Week at a Glance

We have finished up our second full week in the mission.  

Sunday we attended church in the Den Haag Ward.  After Sunday School the Bishop asked us to bear our testimonies.  When he asked me, he asked that I bear it in Dutch for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.  I agreed.  Silly me!!  While I was sitting on the stand during the opening, I really started to get nervous.  I had no paper, no note book with my Dutch words in it, and no "typed testimony".  I realized that I would have to do this without 'purse or script' or in other words, wing it.  During Sacrament I prayed for assistance and for peace.  Well, the peace came.  I was still a little nervous about giving a testimony that was 2 to 2 1/2 minutes long.  But I thought: "I can only do my best." When it came time to do it I did my best, which was a pretty simple testimony, and ended. After sitting down, the Stake President leaned back to shake my hand and complimented me.  Not me, the Spirit--the gift of tongues. Of course Alden did great on his testimony.  People are always amazed at his fluency of the language.  He'll be a regular Dutchman before we get back home.  We have been invited to speak in Sacrament meeting in the Den Haag Ward on September 30.  Also, Nijmegen Branch called and asked us to speak on July 29 in their Sacrament Meeting. Nijmegen is way over by the border with Germany. I have got to write a talk soon and get it translated into Dutch and give myself time to practice it.  Here we go. 

 Monday was spent at the Mission Office.  President Robinson, the Assistants, Elder Van De Graaff and Elder Van Overbeek; and Office Elders, Elder Klippel and Elder Culkins spent Monday doing 'the work' in the office. Elder and Sister Pankratz round out the Mission Office. 

Tuesday the Assistants, Elder Van De Graaff and Elder Van Overbeek, President and I started back through the Mission to do interviews.  Transfers are the end of July, so off we went to interview 100 Elders and Sisters.  Tuesday we were in Den Haag Zone, Wednesday we were in Rotterdam Zone, Thursday we were in Apeldoorn Zone, and Friday we were in Belgium, Antwerpen Zone.  Wow!  That's tiring, normally it is done in ten days--we did it in four days. We learned that from now on we will take ten days!  I appreciate the Assistants for all their support, love and mission spirit. They have traveled throughout the mission with us for two weeks now.  They are amazing Elders--I love them both like sons. The four of us have a wonderful time together.   

On Thursday evening we had the opportunity to meet with the Den Haag Temple President and his wife.  We spent about an hour getting to know the Klijwegs.  We found we had people in common.  David Dizaire,  son of the Dizaire Family that Alden taught and were baptized in 1969, is married to the daughter of the Klijwegs.  It was very heartwarming to hear the heartfelt thanks they offered to Alden for having found the Dizaire Family and for teaching the family so many years ago.  Every day Alden makes comment about how grateful he is that he served a mission.  This was another reason to be grateful.

On Friday evening we met and visited with Stake President Boom and his wife from the Antwerpen Stake.  That stake is doing wonderful things with missionary work.  We are excited to work shoulder to shoulder with them to serve the Lord and move the work forward.

Saturday was PDay, again.  We finally got our crate from Home--all the stuff we shipped on May 18 got delivered on Thursday afternoon, July 12--almost two months from departure to arrival! :)  Today, Saturday, we started to unload boxes.  First--clothes.  I am digging our my winter stuff.  It is rainy and 16 degrees C.  Has been for a week--will be for another week.  This is not July weather I'm use to--It feels like the end of September or October.  
Also, today was my first time having my hair done here.  Went into Den Haag to a salon recommended by Sister Burbaker.  Well, all I can say is, it is not the same as home.  Interesting experience.  My hair isn't bad, just different.  A little darker.  The humidity is a weird thing here, so maybe this cut will help me better manage it in the rain and humidity--while riding a bike!

Monday's are going to be my missionary days.  While Alden is in the office, I will be working with the Sister Missionaries in Den Haag.  We will do splits and I am excited to get in the trenches.  It will help my Dutch, but most of all, it will be real missionary work.  I'll let you know how my first Monday goes.

I have had some very spiritual experiences this week. My purpose this week was to get to know each Elder and Sister better.  So, prior to going into their interview with President, I visited with each one and asked about their families back home and their mission in general.  As I have talked with each missionary one-on-one the spirit has guided me in the questions I should ask and responses I should give.  I have come to love each of them even more.  I have seen them through the eyes of a 'mom'.  This mission is full of remarkable Elders and Sisters.  

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