With all the 'stuff' they have sent from the MTC, we received Dutch Hymn books (Lofzangen) which are interesting to try to read the titles of songs and figure out the English counterpart. If you know me at all, I'm sure you are not surprised that I asked about a Children's Song Book which the Primary uses and found out there is one in Dutch. I made comment to my Dutch tutor from the MTC, Amber DeGroot, that I wanted to get one when we came to the MTC in April. It will be one book that goes on our mission with us. Well, to my great surprise Zuster DeGroot came to visit me in the hospital and the first thing I told her was "Ik ben blij!". She stayed for a short time and had to leave, but when she returned later that afternoon she brought me a personal copy of Kinder Liedjes as a get-well gift. I was touched. I had a hard time keeping the tears in check. What a lovely and treasured gift from the wonderful sister who is 'mij te helpen Nederlands te leren'. Bedankje Amber. Ik hou van jou.
We are in the thick of things! On March 20, 2012 we will spend two hours with the Europe Area Presidency in a training with all other newly called Mission Presidents of the Europe Area. I am grateful for the technology that will allow us to sit in front of our computer and be taught. We are already scheduled for another Seminar for Mission Presidents and wives with the Europe Area Presidency in Frankfurt, Germany on August 11-12, 2012. We will have been in Europe a little over a month. Things are moving fast. On Friday, March 23, 2012 we will spend two hours with one of the General Authorities in another meeting of this type. We are becoming so trained and so tutored we feel like the water is about at eye level and rising. And we are kicking as hard as we can and that's what makes this experience so FUN! :)
Homework! This is what it looks like twice a week as I Skype with the MTC for Dutch tutoring. Amber is a wonderful lerares (teacher). She recently returned from serving a mission in the Netherlands. She is kind and supportive of me as a beginning beginner. Working on prayer right now. For the next 3 1/2 years my prayers will be in Dutch. I surprised Alden the other morning when he asked me to say our family prayer before I left for work. It was pretty simple and I could only use simple sentences, but I gave it a try. We were both in tears before I finished. I blessed the food on Sunday for our family dinner and the real stretch for me was to pray in Dutch at our Stake Primary training with Holden Ward Primary on Sunday. Thank you sisters for allowing me that opportunity. All I can say is it's the gift of the Spirit.
Remember the 'mountain to climb'? Forget that!! It came as an avalanche. This is just one boxful of materials. Of course we have to have two of everything--and in two languages. We have received additional boxes and I have lost track of the FedEx packages that have been delivered. And the phone messages!??! Every night I come from work there is at least one message from either the MTC or the church office. (They are all from different people.) The latest message came from Bailey Moving. "We are calling regarding your overseas move with the LDS Church." When I got that message last night I realized THIS IS going to happen. 'Keep hands and feet in at all times', the ride begins.
On February 10, 2012, Alden and I met with President Eyring at the Church Administration office. What a wonderful experience to spend almost an hour with a prophet of God! Because the Missionary Department contacted our Stake President, President Monroe, and asked him to contact us regarding a mission possibility, we began this roller coaster ride on January 18, 2012. So after our visit on February 3, 2012, with Elder M. Russell Ballard, we were aware that this might be a mission president call. Still, it was hard to believe the words spoken when President Eyring called Alden to preside over the Belgium/Netherlands Mission and called me as a full time missionary to serve as his companion. We joyfully accepted. Tears flowed freely among the three of us as we sit silently for a moment and felt the confirmation of the Spirit and allowed the reality to sink into our hearts. President Eyring pointed out that rarely do Mission President calls come with an assignment at the same time as our did. He wanted us to know that while in the temple, President Monson had approved our call and at the same time approved our assignment--Belgium/Netherlands Mission. Our first reaction was 'it's a dream come true'--this is a miracle. In all of our 'desires of the heart', this is one desire that the Lord did hear--to serve our mission in Holland for 18 months. But to go as Mission President and companion and serve for three years, wow! It just takes our breath away. We still wake up at night and have to get our thoughts around it again! We are indeed blessed and acknowledge His hand in our lives and this call. We are overjoyed, excited, and extremely humbled by this call from God. We have been buoyed up and sustained by all the happiness, support and well wishes from our family, our friends, professional colleagues, and our ward and stake family. Thanks to everyone. Now comes the 'mountain to climb'. Life for us has changed forever, it has taken an eternal course correction.