Zuster Fox?

Zuster Fox?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Morbid Dutch...

Woohoo! I've finished my first full week here in Nederland, and it was fantastic. I have lots of fun things to share from this week.
My first full day in Nederland. Can you see why I think it's a fantasy land?

First of all, I finally made my own personal hilarious language mistake, so I can share that instead of other people's! Almost everyone has littler filler thinking words that we say when our brains are working to think as fast as our mouths, right? 'Like' and 'um' are some examples. Well, there isn't anything wrong with saying 'um' (except that it sounds casual, so I'm trying to kick the habit anyway) but my trainer especially warned me to try to avoid saying 'like' when I'm speaking Dutch, because I've been doing it a lot since there's a lot to think about between the vocabulary, grammar, and message I'm actually trying to communicate! The reason it's a problem is because the Dutch word that sounds like 'like' is 'lijk' which means 'corpse.' So it's kind of morbid to just throw that around everywhere. 'And I know that Heavenly Father (corpse) loves you.' it's just awkward. But also hilarious!

Another funny story was told to us by a non-native Dutch speaker we were doing service with- She was trying to ask her father-in-law if he paid the rent, but accidentally asked if he paid the prostitute, due to the pronunciation difference between 'huur' and 'hoer' which I still have trouble hearing.
We tried to take a selfie with a pretty church building. Didn't quite get the whole thing!

So, this week has been great! I've been working a lot on developing both my missionary and Dutch skills. Under Sister Woodbury's excellent, careful coaching I had a couple of firsts this week. I approached someone for the first time on my own, which felt SO scary, but Heavenly Father definitely blessed me- the people I picked to talk to were really nice and interested in talking with us. So I learned that street contacting doesn't have to be too intimidating.

I also had the opportunity to extend a baptismal invitation to one of our investigators! I did that a lot in the MTC, but doing it in real life is so different- the Spirit was so strong!

Every day I just marvel that I get to be a missionary, that I'm not just a nineteen year old girl with a name tag, I'm an authorized representative of Jesus Christ! It's my wonderful job and opportunity to talk with people about my favorite subject in the world every day. I bike up and down the cobblestone streets and marvel that I'm living in Europe (and wonder, why on EARTH in a culture where everyone bikes are the streets made out of cobblestone?!). Anyway, it's an amazing privilege. I definitely feel my love for the Dutch people growing. The members here are fantastic, and the Church really is the same everywhere. Every time we gather together at church, or have dinner appointments, it's very gezellig- 'gezellig' is one of my favorite unique Dutch words. It means cozy, comfortable, close, loving- I can't quite describe it, but it's a great feeling.
Lots of people here have asked if I'm Dutch because of my last name. Here's proof that it's common here! It was cool to see this street sign.

Also, speaking of church, the Den Haag temple president and his wife were visiting yesterday, and last week our mission president and his wife were here- it's been an exciting couple of Sundays for this little branch!

We had a church potluck yesterday and Sister Woodbury and I made banana bread. I think Heavenly Father must have miraculously consecrated our efforts, because neither of us had every made it before but it was super lekker! (Lekker means delicious, in every sense of the word). The potluck lunch was wonderful, and afterward we delivered some of the banana bread to members in the ward experiencing a hard time or going through rough changes. I love the experience of ministering to people in need!
Uniquely Dutch things- Vla is a weird pudding dessert that you pour out of a carton. Juice is really popular. And those little gingerbread bites are a traditional Sinterklaus candy and are delicious!
My Dutch still has a long way to go but I get more comfortable and understand better every day. People are really nice and helpful when they realize that I haven't been here long at all!

The weather this past weekend was gorgeous, but we've been told it's the last warm sunny weekend of the year. We've also had some rainy days though, and I had the opportunity to bike through the rain and be quite damp at an appointment for the first time! That was fun. I learned to never leave without an umbrella!
Goedemorgen, Assen! An advantage of being a missionary is that we're Always up before Sunrise. here's the view of a particularly beautiful one from our balcony!

Anyway, it's been a great week! I love you all!

Zuster Voss

PS: Also, there are some really big spiders in Nederland. They disgust me. I'd send a picture, but I don't want to get that close.

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