Another Friend Along the Way

I would like you to meet Ejad Androun.

 Ejad and President Robinson

Ejad and Sister Robinson

Ejad's Story

President and I are always looking for new and different ways to share with the missionaries to help them find contacts and investigators.  In August we sent out 24 introductory letters on Church letterhead that basically introduced us, told about a message of hope and happiness for everyone, would you please give us 10 minutes of your time to share this message with you when we call on you sometime in the next two weeks.  Our names and phone numbers were on the letter and we signed it.

We fasted and prayed for an area in our neighborhood that the Lord would have us deliver the letters.  We found one an apartment building not far from the Mission Home and picked 24 families to receive the letter.

One family was Ejad Androun from Sierra.  He actually called us the next day for an appointment.  We taught him three lessons, and gave him the Book of Mormon in Dutch, later in Arabic.  When it became obvious that he was not all that interested in the gospel, we do as all missionaries do, dropped him.  He, himself, had no idea why he let us in because it is so out of character for him to do that kind of thing.  Well, we left friends and grateful for the opportunity to get to know him.  We learned about his family, and that they were safe after the uprising and killings in Sierra during August and September. 

Out of the blue, Ejad called us and invited us over for dinner at his apartment on Monday, September 17, 2012.  Reason:  He missed us and enjoys our friendship and talks.  He and President have similar "sense of humors".  It was a great evening, he served steak--the first I've had since Keyhole Beef in Flowell.

In turn, we then invited Ejad to our home for dinner on Monday, October 15, 2012.  We had a great dinner and Ejad shared more of his life's story with us.  It is amazing what this man has done in his short life.  He is 33 and never been married.  Quite a remarkable man.  He told us he was moving to Belgium in November.  We will miss him. 

I don't know why the Lord had us met and develop such a great friendship.  He looks to us a lot like parents, as well as friends.  We are going to miss him.  Only the Lord knows where this will end. 


Family in Zwolle Ward

We worked with the Elders from Zwolle on October 10, 2012.  We did some look up and call back that didn't turn out to be productive, so we went knocking on doors.  It is always a pleasure to do that with Elders.  I really learn a lot when I go with Elders.

 President Robinson, Elder Stanley, Elder Leach, Elder Culkins and Elder Li (Zone Leaders there for a quick pickup of their phone)
Outside the Zwolle Ward Meeting House

We knocked on the doors up and down the street.  Finally, we knocked on the door for house #33.  Both Elder Leach and I thought it was going to be a luck door.  We were both excited to discover it was a young family.  The children were under 10.  The father listened to what Elder Leach had to share, but said he had no interest.  When asked if he know of anyone that might have a desire, the man gave us a name and an "I think he lives at #18 over on another street" and he gave us the name of the street.  We were not sure if it was a real referral or a practical joke. Non the less, we looked up #18 and it was the real deal.  Very nice young father who had almost given up looking for the truth.  He asked very thoughtful questions as Elder Leach shared the message of the Book of Mormon.  We left him a Book of Mormon and our contact information, as well as information to get on the church website.  I felt the Spirit as Elder Leach taught at the door.  I know this young father felt it also.  He also had two of the cutest boys ever, maybe with the exception of my grandsons of course  :).  

We next had a lesson with a progressing investigator.  In the middle of the lesson he bore testimony that he knows the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. Also, he expressed his great desire to go to the temple and have his family sealed together.  Then added that he wants to be baptized.  So, November 17 he will be baptized.  Then a week later he will baptize his 9 year old son who is waiting for his dad.  Mom and older brother are already members.  I love seeing forever families. Well done Elder Stanley and Elder Leach.

P-Day in Den Helder

Another interest of President's is the Redding Boats of the Netherlands.  Redding Boats are the boat that use to be rowed out into the North Sea to rescue crew and passengers on ships that had run aground, or were capsizing, or in other dangerous situations.  It has been especially acute due to the fact that President Monson has called for the "Rescue" by our missionaries and members.  President Monson has even found a picture that depicts what he so urgently feels. It is a picture of an old redding boat, the kind that had oars in it,  rowing out in a stormy sea toward a founder ship while a mother and children huddled on the shore watching and waiting for word of the safety of their loved ones.

