of my missionary heroes. She is so good and sincere and dedicated and I was so grateful for the chance to work with her for the day. I can't praise her enough.

- While on exchanges almost every appointment we had fell through, but it still ended up being a good day! One of the investigators we went by wasn't able to meet, but Sister Hopkin, who loves art, saw the lady's paintings through the doorway, and asked to see them really quickly, so we ended up going inside and talking and even a little about the gospel! We prayed with her as well. It was a good miracle. :)

- New Year's eve was awesome. We have to be in at 4 pm, so that's 5 1/2 hours of just being at home. President Bunnell challenged us all to use that time to make goals. First Key Indicator goals, then personal goals to strengthen our testimonies, then goals for 3 years, 10 years, and 25 years from now. The 25 year goals was weird because I'll be 45 years old then, but it was cool to think about where and who I want to be and what I want to be doing. Making those goals was really good, and even though I had to think really hard about them, it was a very rewarding exercise. I'm excited to go and execute this plan now! It made the 31st a meaningful. The fireworks woke us up and they were, again, really really beautiful and it sounded like a war zone. haha They go crazy with fireworks here!

- We finally got back in contact with a recent convert/less active. She had a miscarriage and was angry with God, so she was kind of avoiding us for a few months, but now she's ready to meet again and get back on track! We're very excited about it

random things:
- Telling people "see you next year" never gets old hahaha

- We heard that there's going to be a worldwide missionary devotional on the 20th of January! So excited to see what it's all about.

-I was praying and I had the impression to express gratitude more. So I'm working on that this week. I want to make sure that others know that the small things they do don't go unnoticed.

- My brother (returned last month from the Korea Seoul South mission) sent me a letter in the mail and told me some advice he got from an RM when my brother was on his last transfer: "Slow down. Not your work, not your testifying and your teaching, but take a minute to take in the smells. Take in the scenery more. Enjoy every little conversation you have with anyone. Testify and be so grateful you get to do it in Dutch!" That advice has made a big difference. I'm trying to take small moments of appreciation. To just come to myself and notice where I am and what I'm doing. There's nothing more miraculous than being on a mission. I had a moment last transfer where I was praying to start our companionship study and I said, "wij zijn dankbaar dat wij uw zendelingen mogen zijn" and the full meaning of what I had just said hit me and I suddenly couldn't hold back the tears of joy and gratitude! (they were a little bittersweet I have to admit) I'm so grateful for the chance to be a set apart missionary! When my brother first got home, he wrote me several emails and in every one he said over and over, "I'm so jealous that you're still set apart!" It's really a setting apart from the world, isn't it? It's so cool, and I think I forget that too often. I'm so grateful for my family and the support and strength they give me. They are incredible people :)

Have a good week and good luck with school all of you school people. 
veeeeeel liefs
Zr Watts

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<![CDATA[Ceramic Deer Head]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 08:25:10 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/ceramic-deer-headHey hey hey, not so much to tell because we skyped, but it was a really nice week. I Love skyping, but once we hang up it doesn't feel like it was real in a way. I love Christmas. :)

Last Monday we went shopping with this cute lady in our ward, she's the RS president, and she brought her little baby along. So cute :)

Today, we came early in the morning to a member's house, who's watching the kids of another family in our branch and we went to a forest that is a big sand dune in the middle. It was so beautiful and so unexpected to find something like that in the Netherlands. The little kids were having the time of their lives.. and so were we! :D

On Tuesday after district meeting we did a little white elephant activity together, and I ended up getting a ceramic deer head. ha not sure what I'll do with that, but it was really funny. Elders can think of the weirdest things. Carrying that home on the train was really funny. We need to find a place for it on our wall in our apartment :)

We met with an investigator and she is doing really well. She's just really searching. On my mission I've been able to see the difference between teaching people who are just curious and people who are really sincerely searching. I read a talk by Elder James B Martino from the last General Conference where he talks about that. That if we ask without sincere intent, God isn't as likely to answer our prayers. It's really cool to see that sincerity in two specific investigators.. 

