Friday, December 8, 2017


We have had the privilege of serving with the same 7 missionaries for 2 transfers (12 weeks- 3 months).  This is so unusual!  The first transfer there were three elders in Nieuwegein, Elder Lewis, Elder Derochie, and Elder Diaz.  There was a companionship of sisters in Utrecht, Sister Lechtenberg and Sister Hardy.  In Amersfoort there were Sister Gillespie and Sister Williams.  We began our transfer together in early Sept.

  On October 18, the next transfer day, none of the missionaries got transferred!  President Bunnell added a greenie, Elder Thomas, to the 3-man, making it a 4-man. 


The Elders decided we should all have matching t-shirts for our Zone P-day “turkey bowl”.  They designed them, found the materials and organized the project at our district p-day. 
 We love the shirts!  Go team!!

After Zone Conference last month, the missionaries grabbed a bite to eat and headed home on the train.  It was rush hour and crowded.  None of them could get a seat together so they spread out in the train car.  After a long day, it would have been understandable if they had relaxed and taken a quick nap.  But they didn’t….as they traveled home, each began to talk to their seat mate.  Elder Derochie told us he looked around, and saw every one of them in conversation.  All were doing the work they were called here to do.  At that moment he said he felt such unity.  As they discussed it later they each said they too noticed and expressed their joy in their unity of the work.

We have played together, studied together, eaten together, served one another, and done missionary work together. We have all grown close.  It has been a unique time in our mission that we will cherish. 

Shortly after this, the Assistants to the President in the weekly letter to the missionaries, asked each companionship to take 10 minutes and evaluate the day and then have companion prayer and give an accounting to the Lord.  They promised “this will build comp unity”. 

I got to thinking about unity.  Does working toward the same goals define unity?  Can you be working on the same goals and not feel unity?  Elder Derochie and Elder Diaz went with us to Den Bosch to institute.  On the long drive there I asked them about unity.  They felt it meant not only working toward the same things, but it required a “connection” to the others.  Caring, tolerance, appreciation, sacrifice and service were attitudes they felt created unity. 

We just celebrated Thanksgiving and our children decided they had to get together (at our house : ) That meant Andrew and family made the trip from California, Russ and boys drove from Washington and Emily and Dona Missy planned and organized the weekend. Of course, Grandma Cusick was there, supporting them, helping with dinner and love.   Without us there, everyone pitched in and covered for us.  The kids all expressed their joy in being together.  (and that they could and did get together without us orchestrating it!) 

This is unity…caring, tolerance, appreciation, sacrifice and service.  We aren’t just 21 people on parallel tracks heading in the same direction.  We are tightly knit in our love and devotion to each other. 

Monday, December 4, 2017


November was a crazy busy month!  (I had forgotten it was exactly the same last year : )  We had Zone Conferences, YSA Fall Camp, missionary apartment checks, Joe’s birthday,  zone p-day turkey bowl, a missionary blitz in Amersfoort, dinner/institute classes, Christmas decorating, dinner with friends, made matching district t-shirts, celebrated Thanksgiving, took a trip to the Amersfoort zoo,  and attended the usual weekly missionary district meetings.

 Joe’s birthday was special…Elder Lewis made him a cake that was so delicious!

We were invited to dinner in Den Bosch at Hiromi’s home.  There was a wonderful, peaceful feeling in her home that was much needed in the midst of so much busyness.  (Her husband plays cello and was at orchestra practice).

Collin and Ellen Stomps also invited us to dinner. They live in Tiel and their son Jeremy, a returned missionary, was one of our institute students last year.  He is in Germany this year at university. We miss his energetic contributions! 

Zone Conference in November is the yearly temple trip.  Antwerp and Eindhoven zone meets Tuesday, Apeldoorn and Amsterdam zone on Wednesday and Den Haag and Rotterdam zone on Thursday.   The missionaries attend the temple in the morning then have lunch and conference meetings at the Zoetermeer chapel.  They love getting to the temple!

 Our responsibility this time was to be at the temple early Tues. and Wednesday to hand out temple clothes to missionaries, then go to the church to set up lunch.  They order pizza for this lunch so we just set tables, make green salad, serve and clean up.  Tuesday we went to Leiden after lunch to get our car serviced, then back to Zoetermeer for dinner with all the senior couples.  Because we needed to be to the temple early and the traffic is so unpredictable, the mission had us stay in a hotel.  It was so nice not to have to drive back and forth every day!  On Thursday it was our zone’s day.  We handed out clothes then attended an endowment session.  Another couple handled the lunch so it was like we were guests!

The meetings were wonderful.  It was fun to be there all three days because we saw all the missionaries in the mission!  We know so many of them now and don’t often see them once they get transferred out of our zone.


In the midst of all this, Sister Lechtenberg and Sister Hardy offered to help put up our Christmas decorations and I didn’t refuse the help! 


We finally met Sister Daryl Hoole’s sister-in-law, Marijke Hoole and two of her daughters.  We had a lovely Sunday afternoon visiting her in Zwolle, hearing wonderful stories of faith, conversion, and Dutch life. 

We saw our first “gas station laundromat”.  We pulled into this gas station and there were 2 large washers, one dryer and a dog washing station!  There aren’t any one stop shopping stores here like Target or Walmart  but this??  We laughed all the way home :) 

  I spent a long morning making 5 dozen cinnamon rolls.  They provided brunch for district meeting and dessert for all three nights of institute.  I think they are everyone’s favorite dessert.  They request them oftener than I have time to make them : ) 

District meeting:  Chocomel, cinnamon rolls and fruit…lekker!

l to r; E. Lewis, S. Williams, E. Thomas, E. Derochie, S. Gillespie, E. Diaz. 

