Scriptures Bags and the Antwerpen Belgium Stake

On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, President and I had an appointment in Breda, Netherlands with Sister Annemie van der Waard, the Stake Relief Society President and Sister Tia van Gijsel, the Stake Young Women's President from the Antwerpen Belgium Stake.  Bro. de Wilde from the Stake High Council was representing President Boom.

President took the beginning of the meeting and explained the role missionary work and missionaries were taking in their Stake, and what has been done up to date.  Afterward, he turned the time over to me and I shared the entire story of the Scripture Bags from Fillmore Utah Stake. 

As I finished, the sisters in the room were in tears.  Those two stake auxiliary presidents felt the spirit and power that comes with the scripture bags.  They were so very touched and excited to carry this forward in their stake.  Ideas were already starting to surface.  They were both excited to get back with their presidencies.

Sister Annemie van der Waard, the Stake Relief Society President and Sister Tia van Gijsel, the Stake Young Women's President

Ideas and excitement started 'on the spot'.

They were traveling home together and told me they would be talking and thinking about this all the way home.

Sister van der Waard, Sister Robinson, Sister van Gijsel, Bro. deWilde

The Stake is giving full support to this endeavor.  The work of the Lord always amazes me.  It shouldn't, because this is how wonderfully the Lord works.  Still, "I stand all amazed at the love...."

The following Scripture Bags were left in the care and keeping of the Antwerpen Belgium Stake:

Sydney Condie
Hailey Kesler
Alicia S.
Lydia Koyle

They are very interested in getting a short paragraph from each of these Young Women and Leaders telling about yourself.  They would love to know more about YOU to share with the Young Women and Sisters in the Stake. You can send it to me at brendaprobinson@gmail.com   Thank you again Fillmore Utah Stake Young Women for this wonderful gift to further the missionary work forward in the beautiful and quaint country of Belgium.


Another Mission Miracle

We now have an even dozen!!
(In Netherlands, their eggs come in cartons of 10)

On August 27, 2012, at 3:20 pm our 12th grandchild arrived to begin his great adventure on earth.  It's a 'journey' back to his Heavenly Father.  We welcome Nixon Lee Sagers to our family with open arms and open hearts.  This little guy was one of the main reasons that it was hard to say goodbye in June, knowing I would miss the event.  However, Sally and Lance made sure we could 'FaceTime' during the day today.  I checked in several times to see how things were going and got great updates. I got up at 2:00 AM in Leidschendam, Netherlands to FaceTime again and little Nixon was a half hour old.  He was getting cleaned up and ready to come back to his mom.  

Here is happy and tired mom and new baby boy, Nixon.

We visited for a short time and then Layton and Parker came into the room to meet their new little brother.  With FaceTime still going, we were able to watch the two boys see their baby brother for the first time.  That was precious! We are so far away, but for that few moments, we were in that room watching an eternal family welcome a brand new member with all the love and excitement that come with these events. I feel Heavenly Father's blessings in this event.  I felt so reassured over and over by the Spirit that all was well in my absence.  I felt such a calm about Sally and Lance, such an ease, even though 'mom' was not there, they were doing great.  I knew they would do great, but I sure did wonder on February 10, when we stopped at their home to tell them about our mission call. Sally and I both cried, because we both knew I would miss this great event.  That's what hung heavy on our hearts.  

The mission miracle-
My heart is at peace and is being buoyed up by the Spirit.  The Lord has blessed my heart to not break for not being with Sally.  He has blessed my heart to be full, my joy boundless and my gratitude deep for the blessing of Nixon. 

Nixon Lee Sagers
7 lbs. 11 oz.
19 1/2 inches long
And he looks just like his older brothers--he fits!

Outside My Back Door

 There is always something exciting at the Mission Home!

Last week I looked out my back door onto the canal, and I saw these beautiful Swan. (Hans Christen Andersen kind of thing, and yes, 
I know that is a Danish thing)
 Now, I know they are beautiful, and I also know they can 
be mean!  So, I kept my distance, I did not what to be 
accosted in the middle of a photo shoot!

I have a great backyard!

