This week was such a whirlwind of experiences, I hardly know where to start or what to include and omit! I wish I could tell you all of the things that happened this week but I only have an hour, so here we go!
First of all, I love you guys. I miss you all so so so much! Don't worry though, my homesickness is a healthy amount, I love and miss you, but I am just so happy right now and so excited to be here on my mission and that is my main focus right now.
I feel so bad for forgetting to tell you that Emilee is my companion! (or rather Zuster Bush, haha that was a struggle for the first couple of days! I'd say, "Emilee, uhhhh I mean, Zuster Bush!) haha good times.
P day is always wednesday for me here, just btw.
Something funny that happened this week: yesterday was Magic Tuesday. What is that? Well........ It's this lovely thing that we have to do for the Belgium visa. Poop in a cup and now I get to go to Belgium. hahaha so awkward... Those Belgians are weird people. It was funny. We also had to get a tiny bit of blood drawn, and I've never given blood before so I was scared. But I didn't pass out so that was a success, right?!
ELDERS ARE CRAZY. At first I thought it was just the Elders in our zone, but it's definitely all of the Elders. They are just so funny and crazy! They keep us entertained. Our zone is made up of the Scandinavian missions: Nederland & Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Suriname (also speaking Dutch!), Iceland, and Denmark. (We call eachother by the countries we'll be serving in, so if I say the "Dutchies" that means those of us serving in the Bel/Neth mission, the Danes for Denmark, the Ice-ys for Iceland, Swedes for Sweden, etc.) The Danish Elders are insane and are probably the funniest in the MTC. They write poems and meow at everyone... it's awesome. :)
Our Sister Training leaders have been such a blessing to me! We taught our first lesson in Dutch on Friday, and afterward I felt so discouraged because I felt like I didn't understand anything, I was frustrated because I just wanted to be able to teach in English. I wanted to cry. But the sister training leaders (going to Denmark) are just so sweet and they helped encourage me. All of the Dutch zusters were feeling pretty down that night, but we talked about it and cheered one another up. Now, only a few days later, we have taught 4 lessons to our investigator (onderzoeker), Pascal. The lesson we taught yesterday was about the Apostasy and Restoration, and it went so so SO well! We weren't scripted like we had been in the previous lessons, and just had a lesson outline with important vocabulary written down to remind us. That made it easier to teach by the spirit. At the end, we challenged Pascal to pray to know that the church is true and to read the book of mormon, and he said that he had already prayed and knew in his heart that it was true! He said someting along the lines of, "I don't know why but I feel so good when you talk about that. I feel so good when I hear about Joseph Smith and I feel like he is a prophet" I was so grateful for that. I told him that that was the Holy Ghost, and in very simple, broken Dutch, explained that the Holy Ghost teaches us through feelings and impressions. Since he had already done our challenge and knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the church is true, I felt mipressed to challenge him to think about baptism. The gift of tongues is real. I have such a strong testimony of it already. That lesson was just so incredible, and that's because we let the spirit lead the lesson. Missionary work makes me so so so happy! Even though Pascal is just an actor, it's so rewarding to be able to feel the spirit and bear my testimony through the spirit. I love this work so much already. It's so hard sometimes, but it is so SO GOOD.
There are two districts of missionaries going to the BEL/NETH mission: ours is Zr Bush and I, and four elders, and the other is four Zrs and 2 Elders. We talk a lot and eat our meals together though, so it's really fun. I have loved getting to know so many people and making new friends. It's the best.
It's crazy how much Dutch we've already learned! We know how to say simple prayers, bear our testimonies, and teach simple doctrine in Dutch! I love it! But the "G" sound is a little bit of a struggle! It sounds so pretty when our teachers say it, but when we say it it's just really ugly. It requires a lot of saliva to speak this language! ^_^
On Sunday after the devotional (which was amazing btw, but there's too much to tell today) we watched a church video. It was a talk given by David A. Bednar at the MTC on Christmas Eve, so I think it was the one Caden was here for. It was called "The Character of Christ" and was so so so good. One thing that stuck out to me was when Elder Bednar said "Get over yourself. This work is not about you! You are just a wrench in the hand of the Lord. Be a good wrench. If everything was up to you, this work would not go forward. Luckily for you and I, this work belongs to the Lord, and He will not allow it to fail. Get over yourself"
That is just so true. I need to remember to not get discouraged by what I can't do, but to know that the Lord is over everything. It's important to worry about others and not to turn inward and feel sorry for yourself, but to turn outward and ask what you can do for others instead.
I've seen so many people I know and I love it! There are a lot of Lone Peakers here, as well as friends from BYU and it seriously makes my day to see them. Today, Kalli Abbott reports to the MTC around noon, and we're so excited to see her! The slovak missionaries have class in our same building on the same floor just in the next hallway, so we're so excited to get to see her a lot. There are just so many blessings that I can't even count them all. Zuster Bush is just the best companion. She is so sweet about dealing with how stressed and nervous I get before a lesson and she is so patient with me. I'm kindof shy around people I don't know, but since we've been friends since Jr. High, I feel so blessed that I feel comfortable around her and I just feel free to be myself. I feel like Heavenly Father has been blessing me to be more outgoing and i've gotten to know the missionaries in our zone pretty fast, which has been such a blessing. I'm so grateful for the other bel/neth Zusters because they are all so sweet and kind. Their personalities are all so unique and beautiful. I promise that Heavenly Father really does know us. He cares about every one of us. I have moments every day where I just can't help but cry a little because I'm so grateful for all of the things He has blessed me with.
I've learned so much this week about myself, missionary work, Dutch, and the gospel. This really is God's work! I'm so grateful that I get to be part of it. It is so so hard, but if I just forget myself and think about my investigators, I know everything will be ok.
Hopefully future letters will make more sense/ be more organized. Sorry bout it.