Monday, November 24, 2014

G.R.A.T.I.T.U.D.E. WEEK 76!

Lieve Familie,

           Family I just want you all to know that this week while I was reading my emails, I had a tear or two come down my face followed by watery eyes that filled my heart with joy. Joy for a lot of things. Joy for my mission because without it I would be lost. Joy for each and every one of you because without each and every one of you I wouldn’t have made it this far. Joy for the Gospel. Joy for Christ. Joy for friends. Joy for light. Joy for just about everything this life has to offer. What a blessing it is to feel joy and love in our lives. To be honest I have come to the point where I can’t even express my gratefulness because I just turn speechless. Speechless and humbled. It’s great. Life is great and so is Heavenly Father. 

         This week was full of activity. I spent 2 days here in Eindhoven without counting the weekend so nothing was new with that. I really enjoy working with other missionaries and just getting lost in the work. Week after week I am amazed at how dedicated and committed 18-20 year old young men and young women are when it comes to serving the Lord. It really is humbling.  It’s funny because we are told to work with others to help, encourage, motivate, and lead them. But every time I feel like I am the one who is learning and being taught; the one being re-encouraged or re-motivated because of the amazing examples I see. There really are so many amazing missionaries here in this Mission and in our zone. I am grateful for their sacrifices they have made to take part in this Labor of Love. 

         Thanksgiving is coming up and welllllllll to say I am thankful and grateful is an understatement. This Thanksgiving for me will be spent in Zoetemeer as we will have the privilege to listen to Elder Morieria who is apart of the quorum of Seventy. It will be a great experience and I am excited. Hopefully he doesn’t chastise us to bad, but if he does I am more then open to feedback and will accept it. The real thanksgiving party here will be Friday- some of the members are going to throw a big thanksgiving feast for us! I am very excited and very thankful that they are willing to take care of us. 

          Well Fam and friends I don’t really have much else to say because I am hitting my “speechless mode” again. I am just so thankful and grateful. I hope and pray that you all will be safe and blessed this upcoming week. Just remember to stay thankful and grateful. Enjoying to the End is so real to me and I invite you all to truly just ENJOY all things that come into your life. God has a plan and I know it. I love Him and I love His son, Jesus Christ. Be safe, have fun, make good choices, help another, stay grateful, and.....

Enjoy to the End! 

Love you all so so so much.

        Big Dude


Monday, November 17, 2014

Gift of Understanding...Week 75!

Lieve Familie,

                “Seek first to understand, instead of being understood” 

                This above is an important lesson that I have learned several times while being on my mission. We are all different. No one is completely the same. It definitely makes life just that much more harder, but also that much more exciting.
     Many times I had the thought of “why don’t some people just understand or understand what I am trying to do for them?!” I believe this happens a lot to us.  I have had so many experiences where I have really had to put myself in someone else’s shoes and just try to understand them or understand where they come from instead of judging them and assuming that they just aren’t right.
     Then there are times where we find ourselves on the other side of the situation saying “if only people understood what I am going through right now or where I am coming from”.. In life there are many decisions to be made and choices to make; sometimes we don’t understand the choices or decisions of others and we assume or sometimes even judge thinking why don’t they understand. Then we also have times in our life where we make a decision or a choice that leaves many people questioning and not understanding the WHY behind it. I mean lets be honest, this happens so much in life. Everyone has their own ability to choose. But I believe that when it comes to understanding one another (before we go make assumptions or judge the choice of another, whether it was a good one or a bad one) let us all ask the question of “are we seeking to understand or to just be understood?”. It has helped me so much when dealing with investigators, missionaries, members, etc. It is important to communicate with one another and seek for understanding instead of being understood. 