Forty Years Later

On Friday, August 24, 2012, President and I went to Apeldoorn to work with the Zone Leaders, Elder Van Rij and Elder Li.  We had a great day.  President has two 'look-ups' to do.  One was a family of a business friend of Alden's, Shane Jones.  Shane lived with a family, Henk and Marja Brink, near Apeldoorn as an exchange student when he was sixteen.  He asked us if we could, look them up and say 'hello' from Shane and get to know them.  Well, we did.

Marja's sister-in-law, Sister Robinson, Marja Brink, President Robinson,
 Henk Brink, their daughter Marja, and Marja's brother.

It was a delightful visit with this family.  In Dutch fashion, they served us juice drinks and treated us like family.

President's second 'look-up' was his old address for the house where he rented a room from a family 40 years ago as an missionary.  We found the house.  It has now been converted into several apartments, so we were not able to go inside to see his room.  But he remembers the pine tree in the front yard, the huge one to the right of President.  It was a pleasant walk down 'memory lane'.

 He remembers the house being red or dark brick.

The front door to the home.

As we were doing our 2-2-5 down the street of this home, a teacher came by with her class.  I'm assuming they were going on some kind of field trip.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of them coming as well as going.

 Look beyond the parked car, can you see every student is on their own bike?

They were stretched out for about a half block.  Teacher was on her bike up front wearing a bright florescent green vest!! (Sorry, she didn't get in the picture)  The children were around 8-10 years old.  What a way to go on a field trip, I should have thought of this sooner!!  What was I thinking all these years I took kids on field trips!!??!!  Fun or no?


Den Haag Stake and Six of the Scripture Bags

On Thursday, August 23, 2012, President and I met with Sister Naomi 't Hoen, the Stake Young Women's President in the Den Haag Stake.  
At our meeting with President Odens he had asked President and I to meet with her and he had asked Sister 't Hoen to met with us.  He had shared a little about the Scripture Bags with her.

Sister Robinson and Sister 't Hoen

This is Sister 't Hoen's story:

"When President Odens called and told me about the bags I was immediately interested.  I had been praying and pondering what I could do with our Young Women of the Stake. We have so many of our Young Women who are not actively attending and participating in Young Womens. We are having a Stake Young Women's Activity on October 20 and I have been searching for something that our young women can do to help them reach out to every young sister in our Stake.  So, I was very interested to met with you to learn about these scripture bags."

Sister 't Hoen and her counselors are very interested in the project.  They are going to use it to help in activation.  They have a large number of Young Women who are not enjoying the blessings of full activity. They are going to use the scripture bags in their stake activity on October 20, all the Young Women in the Stake will get together and make more scripture bags, using those six I gave them from Fillmore Utah as samples.  They are all going to mark Books of Mormon with their favorite scriptures and then give it to a less active Young Women or a non-member friend and invite them to read it and come and actively join again in Young Women's and receive the blessings of activity and church membership. 

Along the way, the Stake Relief Society will be assisting the project in sewing the bags.  Perhaps the Relief Society Sisters will want to do their own bag?  I 
don't know.

Here are the six bags that went to the Den Haag Stake:

Julie J
Kambell M.
Shaylee A.
Mariana R.
Mary Ann S.
Leona M.

It was such a joy to visit with Sister 't Hoen.  We told her that our missionaries were ready to assist and help her and the Young Women of the Stake, as well as their families in role playing and helping them practice ways to approach and present their book bags to others.  President and I are invited to talk to the Young Women at their Stake Activity on October 20, 2012.  I can hardly wait!  'Zendingswerk is echt en spannend.' 

Interesting Note:  Fillmore Stake--when Sister 't Hoen saw the picture of all the girls at Girls Camp, all she could say was 'WOW!'.  Quote form Sis. 't Hoen: "I would love to have that many of our Young Women at camp.  That is amazing!"
She is right--Fillmore Stake Young Women are "AMAZING"!


Scripture Bookbags

Just an update on the Scripture Bookbags from Fillmore Utah Stake.

President and I have met with the Stake President from the Den Haag Stake, President Odens.  He is very excited to use them in his stake, I have a meeting with the Stake Young Women's President on Thursday, August 23, 2012 to start planning. These are going to be a hugh missionary tool!