So, President wanted to go to the Redding Boat Museum in Den Helder.

 Aboard a older Redding Boat  (forerunner for what we call the Coast Guard)
 The Elders found the interactive displays.  We call this picture 
"Off to the Rescue"
Elder van de Graaff, Elder Ellis, Elder Hansen, Elder van Overbeek

 Light hearted moment on the boat tour.
Sister Robinson, President Robinson, Elder Ellis, Elder Hansen, Elder van Overbeek 

Notice the bridge in the background.

 Here's the bridge.  Didn't leave much head room.

 Under we go!

 Our boat captain and co captain--ages 17 and 16 respectfully.  The other three are on the tour with us.

 Back on shore we found the final photo op.
Elder van de Graaff, Elder Ellis, Elder Hansen, Elder van Overbeek

Thanks Elders for a great day.  I really love hanging out with the Missionaries.

More Wonderful People

After a great day in Ieper, we went back to President Willlims' home for dinner.  His wife had so graciously prepared for us a wonderful meal.  I love the warm welcome we receive from the Dutch families.  

Front row:  Elder Ombach, President Willims, his granddaughter, Sister Willims,
Back row:  Sister Robinson, Elder Merrill, Bro. Willims (his son) and President Robinson

Thank you for the day and the wonderful visit.  It was our pleasure to meet you and get to know you and your family.

Ieper Belgium

I mentioned on the Mission Blog a little about our P-Day in Ieper, Belgium with the some of the missionaries from the Antwerpen Zone.  It really was a remarkable day.  President's Grandfather Christensen was part of the "Lost Battalion" during WWI.  That battle took place in France.  However, the opportunity to visit sites of WWI was meaningful and important to us.  Here are the pictures of the day.

 A part of the group at a WWI Cemetery in the city of Ieper.

 It was beautiful and peaceful here by the canal.

 Group Photo

Sister Hinchcliff, Sister Robinson, President Robinson, Elder Van Rij, Elder Ombach, Elder Praag, Elder Klippel, Elder Huff with the Book of Mormon held high, Elder Moscon in the shadow, Elder Stoddard, Elder Farmer, Elder Mathis, Elder Merrill, and Sister Jones.  Kneeling is one of our tour guides, a member of the Kortrijd Branch.

President outside the wall of Ieper.

Joined by Elder Huff and his Mighty Dutch Boek van Mormon!

Group photo with President and...the Boek Van Mormon!

Centrum Ieper
Behind President and to the left is what is known as the "Cat Tower".
The public buildings were all destroyed in WWI, however, because the blueprints to all public buildings has been move to a location outside of the city, the blueprints were not damaged and everything could be rebuild as it originally was prior to the war.  There are a few touches that are not original however.

I love the old Flanders Dutch buildings.

The rest are from the various cites we visit outside the city of Ieper.

Trenches on Hill 62 where the British held out against the Germans.

Original shell blast craters.

The trenches with Elders walking the length.

More shell blast craters.

The other end of the trenches.

Original blasted tree stump from WWI.

Perhaps you have heard of the story during WWI when, at Christmastime, the soldiers heard the singing of 'Silent Night' by the enemy and began singing also.  This resulted in both sides coming out of the trench into what was called "no man's land" to spend Christmas.  They actually spent several days between Christmas and New Years.  They talked, played football, buried their dead.  All against the General's command.  Eventually, they went back into the trenches to begin the battle again.  Well, this site is about a mile from where that incident actually took place by Ieper.

Our last visit was to the British Cemetery.  It was raining by then with President under the red umbrella, me under my gray coat.  President Willims helping me out with his umbrella.  

Thank you President Willims for a memorable day.


Speaking in Church in Brugge

Truly one of my favorite places in Belgium is Brugge.  It is an old Roman town, build with the city inside a moat.  It even has draw bridges at strategic location around the city.  Of course, now the city extends way past the original moat, but to go into the old part of the city if just "fun".  It is the best place to buy Belgium Chocolate and Belgium Lace.