  Well with that said, this week just flew right by! Pretty much same old same old. I was able to get 2 full days of work in here in Eindhoven while I spent the other days working in different cities with different missionaries and gave a training and planned for upcoming events. It wasn’t the most exciting week, however we did see lots of miracles and have been amazed at the many blessing we receive. In spite of us being often away, we (Elder Rudolph and I) have been able to see many miracles here in Eindhoven. We have currently 3 Baptismal Dates who are making lots of progress and seem to be very excited about learning more. I really do enjoy the hard work, but I also know that my efforts need to be in line with what the Lord wants. After all, if there is one thing that I have learned about this work it is that the fact that this is His work and definitely not mine. My testimony continues to grow and I am really really loving Eindhoven/the Mission.

  I just want you all to know that I love each and every one of you. Words cannot describe the love I have for you all. I miss you guys a lot and I love you even more. I am so grateful for the mission, it has changed my life and brought so much light into my life. I know that God lives and loves each and everyone of us. Jesus Christ is his Son and is our Savior and Redeemer, #becauseofhim life has no end. His Gospel is the plan of true happiness and happiness is what our Heavenly Father wants for us.  
Enjoy to the End peeps! 

      Big Dude

pics: there was a light show here in Eindhoven where they light up all the Cathedrals and such. We went with the young men and women. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Just Smile and Have Fun! WEEK 74!

Lieve Familie,

              Before I get started here I just want to thank you all for the letters, emails, and support I receive. Seriously I miss you fam and love you so much. You are all so inspiring and amazing and have all had a huge impact in my life. I am so grateful and just thinking about you all makes me realize just how blessed I am and how much I truly truly do love each and every one of you. LOVE YOU GUYS SOOOO MUCH!

 Well what a week it has been. It has been a great week, a week that just seemed to fly right by!

It was lots of work and just busy busy busy!  I was only in Eindhoven 2 out of the 5 days during the week, one of the days being last Monday (p-day) so I spent a majority of my time once again working in other cities and with other missionaries. It has been a great experience and I truly do love it. It is hard to be away and I find myself sooooo tired and exhausted, but it is great to be there for someone who is in need. It’s so important to just stay positive and happy in this life- especially when the weather just keeps getting colder and colder and more miserable. The only thing you ever have in control of is how you ACT and your attitude. So I am grateful that I choose to be grateful and positive no matter how cold or rough it gets. :)

   This last week I’ve learned a lot. A lot about Christ, forgiveness, attitude, judging others, seeing the good in others, and etc. It truly is amazing at just how much you can learn every single week from being on a mission. Amazing because everyday you pretty much do the same work/same things (knock on doors, teach the Gospel, talk to people on the street, etc), but everyday is different and there is a lesson to be learned at every turn you make. It is very much like life. For most of us we actually fall into a sort of routine of doing the same basic or common things daily such as chores, work, going to the gym (I hope), school, homework, etc. and it just becomes our “normal life”. That’s great because were all staying busy in doing good and helping others, but I just hope (this goes for myself also) that we are learning the lessons that we need to learn while doing so. This last week it happened to me and I felt like I learned the lessons I needed to learn while fulfilling my chores/responsibilities as a missionary. But it happened to me in a way where I wasn’t taught by another missionary or person, but rather, I was taught by the Holy Ghost. As I really look back on my last week, I can really see where the spirit taught me valuable lessons. The scripture in Alma chapter 37 always comes into my mind when I think about this...

 Verse 36: “Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever”
 Verse 37: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.....”
The parts that I have highlighted always stick out to me because Alma is telling us to always have the Lord with us and in everything we do. In other words you could say, he is telling us to always have the Spirit with you. The Holy Ghost is the greatest teacher and will teach you all things in a way so that you will be able to understand and HE will always “Direct thee for good”.  So as we go about doing our daily chores, work, school, and everything else we do.. Let us all strive to do better at keeping Him close by us and being open for him. He will teach us valuable lessons and helps us to become better people. I love the quote from Elder Bednar regarding the teachings of the Gospel..
“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, The Gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.”
I absolutely love that quote and hope that we can all realize the importance of making daily or weekly progress of becoming something. Becoming someone better than who we were yesterday. Becoming better people! After all that is what the Gospel teaches us and challenges us to become. I hope I can also do the same!! 
Family I love you all so much and miss you guys like crazy! I must say though that I love my mission and I am so grateful that I still have time to learn and to grow and to be out here. Time to finish Strong and to ENJOY TO THE END!
    Big Dude!