Also, President and I have met with the Stake President from Antwerpen Belgium, President Boom. He too was very excited to use the bookbags in his stake.  He is making arrangements for President and I to go back down to Belgium and meet with his Stake Relief Society and Young Women's Presidency--his vision included all the women of his stake.  

Young Women of Fillmore Utah Stake--I hope you can catch a little of the vision and excitement that is starting to build here in the Belgium Netherlands Mission for Mission Work and your gift is 'right in the middle of it all'. I am so grateful and thankful for all of you--I pray that the Lord can touch your hearts in a way that you can understand and feel how loved and how wonderful you really are.

PLEASE HELP ME--AGAIN:  On the letter from the Stake Camp Leaders that was enclosed with the Scripture Bookbags, there was a special note that in part said: 'through your missionaries could you make sure one goes to Ronja Vreven in Holland'.  Well, I have found Ronja, and yes, one will go to her--personally by me.  I would like to tell her who sent it to her.  How does someone from Fillmore Stake know her?  I would love to hear the story before I deliver the bag.  Thanks. 

Also, on my first post, I included the names of the 23 Young Women and Young Women Leaders plus Kambell M. whose bookbags I have.  Could someone get me pictures of those 24 people and send it to my email? I have people very interested in 'meeting' all of you!  

Feels Like Utah

Today, August 19, 2012, is a hot day for the Netherlands. I was up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the humidity--it is hot.  To top it off--air conditioning is not generally found in buildings in the Netherlands.  Church building are not air conditioned, and neither is the Mission Home.  Church was warm this morning, but the Single Young Adult meeting this evening in Gouda Ward was very hot.  Windows don't open up to wide either. 

This is my feeling about the heat--I loved it!  It felt like home.  The only things missing were my deck, my chair, a good book, cold drink and my grandkids.  I just closed my eyes for a minute and pretended I was on the houseboat at Lake Powell with my family and not a care in the world!  This was my mental picture:

This was the reality:  The Chapel in Gouda Netherlands, no air conditioning with 80 Young Single Adults in a three hour meeting and still they were happy to be there and so were we! It was a great experience. There will come a day--too soon--when I am on the houseboat and I'll close my eyes and pretend that I am in a meeting with 80 Young Single Adults in Gouda Netherlands.  Isn't life interesting! :)


First Day of School

This is what I did on the first day of school!

I hung out with 8 great Zone Leaders, 2 AP's and their awesome President!

August 15, 2012 was the first day of school at Fillmore Elementary School and the first time I have missed the first day of school in over 30 years.
As I ate breakfast today I thought about all the wonderful faculty and staff at Fillmore Elementary School and when I stood and looked out of my kitchen window, I just started to cry.  For a few short moments, I was very homesick for something I love very much---teaching school.  

Then I was done, I was off to enjoy a day with my 'new class', the great Elders and Sisters that serve in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  

I know I am were I am suppose to be at this time, doing exactly what I am doing.  It is fun, exciting and full of miracles.  I told these missionaries today during our training, I would not trade places--I am happy to be on my mission.

But for a moment--I missed the bells, backpacks, buses and excitement that comes with the first day of school. All those happy kids walking into the school to find their class and their teacher.  But look what walked into my life--the smiles on those Elders are as priceless as all those smiles that walked into the classroom today.

Maybe today was the first day of school--my class just looks different now!

Good luck faculty and staff at Fillmore Elementary School.  You will have a great year because you are great teachers with great students.
Just know, you have someone in the Netherlands praying for all of you!
Love you all!


Another Update to our Finding

We are trying a different way to contact people who may what to hear our message.  Two weeks ago, we wrote a letter of introduction and put it in the mailboxes of 23 people who live in an apartment complex in our neighborhood.  We addressed it to the families who lived in the building--not just 'occupant'.  

As I shared earlier, we got a call right away.  This young man who called has had the first lesson and came to church on Sunday.  He is from Syria and has lived in Netherlands for over six years.  He know Dutch, but we got him a Book of Mormon in Arabic, which is much easier for him to read.  He said he would read it.  We taught him part of lesson 2.  He is out of town for a week or so, so we will see what happens--our next appointment is August 27.

