Kindnesses of Strangers

Experience Number One

About a month ago, President and I were working with Elder Li and Elder Van Rij in Deventer.  We spent time finding and teaching.  After deciding to leave one neighborhood, we were walking back to the car.  I had put my 'stuff' in the back and gotten into the car when I realize that President, Elder Li and Elder Van Rij had seen a family across the parking lot and gone over to talk with them about the church.  Most of the day we were turned down pretty fast, so I didn't go over thinking that this too would be a fast turn down.  I waited in the car with the door open and as I watched, I realized the father was interested and was visiting with the Elders as the mother packed flats of flowers into the house.  They had a seven year old boy who started to talk to President.  I could hear the boy trying to sound out and read President's name badge.  President then told the little boy that I was a teacher and I helped children learn to read.  He looks over at me and smiled and waved.  I thought that was the cutest thing ever.  His mother was back for another trip to haul flowers to the house and she handed the little boy a potted plant and pointed at me.  With the pot of pansies in his  hands, and a great big smile, he walked right over to me and in his best English said, "This is for you!"  I was so touched on so many levels.  One, he bravely walked over to a complete stranger and gave me the flowers;  two, he used his best English to greet me, so I used my best Dutch to thank him; three, he had a smile on his face the whole time! and four, his parents were teaching him such profoundly good lessons on how to treat others. 
 I learned a new word that day, vriendlijk. 
 I told him he was kind--Jij bent vriendlijk.
His mother and President walked over right behind him, and I was so pleased to thank his mother for the flowers and thank her for the wonderful mother she is to teach her son such a important lesson of life.
So, in my kitchen window sits the little pot of lavender pansies. Every morning I am reminded of the goodness of total strangers. 
(Yes, the family wanted the Elders to come by and see them!)

Experience Number Two

Last week, President and I were having a quiet evening at home (about the one and only so far) when the doorbell rang.  We answered it and in walked about seven young women--about Beehive or Mia Maid age.  One young woman had been designated as the spokesperson.  So, in her great English, she began telling us they were selling cupcakes to raise money for a little boy who lives in #1 (we live in #11) on our street who has a rare cancer and he needs to go to American with one parent to receive special treatment, which costs a lot of money.  We bought all they had left, but wish there had been more to buy.  President made a fuss over her English, and the other young women started using some of their English.  We were all speaking either Dutch or English before they left.  I was profoundly touched that these kind young women were making a difference in our neighborhood.  Their parents were supporting them in learning lessons on how to treat others in need of compassion.  The cupcakes were as delicious as they were beautiful.

I learned an important lesson-again.  Note to self--be even more kind to total strangers; it makes a huge impression!

The kindness of strangers--
'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.' Matthew 25: 40


New Friends Along the Way

Sunday, September 16, 2012, President and I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament Meeting in the Amersfoort Ward.  President served here in 1969 as a young Elder.  Today, when he mentioned the name of the Bishop serving in 1969, many people nodded their heads--they too remember Bishop Vansoeren, who has since passed away.  That immediately endeared President to the ward.

 President Robinson and Bishop Luteijn

 Church in Amersfoort

   Bishop Luteijn, Sister Robinson, 
            President Robinson 

Afterward, we were invited to have dinner with Bishop and Sister Luteijn.  It was a wonderful two hours as we became fast friend with two very remarkable people.  Bishop Luteijn is doing a wonderful job in the ward.  We are looking forward to working closely with him as we assist him with his mission plan.  He has two excellent missionaries--Elder J. Christensen and Elder Schow     

Bishop Luteijn, Sister Luteijn, President Robinson

I feel one of the choicest blessings of 
   serving a mission is the amazing members of the church that we have the opportunity to meet and work with and become fast friend with for eternity.              

As soon as dinner was over, we headed to Gouda where we spoke in the YSA Sacrament Meeting. Personally, it was a day that really stretched me and my ability with the Dutch language.  I gave two 10-15 minute talks in Dutch in two different Sacrament Meetings.  I did not give the same talk twice.  The talk I gave in Gouda took me 7 hours to write and then translate into Dutch and then a couple of hours after that to practice it.  I know there were rough edges, I know not everything was conjugated correctly and that not all words were the right word to use, but the Spirit testified to those with open hearts to hear the message I desired to share. I reminded me of Richard G. Scott's April 2012 Conference talk.  "I have seen individuals encountering challenges who knew what to do when it was beyond their own experience because they trusted in the Lord and knew that He would guide them to solutions that were urgently required."  Well, that was me and yes, the Lord did guide me and support me with solutions that I urgently needed on Sunday.  I know I do not walk alone on this mission.  I have sure knowledge he called me to do what I am doing, and I have great faith he will take my meager offerings and turn them into an abundance of exactly what he needs in this mission.  I feel so blessed to be on his errand.  I feel so blessed to be on his errand with all the people (missionaries, church members, Branch, Ward and Stake leaders, Area Authorities and so many others) that are here to help and support so we can be successful.  

Wij hadden en gewildig Zondag.  Perfect way to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary.


Pause and Celebrate

On Sunday, September 16, 2012, we celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary Al, it's been a great 40 years.  Like I have said many times before---given the choice, I would marry you all over again. 
I found the best in you!

Married in Manti Temple, September 16, 1972

We did take the time to celebrate.  We took a road trip to Eindhoven and Kortrijk to work with the Elders.  We stayed over and had a nice dinner in Kortrijk on Thursday night.  

On Sunday, we celebrate by speaking in church in Amerfoort and at the
 Jo-Vo Sacrament meeting in Gouda.