But this last week was full of miracles and wonders! It's suddenly gotten a LOT colder in the past two weeks, and today it was hailing and raining on and off. You know in movies when sometimes the rain just starts out of nowhere and it's coming down real hard and you're just thinking, "yeah that would never happen in real life" Well, apparently it does in Nederland. haha It's so fun.
Miracles from this week in no particular order:
1. We got a Christmas CD from the office elders this last week at District meeting (because they're in our district and we made them cinnamon rolls) and we've just been listening to it all week long at night and in the morning as we're getting ready. It's been lovely.
2. We met with familie Gonzales, who are members originally from Ecuador and the parents only speak spanish, but their kids speak dutch, so the 14 year old son translated our family night lesson. It was amazing to me that I could remember even just 3 or 4 words in spanish for when their son didn't know the gospel term, I could guess. I don't even remember right now what those words were, but I know it happened and I'm just really grateful for Heavenly Father's help, because I definitely know it wasn't me!
3. Our ZHV (relief Society) president in wijk amsterdam is just so sweet! She gave us pannekoeken on Wednesday.
4. We saw all 6 of the elders every day this week at various member appointments! I'm a bit missionary-ed out! haha just kidding
5. We got a text with a referral from headquarters on Wednesday, and we had time to look her up on Thursday, so we headed out. It took a bit of time to find her building because it was a long street and we walked a little ways down before deciding to take the tram and had to backtrack to find it. We finally found her apartment building and went to bell her up. The system was super confusing. It was this wheel thing that you had to spin clockwise to scroll through the addresses and counterclockwise to scroll through names, and then once the one you wanted was highlighted, you push on the turny wheel thing. It was so confusing and we accidentally belled her neighbor at one point! We belled her finally, and nobody answered. So we belled a couple more times just for the zekerheid, and nobody answered. We were trying one last time as a cute lady was walking out the door. She stopped and stared at the screen as we pushed the wheel again and she told us that it was her we were looking for! So SO SO cool that she was walking out just as we were there!
But then it gets even better: she only speaks Italian. We had a really interesting time trying to communicate with her, but we did our best to pull out what we could. It was weird because I could pick out a couple words that were similar to spanish and french words. We gave her a card with the church's address and our phone number on it, and she pulled this pink piece of paper out of her bag that had a ton of information on it about our ward: the bishop's name, the address, time of meetings, everything! So that was also intriguing, but we couldn't really figure out how she had gotten that.
She said she would text us her phone number, or at least that's what got communicated, and then she just hugged us and kissed our cheeks while holding our hands and saying something that sounded really sweet in italian. :) It was a really funny experience.
The next day we looked online at our referrals system thingie and it had more information on her: She was baptized LAST WEEK in Italy, and had to move here to Nederland to help her daughter. And wouldn't you know, her daughter speaks dutch! So we're going to meet with her now to teach her the new member lessons and hopefully it'll all work out. She was possibly the sweetest lady I've met on my mission so far! Love her.
7. SINTERKLAAS! So in the Netherlands, instead of doing gifts on the 25th of December, they do it on the 5th. Sinterklaas comes up from Spain on a boat with Zwarte Piets, and little kids leave their shoes by the door with carrots in them for Sint's horses, and if they've been good they get gifts in their shoes. Typical treats are Chocoladeletters (chocolate formed into a letter-shape) and kruidnoten (kindof like gingerbread, but BETTER) The chocolate covered ones are the best. I have gotten 5 chocoladeletters from various people over the past week! So. much. chocolate.
We celebrated on Friday with all of the other elders and Bronno, our ward mission leader, and Roos, a really really lovely member that I want to be like someday. She is so awesome.
We also celebrated on Saturday with everyone at Sister Maureen Janssen's house. She invited two of her colleagues that us zusters had met before, along with her niece. It was super cool to be able to celebrate while also talking to them :) We did a white elephant and it was just super fun. I got some of those fererro rocher chocolates, and another chocoladeletter, so I'd say it was a successful night.
8. Our lesson with our investigator this week was really great. Bronno came on joint teach and he helped a lot. I've heard from other missionaries that he's the best ward mission leader they've had, so I'm really grateful for him. We are trying to get our friend on a baptismal date right now, because she's going through a lot of things right now and we just know that it would be an incredible help to her to be able to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We're having so much fun teaching her, and she's such a lovely lady. Her belief in God is beautiful and her testimony of Him is so strong! I love her
9.We taught Gospel Principles on Sunday! In dutch! (usually it's in english) It was super fun, and it went really well.
Through teaching as a missionary, I’ve found it can be hard because some people are comfortable with the way things are right then with their relationship with God, and don’t think anything could change depending on where they get baptized in the end.
Love you all so much and thanks for all of your support. I hope you have an incredibly wonderful week.