Tonight, we went to call on the people who were not home the first time we did call-backs.  This time a young mother (24 years old) with three children was interested and asked us to come up to her apartment.  President presented her with our short message of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  I shared my testimony of families and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings happiness to families and we can be together forever.  I gave her a pass along card where she could get the free DVD about forever families.  She asked us to come back and teach her the first lesson.  So, on August 27, we have an appointment to teach her.  

Is the new approach a success?--I say it is another tool for us to use to find those who the Lord has prepared--we found a family and a young man to teach.  We don't know how this will all turn out, but President and I have the faith that He prepares people to hear the message we have to share. Each time we talk with these people, we feel the Spirit very directly and intensely.  And we also have the faith that He leads us to those who have been prepared and/or He leads them to us.  And so......we teach and continue to find!  Missionary work is the work of the Spirit!

"I Think to Myself....

......What a beautiful world!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012, Alden was jogging early in the morning about a block from the Mission Home.  It was a cool morning and the foggy haze was coming off the canals at sunrise, so he stopped to take a few pictures.

 Sometimes it's still hard to believe that we live in the Netherlands.  
We have to remind ourselves every once in a while that we live in a very unique spot on the earth.

The beautiful sunrise in Netherlands.  Not quite the same as a sunrise in Fillmore, Utah where the sun creeps up from behind those mountains.  
But just look at this sunrise, mornings are beautiful in Holland.  


Update to our "finding"

On Tuesday, August 7, 2012 President and I tried a different approach to finding.  Finding is the 'life blood" of missionary work.  Remember, I asked for your prayers.  Well, Wednesday morning we got a call from a man who was interested in our message and we made an appointment with him for Thursday afternoon at 5:00 PM.  

We just returned from teaching him part of the first lesson--God is our Heavenly Father, we are all his children, God has sent prophets to help us and we have a prophet today.  We shared briefly the Joseph Smith story, and introduced the Book of Mormon.  After reading some of the introduction from the BoM, we bore our testimony to the truthfulness of the book.  President testified that it is evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and either the book is true or it is not--but if he will read and pray about it, he can know for himself.  We read Moroni 10: 3-5.

We left the Book of Mormon and he committed to read it and pray to know if it is true.  He also committed to come to church with us on Sunday.  We will pick him up and take him with us. We have an appointment on Monday evening at 5:30 PM to answer questions, review and teach more.  Missionary work is real and exciting. 

Testimony:  God answers prayers--mine, President's and this man's.  He is searching for something.  He wanted to know how we knew that he was having problems and how we knew to contact him. (Isn't the Spirit an interesting gift).  I want you to know that the minute we began testifying of the Book of Mormon and the Promise of Moroni, the Spirit flooded the room.  We both know that he felt something happening.

After we finished and left, we went out to the car and talked about what had just happened and offered a prayer of thanks and gratitude for answered prayers--ours and yours.  Again, we both felt the Spirit testify to us of the truth of what had just happened in that man's apartment.

We don't know where this is going, or what will happen.  But God knows this man and led us to him.  This both President and I know for sure.  

Dear family and friends, thanks for your continued prayers.


An Unbelievable Missionary Story from The Fillmore Utah Stake

I'm not even sure how to start this story, I still find it hard to believe and KNOW that the Lord has his hand in this one.

Today, Wednesday, August 8, 2012, I went to the Mission Office with President.  We were on our way to the airport to pick up a new Elder.  
Sister Pankratz is the office Sister Missionary who orders all our church supplies and takes care of 'all things office' to help us run the mission.  
She caught me first thing in the door and said she felt impressed to give me some things that had been sent to the mission--they were scripture bags.  
The scripture bags came in the mail in December and since then, they have been in her cabinet.  She said that last night she just felt impressed to give them to me.  So, she pulled them out and started to tell me about where they came from and who had sent them. 

Sister Pankratz and Sister Robinson

With the bags there was a letter telling the story of the scripture bags. The letter in part reads---

To the Mission President and his Wife
of the Belgium Netherlands Mission

At girls camp this summer we enjoyed an afternoon of making these scripture bags.  We have sent them to your mission with hope that they will be a member missionary tool and that you will enjoy sharing them with some of the choice young women in your area.  In this small way we hope to lift up our sisters and send our testimony of a loving Heavenly Father.....  We anticipate the members will want to help you in this endeavor.