I'm doing something this transfer where I write down one big lesson learned from each day. Sometimes it's easy to think of things, other times it's a bit more difficult. But some of them from this week were:

motivation sometimes follows action

Remember the blessings and be happy (from the good example of a member)

You don't always need to be a leader, sometimes it's good to be a follower (humility I guess)

It's cool to see that I can learn something new from every single day :)

On second Christmas we went caroling with our zone at this old folks home in Amsterdam. :) The people were so cute and loved it! There were a few that sang along the whole time. Afterward we had pannekoeken. It was so fun :)
,
Oh man I just love being a missionary. I'll be honest, it's not been easy, but it's so rewarding and wonderful. I can't imagine my life without Nederland!

Love you guys! Happy new year this week!

Zr Watts]]>
<![CDATA[Yielded and Still (Merry Christmas!)]]>Mon, 21 Dec 2015 08:30:55 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/yielded-and-still-merry-christmas​The week of transfer always seems a lot longer than other weeks. But it was zeker a good one. 
On Monday we went to an investigator's house and she taught me how to cross stitch. I felt super domestic. It was fun :)

Tuesday, we had a great lesson with our investigator, she wants to be baptized, but has family in Utah that are members. She wants to be baptized there with them, but won't be able to until August 2017. So we set that as a baptismal date! It's a little far away... so we'll see how things go, but I really think she's serious about it. She is so cute, she always gives us stroopwafels when we come over :)

Transfer day was fun. We got to Leiden to meet all the other missionaries with all of Zr Jones's stuff at 10 am, and then I just waited there with everybody for the next couple hours. Zr Young, my new companion, was just serving in Belgium, so she had a long way to travel. We got back to Lelystad around 4 pm. haha
But it was a good day. I got to see a lot of good old companions and friends. When Zr Bush headed out with her companion, we looked at each other and realized that we wouldn't be seeing each other at all for the next 6 weeks... when the unspeakable is going to happen... haha That was weird. But it's going to be a really really good transfer. 
Zr Young is awesome! She is really good with the members and investigators. They all love her already. There's this one lady in the ward that loves Zr Young's eyebrows. It's so funny :) (she does have really nice eyebrows though)
That first night together, we were doing look ups of formers, and this one lady was really funny. She kept saying, "Wow, you are both just beautiful! And the sisters who used to come here were also just so beautiful. What is up with that?" and we were like, "...the light of christ?" haha

We were biking along and this scooter passed us, it was a mom and her (maybe 10 year old) daughter was sitting behind her. As they passed us the little girl made a funny face at me so I smiled really big at her, and then..... she flipped me off! Agh it was so funny! I was totally not expecting such a small girl to do that! haha I'm still dying about it! haha
Also some kids threw a firework at us as we were biking.... haha people love our helmets

We had another really good lesson with our investigators. They're so great! one came to church (the other was sick) with one of the sick lady's daughters. We had a special Christmas program and it was really good! There were 8 non members there! It was amazing! ah! :)

There are just a lot of little experiences that were so good this week like running into investigators in places we never would expect to see them, or street contacts that were positive, or delivering Christmas gifts with our RS presidente to less actives and investigators. So many good things and not enough time to tell. But I just love it here in Lelystad. :)

I'm rereading the conference talks from this last October and they are sooo good! I loved how these three talks that came one after another linked really nicely to eachother:
The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered LifeRichard J. Maynes
Yielding Our Hearts to GodNeill F. Marriott
What Lack I Yet?Larry R. Lawrence
Their messages together were just really powerful to me this week. Elder Maynes and Sister Marriott both related us to clay in their talks-- how we need to be centered in Christ, and also be clay that is yielded and still (ready to accept God's will of how He will shape us) Those connected well to the thoughts of Elder Lawrence about asking God what is keeping us from progressing. In that way we are yielded and still and centered in Christ. 
Hope you catch what I mean, but I really enjoyed it.

Love you all, hope you have a merry Christmas!

