L to R. Zuster Robinson, Zuster DeGroot, our Dutch Tutor,
and President Robinson
We just finished our first full week at the MTC in the Language Immersion Program. We spent from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday in our own little 'cubicals'. We had a two hour session in Dutch every morning and another in the afternoon. We also had the opportunity to have Dutch speaking members volunteer to work with us. We each had an hour session in the morning and another in the afternoon. I had the opportunity to skype with an older couple in Arizona for one hour and we read the Dutch Boek van Mormon together. They were a great help in sounding out and pronouncing words. Another 85 year old sister came to help me read. When I told her what I wanted to do, she agreed and for an hour she helped me to read through part of 2 Nephi. She did great. The next day she came back and told me a miracle had happened during our study the day before. She said she had not read the Dutch Boek Van Mormon is years and also, she has macular degeneration in one eye and cannot see the first two or three letters in words. She was sacred when I asked her to read from the Dutch Boek Van Mormon, but she didn't want to disappointment me, so she tried to do her best. Well, on her way home afterward, she realized that for one hour she was able to see all the letters in every word and had not had trouble reading any Dutch word. She called her only daughter to tell her and her daughter, Judith, said she was going to write about that miracle in her journal. For that family, it was remarkable. I believe miracles happen there every day. Alden had the opportunity to study with a volunteer from Alaska. So much work went into setting up our schedule and getting the volunteers and tutors. What an amazing process to help us become fluent in Dutch! We worked on a computer based language learning program and then the rest of the day was personal studying and reading. Well, except for the lunch hour and the dinner hour.
We were so pleased to find Elder Tuttle and Elder Robison at the MTC. We found one another at the cafeteria. We saw at least one of them every day. President especially enjoyed seeing two fine young men from his Priests Quorum excitedly going about the labors of a missionary. They both glow with 'the work'. We also met many wonderful senior couples during our lunch and dinner breaks. One couple is going to St Petersburg, Russia, another couple to the Washington DC Temple, another couple was going to Estonia. Another couple on their second mission are headed to Ohio. It was a 'cosmic pick' when we sat down next to a couple as to where they might be called to serve. Both Alden and I commented on how happy EVERY SINGLE senior couple looked at the MTC. There is a glow about everyone. We met several newly called mission presidents that were doing the same thing we were doing--immersion in language weeks. No one was working on the same language! And yes, all the wives were in the same situation as me!
We will continue to skype twice a week for our language until May 7 when we will return for another week of immersion. I truly believe after three weeks like this and all the continued tutoring, I will feel comfortable enough to bear my testimony, pray, and have simple conversations when I arrive in Holland. To speak spontaneously with others, well, that will continue to take work. Right now, I need to write it down, correct it and then practice it 100 times or more. :) Everyone promises that 'IT WILL COME'. The promise I put my faith in is the promise from the Heilige Geest that it will come.