Sending Our Love Around the World
Fillmore Utah Young Women
Girls Camp 2011

With the each book bag there was a tag attached that told who had made the bag and this picture included on the inside.

Here is a list of the names attached to the scripture bags that
 I now have at the Mission Home:

Maylee S
Savannah C
Emeri L
Sydney C
Hailey K
Leona M
MaryAnn S
Liz  :)
Lorena E
Mariana R :)
Daisy B
Shantel K
Sariah S
Alicia S. xoxox
Abigail M
Adela M
Shaylee A
Julie J
Ivy N
Daisha E
Lydia K
Kambell Taite M

Just a sample of the bright and cute scripture bags sent from the 
Fillmore Utah Stake Young Womens.

Young Women of the Fillmore Utah Stake and Young Women Leaders, I just what you to know how touched, humbled and excited I was as I opened up this 'gift of the heart'.  President Robinson was as overjoyed as I was--if not more!!
Thank you for your gift to the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  I love you for what you have done and what your gift will accomplish.  There are many ways I can use these in the mission--now I have to do some pondering and praying to find out just how the Lord whats me to use the precious scripture bags.  

Just this past Monday, August 6, 2012, I was in a lesson teaching a mother and daughter.  The daughter is 13 years old and right in the middle of the lesson where we were testifying of the Gift of the Holy Ghost she said: "I want to be baptized.  This is true!"  She has been coming to church and LOVES Young Womens.  She will be setting her baptismal date very soon.  Her mother is enthusiastic and loves what we missionaries are teaching. I had to opportunity to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and his atonement for each of us and that the church is true, in Dutch. Maybe one of those scripture bags is for the daughter and one for her mother--maybe.  I am not sure yet.

President and I visit a new ward or branch each Sunday. We plan on visiting every ward and branch in the mission this year. Perhaps we could take them to the Young Women to put 'het Boek van Mormon' in, along with their testimonies, and give to a friend who is a non-member. 

Maybe the Sister Missionaries can use them in a special "Meet the Sister Missionaries" open house in a ward or branch.  Or perhaps our Single Young Adult Sisters have a need for them---I just don't know, but the Lord does.

So, was it meant to be that your scripture bags made it to 
Belgium Netherlands Mission?---YES.
Was it meant to be that they were put in a cabinet from December 2011 until August 9, 2012 until I could get here?--YES.
Was it meant to be that Sister Pankratz would feel the prompting to give them to me?---Yes.
Was it meant to be that you wonderful Young Women and Leaders were to have such an impact on me, President Robinson and on our Mission?---
Most assuredly YES!

Missions are places of miracles where the Spirit does the work of the Lord when the Missionaries are in tune with the Spirit.  The same Spirit you felt while you made the bags is the same Spirit that will be felt when someone receives the bag--thats just how the Spirit works.  This is a Mission Miracle!

Young Women of the Fillmore Utah Stake, the church is true.  Missionary work is real and exciting.  May you be blessed for your small efforts that will make such a big impact.  My love to you!  Please know that I know that God knows who you are and who I am and He knows us by name.  And, He knows by name each and every person that will receive a scripture bag.  That is my testimony! 

Your Sister in the Gospel,

Sister Brenda Robinson


Different Kind of Date Night

The law of the 'universe' states, "Mission Presidents will have Saturdays as their PDay", and the subtitle to that is, "Mission Presidents will take their companions on a date once a week--Friday nights are good nights".

The law of 'real life' allows, "Mission Presidents will have P-Moments" and the subtitle to that is "Have something to eat together with your wife once in a while--Home is a good place".

Missionary Work is never done.  It's like raising a family, you come to the end of your day, but you never come to the end of raising a family.  You never come to the end of missionary work.

So, tonight, Tuesday, August 7, 2012, (I guess you could call it a 'date night') President and I set out to try a new approach to 'finding'.  Finding people to teach is one of the great challenges in a mission.  Everyone thinks about missionary work as teaching and testifying to people in their homes.  The truth--you don't have anyone to teach if you don't find them.  So, finding becomes a major part of missionary work.