Pics: At the car wash!!

  Beautiful drives!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Speechless" ......WEEK 73!

Lieve Familie,

           What a week it has been. I have named this email ``speechless´´ because that is really how I felt for a majority of the week.

The beginning of the week was full of transfer stuff and helping other missionaries with whatever they needed help with. Then it was followed by a whole day of sitting in Rotterdam Central Train Station to help move missionaries (with their 3 bags and bike) get from train to train. It was long and stressful. Nothing ever works out smoothly with transfers so Elder Rudolph and I spent most of the day solving the emergencies.

   Following transfer day (Wednesday) it was time to make/prepare a vision for the upcoming transfer and plan all things out (dates of exchanges, trainings, meetings, etc). All I can say is this upcoming transfer is going to be busy!! But we are excited and looking forward to the hard work. It truly is great to be anxiously engaged in a good cause. 

   After all this aftermath of planning and stress, which took up the whole week, we finally had time to go and do just good old basic missionary work. For Halloween we spent the day just working and attending a Halloween party with members. Dressed up as a nerd. At the party I was chased by clowns and at one point found myself hiding underneath a car because of my great fear of clowns. The members and my companions definitely got a huge kick out of it as they watched me run like a little girl. I almost pee´d my pants.

 Now this is why I am speechless..  This weekend was emotional and just full of humility. Friday we were called by our ward mission leader who asked us to come with him to visit a man that was sick. We gladly accepted and went along. The man we visited is a 60-year-old non-member, who had at one point in time been an investigator of the church. The minute we walked into his house I had the most overwhelming feeling that I was exactly where I needed to be. The wife let us in and 5 minutes later the Husband, who is sick, came downstairs. He saw us and couldn’t hold in his emotions. After minutes of tears and emotion he began telling us about his situation. He had been through Chemotherapy 12 times already and was dying due to prostate cancer. More tears were shed by him, us, and his wife. Hope of survival was slim, but after talking we came to know that His wife and him had faith to be healed. An opening prayer was said and a Priesthood blessing of anointing the sick was given. At that moment I experienced what it truly means to be an instrument in the Hands of the Lord.  Following the blessing, the Wife was asked if she too, would like to receive a blessing of comfort. Another blessing was given. What was felt, what was said, and what was experienced was breath taking. I cannot describe it, but it was and is something I will never forget for my entire life. The Priesthood is real. 

 Then this last Sunday just got even more emotional. Here in Ward Eindhoven we had a young single adult unexpectedly pass away and returned back to our Heavenly Father. Church was just emotional as she passed away that morning in the Emergency Room and it was really tragic and has affected many people, including me. Life is just so short and sometimes very very unfair. We spent most of our Sunday going by members and just testifying of the Resurrection and divinity of Christ and that God has a true perfect plan. It was emotional and still is, but it is amazing to see how Christ, the Gospel, and one’s testimony can really change someone and touch someone. I will gladly share my testimony and encourage you all to do likewise. It brings light, it brings comfort, and it brings the spirit. 

So because of these 2 events I am left speechless. However it is not a “speechless-ness” of sadness or of why, instead it is a “speechless-ness” of gratitude and of amazement/astonishment because of the pure joy and hope the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives. What should we hope for?
“And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” (Moroni 7:41) 

The promise is made unto everyone that families are forever and that eternal life is real as long as we remain faithful in Him. 

Love you all so much and miss you all like crazy! You will always be in my prayers.

Enjoy to the End.

     Big Dude