Monday, July 28, 2014
Hey everyone :)
So basically as I type I am experiencing what it would be like in a zombie apocalypse. You finally reach safety after distracting the zombies and you've barricaded the door. However you made a mistake and now they know where you are and are pounding, trying to break in. You sit there and cringe as you realize it's only a matter of time...
Luckily our lives aren't in danger, but we do have people banging at the door trying to get in. Make that little kids. There's this crazy group of six kids outside that want to come into the church and we had to trick them to go away long enough for us to slip inside. But Elder C promised to let them in if they found a card (face palm). I promise we're not being rude. Last time we only let two of them in "for a few minutes", they left the building an hour later after running through it all and causing havoc. :) kids. But to let six of them in...they would have destroyed the church.
Thus why we are here, barricaded in the church, hoping that they go away before we have to go home.
I think the biggest thing this week was Zone Training on Wednesday. It went really well. The first half we really focused on The Character of Christ (turning outward in love when the natural man would turn in) in three parts- What is character? The part Action takes in developing such a character and Charity. I gave the part about action.
That's something I've gained a strong testimony about out here: action. Maybe I've always been like this (I don't think so or don't remember it) but out here I've created a new pattern, namely- when I face a problem or am having a hard time I try to sit down and make a plan. I realized that sitting around and just stressing about things that have already happened is dumb and got me nowhere (except sick). We've just got to put things that happened behind us, there's literally nothing we can do about it now, it's already happened!
And this is where the enabling power of the Atonement comes in. Never understood that part of the Atonement before but now I'm beginning to. See, without the Atonement that would be it. We'd make a mistake or doing something wrong and bam! it's over. It already happened, there's nothing to do about it and you're left with your regret and sorrow. But because Christ paid the price for our sins and our mistakes, we have second chances. We can change.
Because of Him, we can take moments like that and turn them around. We can sit down with Him and say, "I'm really sorry I messed up on this one, but here's my plan on how to avoid it in the future." Then you hash out a plan.
He truly enabled us to act, and not just be acted upon by our sins, mistakes, situation, there's always something we can do. Maybe we can't solve everything, but there's always things to do (or keep doing). And what a blessing that is.
This truly is repentance. I mean think about it: Christ has suffered for EVERY sin that we'll EVER make. So it's not like every time we make a mistake it's some new, unexpected load on Christ. He has already gone through that, He was fully aware that it was going to happen. Yet what does He ask from us then if not to destroy ourselves with guilt until we shrivel away into oblivion? Like it talks about in "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad R. Wilcox, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLXr9it_pbY He just requires that we keep "practicing" because we are learning heaven right now. Godly sorrow is realizing what you did was wrong and desiring to change it because you have offended God. The level of bad feelings vary and where they do have a place, never forget that truly godly sorrow uplifts and inspires us to do better, not the opposite. So keep going!
The talk me and Elder C had was amazing. We know we are simply different.
It makes us a good team. He treats the missionaries as they've been called, namely set apart representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. He refuses to lower expectations (which is just fine) and expects the best from the elders he works with. He has a true gift of lifting missionaries to be better than they ever knew they could be. It's an amazing gift.
And that's why I have my gifts. I'm the healing balm when it stings, which it does. Together we truly make a great team, especially because the biggest thing we have in common is our work ethic, namely go till we drop :). It's tiring but So worth it.
We go on splits all the time, at very least 3 times a week. Rotterdam Zone is on fire right now :). The Lord is showing forth His hand and blessing us TREMENDOUSLY! Relations with the members are better, missionaries are motivated and working, it truly is a blessed time to be here. We even go on splits with the Portuguese elders. They are great Elders and we are really impressed with them.
Well, I love you guys! Thank you SO much for your letters and your love. I never have to feel too far behind out here and I never have to feel abandoned. I truly have been super blessed and I could not have had a better situation in which to grow, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
Monday, July 21, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
|All is well when you have these 2 praying|
for you. (Elder Cooper's youngest brother,
and his Aunt Jacquilin)
Monday, July 7, 2014
I mean sure it's a little hot in here, but it's SO worth it!
K, full disclosure. It’s been a tough few weeks. But no worries, I'm going to "be Dutch" again (as we say out here) and just say it all, good and bad…like I agreed to do.
