Saturday, July 15, 2017

Grace and Cooking

             Our amazing district leader, Elder Mancer, is inspired!  He asked us to do a 5-minute presentation at district meeting on stress reduction.  Did you know there is an entire booklet for missionaries titled “Adjusting to Missionary Life” that is all about types of stress you can feel on a mission and how to manage it?  (We didn’t!).   Little did he know how important this little assignment was for me.  
 As I studied the booklet I decided that cooking was my biggest stress (big surprise to no one!) and that it fell under the category of “intellectual” stress : )  For the missionaries this refers mostly to the stress of learning a new language.  For me it was needing to learn the language of cooking here in the Netherlands.  This included 1) no one-stop shopping…which store has what;  2) stocking up since  most everything is in very small quantities; 3) fresh

food goes bad fast; 4) converting imperial measurements to metric; 5) figuring out substitutions for our American recipes; 6) the inadequate oven; and 7) dealing with a refrigerator only big enough to hold the makings of one large meal…..frequent shopping.   I thought back to the first few months we were here and remembered going to bed on Sunday nights and lying awake nearly the whole night worrying about the food we were responsible for in the coming week! 
Over the last 11 months I have learned this new language.  Without realizing it I had used the tools in the booklet to adjust to my missionary life.  I use the very important “weekly planning session” (Preach My Gospel pg. 147).   I use the concept of the “missionary daily planner” in my own way.  I don’t go to bed on Sunday night without writing down all the menus I need for the coming week, along with the necessary shopping lists.   And now I sleep on Sunday nights!

I have learned to ask for help (Sister Hill has gone home to Utah but she still lets me call her.  And I can always depend on Emily for great ideas!).   
                A few days after our little presentation in District Meeting I stood in the kitchen, making my own cream of chicken soup so I could then make green chili chicken enchiladas to take to Den Bosch institute.  At that moment, I realized I was feeling happy, competent, and content. 

                A week or so later I gave a lesson on grace in one of our institute classes.  We discussed what grace means, and drew a diagram illustrating what the Savior does for us, what we need to do to receive grace, and the blessings of grace.   We read in D&C 50:40 that increased knowledge is a specific blessing of grace.   In that moment, as I studied the diagram we had drawn, the Spirit testified to me that I had indeed received His grace.  I know cooking isn’t a necessary skill for exaltation : ) but it is so very important to me on our mission.  And He knew, and after all I could do, He made up the difference helping me gain the knowledge I needed to succeed with our assignments.  I love Hebrews 4:16….
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”   I testify that we can “find grace to help” when we need it.  I have.

Time flies when you’re having fun...The after event report!

 This is what eleven days of our life look like: The “after event” report : ) 

Wednesday: Zone conference… lunch for 53.  So good to see the missionaries that have been in our district and to work with the Van Der Put's and the new senior couple, the Jongejans, to serve lunch.

Thursday: Rotterdam Institute… bring dessert

Friday: Den Bosch institute, dinner & lesson for 5 YSA’s and 3 adults.

 Saturday; missionaries for dinner

Sunday: nothing : )

Monday:  Hiked the Dom Tower in Utrecht.  It is the tallest church bell tower in the Netherlands….469 steps to the tippy top!  Great views and amazing huge bells.

Our elderly neighbor, Nescha, had hip replacement surgery, took dinner, (much to their amazement… “we don’t do that in the Netherlands”.  I told her we do it in America and convinced them it was a good idea!  Sweet, sweet couple.

Tuesday; 4th of July BBQ after district meeting.  We sang the Star Spangled banner in honor of the occasion and "God Save The Queen" for Elder Mancer (from England : )

Wednesday:   We helped the Van Der Puts clean and set up and apartment for sisters missionaries.....

Followed by dinner and lesson for Utrecht Institute.

 Thursday:   Rotterdam institute, lesson & dessert


Friday:  Den Bosch institute, dinner & lesson

Saturday:   Young adult kayaking the Utrecht Centrum canal and BBQ at our house.  We had 2 YSA’s come : ( But those two had a wonderful time!  : )

Somewhere in this 11 days Joe spent half a day with the Elders on an exchange and we took a road trip to Almere and Amersfoort to deliver fans to two sister apartments.  

And so it goes, week after week.   It’s good to be busy and feel useful.  We LOVE these young adults and missionaries.   We have just over 6 months left…….and we are eager to keep up the pace!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

One of the amazing missionaries….

We have been so impressed with the caliber of missionaries we have served with.

 An example is Elder Mancer. He is one of the best!  He was introduced to the church during his university years and was baptized after a wondrous spiritual experience.  He chose to serve a mission.  He was transferred to this district 9 weeks ago with a greenie as a companion, Elder Jeanfreau.  Elder Mancer is mature, kind, a hard worker and spiritually tuned in to missionary work. 

 Here he is, helping us create some cards we can give out to people we meet……and here is the card (front & back) complete with a QR code link to : ) see….amazing! 


Three weeks ago it was transfer day again.  Elder Mancer was given yet another greenie, Elder Lewis, and now serves in a companionship threesome with 2 greenies.  That transfer also gave us another companionship of sisters, one of which is also a greenie. This means we have the three elders, 6 sisters and ourselves. Thus Elder Mancer is training and serving as the district leader.

 He carries a heavy load.  There is much training to do.  I told him President Bunnell would probably like to clone him 10 times! Elder Jeanfreau and Elder Lewis are prepared, eager missionaries as are the sisters. It is such a blessing for us to associate with these stellar young missionaries.  The Lord’s missionary work and the future of the Church is in good hands! 

Back row l to r; Timo, Z. Cannon, Z. Williams, Z. Barrett, Z. Winkel. Front row l to r E. Jeanfreau, E. Lewis, E. Christensen & E. Mancer. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Time flies when you're having fun!

This is what eleven days look like:

Wednesday: Zone conference, make lunch for 53
Thursday:     Rotterdam Institute, dessert, 10
Friday:          Den Bosch institute, dinner for 10
Saturday:     Missionaries for dinner, 5
Sunday:        nothing
Monday:     Elderly neighbor had hip replacement, dinner for 2
Tuesday:     4th of July BBQ after district meeting, for 11
Wednesday: Utrecht institute, dinner for 8
Thursday:     Rotterdam institute, dessert, 10
Friday:         Den Bosch institute, dinner for 10
Saturday:   Young adult BBQ, for ????

Around this we will fit in 3 institute lessons each week, cleaning and setting up an apartment for the sister missionaries in Utrecht, delivering fans to sister apartments in Almere & Amersfoort, Joe going on exchanges with the 3 elders in our district, a kayaking activity with the YSA’s on the canals in Utrecht centrum, hiking to the top of the Dom Tower (465 steps to the top of the tallest church tower in the Netherlands) and whatever else comes our way. 

Hold on to your hat....time flies when you’re having fun!  (stay tuned for an after event report : )