Zr Watts]]>
<![CDATA["Time, that aged nurse, Rock'd me to patience"]]>Mon, 14 Dec 2015 08:37:21 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/time-that-aged-nurse-rockd-me-to-patienceThis was seriously such an incredible week I am just bursting with joy. Seriously missionary work is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done and I am extremely grateful to be here in Lelystad. It is SUCH a special place. I'm just surrounded by such special people. :)

Monday last week was crazy.... we went to Amsterdam to the market with our district and these cute Brazilian ladies we're working with right now. Their friends met up with them so at one point zr Jones and I had 4 Brazilians following us speaking Portuguese. so funny
We rushed back home to Lelystad to pack our bags to sleep over for zone conference the next day, and before we left for Zoetermeer, we went bowling with the YSAs here in Lelystad. We could only stay for 30 minutes, but I have to say I was pretty good haha Well maybe not good, but not bad. :)

And then we had a 2 hour train ride and slept over at Zoetermeer with my favorite people: Amsterdam sisters, (Zr Hopkin & Ramirez), and Zoetermeer sisters (Zr Maughan, and Mashburn). All but the last are former companions of mine. It was so fun :) I love them so much!

and now in the words of my companion:
"We had a Zone Christmas Conference, and we had a really cool training on a new teaching style.  With this new teaching style, the idea is that our lessons last only about 15 -20 minutes and that we meet with our investigators about 3 - 4 times a week.  Its also very heavily question based, the idea is that people basically teach themselves, and then we confirm the truths that they've come for themselves to understand. We've seen a lot of miracles this week teaching this way.

One them, was with Angelique, the mom I wrote about last week who's 7 yr old daughter said the closing prayer.  We had a solid lesson with her Thursday, it was so cool.  We taught the third lesson by reading through 2 Nephi 31 with her. Right after we said the opening prayer, before we started reading, she paused and said (translated into English) "Oh and Sisters, do you remember how you asked to pray about the lesson last week?  I've been praying about it.  And I didn't get any big sort of answer.  But it just felt good.  I felt good about reading in the Book of Mormon and meeting with you."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah,  we just were bursting with joy.  Praying about it is SO important, and so simple.  But I've seen so many times on my mission people just don't do this first simple step, or they don't recognize the answer.  And Angelique's experience was just so cool.  She just went and did it, she knew what she was praying about and she was able to recognize the still promptings of the Holy Ghost.  We asked her if we could come by Sunday, to try to start meeting more regularly, and she told us that all her 4 kids would be there and also her sisters 4 kids.  But that if we were okay with that, she thought it would be really cool to go and share a lesson with all of them.
Ah, so yesterday we went over and did a quick 20 min message about Christmas to 2 adults, and 8 kids ranging from 3 months to 17 years old.  It was one of the coolest lessons of my mission.  We showed up and Angelique told us that all the kids were really excited to meet us and hear what we had to say.  After our message, Angelique turned to all the kids and asked if they had any questions for us.  She told them we were only 20 so theres no need for them to be scared ;)  One of the teenagers asked how to pray.

Ah.  I'm just smiling so big right now just thinking about.  The gospel blesses families. It's cool to see.

Also, another mother we have been teaching told us she's going to ask her husband about baptism, and if he's okay with she said, and I quote "I don't want to wait very long." !! :D  She came to stake conference yesterday, and she was so cute.  She forgot it was starting later, so she showed up at the regular time and ended up just setting up.  She's what we call a dry Mormon.  I'm really excited for her to get baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, because really she is practically almost already a member.  She's just going to receive so much more blessings and strength through it."

amen Zr Jones, amen.
sorry I'm getting lazy. But I just relaly loved those experiences this week. WE ARE SO BLESSED HERE.

We found out last night that Zr Jones is being transferred to Den Haag, and I'm getting Zr Young. She's been in Belgium for most of her mission, and I don't really know her, but she seems really sweet, so I'm excited :) 

Saturday and Sunday was our Stake Conference. It was so fun and amazing! We have such cool people here. The adult session was in Haarlem, and it was really funny, the man who got up to say the closing prayer said "geliefde broeders.... euh.... geliefde Hemelse Vader..." (dear brothers... uh.... dear Heavenly Father...) We were all dying. There were a lot of funny things that happened in the meeting and it was just so happy. The whole time I just thought of the scripture Mosiah 2:41 (one zr Bush showed me in the MTC) 
" 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

I am so happy right now. :) Life is just so good and fulfilling and wonderful. It's not easy, but there's just so much to be grateful for. I read a lot about patience again this week. It just seems to be popping up everywhere in my studies haha It's a sign. But I loved this quote: "Time, that aged nurse, Rock'd me to patience"(-keats) Because it's so true. Time requires our patience. Neal A Maxwell said, "We are clearly not at home in time--because we belong to eternity! Time, as much as any one thing, whispers to us that we are strangers here. If time were natural to us, why is it that we have so many clocks and wear wristwatches?" 
He's so poetic and I love it! But it's true. 
Sister Linda S Reeves said in her *awesome* talk this past women's conference, "Sisters, I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, “Was that all that was required?” I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally. What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?"
I love that.