President ask the AP's to participate in this new approach also.  They are working it in Amsterdam and we are working it here in Leidschendam.  We did our 'ground laying work' tonight.  Thursday evening, August 9, we will go start our 'finding'.  I'll let you know how it works.  We are very excited.  It is an idea that President has had for some weeks now.  I know I felt the Spirit when we decided on the apartment building we would tract.  I have to believe there is someone waiting that has been prepared by the Lord to hear the message we have to share.  As you always do, keep us and the AP's in your prayers.  There is a purpose in being inspired to try this approach.


Stress Relief

Just a personal note of gratitude.

I love the AP's  (aka Apes).  They generally take group photos that both President and I are in with missionaries.  However, they also take photos of whatever else they can think of to photograph.

This is just a glimpse of what happens each day!!

 Elder van Overbeek and Elder van de Graaff
Plus the 'normal' group of missionaries.  
The Goal: To get everyone in a group shot!  DID IT!

 Nice fashion pose Elder van Overbeek.

 And then it is just goof off!

And goof off, Part II.

Why am I grateful?  At the end of a long day--which this particular day was, 
it was almost 8:00 pm after a very long day--President and I appreciate the opportunity to just laugh and enjoy the enthusiasm of youth!  We can never quite guess what they will think up to do, or what they will say. They know how to best support us when we are tired, beat and still have 'miles to go before we sleep'.  For you two Elders, we are eternally grateful.  We love you like sons.

Comings and Goings

There are the Comings

In a mission, there are always comings and going.  On July 31, 2012 we greeted new Elders that had just arrived.  Fresh out of the MTC. We knew three Elders from our MTC days. Elder Sosa has been serving 5 months in Chilie while he waited for his visa.

 Elder Alfaro, Elder Sosa, Sister Robinson
President Robinson, Elder Lewis, and Elder Gomez

And then there are the Goings

On Thursday, August 2, 2012, we said goodbye to four Elders and a great Senior Couple at Schiphol Airport.  The night before, we had a great evening in the Mission Home.  Dinner and testimony meeting.  President gave his famous "Be A Man" talk.  Perfect for these departing Elders.

Elder McCarlie, Elder Anderson, Sister Anderson, Elder Bensen
President Robinson, Sister Robinson, Elder Nielsen, Elder Bjork

Goodbyes are still hard!  Tot Ziens and veel liefde.

What I See Every Night

Alden and I have walked in the evenings almost our entire married life.
Living in Flowell, we walked down past the corrals, the stack yard, a dairy and a past a few of our neighbors, Allens, Woods, Allens and Whitakers.  On the other side of the road was Wardle's corn field (hay now).  Alden always worried that Wardle's corn looked better and taller than ours.  :)

Here in Netherlands, most evenings we walk along the canal.  Here is what we see when we walk or bike now.

 We walk past this windmill.  It is on the canal and was built to saw lumber.
We stopped with our new Elders to get a 'first' picture with a windmill to send to their families.

There are boat going up and down the canal every day.  There are people fishing, swimming and picnicking on warm, sunny days along the bank.  These canals go for miles through farm lands and cities and towns.

There have been a couple of warms evening when the water was like glass--good water skiing water.  OOOOHHH!  

We love our evening outings.


Two Interesting Items

Just a couple of "feels like home" kinds of things.

 Though I am not in Utah, I know that the sides of the roads are loaded with sunflowers.  July they start to bloom and it stays until the first frost.  They are a kinds of 'signal' that school will soon start again.
Today I went and bought--yes, bought--myself some sunflowers.  It cost me $4.00 for 5 sunflowers.  And, yes, it was worth it!!  :)

 My daughter, Suzette and her husband, Christopher, took me to a restaurant in Southern California that had speciality crapes.  Well, look what I found in Leiden, Netherlands!!!  Look at that strawberry, whipped cream and ice cream crepe!!  And the SIZE!!

Here is a cherry, whipped cream and ice cream one and Alden is having an Italian one.  Their name in Netherlands---pannekooken!

We rolled and cut them in half and shared.  
And yes, we did eat the whole thing!