I think in the past few weeks I experienced one of the hardest trials a human being can go through: a loss of identity. Okay, maybe not a loss, but I was definitely confused. Suddenly I found myself unsure of everything I was, everything I did. The world seemed unsure.
Let me tell you, that's terrifying. I am SO grateful for the gospel! I have realized how much knowing who you are and your purpose here on earth helps the challenges of life. Without that knowledge good and bad begin to disappear, everything seems like too much and you literally have no idea where to go or what to do to fix it because you can't recognize that still small voice that guides.
I pray that I never go through this again, but I do KNOW what to do: just keep swimming! I went to my knees and prayed to be in tune. I read the scriptures, got to work, basically just did what I was supposed to until I had enough fire wood in the back of the trailer to gain traction. :) (See "Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease" by Elder Bednar).
|The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.|
The key to it all though, for probably all of us is to learn to accept ourselves. Something about a mission can warp your perspective. A lot of times it is a good thing, but to every pro there is a con. You can forget what real life is, you can forget that you're a person, you just get in the mode of trying to be perfect, and no one is perfect, and no one has every perfect trait, but somehow I felt like I should, but I was wrong. Like you were telling me mom, we are all different and that's ok! We're not all supposed to be perfect in the same way, we're supposed to be perfect in our differences (eventually). I've been telling that to missionaries my whole mission and promptly forgot it when I needed it haha :) gotta love that...
So here’s what I did:
First- That ugly side of me known as The Perfectionist. I think I’ve been struggling with that my whole life right? Well no one is perfect. Like President Robinson wrote last week in his letter about Excellence vs. Perfection "Excellence is...simply doing your best and letting that be good enough while you move on to your next challenge." Or like Abraham Lincoln, "I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end." (That one's for you Grandma :) get well soon!) So that’s what I’m going to do.
I've started learning to accept myself and my role again, but not just accept it but truly embrace it and be the best me I can be. We all have to learn this lesson a few times in our lifetimes right?
Second kind of went with it- I started to doubt that what I was doing was enough, or that I was everything I should be, or that I was consecrating enough. But I worked through that too. It's all about looking at yourself, truly finding out who you are and what your role is and giving everything you can that day. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, but it's a daily thing. That's all the Lord asks of us- consecrate everything you are able to.
I know at least for me I often look at that and it overwhelms me. Consecrating everything (usually the way it's worded) entailed for me giving up things I didn't have or more than I was able to. But truly it is simpler, look at it every day and give up everything you can until the day when you realize you've given everything. :)
And that's just one of the lessons I've learned this week! I've got five more pages of this in my journal! I can't even explain how good Rotterdam has been for me. Truly it's been one of the most difficult of my mission to this point but I can say it has changed me forever and the lessons I am learning here are more valuable to me than all the treasure of the world. I will share these truths with all I meet.
|Elder Cooper's sister/cousin and her finance at|
the St.George temple. Nothing could make him
happier. To top it off, His grandparents are
Your week over there sounded amazing! I love reading every word about it! Basically (and because you're ok) the firework story was funny, YAY!
Thank you SO much for all the support you send my way. Please tell everyone thank you. Mom and Dad, your letters last week were amazing and just what I needed at that time to keep me going. Thank you so much for knowing who I am and encouraging me to develop myself further.
LOVE YOU ALL! Hope you have another great week like that! And Court congrats :) love you a lot. Sam awesome job with all those awards :) that's really cool. Sky :) I'm just straight up proud of you! :)
Culture Note: The World Cup comic made me laugh really hard, cause it's SO true! When Nederland plays, no one is outside. President has been telling us all to stay inside during the game hours but that got changed recently. See the World Cup here is bigger than the 4th of July in America. EVERYONE watches the game and there are so many houses just decked out in Orange and World Cup paraphernalia.
Since a few days ago President realized this was a major cultural event that we were missing and that a lot of good relationships could be made and good missionary work could be done if we were allowed to watch the games. So Wednesday night I'll be watching Nederland vs. Argentina. Really hoping they win that one too cause then we get to verse Brazil (bwahaha let the games begin all you I know who served there ;) ).
I'll probably keep the World Cup as a family tradition after this. It's kind of fun and addicting :).
|"I am grateful for the people I have met who have changed my life for the better. I am truly blessed"|