Do you feel what I mean? There's so much to be grateful for and just so much that God has given us to make us happy. We are here to have JOY. That's something I've really been learning this past month. I'm so grateful for that lesson.

Love you all! Be happy and love eachother, hé?
veeeel liefs
Zr Watts]]>
<![CDATA["Unhappiness starts with wanting to be happier"]]>Mon, 07 Dec 2015 08:44:17 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/december-07th-2015Picturea picture of my gift I received for sinterklaas, it's the dutch version of santa clause that happens on 5 dec and we did an activity with the gemeente. it was really fun!
We had some really cool lessons and just new people this week and it was awesome!

We had a lesson with this cute lady, and she is so positive! We talked about het heilsplan and it was so full of the spirit. She is so cool.

District meeting was absolutely wonderful this past week. The zone leaders came to visit, and they're both elders I've worked with before in other areas, so that was fun. They're doing a really good job. Our district leader is on his last transfer, and he's also really awesome. He always asks if anyone has any questions, just open for any question. One of the zone leaders, Elder Smith, asked, "When was a time when you've felt the love of God the most, or really strong in your life?" 
It was SO cool. We all just shared some experiences, and it was funny because they were all things that happened in the MTC or on our missions :) Then we talked about why that is. Missions are just such special experiences and I am so grateful for this time to be here serving my Heavenly Father.
Also Zr Jones gave a wonderful Christlike Attribute on Charity and Love. It was an awesome meeting. I felt so motivated and awesome after. Love those moments :)
Also Zr Jones' little brother left on his mission this week! He is going to South Africa (durban mission, mom :)  Crazy crazy. 

Another wonder this week was EXCHANGES WITH ZR HOPKIN! She and I were companions in Groningen, and it was one of the best transfers of my mission. Seriously she is one of my best friends out here and it was so good to work with her again. She's my role model, and I'm so glad she's our sister training leader right now! It was great to teach lessons and contact people with her and just to think of how much we've both grown since last year. It was a day of laughter for sure :)

Thursday was so cool. We had two first lessons with these awesome new people. Very excited about them both. 

I read an article from a liahona about patience, and it was really really good. It talked about how patience is not indifference, but caring very much but being willing to submit to the will of God. It used the same quote Caden (my brother) used in his email probably a month ago, but from a different talk by Neal A. Maxwell
"There is also a dimension of patience which links it to a special reverence for life. Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe—rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.

Too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising! So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we won’t be."

I REALLY like the last sentence. I also have heard it put this way: "Unhappiness starts with wanting to be happier."
Not being satisfied with what you have. 

We need to certainly "do all things that lie in our power" (d&c 123:17) (best scripture ever) but trust in God and wait for His timing.

"I am learning to 'count it all joy' when my patience is tried -- not because I find joy in the hardness of it, but because I know that it has a glorious purpose." 

ach it was so good! look it up please. https://www.lds.org/liahona/2015/08/young-adults/patience-more-than-waiting?lang=eng

oh whoops there's the url

haha

I hope you all had a good week, there's so much more to tell but I'm literally way out of time

Love love love
zr watts

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<![CDATA[Oliebollen are my favorite things ever]]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:04:17 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/oliebollen-are-my-favorite-things-ever
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drink lots of hot chocolate, okay people?
It's been a great week of Thanksgiving-themed spiritual thoughts, oliebollen, lessons, and rain. :)

We did a lot of Danbaarheid (gratitude) lists with members and it was so good :)

There was this amazing lady we met this week. She's met with sisters here for a while, but the last 2 months she's been sick and her father in law passed away, so it was my first time meeting her. She is so desirous of an answer and a relationship with Heavenly Father. It was a really spiritual appointment. She struggles with knowing if God loves her, and she feels like he doesn't answer her prayers. It was so sad to see one of Heavenly Father's daughters doubting His love for her. We testified that He loves her and just cried with her. We felt so blessed to be there for her. She has such a desire to know. :) I love her already.

