Thursday, February 9, 2017

It's been a great week for Institute!

   We came with grand visions and high expectations for our work with the Young Single Adults here in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission.  I will confess that circumstances of life here have made our work frustrating at times.  Everyone lives so far apart you can’t realistically run around and knock on doors to meet and invite all the YSA’s.  They are busy just like young adults at home with work and school.  The high cost of transportation, approx.. $3,000 for a drivers license, the high cost of owning a vehicle, and expensive public transportation (it cost $64 for us to ride the bus, train, metro, and tram from home to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) make it difficult for them to get to church activities.
We have re-adjusted our expectations, both of ourselves and the young adults.   We first and foremost want to see them in church on Sunday.  Institute is secondary.  We have reminded ourselves of the fact that the Savior ministered one by one.  We have used the #1 means of communication here, a social media app called “Whatsapp” to reach out to the young adults.  Social media seems so impersonal to us.  So we try to make it personal by sending a group invitation each week and then following up with individual messages.  

We decided to reach out to one or two individuals at a time, so we visited one young adult and followed up by going to watch him play “kortball”.  I do love watching sports and this one was a learning experience!  It is not like any sport we have seen before : )  !

We have gone to all the stake/mission wide YSA activities we can get to. These activities give us a chance to get to know them personally.  Since we live in the middle of the Netherlands that means we can get to them all!  We have attended firesides, musical programs, dances, YSA sacrament meetings, camp and gone bowling.  We watch for young adults wherever we go.  If we meet a young adult in Den Bosch on Sunday and find out she is visiting from the Gouda ward and should be going to Rotterdam for Institute but it is too complicated for her to get there, we invite her to ours!  It is easier on public transportation to get to our house.  Yea for one more student! 
Den Bosch institute class

We find great joy in these weekly institute classes whether there are 2 or 10.  They are serious about growing in their gospel understanding and it has been wonderful to learn together. 

We find joy in one new convert preparing to go to the temple and on a mission, 2 returned missionaries picking up church responsibilities when they get home, an invitation to help with baptisms for the dead with a few of our young adults who have done their own family history work, two of them with their heads together discussing a point in the lesson, one young man starting to come to our Book of Mormon class to prepare for his mission and the fun and laughter whenever we gather.
Utrecht institute class

As you can see from the pictures, it has been a great week for institute!