Happy New Year

Today, December 31, 2012, we celebrate our first New Year's in the mission.  All the Elders and Sisters have been confined to their apartments from 4:00 pm until tomorrow.  
The celebration in the Netherlands is wild--as in fireworks--wild.  Right now in my neighborhood there are fireworks, like the Black Cats on the 4th of July, going off everywhere.  There are the occasional 'cherry bombs' that we use to have as kids. It sounds like everyone out there went to Wyoming for their fireworks this year! :)

I can only imagine what is going on in the big cities of Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Rotterdam.  Just rest assured that all missionaries are now in their apartments safe and sound for the night.  

Here is a picture of the 'fun' kids are having tonight. Just think of it as an over done and out of control 4th of July!

Right now they are riding around, lighting 'Black Cats' and throwing them in driveways, front yards, and the street.  Have no idea what will happen when it gets dark tonight--other than they say it sounds like WWIII.  It will either be ear plugs or Tylenol PM!  ;) 

Scripture Bags just keep going........

Yesterday, December 30, 2012, President and I spent the day in Sint Niklaas Ward.  We spoke in Sacrament Meeting and they had a 5th Sunday meeting where the Bishop outlined the upcoming year and the missionary goals that the Ward Council had put together and supported.  They have some wonderful ideas and plans for the new year.  How surprised was I when a sister was asked to come up front and explain an activity the Relief Society and Young Women would have very soon.  She pulled out Shantel Kesler's scripture bag that she made a Girl's Camp in 2011 in the Fillmore Utah Girls Camp. The Sint Niklaas ward will be making the bags all year because their goal is to give away 400 Books of Mormon by December 31, 2013. This is an ambitious goal as the average sacrament meeting attendance in this ward is 88 people. My gratitude to them and their missionary efforts in 2013.  

The gift of the Scripture Bags just keeps giving and giving to the missionary efforts in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.

Our President's Seminar in Madrid

This is a very late blog entry.  On October 30-November 2, 2012 we were in Madrid, Spain for the Annual Mission President's Seminar for all the Mission Presidents in the European Area.  We spent the time with the Area Presidency and 30 wonderful couples from all over the European Area, as well as all the support staff from Frankfurt and the Mission Presidents from the two MTC's in Europe, Preston, England and Madrid.  

We attended sessions where the Area Presidency taught and trained us on many things.  I feel the most outstanding was announcing the 'flood' of missionaries that would be coming in the late winter and early spring.  All missions will increase in size.  Our compliments will increase, perhaps double.  We are definitely excited.  We have in increase of sister missionaries coming on April 30, 2013 and again on June 11, 2013.  These are the Young Women that put their applications in for a mission the week following the announcement at General Conference in October.  
Following are pictures of Madrid. Between sessions of training, we went to the Palace and the Palace grounds for tours.  We went to the temple one evening and saw the MTC in Madrid also.  The missionaries from the MTC sang to us to welcome us.  We met and made many friends.  These are my new friends for three years---and eternity!

Here Goes-------

One of the 'old' main gates to the city.

 Columbus Square
It is believed that near this square that Columbus 
came to Queen Isabella to get the financial support
to purchase the necessary supplies to
set sail to find the Indies by sailing west.

 Between the two building you can see the statue of Columbus

 Back side of the statue of Columbus

 An old church that is now the Post Office
They call this building "The Wedding Cake" building.

 One of many fountains in the city.

 The building is Metropolis--where is Superman?

 The Palace from the outside.

 All the 'Men in black' are Mission Presidents and Wives.  Yes, 70 of us really made an impression as we walked around.

 The Guard outside the gate.

 The entry Gate

 The Palace from inside the grounds.

 Sister Robinson

 Opposite the entrance of the Palace is the front of the Catholic Church of the Royal Family. For a wedding, the coach will pick them up at the front of the Palace and drive them across the square to the front gates of the Church.

 Waiting for our tickets

 President waiting at the front of the Palace.

 Sister Robinson, Sister Fluckiger. 
 We first met in the MTC during the Spring when we went to study our respective languages, Dutch for me, Portuguese for her.  President Fluckiger and Sister Fluckiger are serving in Portugal. 

 President's favorite display--the romance of Europe!

From an outdoor balcony, Madrid behind us--beautiful view.

 At the Church there is a statue of Peter holding the Keys.

Above was a fresco of Peter and the others casting their nets where the Savior instructed them to cast, after a night of empty nets.  The miracle--the nets were filled to almost sinking of the ships. 

 We all saw the symbolism.  So, we had all the mission presidents and the Area Authority Presidency line up for a picture.  These are the men with the keys, and these are the men that have be authorized by a Prophet of God to go forth and cast their nets to be fishers of men.

 As we were taking this picture, many people began to gather around.  They sensed that these men were important.

Others began to take pictures of this group of Priesthood leaders also.

I caught a picture of the wives taking the pictures of their husbands.  I should have gotten one of the other people who stopped to take a picture.

 President Robinson

 Sister Robinson

 Here is the Catholic Church from the street side.

 One of many plazas.

 Between training sessions.

 Time to visit and catch up.