We had to opportunity on September 30, to speak in the Brugge Branch.  It is a close knit branch with about 25-30 members.  They have a most remarkable Branch President, President Westra.  We just put missionaries back in Brugge after about 4 years without missionary support.  So, during that 4 year period, President Westra did the missionary work.  Every Saturday he would ride his bike to a different part of the city, park it and go knocking doors.  He had a set of 5 questions that he asked the people, I know the first question was this:

1.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, why do you think we named our church that name?

I think that is a great question.  Well, in the 4 years without full time missionary support, President Westra taught 4 people and pass them off to the full time missionaries in the neighboring city to teach--they were all baptized.

When the full time missionaries returned in September, President Westra handed them 170 referrals.  Real referrals.  These were people that President Westra had taught one lesson and they had requested that missionaries return to teach them.  Those Elders are still working through that stack of 170 referrals.  

I would like you to meet President and Sister Plovier.  I have the utmost love and respect for his love and dedication to the Gospel and to Missionary work!

 President Robinson, Sister Plovier, President Plovier

Sister Robinson, Sister Plovier, President Plovier

When I grow up I want to be a missionary like President Plovier.  He really is remarkable.  We have remarkable people in our home Stake of Fillmore, Utah. I also know we have remarkable people in the four stakes that we work with in the Netherlands.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be influenced and lifted and inspired by such humble and faithful Latter Day Saints. 

Working with Elders Part II

We were in Belgium so we worked with the Gent Elders for the last afternoon and evening.  We visited with a special member.

Sister Robinson, Sister Omozokpea's mother, President Robinson

Sister Omozokpea is one of our wonderful sister missionaries serving in our mission.  She is from Belgium and serving here in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.  What a fun thing to met the mother of Sister O.  
One other connection---Sister O's mother was baptized in Antwerpen and was taught by Sister DeGroot--now Sister Anderson.  Sister Anderson was our Dutch tutor at the MTC in Provo for the months preceding our leaving for our mission. We love Sister Anderson like a daughter.  What a small world with so many connections. 

Elder Stoddard, Elder Praag, Russ and Jenni and family.

That evening we had dinner with this great family in Gent.  Russ grew up in England and Jenni is from Sandy originally.  So dinner was in English again.

It is so wonderful to met and get to know the wonderful members of the church serving and helping move the missionary work forward in their own wards and branches---Building Zion and Strengthen her Stakes!  Missionary work truly works when it is "member missionary" oriented. I have gained a testimony that is the Lord's plan and miracles really happen when members and missionaries work together.

Working with Elders

We find our greatest "fun" is going out and working with Elders.  We have the opportunity to look up past investigators, call on current investigators, visit less active members, and do the real missionary work of knocking on doors and street contacting.

Elder Taylor, Elder Maughan, Elder Van Komen

We went with Elder Taylor and Elder Van Komen for an afternoon and evening. We went into Den Haag (The Hague) to do street contacting.  We went to the park area in fronts of the Embassies and started finding people.  In an afternoon, President and I placed a Book of Mormon with a young man (18 years old).  This young man just stood out.  He was clean and neatly dressed, not smoking, no tattoos; just bright eyed.  He had never read the bible, or was not religiously oriented, but was interested in reading the Book of Mormon. We asked Elder Taylor and Elder Van Komen to follow through.  Update:  This young man is a student and in the middle of testing for the next two weeks, but is very serious and committed in reading the Book of Mormon and has asked the missionaries to call back in two weeks.

That same day we contacted a family with a cute little boy.  The boy was about 18 months to 2 years old.  We got name and phone number--which doesn't mean alot in missionary work.  However, the Elders called back and the father said that after vacation to call the make an appointment.  So....we will see.

That evening we had dinner with the Elder Quorum's President for the Den Haag Ward and his wife.  His wife is from Arizona, so for one dinner appointment, we spoke English.  I kind of enjoy that once in a while.  I get the whole conversation. 

That was fun. Thanks Elders.