Our district consists of 4 elders and 2 sisters in the Utrecht area and a pair of sisters in Amersfoort.  On p-day we often see the missionaries in the Utrecht area.  We have been feeling like the Amersfoort sisters were left out so we decided so spend a p-day with them.  We decided to go to the zoo!  It was perfect weather, there were no crowds and the animals were all outside and active.  Can you see that little baby elephant?  He was so adorable 😉!
Sisters Williams and Gillespie.

We have been running on high speed for a month and hope things slow down just a little! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thanksgiving....there and here :)

There… Thanksgiving came to Utah before it got to us.  Emily, Russ, Andrew, Dona and families gathered at our house.  I woke up every hour or so all night to check Instagram and see what they were doing!! 

I can’t express the feelings I had as I saw them all together (minus Heather, working in Washington D.C.).  My heart was bursting with joy that their love for each other bonds them together even in our absence. 

The food looked delicious, and everyone looked like they enjoyed it!

There were lots of activities…

It looked like fun for everyone at the trampoline park!

Elle, Ruby, Ainsley, Dean

                            Ainsley, Caleb, Emily, Ruby.


The big girls, Elle, Gia and Livy, gave so much time and love to the little ones.  The littles adore them and the grown-ups got lots of time to visit.  These girls are the best!  I love them!

The weather was a balmy 68 degrees, so they could all play outside.  That is a great climbing tree!  And those indestructible dress-ups!

Ice skating looked like a blast!  

It wouldn’t be a holiday without Mom.  Grandma Cusick is the lynch pin, the glue, the source of love that holds us all together.  And she’s everyone’s favorite! 

These kids… about “joy in your posterity”!  We are so blessed to call them ours.  They are competent, capable, and extremely caring adults.  Our hearts are full to overflowing with love and thanksgiving for them and their families. 

Here- Thanksgiving came to our missionary district Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017.  We had district meeting at our home that morning and for lunch we had Thanksgiving dinner (Thanksgiving lunch?!). 

Wait!  Was it Christmas or Thanksgiving??! 

Everyone pitched in and helped with lunch.  Joe and Sister Hardy and Sister Lechtenberg prepared the apples for pie.  (they had never seen an apple peeler-corer-slicer : ) They also brought the yams and green bean casserole. 

 Doesn’t that look delicious?  I asked the “meat man” at Makro (who always helps us) for a turkey and surprise! he had one fresh turkey left!  It was about 7 pounds but that meant it fit in my wonky microwave/oven.  That wouldn’t begin to feed 8 missionaries, 2 guests and ourselves so I cooked 2 turkey breasts in my crockpot. Sisters Williams and Gillespie brought the mashed potatoes, Elder Thomas and Derochie brought the green salad and Elder Lewis and Diaz brought a coconut cream pie.  I made dinner rolls, apple pie and pumpkin pie since what is Thanksgiving dinner without them?! 

After 12 weeks these 8 missionaries are near and dear to our hearts.  We were also blessed to have our friends Jason Kabal and Kelsey Boyce join us.  S. Williams, Kelsey, Jason, Joe, E. Diaz, Thomas, Lewis, Derochie, S. Lechtenberg, Hardy and Gillespie. 

 These are the cream of the crop!  They fill some of the empty spaces in our hearts as we serve far away from our family.  S. Hardy, Lechtenberg, Williams, Gillespie, E. Thomas, Derochie, Dias, Lewis.  This Thanksgiving we feel so much love from both sides of the Atlantic : ) We are blessed!  

YSA Fall Camp

The Fall YSA camp was held the middle of November. The theme was “Ask in Faith”.  It began on Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon.  The camp was located a few kilometers from Zutphan.  Most of the YSA’s were from the Netherlands.  There were a few from Belgium, Sweden and Germany. 

 As usual, the YSA’s in charge did a wonderful job of planning the camp.  There were great classes and activities, President and Sister Bunnell gave a devotional Sunday morning and it ended with a sweet testimony meeting. 

The countryside was beautiful and the trees were covered in fall orange and yellow. 

 We stayed in this hotel, located down a single lane road (it looked more like a bike path!) deep in the forest.  It is a miracle we found it on a dark and rainy night! 

This class was taught by Jurgen Hoole,  the Branch President of the Lelystad Branch and Sister Daryle Hoole's nephew.

The food was super delicious! Brother and Sister Van DerVlis were the cooks.   It was so nice not to have to do food : ).......

 .......and the YSA’s all pitched in to do dishes (Roselyn, ? , Alma and  Cherida).

The kids really love just hanging out.  (Felecia, Remco, Thomas and Victoria). 

(Victoria, Camille, Marije, Roselyn, Julia and Thomas). 

It isn’t camp without a dance on Friday night, complete with decorations : ) 

 The Saturday afternoon activity was a scavenger hunt.  Each team went to nearby Zutphan with an apple and an egg.  They “traded up” and the team with the biggest and best trade items won.  It was hilarious and what they got was amazing! 
(Julia, Michael, Veerle-the Van Der Put’s granddaughter, and Sjoerd).  


The end of camp….what happy, competent, strong young adults.  Their road isn’t easy but they make the sacrifices to participate in the gospel.  It has been a blessing to serve them.

(and that includes squashing their luggage into our tiny car-oh how I’d love to  have our Expedition!-so we can drop them off at the train station!)

(Cherida & Amy)