 Area Presidency, missing Elder Kearon

 President and Sister Walker, the Mission President for the England MTC.  Sister Walker is President Hinckley's daughter.  They train some of our missionaries and so we share notes over missionaries they have trained and sent to us.

 The Neptune Fountain is just outside the Hotel.

 Here we are, in Madrid.

 President Robinson with Elder Merrill and Sister Merrill.  Elder Merrill is a doctor and he and his wife are called to Mission Medical in Frankfurt.  I so appreciate having this kind of support to help me keep the missionaries healthy and happy.

President was happy because he was able to finally meet "Vince Lombardi".

It was a wonderful week.  It gave us a chance to catch our breath and regenerate our batteries.  For that we are grateful.  But the Spirit and blessing to be taught by the Seventy is another of the many ways we feel so humbled and blessed.  Thank you, Heavenly Father for your love for us and your trust in us.


Fun with Friends

We have made fast friends with the Kuin Family.  They are wonderful people with the greatest girls.  I love visiting with them.  The girls speak very little English and I speak very little Dutch, so we are all put in a situation where we all have to practice English and Dutch.  It feels so good and comfortable to be around kids.  I have lived over 2/3's of my life as a mother, teacher and grandmother.  I am much more comfortable around kids.  

For Christmas we had a SORRY game sent from America so we could give it to the Kuin Family.  Well, tonight, December 28, 2012 we finally got together with the Kuin Family to play SORRY and we had a blast.  Any yes, kids pout when they get 'sorry-ed' here just like at home.  And kids here get excited when they get to 'sorry' their sister!  We laughed for 2 1/2 hours!


Memories from 42 Years

On December 14, 2012 we were in Groningen working with the Elders.  We were driving to a 'look up' from the area book when President said, "I know this place.  I lived around here in 1970.  On Rubinhaupt Straat.  And there it is!"  We drove on by to do our look up but after the 'look up', we circled around and went and found his old apartment where he lived in 1970.

 The street was actually Rabenhaupt Straat

Number 2

As we walked up to the door, President recognized it immediately. As we stood there he also said, "There is that smell! I smelled that all winter when I lived here and it is still here.  Can you smell that?  All the time I lived here, I thought is was a coffee house."  It wasn't a bad smell, but very distinctive.  We couldn't figure out the smell, but it was some kind of food smell.  That is remarkable that just walking up the street caused so many wonderful memories to flood back for President.  He loved working in Groningen.  It was in Groningen that he found and taught the Deziare Family, Joseph and Else.  They were baptized and later moved to Zoetermeer.  Joseph and Else's daughter is the mother of the baby that President participated in the baby blessing in Den Haag on December 9, 2012.

Teaching the Gospel

December 27, 2012:  Went on a wonderful joint teach today with the Zone Leaders from Den Haag, Elder Li and Elder Maughn. It was a young women here in Lieschendam.  
She and her husband are from China and are living 
here for her husbands work.
She was referred by a friend in Den Haag who is a member. She and her husband attended church on 
Sunday and like what they felt. The lesson today was on the Restoration.  She had read the pamphlet on the Restoration and had an interesting question before we began--
"Why are there so many churches and how can you tell which one is true?"

The Elders did an excellent job teaching the lesson.  President and I had the opportunity to participate and bear testimony.  When we were done, Elder Li told her that even though she had never prayed, he wanted her to pray.  Elder Li spent  a few minutes explaining the steps in pray and Elder Maughn taught her that she could thank God for her blessings and ask him any question she wanted an answers to and God would answer it.  He would even answer her question if she should be baptized.  

It was remarkable.  As we knelt in that apartment, and listened to her pray for the first time in her life, the spirit filled the room.  It was such a simple, sincere pray of faith from someone who is truly seeking for the truth.  Missionary work is the work of miracles and faith.  God truly is preparing people to hear and He is putting these people in our path.  Not just here in Den Haag, but all over the mission.  For you that are continually praying for the mission, thank you and please continue. We are seeing miracles as never before since we arrived.  The missionaries are noticing it also.  They are so motivated and their 
faith is increasing.

Christmas at the Mission Home

Merry Christmas

Well, we had our first Christmas in the Netherlands.  On Christmas Eve we traveled to Rotterdam to a Christmas Eve Concert and picked up Elder van Overbeek and Elder King to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us.  On Christmas Morning, Sister Hinchcliff and Sister Raun joined us as bright and early as the train schedule would allow.  President and the Elders drove to Lieden to pick them up at the station.  We all had a Christmas Morning Breakfast of Eggs Benedict.  Afterward we watched movies and enjoyed snacks and treats.  Sister Hinchcliff contributed some candy to the table of goodies.

 Elder King, Elder van Overbeek, President, Sister Hinchcliff, Sister Raun
They were passing the hours until they could Skype with family.  We started Skyping at 5:00 pm Netherlands time and 9:00 am Utah/Idaho time.
Everyone stayed the night and left bright and early the next morning to join their Zone for a service project and then they all had District meeting and got back to work. The life of a missionary!

 President Robinson
 Sister Robinson

 Christmas in the Mission Home

 A gift we gave ourselves.  A handpainted Delft Bleuw Nativity Set

 Finally, on December 26, we opened our presents from home.

 Thanks family!

 We love you, Merry Christmas!