Another investigator is deciding about a baptismal date right now. She's not sure about what her family will think and is nervous about that for sure. We talked about it in our lesson this past week, and she said, "maybe once it's getting warmer" then she thought for a few minutes, and said, "no that's too far away"  :D We're praying with her this week and we'll be picking a date this coming appointment. She is so good :)

Thursday was Thanksgiving! We went to visit an american lady in our ward, whose husband just got out of the hospital 3 weeks ago, but is still recovering. While we were there, they got a phone call that he would have to go back the next day... It was really hard on them. We hope it was good that we were there. :/
But we had dinner and FHE with this cute family in our branch. The children are all really intelligent and really funny. The mom made us a South African dish called boboti I think. It was delicious. She's dutch, but she's a good cook!

My favorite mormon message this week is "Voice of the Spirit" It's reallly good!

In other news, I finished the New Testament! It is so good. I would recommend it for everyone who likes to be spiritually opgebouwd. :) It  feels good because that was one of my new year's resolutions last year, and I DID IT! 
Should I read the Old Testament next or the D&C? That's the question :)
(obviously I read the book of mormon every day, don't worry ;)

I love you guys!
Have a good week

Zr Watts
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<![CDATA[paninis and rainstorms and sushi]]>Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:00:27 GMThttp://sisteraubreywatts.weebly.com/letters/paninis-and-rainstorms-and-sushiLots to share so here we go!
 I got to go on exchanges in AMSTERDAM with Zr Ramirez!!! (we served together in Arnhem, and I was "born" in a'dam) We went to Familie Tavares and it was so cool to see how they've grown and changed in the past year! We also had dinner with a sweet older lady in the ward. It was just so good to be with Zr Ramirez and to go contacting and looking old formers up. She's the best. :)

 I tried real sushi from a real restaurant for the first time. It was really good! It was this massive plate of all different types of sushi. These investigators ordered it for us for a dinner + lesson appointment. They are super sweet. We watched the restoration dvd and they really liked it. 

 Zone Training in Amsterdam! I've worked with our zone leaders and our STL (zr hopkin) before in other cities, and they're all amazing missionaries! They handed out leaves that they'd written the zone vision on and then laminated. Like real leaves. :D
It was just really good and they talked about chapter 9 of PMG, which is about finding people. 
I really liked Zr Hopkin's presentation. She talked about how Jesus Christ was (and is) a master finder. It was super cool. I wish I had more time to tell you about it! Her main example was from John chapter 5. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, but went a bit out of His way because He new that the woman at the well, and the man at the pool of Bethesda needed to have their interactions with Him. 
It was a really opbouwende conference :)
(mom I got the package! thanks so much! the recipe looks delicious, we're excited to try it!)

 Friday, we drove with our branch president and his non-member co worker to Enkhuizen. She is interested in the church and it was cool to finally meet her and talk with her. She is super cool and open. It's awesome to see members here in Lelystad just being amazing member missionaries. 
Along with that, a lot of our young women have been inviting a lot of friends to activities, and for the past couple weeks they've also been coming to church! The friends asked us for a Book of Mormon for each of them, so after church we went by their house to bring them over. It's just really exciting!

Whenever we go to Enkhuizen, we end up eating out because it's just really far from home, and we realized that we get paninis every time haha Also Hot chocolate. It's delicious.

 We played Turkey Bowl on Saturday with two other zones and it was really really really cold and rainy. haha But it was really fun. I remember last year how president Robinson was tackling everyone, and this year, President Bunnell and zr Bunnell were getting into it as well :) So fun!

 That night we went by Debbie, the cute south african lady. She and her mother are so adorable and proper and I love the way they say "yes" in their south african accent :) The miracle was that we were there when we were. Vickie, Debbie's mother (she's 85ish) got up to go to the bathroom, and when she was on her way back we heard a sound, and when we looked we saw that she had fallen! Debbie has a lot of health problems and wasn't able to lift her up. It was a wonder that we were there to help! That was a bit scary for Debbie too, so it was great to be there for her as well.

We finally got Miqueline to church! It was kind of stressful because we went to pick her up with the bikes and then we ended up being a little late to church because her kids didn't want to come. haha But she was there! And she liked it!

It really is turning into winter here. It rained 6 days out of the 7 this past week. haha

I love you guys. Birthday shout out to Mason! I can't believe you're 15 already!

veeeel liefs
zr watts
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